100 things to do before he dies
Sebastian has been shot at and delivered a baby - and he still has 58 things left to do on his unconventional charity quest.
PANTING HEAVILY DOWN THE phone after completing number 32 on his bucket list, Sebastian Terry was a man on a mission. "I can't talk right now 'cause I'm still on the set of The Circle at channel Ten in Melbourne," he says. This time he's been busy salsa dancing. Only back in the country for a couple of days since completing a 16-month, transcontinental odyssey, the man is living at a frenetic pace.
Describing himself as "always curious about life", and as someone that has "digressed from the norm," this 28-year-old Sydneysider, has seemingly stumbled onto his life's mission. He plans to complete a list of 100 things he wants to do before he dies. Over the last 16 months he has ticked off 42 of them from the list, and now he wants to up the ante (read the full list of 100 things here on his blog)
What started as a personal mission has now snowballed into something almost bigger than he can handle. His blog, originally for friends and family to keep track of him on his journey, has grown from a couple of hits a day to as much as 10,000 clicks by people wanting to follow his antics.
Ninety minutes after I first called him, he sheepishly answers the phone, "Yeah, now I can talk, I guess. I'm in an Internet cafe at the moment." Sebastian spends a lot of time in Internet cafes - otherwise his inbox fills with hundreds of emails from fans.
A communal challenge
From early on, he started to realise the mission was more just his alone. "A Brazilian school kid, just a week in, asked for my advice on what he should do when he leaves school. Then when I found myself in Internet cafes answering 100 emails, it felt like a much larger responsibility," he says.
He decided it was a good opportunity to raise money for a cause, figuring $10,000 for childrens' cancer charity Camp Quality was an achievable goal. "It was really an easy decision for me. I used teach surfing to kids; sometimes they might be disabled, and I just liked the idea of helping kids from less fortunate backgrounds. But I never expected this kind of support." Now Sebastian is aiming for $100,000.
His list is eclectic to say the least. He's aiming to complete everything from skydiving naked and marrying a stranger, to gatecrashing a red carpet event - and that's on the done list. He has yet to save a life, chase a tornado and invent something.
He has also made it into the Guinness Book of Records for crushing the most eggs (24 of them) with his big toes in 30 seconds. The certificate has replaced his framed degree in exercise science on the wall at home. He has also walked across France until his toenails fell off, pushing an abandoned shopping trolley all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. But the most rewarding thing yet was delivering a baby in the Canadian town of Regina, Sebastian says.
Sebastian and Oakley, the baby boy he delivered in September 2010.
This very personal quest, that has become very public, was inspired by the death of a friend. "It was the straw that broke the camel's back. My friend died whilst partying with mates and he always enjoyed life. I thought he probably wouldn't have lived any other way, so then I thought would I be happy if I was to die tomorrow?"
After some soul searching Sebastian decided that he wouldn't be happy. At the time he had a business renting inflatable movie screens for outdoor film festivals, but this job didn't fulfil him. So he packed it in, wrote his list and hit the road.
The eclectic and varying items on Sebastian's list reflect his personality and the things he is interested in - both physical and emotional challenges. "My favourite emotion is happiness. Some people like making money; some people want a family. I want to experience things, to test myself. I just like feeling alive. I don't have all the answers, but I'm hoping this trip will give me some," he says.
Sebastian says he came up with 90 challenges and decided to take it up to 100 because "this is a nice round number." The last five items are blank and are open to auction. For $5,000 per item, Sebastian will do anything requested, as long as it's not illegal and he doesn't deem it immoral. All the money raised will go to Camp Quality.
Sebastian, in Colombia, being shot by the owner of a bullet-proof clothing company, October 2010
He's now set off on a 20-day motivational speaking tour with fellow adventurer, David Cornthwaite from the UK, who is travelling the equivalent distance of the Earth's circumference by using non-motorised modes of transport - such as a skate boarding across Australia or a paddle boarding down the Mississippi River.
A newbie to motivational speaking, Sebastian says the tour is booking up fast, "It's a good spread. Schools, corporate and a lot of weight loss centres - people who directly need motivation to achieve their goals. Although what we are doing is pretty unique, the lessons learned can be put across anywhere, that is: believing in yourself, having a positive attitude and believing nothing is impossible," he says.
Aiming to finish in 2012, Sebastian doesn't know where his journey will end. He's been increasingly in the media spotlight and there may even be a TV series and a book on the way. "I'm just riding the wave and see what happens. The list may be why I started this but my priority is now to work on the positive messages it conveys," he says.
To donate to Sebastian's fund raising or read about his adventures go to 100thingssebterry.blogspot.com.