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Sam Lauersdorf's Bucket List

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Today's post is about bucket lists. A bucket list is a checklist of accomplishments a person wants to complete during their lifetime. While that might sound cynical to some, I think it's actually quite the opposite. I think it's important to have a bucket list while you are young.. so that you can work towards crossing things off of it while you are still healthy and able to do so.

I have actually had one for as long as I can remember, since I first learned what they were. A couple of the things at the top of my list when I was young were:

1) Fall in Love

2) See a Total Solar Eclipse

3) Row a row boat

4) See Keith Urban in Concert

I never really dated in High School, so number one finally came true while I was in college. My sophomore year of college I met Cory Lauersdorf! I don't know if I'd say it was technically 'love' at first sight, but I did get a strong feeling when I met him of "Wow, he is someone I could see myself with!" and that "I definitely want to get to know him more!" Luckily our love of music led us each other. We got to talking, as as they say - from there, the rest is history. Our 9 year anniversary is actually only a few weeks away! More on our relationship in future blog posts :)

Cory and Sam Lauersdorf met and got engaged at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Cory and Sam - Engagement Photo at UW-Green Bay

Number two - See a total Solar Eclipse. Man, I could write a whole book on my obsession with astronomy. I have always been fascinated with the sky and stars. In High School I took a meteorology and astronomy class and learned a lot about outer space. My love for astronomy was heightened even further, and this is also when I found out there would be a Total Solar Eclipse (a lot rarer than Partial Solar Eclipses and Lunar Eclipses) coming to the United States in August of 2017. From then on, I became determined to see that Eclipse! I spent years (literally like 7!) planning and planning, and finally the time came. Cory and I decided on St. Joseph, Missouri for our trip to view the eclipse since it was within driving distance and ironically, a historically cloudless location. Boy, was I wrong and deeply disappointed! The day of the eclipse came and it was completely overcast, and even ended up raining a bit. Because I didn't trust the forecast (weathermen are rarely correct these days, am I right?!) I didn't make the decision to drive to a different spot in the state in hopes of seeing totality. Instead, we stuck it out at our original location where we watched the sky grow dark through clouds. The fact that we even still saw how dark the sky and earth got around us, is an incredible testament to eclipses. However, I only mark this bucket list item as half crossed off. I missed the diamond ring effect, I missed seeing the solar prominences, I missed totality.. The most important part. But I was still there. I was heartbroken to be robbed of the full experience, especially one I had waited SO long for, but I had technically still accomplished my goal. I was in the path of Totality during a solar eclipse, and I still got to have that amazing experience (Visit our YouTube channel to see the sky grow dark during totality here (or keep scrolling!) and stay tuned for future blog posts about astronomy!) PS there is another Total Solar Eclipse coming to the States in 2024 - you can be I will be ready for that one!

The "diamond ring" effect is visible as the Earth's moon passes in front of the sun during a solar eclipse viewed from Oregon Aug. 21, 2017.
Diamond Ring Effect of a Total Solar Eclipse (not my photo)
Waiting for the Great American Eclipse - Sam and Cory Lauersdorf - Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 in St. Joseph Missouri
Sam and Cory waiting for the Eclipse to Start.. still optimistic!
Cloudy Sky of Total Solar Eclipse in St. Joseph Missouri - Sam Lauersdorf Photography 2017
What we were able to see of the eclipse through the clouds.. not much, but still cool!

I have also rowed a row boat and seen Keith Urban in concert since writing my bucket list as a child (YAY! Keith Urban was amazing by the way!), but I also wanted to take some time to talk about my recently added bucket list items, ones I have not yet accomplished.

One thing that is super high on my bucket list is photographing the Northern Lights. Technically, I have actually seen the northern lights before when I was a young in my hometown of Kewaskum. My parents and I drove just outside of town and saw the green lights dancing on the horizon. However, since becoming a photographer, and growing up to see just how incredible the Aurora can really be, I am determined to take my OWN breathtaking photos of them. And believe me, the experience of seeing them firsthand can truly be incredible.

Aurora Borealis over Iceland - Photo by We Dream of Travel
Aurora Borealis over Iceland - Photo by We Dream of Travel

While the Northern Lights can be viewed in North America (though it is actually pretty rare if you are not in Canada or Alaska) another one of my bucket list items is to see the Northern Lights in Iceland - where the image above was taken! I have read that when you stay at a hotel in Iceland, you can choose to have a wake up call when the northern lights are out, and that the locals only bother to go outside if the Northern Lights are visible at a KP 5 or higher (KP Index is a measurement of geometric activity on a scale of 0-9 which helps predict the northern lights) I cannot wait to see the breathtaking phenomenon of the Northern Lights first hand again!

Another item that is on both Cory and I's bucket list is visiting Hawaii. I have not done much research about the island state yet, but from images it is of course incredibly beautiful! The big island in particular is intriguing, because with only a short amount of travel involved, you can experience all 4 season in one day! I would also be very interested to visit their many volcanoes (from a safe distance of course!)

Do you have a bucket list? Comment below!

Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands - Aren't they just beautiful!?
Swimming with Sea Turtles in Hawaii
Swimming with Sea Turtles would also be an incredible experience!

What is your number one bucket list item? Let me know in the comments!

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