The End of the Bucket List

Simply put, this has been one of the best and most rewarding summers of my life. At the start of the summer, I laid out four goals that I wanted to work towards in the months before I left for Austria:

  1. Bring together and spend time with people I care about.
  2. Appreciate Idaho and all the things I know I will miss.
  3. Do the things I should have done by now as an Idahoan.
  4. Don’t¬†go bankrupt in the process.

To accomplish these goals, I made a Very Idahoan Summer Bucket List. There’s a simple little quote that encapsulates my attitude¬†about adventure and¬†my list, and that is “bloom where you are planted”. It doesn’t matter where you are, how far away¬†you go,¬†or for how long, or how crazy your activity is.¬†“Adventure” is a mindset.¬†This list was about living with the intent to explore, celebrate, and appreciate your surroundings, and to share that with others. I feel like we accomplished that this summer, and it has been an journey I will always treasure.

With¬†the support of my friends and family,¬†the original list grew from around ten little ideas to more than¬†thirty adventures. I was challenged to creativity and actively seek¬†out new things to try and places to visit, and was lucky enough that the people I care about also¬†committed to my bucket list and helped me add to it.¬†Each adventure below marked with a¬†* is an adventure I didn’t plan or come up with the idea for.¬†Having the¬†input and enthusiasm of¬†the people around me has been incredibly special, and I want to thank everyone who helped me come up with ideas or who went with me on all these activities.

Here are just some of the things we got up to this summer, and when I say we I mean any combination of Molly, my mom, my dad, Charles, Alethea, Brent, Malik, Emily, Jacob, Cody, Harbor, Olivia, Vanessa, Jade, Jake, my grandmother, my grandfather, Jim, Shona, Saul, Kasie, Tawnya, Grace, Tyler, Melissa, Jessica, Jerry, and Sarah, and more!


APRIL 15 We kicked off the adventures with a mini-road trip to celebrate my being accepted into the USTA program in Austria. Talking to Molly on this adventure inspired me to write the original Very Idahoan Summer Bucket List.


MAY 25¬†We visited St. John’s Cathedral to admire the stained glass windows.


MAY 28 We got a little chilly in the Shoshone Indian Ice Caves.


JUNE 4 We brought our fiercest legging game to the Nampa Rollerdrome.


JUNE 10 We rode the motorcycle to the site of the failed Evel Knievel jump at the Snake River Canyon.


JUNE 10 We watched BASE jumpers leap from the Perrine Bridge, which was the highest bridge in the world in 1927.


JUNE 11 I flew to Seattle and back in a single day to complete my Austrian residency permit application.


JUNE 17 Boise celebrated World Refugee Day and the Pride Festival.


JUNE 23-25 We endured awful views like this in the Sawtooths.*


JUNE 27 I got first aid, CPR, and AED certified at Young Hearts Education.


JULY 8 We jumped at Jumptime.



JULY 11 We took advantage of the photos ops at Zoo Boise to recreate some old favorites.


JULY 15-16 We were adorable at the Pendleton Whiskey Fesival.*


JULY 18¬†The Snake River Stampede¬†wasn’t our first rodeo.


JULY 20 We celebrated her birthday at Aloha Tattoo, and she learned that rib tattoos are no joke.


AUGUST 6 We road tripped through the smoke to McCall just for fun.


AUGUST 10 We braved the famous habanero pizza at Flying Pie Pizzaria.


AUGUST 12 We paid Shoshone Falls a visit.*


AUGUST 12 We went to the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival on the Fort Hall reservation, and got very lost on the way.*


AUGUST 13 I celebrated being vegetarian for 1 year and we had a big dinner party.


AUGUST 14 We went to Roaring Springs water park after hours.*


AUGUST 19 We tried not to go overboard with Cascade Raft and Kayak.* (Professional photo by Cascade Raft and Kayak)


AUGUST 20 We had too much fun at the Western Idaho Fair.


SEPTEMBER 1 “We looked good” at the Lady Antebellum concert.*


SEPTEMBER 2 We wandered the Saturday market and got the best sandwiches in town at the Boise Co-op.


SEPTEMBER 3 We watched¬†a pre-Austria essential, “The Sound of Music”, which I had never seen.


SEPTEMBER 10 We strode in memory of Peggy to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.*

SEPTEMBER 9 We sampled eight of the Sweetest Things in Life at the STIL. 


SEPTEMBER 10 Molly and I enlisted some help in our quest for a series of truly ridiculous photos at my farewell party.


SEPTEMBER 12 We took in a performance of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” under the stars at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

It has been one heck of a summer, and I’m thankful I got to spend it seeing and doing so many things with my favorite people. I highly recommend¬†making your own list, or just¬†remembering to¬†make adventures out of the little things as well as the big things.¬†I intend to continue on in that mindset as I start a whole new chapter of adventures on Saturday, when I move to Austria. I look forward to a whole new round of adventures, and I’ll be taking you all along with me!


All photos taken by Sandra Walker and friends unless otherwise noted. Idaho, 2017.


SEA You Later

Long story short, I had to make a sudden dash to the honorary Austrian consulate in Seattle to submit my residency paperwork¬†on a Sunday and¬†I had to be back at work Monday morning. Future USTAs,¬†don’t be like me. Make sure you plan ahead for the fact¬†that you will have to go to one of the Austrian consulates in person¬†to submit your Best√§tigung paperwork.¬†My flight touched down right at 06:45 in Seattle and my return flight took off at 14:55, so I had about 8 hours to make my appointment and¬†enjoy Seattle.

I didn’t have much time, but I¬†made the most of the time I had! Navigating airports, taking public transit, using maps to find my way around the city, seeing new sights, and all the other little things that come with travelling really awakened my wanderlust and made me that much more excited to go to Austria. My trip started off with one of my favorite things in the world, which is to be in the air during a sunrise or sunset. Our flight took off just as day was breaking over Boise, and the views were stunning.




I love plane wing photos. After I landed in Seattle, I made my way to the light rail to get from the airport to the city center. I’ve always like the light rail. It’s easy to use, and it has big windows so you get to see all the sights on the way, like this view of downtown.


Unfortunately, the bulk of my free time on this trip was between 07:30 and 09:30 on a Sunday morning, well before anything opened. I still managed to accomplish two goals: see the ocean and pay Pike’s Place Market a visit. It was nice wandering the streets while it was still quiet in the city.







Since I was one of the¬†first tourists wandering around Pike’s Place I got to be one of the first to snag some mini doughnuts. That also meant no one was around to see¬†me¬†get absolutely covered in powdered sugar like a kid.





So that is all I saw on my mini trip to Seattle! I had eight hours on the ground, minus the time for the light rail trips and airport time and my appointment, so I was pretty pleased. I managed to walk almost six miles before 10 am, I saw some pretty views of Seattle, and most importantly I got my paperwork submitted without a hitch. It was one giant step towards going to Austria and a lovely day trip all in one.

SEA you in September, Seattle.


Photos taken by Sandra Walker. Seattle, WA. June 2017