The Year of Sunshine–a bucket list for one more year on Guam

Since my little rant about bucket lists a few days ago, it became clear that I need to both beef up and clarify my Guam bucket list, because it looks like I only have 13 months to complete it.

The Powers that Be (a.k.a. the U.S. military) have informed the hubster and me that we’ll be leaving our little tropical paradise next March. That’ll add up to just under two years of Guam life–22 months, 600 and some-odd days of summertime. By then, I’ll be so desperate for snow that I’ll probably resort to pulverizing excessive amounts of ice in the blender just so I can build a miniature snowman.

So, with a spirit of uber-excitement at the prospect of living in another beautiful overseas location, and in the spirit of challenging (and fun) bucket lists, I submit: the Guam do-or-die List to end all Lists.

1. Earn advanced SCUBA certification

Since becoming open-water certified last year, I’ve become way more confident in the water–especially in terms of facing swimming things with teeth. Instead of freaking out, my reaction now is usually more like, “Oooo, shiny. Come here, fishy fishy.” But I know I’ve still got plenty to learn. Along the same vein? Before I leave, I want to log at least 60 dives. If we end up in Incirlik, Turkey, next, I don’t think the dive gear will get much use.

Side note: If you like swimming, fishies, and adventure-y things, getting started diving is a fantastic way to indulge your wild side. And for Guam residents, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

2.  Get started on grad school

I’m in the process of applying for Indiana State University’s Graduate Certificate in TESL right now–a step that would better qualify me to teach English to speakers of other languages. Plus, it’s several graduate-level classes I can apply toward a master’s degree later on, which is one of my real bucket list items. Win-win.

3. Try my hand at cooking Chamorro food

Some of my favorite grub on island comes from the BBQ joints at Chamorro Village, the weekly flea market in Dededo, and the little local cantinas that remind me of the Pacific’s version of a taco stand. Some local favorites–oxtail soup, for example–don’t exactly sound fantastic. Other delicacies like chicken kelaguen and chalakiles sound like they’re worth trying in my own kitchen.

4. Get in shape-ish

They say that Guam is the perfect place to get in shape. In my experience so far, Guam is more ideal for sweating, fanning oneself, and taking photos for Instagram. The eternal summertime often makes me want to retreat into air conditioning more than anything else. But with all the hikes, beautiful jogging trails, and scenic views around here, there’s no reason not to work some purposeful sweat into more of my days.

5. Write.

I’m a part-time freelance writer. Most of my experience has been writing product descriptions, marketing websites, or re-drafting website landing pages for various online businesses. Yes, it pays fairly well; yes, it allows me to camp out at Infusion for hours at a time and know that the investment in gourmet coffee was worth it. Plus, I love writing conversational non-fiction. But before I leave Guam, I hope to write more consistently and more creatively than before–maybe even branch out into fiction. This week, I got a fun article about eccentric geniuses published at, which was an exciting start.

6. Learn German. Or Turkish. Or whateverish it is they speak where we’re going

When I find out where my husband and I will be stationed next, my next step–after wikipedia-ing the country and writing one very excited Facebook post–will be to pick up Rosetta Stone and a grammar book to study the language of our destination. Germany and Turkey are the most likely candidates, but we could end up stationed in the States–in which case, I’ll just keep brushing up on my español.

7. Hike.

Hiking on Guam can be brutal, but it’s worth the blood, sweat, and sword grass. In the last year, I’ve seen waterfalls, soaring cliffs, mountains that look like they were carved from emerald velvet, and water so blue it hurts your eyes. The Best Tracks on Guam clearly details the island’s most rewarding hikes, giving trekkers hints on exactly where they should look to see the stuff that’s so easy to miss. I want to do more of those hikes before I leave–including the dreaded central ridge trail that covers 12 miles of southern Guam’s hills.


  1. Hi Steffani…

    My second wife was from Guam…great place, great folks. You should add reading my childhood memoir to your bucket list (Ha!)…it’s a bit vulgar, but 100% true..and we are working on a film…so you may enjoy it!

    RJ O’Guillory
    Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

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