My 2018 List of 100 Dreams, part 1: Career and travel

It is List of 100 Dreams week here on the blog! For an explanation of the concept, please see Monday’s post, or listen to Tuesday’s podcast.

Over the next three days, I’ll be posting my list, divided into several categories. I would love to see yours as well! Feel free to post items in the comments, or you can email me your whole list if you want (lvanderkam at yahoo dot com). You can also help me figure out how to make some of my items happen. Suggestions welcome!


1. Hit the NY Times bestseller list
2. Write a very long work of fiction – like a doorstop of an epic novel
3. Keep writing my non-fiction books every 18-24 months. Make sure these are always books I’d like to read.
4. Write a collection of sonnets
5. Write a book of essays (I enjoyed the style of Anne Bogel’s I’d Rather Be Reading)
6. Distill my writing strategies tips/techniques into something
7. Hit 1 million downloads for the podcast by our 2nd anniversary
8. Do some more writing retreats
9. Do (more) original time diary research
10. Form a writer’s strategy group (had one for a while but many of us moved…)
11. Write (more) long magazine pieces
12. Spend some time thinking logistically about my business, what resources I should invest in (e.g. outsourcing some of the admin stuff, but also in terms of seeking out opportunities, repurposing all my content.)
13. Do more big conference key notes. The Art of Leadership for Women in Canada this summer was really fun.
14. Co-author a book (but this time not as a “with Laura Vanderkam” — it would be more about doing a long-term collaboration with someone)
15. Write a research paper for a research journal

16. Write a testimonials file — I get wonderful notes from people about my work, but I’ve never pulled them together somewhere.


17. Portland + Oregon wine country (we are doing this in a few weeks!)
18. Eat at Noma in Denmark, plus tour Scandinavia (again) — likely with kids (not Noma, which would be totally wasted on my mac ‘n cheese fans – we’d need a sitter for that).
19. See the solstice in Norway (summer…or winter??)
20. Fall leaf-peeping trip to New England
21. …and to the Shenandoah region
22. Do local fall bike rides/runs in lovely places! I’m planning some October days “off.” I want to protect some October days on my calendar every year.
23. See Yellowstone/Teton/Rocky Mountain in fall – maybe do a post-Labor day trip some year
24. Backpacking/an overnight hiking trip
25. Do a Bach tour of Germany — seeing where he composed
26. Visit a Christmas market in Germany too (we were in Germany many years ago over Christmas but kept missing the markets because they closed early)
27. Bike through Grand Teton National Park — there’s a long and flat bike trail, with views of the peaks. Gorgeous.
28. See a Shakespeare play in Stratford-on-Avon — also re-read more of his plays + read To the Lighthouse in the Isle of Skye
29. Go back to Australia NOT as a dirt-poor student staying in hostels (and see Perth + western coast – I never got there during my study abroad semester).
30. Also, go to New Zealand
31. See parts of Africa – including the middle of it (Kenya, Uganda for the gorillas, etc.) – that I haven’t seen.
32. Go on a Disney Cruise (likely Vancouver-Seattle) with my family
33. Eat at Cinderella’s Table at Magic Kingdom (coming up in 2019!)
34. Visit Northern Michigan/Mackinac Island. Eat fudge.
35. Visit Portugal and sip lots of port. Visit the Azores too.
36. Chile-Argentina-Patagonia (could be separate trips!) Visit the vineyards in these regions, hike…
37. See the great US National parks I haven’t yet: Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Smoky Mountains. Do Acadia again!
38. Visit Iceland. It’s a pretty short flight…
39. Tour Greece + see the Greek islands and eat lots of Greek seafood with Retsina.
40. See the Galapagos islands, especially the tortoises.
41. Research day trips + make a list of adventures we can have within 2 hours of our home in PA. (Yes, this is a list on a list…)
42. Do some couples-only weekend getaways. (Like Paris!)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the first half of my “personal/family” part of the list…



23 thoughts on “My 2018 List of 100 Dreams, part 1: Career and travel

  1. I started trying to make a list like this after reading your Monday blog post. After a lot of staring at a Word document, I’m up to all of 21 items. I can’t decide if this means I’m happy with my life as is, or I just don’t have much imagination!

    1. @Rebecca – nothing wrong with being happy with life as it is! But it definitely takes some time to think about. You could start with travel, as that’s often something people do want to do more of (and can list places they’d like to see or re-visit).

  2. Scandinavia was one of my favorite trips. We only spent a long weekend in Copenhagen and I wish we had spent more time there.

    I was inspired to work on my 100 dreams list, which I got to about #25 then quit. I don’t think I’ve ever completed a full 100!

  3. My mom recently visited Mackinac Island. Keep in mind that there are no cars thus a lot of horses – thus a lot of horse smells.

    1. @Cindy- hmm… horse smells are most definitely not my favorite. Maybe I will visit a different part of northern Michigan 🙂

  4. Curious – does your husband do a list too and do you try to overlap at all? Do you ever try to get your kids to do something like this or involve them in your list? Seems like it would be kind of a fun family exercise.

    1. @Beth C – I agree that it would be a fun family exercise, particularly for families with older kids. My husband isn’t big into lists like this, though I know he has a few things he’d like to do (go diving in Truk or other places in the Pacific, go frequently to Texas A&M football games, skiing in cool places). Definitely my 11-year-old could start researching a list like this. We do ask for suggestions when we’re planning trips and activities so we can incorporate the kids’ interests.

  5. Travel tip for Perth/Western Australia – the best time of year to visit is late September through November. Earlier in that period is wildflower peak season and it’s not too hot to go visit the north of the state but not too cold to visit south either. Avoid January to early March when it is too damn hot to much beyond go to the beach (or visit and understand why everyone is up so early all the time). Also avoid July/August when it is(hopefully) solidly rainy around Perth & the southwest.

    1. @ZM – thanks for the tip! I have hopes that the media I’ve done in Australia over the past few months will someday lead to some speaking gigs there. We shall see 🙂

  6. I really need to sit down and do this. Going away for the weekend with my husband and toddler and we didn’t think about the fact that staying in a hotel meant 7pm bedtime for all of us. Perhaps that’s a good time to work on it.

    Off the top of my head, career and travel: 1) turn my PhD into a book 2) incorporate new techniques (flipped classroom, some more tech) into my teaching 3) get a post-post doc job in my current city 4) give evidence before parliament. Maybe some more media appearances – with a preference for Al Jazeera as they actually pay. Travel – mostly kid friendly stuff: 1), Berlin (I’ve been but not in 15 years); 2) Denmark and take my kiddo on some fun trips when we go back to the states for visits – Yosemite, San Diego, Yellowstone, Portland, Hawaii?

    I share SHU’s vision of a fully kon-maried house. One day…one day…

    1. @Cb- those are all great places to visit in the US. If you’re doing Yosemite and San Diego, maybe do a northern CA visit as well. There’s so much right around the San Francisco area – cultural and natural (and wine-related).

  7. If you’re thinking the Shenandoah in the fall, you should enjoy it by way of Skyline Drive. I spent some time on Skyline Drive while in Charlottesville for law school. I never drove it end to end, but I think starting in Front Royal, and heading down to Waynesboro would be a great day trip (or longer if you decide to do camping and extensive hiking). From the Philadephia area, you could easily make this a weekend road trip, with a stop in Charlottesville as a bonus on the way back (fun town with great food)! The drives from central Viriginia to Washington D.C. are gorgeous in the fall as well. The colors peak a mid-to-late October, first week of November, so don’t go too early.

    1. @Amy – I love Skyline drive! I think my ambition is to see it at a time when there’s not 10,000 other people on it, though that’s probably not going to happen during peak fall color season…

  8. Laura – any women’s conferences (or professional conferences in general) that you would recommend in the USA? Thanks!

    1. @Rachel – I’ve spoken in the past at the PA Conference for women, and its sister conferences (Texas Conference for Women, Watermark in CA, and the MA conference for women). They’re quick-hit type things, one day with a lot of fun empowerment. If you’re into great speeches, I enjoyed TED Women (regular TED would be good too, but if you’re looking for women’s conferences…). For top quality networking, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women franchise is good. I went to their “Next Gen” conference (for women under 45) a few years ago and people were very nice AND accomplished.

  9. I live in the Portland area. Enjoy your time here! If you don’t know about the Folgers Shakespeare Museum in DC, you should check it out. I was there in 2017 and was fascinated by it. And I haven’t read Shakespeare. I highly recommend signing up in advance for the library tour at noon.

  10. I highly recommend visiting Acadia during the fall, maybe as part of your New England leaf peeping trip!

  11. Enjoyed the podcast on this topic and started my own list – during week 4 of tracking my time after reading Off the Clock – thanks!

    Re #6) I’ve done some web based courses with writers of women’s self help books before and really liked them. It seems pretty lucrative for the author/instructor. If you did one on time management, you’d have some pre-reading, then people would “meet” you online (via zoom or appear, etc) during the set classtimewhere you would talk, coach individuals on screen for a bit, give some homework, whatever – say once a week for 8 -10 weeks and each participant pays several hundred dollars (and up, depending on the offering) and you control how many people sign up, what your role in the course is (i.e., you can have an admin person handle all but the speaking on camera and curriculum), etc.

    #38) Iceland Air often does specials where you route through Reykjavik with a “free” (no additional cost) stopover (for up to a week) on the way to/from Europe. We did this with a one year old a few years ago when we were moving back to the US from Europe. It was a nice break in the trip and could pair well with Denmark.

  12. Looking forward to the ‘visit Australia’ wish. If you are bringing the kids and need hints on what to do in Sydney just reach out.

  13. If you ever go back to Oregon, Ashland has a fabulous Shakespeare festival with an Elizabethan-style theater.

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