ONE MAN'S LIFE OF NO REGRETHow would you like to climb the highest mountain, fly at the speed of sound, explore the ocean in a submarine, run a five minute mile, parachute from a plane, read the encyclopedia cover to cover, or play classical music on the piano? These are some of the dreams John Goddard had as a child, and at age 15 he included these on a list -- 127 things he would like to do or see or experience during his lifetime. Today, John is 74, and he has completed 109 of his goals. John is one of the world's famous adventurers and a world-class motivational speaker. Articles about him appear in Life, National Geographic Magazine, Reader's Digest, and the book Chicken Soup for the Soul. He has shared these amazing stories with students of all ages all over the world. Here are some of his accomplishments: He climbed the Matterhorn during a blizzard that was so bad, not even the professional climbers would go along. He retraced the route of Marco Polo through all of the Middle East, Asia and China. He rode in the Rose Parade, visited the Great Wall of China, the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, and the everglades of Florida. He was the first man to explore the whole length of the world's longest river, the Nile. Two other men went with him on this 4,200-mile, 10-month trek (John says he had yet one more traveling companion -- he contracted a tape worm that he named Rodney). And what kind of boat do you suppose they used for the trip? Each man paddled his own little kayak! He also boated down the Amazon, Congo and others. He was charged by hippos, crocodiles, a furious wart hog, and bloodsucking leeches in the Congo. He survived plane crashes, earthquakes, three rounds with quicksand, almost drowned twice, and had an appendicitis attack 200 miles from the nearest health care facility. He has faced death 38 times. He was bitten by a diamondback rattlesnake and lived! He became the youngest ever admitted to the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles, and is a member of the Royal Geographic Society of England, The French Explorers' Club, the Mach II Club, and others. He has lived with 260 different tribal groups. John says these tribes range "from the head hunters of New Guinea, to the pygmies of Central Africa, to the hippies of Tempe ...." He has climbed Ararat, Kilimanjaro, Fiji, Rainier, Matterhorn, and the Grand Tetons. He has been to 120 countries, learned to fly a plane, explored underwater the reefs of Florida, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea, and more. He has flown 47 different types of aircraft, and set several civilian air-speed records including one at 1,500 miles an hour. He flew an F-106 to an altitude of 63,000 feet, making him the only civilian to pilot an aircraft that high, a record which he still holds. John was asked which adventure brought him the most pleasure and excitement. "Oh, that's easy," John says. "It has to be my family -- my wife and five children."I was reading through a 1972 Life Magazine (Some one sent me a story from Life which i had never knew existed) and came across his story in the magazine that I found so fascinating that it changed my whole Perpective on life and things that matter.In 1940, When John was 15 he sat down and wrote a list of 127 things he wanted to do before he died. Below is a scan of the list
A copy of the list can be found on his website as well. In 1972 (at 47 years old) he had accomplished 104 of them. In the years since he has added 5 more for a total of 109. John now calls himself the "Real Indiana Jones" and has made a living as a speaker discussing all his expeditions and accomplishments. I think I am more amazed that a 15 year old can comprise such a detailed and expansive list. Who even knows about all these things at 15? What I find a bit confusing is why he has only added 5 in the last 25 years. He should have climbed Everest and seen the Poles by now. And how hard can it be to become a HAM radio operator? Despite my wonders, it is an unbelievable list and amazing how many he has accomplished.
How many have you done? My count stands at 6 with the chance to add a few more.
In my opinion: (for me not for Goddard)
The easiest: Live to see the 21st century
The Hardest: Go to the moon
A few photos of each accomplishment from Life 1972:
Biography of John Goddard :
"To dare is to do ... to fear is to fail."
This philosophy has characterized John Goddard since he was 15, when he listed 127 challenging lifetime goals--like exploring the Nile, climbing Mt. Everest, running a five-minute mile and playing Clair de Lune on the piano. Now, a generation later, he has accomplished 109 of these quests, and has logged an impressive list of records in achieving them. He was the first man in history to explore the entire length of the world's longest river, the Nile, in a 4,160 mile expedition which the Los Angeles Times called "the most amazing adventure of this generation." He then matched that achievement and became the first man ever to explore the entire length of the Congo; he scaled the Matterhorn in a raging blizzard after several professional guides had refused to go along, and he has established numerous records as a civilian jet pilot, including a speed record of 1,500 mph in the F-111 Fighter-Bomber, and an altitude record of 63,000 feet n the F-106 Delta Dart. A graduate of the University of Southern California where he majored in anthropology and psychology, Goddard has studied obscure cultures in all parts of the globe. In addition, he has climbed 12 of the world's highest mountains, conducted 14 major expeditions into remote regions, traversed 15 of the worlds most treacherous rivers, visited 120 countries, studied 260 primitive tribes, and traveled in excess of one million miles during his adventurous life. A resident of La Canada, California, where he lives with his wife and two of his five children, Goddard does not believe in pursuing adventure for the sake of frivolous thrills, but used these experiences to achieve a worthwhile end. This end, for him, is scientific exploration, adding to the world's store of knowledge. "Digging out the facts is the real challenge," Goddard says in summing up his career. "The adventure is exciting and enjoyable--but secondary." Yet digging out the facts can be a hazardous occupation. Goddard has been bitten by a rattlesnake, charged by an elephant, and trapped in quicksand. He has crashed in planes, been caught in earthquakes, and almost drowned twice while running rapids. But his overwhelming desire to discover fresh knowledge and to complete his youthful list of goals has driven him on in spite of the danger. Honored by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of California's outstanding young men, Goddard belongs to the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles (youngest member ever admitted), the Adventurer's Club of Chicago, the Explorers' Club of New York, the Savage Club of London, the Royal Geographic Society, the French Explorers' Society (only American member), the Archaeological Society, the Mach II club, the Sigma Chi Fraternity, of which he is a life member.