Our journey to the brainforest

Our bucket lists are not just full of adrenaline jockey types of activities like parachuting or mountain climbing.  There are tons of other activities in there too – some more sedate, some more cerebral activities.  Our bucket lists are really more about experience and becoming – not just excitement.

For instance, we have a pile of specific things that we want to learn before we die – various classes we would love to take.

I guess you could call them, “Brainventures” or “Journeys to the Brain Forest!”

A few of our Brainventures include…

  • Ballroom dance lessons – a few years ago we took 2-3 dance lessons from a couple of friends, and they were a blast but they never panned out into a regular thing.  It’d be great to find a regular group to participate in.
  • Cooking School – Wouldn’t it be a hoot to do some cooking schools with some famous chefs?  We are close enough to New Orleans and Memphis that this is probably doable in the short term – and it turns out that TripAdvisor just recently rated The New Orleans School of Cooking as the second best food experience in the world!  We’re totally going to do this one!


  • Feldenkrais and/or Alexander Technique – I (Pat) have always been intrigued by these schools of alternative somatic therapies and I would love to take courses and become certified – but the certification classes are hard to find in the southeast U.S.
  • SCUBA lessons – SCUBA would open up a whole new realm of adventure to us – possibly the last unexplored frontier on Earth – but the classes and the gear are very expensive.


  • Master Gardner / Master Naturalist – A Master Naturalist certification course would be an especially fantastic match for our interests.  We’ve been trying to talk the Extension Service into offering more classes closer to us to make this one more doable.
  • Learn to play golf – I tried to learn to play golf when I was a freshman in college, but it made me so damned mad that I thought I was going to burst an aneurysm in my brain.  I think the ensuing 30 years has mellowed me a bit so I could probably survive the activity.  I think it would provide me with an excuse to get a little more meditative exercise.


  • Tai chi – This is another one that I’ve always wanted to do, but the closest we could ever find an instructor was an hour away.  We won’t always be here, though, so I’ll keep looking for a tai chi instructor wherever we end up.
  • Take an Earthship course – also known as rammed earth construction, this is a new passion for Elise.  The courses appear to be mostly in the southwest U.S. and we’ll probably have more time to take a month or so off in a couple of years.


  • Outward Bound – Did you know that they have treks for adults?  I didn’t till recently – I just figured that I’d missed my chance.  A lot of things that OB does, I could do much cheaper with the Scouts or in my own group, but an Outward Bound trek sure would be a lot of fun.
  • NOLS – National Outdoor Leadership School – the epitome of outdoor leadership education.  It would be mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially rigorous but it would be a lot of fun and a great experience!  We’ll have to see.


Want to keep up with our progress toward checking off these treks through the Brainforest?

Subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.




Categories: Adventure, Conservation, Food, Travel