March 2012

On the list: Hiking Mt. Huashan

Mount Huashan is not only one of the five sacred mountains of China, but it also happens to be one of the most spectacular hikes in the world.  It’s known for being a sometimes treacherous hike, though there are a variety of trails so even the inexperienced hiker can still experience at least some of the mountain’s majesty.  For those that wish to push themselves to the limit, the climb to the southern peak is the one to aim for.  Being a public trail, with no warnings or regulations, the mountain is often filled with inexperienced hikers and the past has seen more than its share of people making fatal mistakes and falling to their deaths.

On the list: Aligator Wrestling!

It may seem like one of the silliest “sports” in the world, but the tradition of alligator wrestling is one that can’t be ignored when it comes to making a proper bucket list.  It is probably to some degree mentally damaging to the poor reptile, but the opportunity to fight a giant, mean and dangerous lizard is akin to battling Godzilla for supremacy over Tokyo.  Risking life and limb to make a gator submit is a top priority before I bite the dust.

Not for the weak of heart, alligator wrestling is a very methodological process with many guidelines that need to be followed in order to come out with all of your limbs.  The following, very brief outline will explain how the pros do it.  Warning, don’t try this at home!

Meditations on Death

The fear of death is perhaps the greatest thing in our lives which prevents us from truly living.  Sometimes this fear can be great and overwhelming; sometimes this fear can be quite unreasonable.  For some, even the smallest chance of harm can be overblown in their minds and be enough to keep them from participating in the exciting adventures and life-changing experiences that memories are built from.  Unfortunately, the fear is usually greater than the person who must fight it.  Avoiding death is something that is engrained in the human species as an animalistic instinct to survive.  So how does one conquer this oppressive fear?

One technique has evolved from eastern religion and philosophy – that of meditating upon death itself as the inevitable outcome of life.  The theory is that if one accepts death as a given, then the fear of it will subside.

On the list: Sheer ice climbing

If you’re going to go out of this world, do it with a bang.  At least that’s my motto, and the reason for putting the intensely dangerous activity of sheer ice climbing on the bucket list.  As a person who already does a little bit of climbing, the prospect of pushing myself to the boundaries of safety and reason gives me a bit of a jolt that can only be described as “being alive.”  Ice climbing is not only one of the world’s most dangerous hobbies, it also happens to be something that virtually no one else in the world participates in.  This unique aspect is reason enough to face the fear and potential death which awaits.

The Debilitating Fear of “Yucky”

"Germs are out there, this is a fact, but worrying about them doesn’t do any good. "

So many people go through their lives with nonsensical fears lurking in the backs of their heads which prevent them from doing many of the things they could in life.  One of these, and one that I personally try to overcome every time I am faced with it, is that fear of the “Yucky.”  To make things clearer, I classify things as “Yucky” which have no impact on a person other than to cause them mental distress when they are in proximity of said object or situation.  Another term I like to use to describe the undesired objects is “cooties.”