Before I die I want to….Life, Love & the Pursuit of ? 

So, have you ever really thought about this?  If you came across a chalked wall somewhere, what would you write down?  Seriously, how would you finish this sentence: ‘Before I die I want to…’

cropped-img_0738.jpgMaybe you have never noticed this picture at the top of the website or just glanced at it briefly and then moved on.  We were in New Orleans and walking to a cute little coffee shop (BTW: French Truck coffee has amazing iced coffee worth the 1.2 mile walk) and spied this on the side of a building.  We stopped, took pictures and I wrote travel the world.  I thought that the wall was a pretty cool idea and wanted to learn more about it but then the food and drink of NOLA took precedence and I forgot and moved on. 

Image used with permission from ~ Chang stenciled the wall 80 times with this homemade stencil

So fast forward eight months and as I am going for a run and listening to the latest podcast of NPR’s TED RadioHour ‘Rethinking Death’, I finally find out more about the project. 

From the artist’s, Candy Chang, own website ( “BEFORE I DIE IS A PARTICIPATORY PUBLIC ART PROJECT that invites people to contemplate death, reflect on life, and share their personal aspirations in public. After losing someone she loved, Chang channeled her grief and depression into this project on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood to restore perspective and find consolation with her neighbors. She covered the crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with the prompt, “Before I die  I want to _____.” The wall quickly filled up with responses, from the poetic to the profound: Before I die I want to… see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, get my wife back, eat all the candy and sushi in the world, be a Youtube sensation, straddle the International Date Line, tell my mother I love her, be completely myself.

The wall gained global attention and many people have contacted Chang about creating a wall in their own community. Chang created a project site with step-by-step resources and thanks to  passionate people around the world, over 1,000 Before I Die walls have now been created in over 70 countries, including Iraq, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. Revealing the community’s longings, anxieties, joys, and struggles, the project explores how public space can cultivate self-examination and empathy among neighbors and compassionately prepare us for death and grief. It has also inspired dozens of remixes that offer new ways to engage with the people around us. The Before I Die book is a celebration of these walls and the stories behind them. See much more on the project site and follow the latest Before I Die walls and responses on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.” {} 

From ~ the original Before I die wall

How cool and amazing is​ this? Something so simple yet so profound in creation and also in the thoughts provoked. So for me


Before I die I want to…
travel the world. I mean part of the website name is beautiful world so this shouldn’t be a surprise…and it was what I originally wrote down. Infographic above is from an app called Been and shows that I have only visited 9% of the world thus far – so many more places I want to see!

So maybe most simply Before I die I want to…live a beautiful life.  And I really am…I am taking chances, demanding more than good enough, spending time with great people ~ friends and family, seeing amazing places, having sensational  experiences, eating tasty food, meeting incredible people, living and enjoying life fully.  

Santiago, Chile Photo by Bernd Birdermann {Image from}
We so often get caught up in the day to day reality of our lives and forget about our hopes, wishes, dreams and that we forget to be the masters of our own destinies…

So now you have had time to think, what are you going to write and live and do?  Before I die I want to…

I would also love to see pictures of any  Before I die walls around the world and/or what you have written on one! 

{Quotes and pictures from were used with written permission from Candy Chang with much gratitude and appreciation} You can also find out more about the Before I Die project including how to create a Before I Die wall at the Before I die website:

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