Dave Freeman, 47, author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die”, died August 17 at his home in Venice. He had fallen and hit his head.
According to a Los Angeles Times account, he had done about 50 of the 100 things on his list.
Among those things, was a visit to a tiny pacific island, Vanuatu, where tribesmen dive off of towers attached to cords, in what is probably the first and original bungee location. They called it “land diving”. Why a guys on a pacific island surrounded by water would want to dive off some rickety tower on to hard ground is a mystery, and I imagine part of the draw for Freeman going. In addition, Freeman attended Australia’s Nude Night Surfing Contest. The report does not say if Freeman placed or showed anything on the surf board. He also did some more common things, like run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, a familiar bull versus man story made famous by a great bull artist himself, Ernest Hemingway.
The important thing about Dave Freeman is that he died.
He wrote the “100 Things to Do Before You Die” in 1999. Some of the things in the book are physically adventurous, but others look into experiencing the adventure of the human spirit.
I’ve never read Freeman’s book, but it set off a chain of copy cat books, with 100 and 1000 in the titles. I even copied Freeman in my recent article, “1001 Reasons to Die Before Visiting Detroit”. Freeman won’t go down in history as one of the great travel writers or people, but he should. Shortly after he wrote the book, he witnessed the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York close up and personal. This prompted his move back to Los Angeles to be closer to his family. So Freeman saw that it is both distance and experience and home and hearth that makes the man.
In the Los Angeles Times article, Freeman’s father is quoted as saying that one of Dave Freeman’s favorite sayings was, “We’re going into the future. Want to come along?”
We are all going into that future. Some faster than others. Freeman’s dying serves to illustrate that. He only had his own list half completed, before dying a death that is usually reserved for people twice his age.
Fitting that his name is “Freeman”. I guess he is now. Come to think of it, most of us are “free men and free women”, even though we may never be able to jump off a tower on a small island. Many of us never even allow ourselves the freedom to think we can. Let those thoughts and possibilities in — and life can change.
I think about my own short list of undone things. It’s easier said than done sometimes. The future is waiting, and it is what we make of it.