Why I Changed #87 Learn to Ballroom Dance

In 2019, I made another change to the bucket list. I removed #87. When I started the list, I was two years into my engineering degree and a career as a young professional was on my horizon. I put this item on the list because I thought that my life was going to lead me to many formal social engagements. I had visions of myself cutting up the dance floor like Patrick Swayze. I thought that ballroom dancing was going to be a very useful skill to have. I was completely wrong.


As soon as I finished my degree, I moved to New Zealand to gain some international work experience. I began working at an engineering consulting company and continued to dress business casual, as I did in Canada. After a month, my boss stopped me in the hallway and told me to, “Dress it down, mate.”

When the summer months rolled around, shorts and a polo became regular. The social events in New Zealand are equally as casual as the office dress code. During the first three years, I never went to a social event where exceptional ballroom dancing skills would have benefitted me.

In 2016, I found out that I could take ballroom dancing lessons in New Plymouth. I quickly signed up and began making it a part of my life. I had my sights set on crossing another item off the list. I started off by going once a week and then moved into twice a week so that I could progress quicker. I liked the idea of crossing another item off my list, but that was the only thing that I liked.

Dancing two nights a week took me away from surfing. It always seemed like the swell came on the same days that I had lessons. This became frustrating. Another thing that was disappointing was the age of the other participants. I was expecting more people that were my age and a young, energetic vibe amongst the group. There was only one couple that was in their early thirties. The rest of the participants were 45-70 years old.


Their idea of a good time was a high tea on Sunday, where mine was to go surfing. I just couldn’t relate to them. It was a weird feeling and it wasn’t enjoyable. On top of that, I sucked. I am good at a great number of activities, but I do not have the rhythm to be a dancer. I sucked, I hated that it was taking up my time and I couldn’t relate to the people. After a couple of months, I threw in the towel.

I had been wanting to take it off my list for a while, but I didn’t know what to replace it with. It remained on my list until I was discussing my bucket list with a friend, Hayden, and he gave me a recommendation. He told me some stories about when he did the Mongol Rally and his journey along the Pamir Highway. He enthusiastically told me that I had to add it to my list. I had been waiting for a suitable replacement, and this was it.

The Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

On my list, #87 now reads, “Travel the Pamir Highway.” This is much more exciting than learning ballroom dancing and it was offered to me as a personal recommendation. I can’t wait for the day that I can cross this one off my list and go back to Hayden to tell him all about my experience.

Have you travelled the Pamir Highway? Let me know in the comments below.

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