Bonnaroo 2015

Bonnaroo is a 4-day music festival in Manchester, Tennessee, that has been ongoing every year since 2002. It is a huge event that brings people from not only all over the United States, but all over the world together for four days of positive vibes, amazing music, great food and art exhibitions as well as a plethora of other vendors of interest for anyone under the sun. Considering I had never been to any sort of multi-day festival before Bonnaroo, it’s safe to say it was quite the adventurous undertaking for a first experience, and surviving it helped me to cross off #40 on my bucket list.

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My two friends and I started our journey on the 12-hour drive to Nashville the Wednesday before the festival started. We stayed in a hotel for the night in Nashville before the festival started at Aloft West End which I would highly recommend as an affordable and centrally located hotel in the middle of the city for anyone visiting Nashville. They also have a 12pm check out time, which is just awesome when you want to sleep in after a night of partying. We also saw Tove Lo in the lobby with her gang of tall Swedish band members, so that was pretty legit.

We went to Edley’s Barbecue for dinner, which was also amazing and inexpensive, right in the middle of midtown Nashville. Even though we were in the city for less than 24 hours, I fell in love with Nashville rather quickly, mostly because if I lived there, I could drown my body in pulled pork every day of the week. There is so much going on, especially with regards to live music, every single night in Nashville.

After the short tour of Nashville, (which included a glimpse at the complex that Taylor Swift calls home, don’t worry I didn’t take a crap on her lawn) we were off to Manchester to start off the Bonnaroo experience on the Farm. I was most excited for Moon Taxi, Mumford and Sons, Tove Lo, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and Trampled by Turtles. The amount of shows was overwhelming, but we managed to see a majority of all of the artists that we wanted to.

Because we opted for a later check-in time, we were put in a “campsite” that was much farther away from “Centeroo” than others, but we also only had to wait about 20 minutes to be processed for entry while others reported to wait for more than 5 hours. A little extra walking everyday was worth it in my opinion, as it helped me feel better about the daily slice of pizza that I stuffed in my face and the case of beer that was downed on the daily. Being on the outer edge of camp also made it easier to get out when the festival was over.

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The festival was HUGE. More people than I could ever imagine were roaming about, drinking, eating and overall just having a great time There are multiple tents and stages set up all around Centeroo, with hundreds of food truck options to choose from as well as crafters and artists selling their pieces. My personal favorite items was the Greek food from the international foods tent, spicy pie pizza and the Nomadic State of Mind rope sandals. The list goes on and on but there’s really no explaining the quantity of options available to the Bonnaroo goer.

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It was very hot the entire long weekend that we were there, making drinking water to stay hydrated absolutely essential. I brought SPF 70 sunscreen and a huge floppy hat and still got extremely tan after four long days of exposure.  We made a makeshift awning to get extra shade back at the car to prevent getting burned while hanging around waiting for shows to start. Thankfully Bonnaroo has various shade tents set up around the main event area and some of the stages are shaded, but I would still recommend bringing serious sun protection.

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There is a mushroom fountain in the middle of Centeroo that many people run around in during the day to rinse off some of the dirt and grime from the day and to just in general cool down after baking under the sun. We went in it every day and it was a lifesaver during the hotter parts of the day. We also would fill up our 1 gallon water jugs and use them to take minimalist showers to get somewhat normal every day, which worked better than I expected. One group of guys had a watering can that they used for a shower, a brilliant idea.

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The music was really incredible, and a few artists that I hadn’t heard of before the festival that I really fell in love with after seeing their live sets include (links are to their soundcloud pages) Temples, Sylvan Esso, Brandi Carlile (Ok I had heard OF her, but never listened to her music before) Caribou, Jamie XX and Alabama Shakes. Alabama Shakes was probably one of my favorite performances, along with Trampled by Turtles (MINNESOTA PRIDE!!!).
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I would definitely recommend the Bonnaroo experience to music enthusiasts, but it is definitely not for everyone, especially those who cannot function off of little sleep and who are prone to heat exhaustion. It was so much fun for me and my friends, definitely the experience of a lifetime.

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The highlights video I made for Bonnaroo 2015: Please subscribe to my channel! Enjoy

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Checking off the Bucket List: #1 Scuba Certification

This week I completed the #1 item on my bucket list, earning my SCUBA certification. SCUBA was the #1 item on my list because I knew it was something I was going to complete relatively soon. I’m very happy I was able to complete the courses before leaving for Europe.

Bucket lists are a funny thing. Most of us like lists, we like to make “To-Do” lists and get great satisfaction from checking individual items off of those lists. It makes it seem like what we are doing has a purpose, accomplishing the building blocks that construct our lives. I personally enjoy the “collection” aspect of my bucket list; that is, I wish to collect various skills and experiences through completing or “checking off” items. Experiences are the most valuable thing a person can have, material goods are insignificant compared to what an experience can provide a person.

Midwest School of Diving is where I completed certification, and I could not recommend this company more. Mark Dugger, the owner/operator of the shop is absolutely incredible. He is very dedicated to his students and ensures that they learn everything in order to make dives safe and fun. The staff is very patient and have taught all different types of people at different skill levels. The price is also unbeatable, everything is included and the team makes sure you don’t have to do much work in the set up or take down of the equipment. Located just outside the Twin Cities in White Bear Lake, Midwest school of diving not only provides certification, but also has various fun dive trips to go on in different interesting spots in Minnesota and surrounding areas.

PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, it is the worlds largest organization of scuba divers. The PADI membership allows certified divers to dive around the world, and provides a variety of more advanced classes to those who wish to expand their skill set and scuba qualifications.

I am very proud of this accomplishment, and extremely excited for all the opportunities it will bring me in my life, being able to explore the ocean and lakes

Next stop: #17 on the list: DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF IN AUSTRALIA!

The Bucket List

Without a goal you can’t score, and without a bucket list it’s hard to seek out adventure. Here is a compiled list of just some of the things I hope to accomplish in the next few years of my life. 
 
Things I want to Do, Learn and Experience
 
1. Get PADI scuba certification to be able to scuba dive around the world
2. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania 
3. Run a marathon in a foreign country
4. Teach English in Spain
5. Visit the Amazon rainforest 
6. Eat pho in Vietnam 
7. See the Taj Mahal change colors throughout the day and attend Holi in India
8. Learn how to change a tire
9. Learn how to drive a stick-shift
10.Snowboard and ski in Colorado
11.Attend the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain
12.Find a diamond in the Arkansas diamond mine
13.Road trip of the lower 48 
14.See the glaciers on an Alaskan cruise
15.Start a vlogging channel on YouTube
16.Get SOMETHING officially published
17.Dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
18.Complete a mountain biking trail or course
19.Learn how to kite-board
20.Parasail
21.See Macchu Picchu before it is closed down to tourists
22.Stay at the Atlantis Resort in Dubai 
23.Start a garden and grow different produce and herbs
24.Walk across the Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver 
25. Adopt a pet – RESCUE
26. See all of New Zealand
27.Visit the rock of Gibraltar and see two continents at one time
28.Stay in New Orleans and party on Bourbon street for Mardi Gras
29.Visit Lake Shasta in California
30.Swim with manatees in the Crystal River in Florida
31.Ride a camel in Morocco 
32.Spend time with Great Whites in a shark cage in South Africa
33. EdgeWalk at Toronto’s CN tower
34. Zipline and visit the bioluminescent bays in Vieques and Puerto Rico
35. Go to a drag show or a gay club
36.See the sunrise from Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, the number one spot in the world to watch the sunrise
37.Watch the sunset through Stonehenge in England
38.Visit Kruger National Park in South Africa and go on a safari
39.Learn how to make the perfect soufflé 
40.Survive a 4-day music festival
41.Hike Angel’s landing and the Narrows at Zion National Park in Utah
42. Climb Table Mountain in Cape Town
43.See the Grand Canyon
44.Ride to the top of the space needle in Seattle
45.Learn how to play a new instrument and play it on the streets of a city
46.Learn to ride a motorcycle
47.Attend Oktoberfest in Germany and drink A LOT of beer
48.Island hop in Thailand 
49.Relax in the hot springs in Iceland
50.Go to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park
51.Go whale watching in The Azores
52.Take dance lessons
53.Help a homeless person get back on their feet
54.Party until the sun comes up in Spain
55.Swing off the edge of the world in Ecuador
56.Experience zero gravity in a simulator or go to space, technology and money permits
57.Rock climb an actual rock/mountain in nature
58.See Thor’s Well and Crater Lake in Oregon
59.Kiss the Blarney Stone
60.Drive on the autobahn in Germany to Prague
61.Learn to dance the samba in Brazil
62.Play the didgeridoo in Australia
63.Meet and get a picture with an A-list celebrity. 
64.White water raft the Salmon River in Idaho
65.Read a newspaper while floating over the Dead Sea in Israel
66.Go wine tasting in Cinque Terre, Italy
67.Rent a convertible and drive 17 mile drive to see the lone cypress in California
68.Learn to surf
69.Visit the statues on Easter Island
70.Visit Denali National Park in Alaska and see Mt. McKinley
71.Drink champagne at the top of the Eiffel tower 
72.Have a bonfire on the beach 
73.Make wine in Sonoma by crushing grapes with bare feet
74. Visit Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland
75. Visit Chichen-Itza in Mexico 
76. Take a boat out to the Galapagos Islands
77. Windsurf in the ocean
78. Scuba dive in Palau
79. Go on a sailing trip in the Pacific ocean or the Caribbean
80. Win a photography contest
81. Complete the Nookie Challenge without throwing up and get the T-shirt!
82. Buy a struggling family all their groceries for a week
83. Write, compose and record my own song
84. Survive the Rickshaw Run 
85. Get dreadlocks. Because hair always grows back
86. Participate in a color run
87. Go on the Bob Marley tour and eat jerk chicken in Jamaica 
88. Scuba dive the Florida keys
89. Gamble in Las Vegas 
90. Visit the Dubai aquarium
91. Ride in a hot air balloon
92. Visit Victoria Falls
93. Visit the sandstone monasteries in Meteora, Greece
94. Climb the Haiku stairs of Oahu, Hawaii
95. Explore the Mendenhall ice caves in Alaska
96. Make it to the edge of the Trolltunga in Hordaland, Norway
97. Walk through the glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand 
98. Learn how to do latte art
99. Attend the summer Olympics
100. Thoroughly document all these experiences with the hope that it will inspire others and remind me to always be thankful for the blessed life that I have. 

So there it is. A super long list of things I want to do before I die, many of which I want to accomplish during these transitional years between college and figuring out a career or graduate school. There are even more things beyond this, but I think 100 things is a long enough list. What excites me most though, is knowing that all the experiences that will happen on the journey to crossing off these items will add up to be so much more than just a bucket list. 



Photo from the John Lennon wall in Prague. January 2013

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