Jessica Evans

After going through a miserable divorce, Jessica Evans decided to do what her former self (and partner) wouldn’t have imagined by building a bucket list of adventures. She’s run with the bulls in Spain, gone white water rafting in the Grand Canyon, received her scuba diving certification, hang glide in Brazil, and that’s not the half of it. This introvert who considers herself afraid of quite a lot has overcome the impossible to do what most of us dream to.

TAMAR: Hi, everybody, this is TAMAR, and I am here today with Jessica Evans. She is the embodiment of super cool. I think that’s a fair way to describe you. Right? Does that sound about right? I won’t let you say anything yet. But I do want you to introduce yourself. Because I think that what you are doing and is like, is I think a life changing takeaway for other people. And I mean, I think that I will live vicariously through your descriptions. So I’ll just take it, bring that forward. And yeah, if you want to introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about what you do, where you’re located in the world.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah. My name is Jessica Evans, like she said, and I live in Ohio, the United States, southern Ohio, actually, and I work in the medical field.

TAMAR: I know you have this really interesting path in your life. And I’d love to hear your story about, you know, where you’ve come from, to where you are today. And you know, that’s a very loaded question. But I also know that you have a really, really cool story to share.

JESSICA EVANS: Yes, so I actually was married previously, and I was with my ex for 10 years. And I went through a lot of hardships at the end of that relationship with lots of cheating and lying and things like that. And it put me in a really bad place at the time. And this was 2015. So he left and I actually had a lot happen at once in my life, where I had a few deaths in the family. And then both my parents were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. So,  2015 was just a really tough year for me. And I had a lot of issues with depression, at the time because of everything that was going on. And I realized after a while, but all I was doing was working or sleeping. I really threw myself into my work at the time, because I didn’t want to do anything else. And after a while, I thought, this is not a life. This is not how I want to live. You know, I don’t even really know myself anymore. Because for a third of my life, I was attached to another human being. And I didn’t really know who I was as an individual anymore. So I came up with this idea, called the year of the bucket list. And what I did was I wrote down like a list of everything that I’ve always wanted to try, but I never tried. Because I was maybe too afraid to try it alone, and my partner wasn’t supportive of it, or things like that. Or things I was maybe just too afraid to try because it seemed scary. And I thought, if I could live through all those hardships and things that I live through, I shouldn’t be afraid of other things. I shouldn’t be afraid to live my life, and to do things alone, or just because they seem scary. So, I created this year, the Bucket List. And it ranged from just little small things like taking a painting class to something major, like bungee jumping. And ahead, at least one thing a month for a year.

TAMAR: So do you want to go through that? Because I’d love to. I think some of us would probably want some of the motivation and the inspiration to kind of learn a little bit more about. First of all, how you came up with these various things. Second, if you embarked on these journeys, alone, or with others, and third, I guess some of these experiences were probably terrifying. It couldn’t have been worse than going through the trauma. But how you brought yourself to doing these?

JESSICA EVANS: Yes. So first, I made a list of things that I’ve always wanted to try but never did, or places that I wanted to go. And I did have some friends here or there along the way, joined in on a couple of the activities. But basically, I had started with I think, a painting class, just one of those, like wine and painting nights, but I had always wanted to do it. And I never had done it because I was told my whole life that I’m not artistic, and I am not a good drawer or painter. So in my mind, I was like, “Well, let me see, let me check this out.” And I actually was really proud of my painting. It’s hanging in my house right now.

TAMAR: And I did it, I’m so afraid to actually do it, and I’m making it happen also.

JESSICA EVANS: And then I did a cooking class. So I always thought those were fun and interesting, but that one I did alone. And that was scary for me, because I’m naturally an introvert and to go to a class type environment somewhere I’ve never been before doing something I’ve never done before with nobody that I know, was a little intimidating. But it ended up being a lot of fun. And I kind of forced myself to just talk to the people around me. And I had a great time. So then, those were a couple of the small things. Another one was that I had wanted to learn how to drive stick shift.

TAMAR: Wow, that’s all.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah. And that was something. I mean, that came out of my last relationship, was when I look back on it really psychologically abusive. And he had always told me that I wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to drive stick shift. So for me, that was a big one of “I’m going to show you I’m going to learn.” And I had a girlfriend of mine that had a stick shift car, knew how to drive it. And so, she taught me and that was a lot of fun.

TAMAR: My husband would be envious of you right now.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah, and then my first trip that I did was to the Grand Canyon, as I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, it was one of the seven wonders of the world. And I wanted to do there was several kind of bucket list things in on that one trip. And one of them was whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. And another one was ride in a helicopter. So, I got to go whitewater rafting down the Grand Canyon, and then take a helicopter ride back up top. And I actually had my one female cousin joined in on that one with me. And we had a blast. It was a lot of fun. The whitewater rafting was scary. I kind of figured out maybe that’s not one that was for me. But I had fun doing it. And it was a good experience to have.

TAMAR: Yeah, I think I would like to whitewater rafting and I wouldn’t like the helicopter, terrifying. Yeah, that’s so cool. That is very, very cool, yeah, keep going. I want to hear these stories. I’m just picturing. Yeah.

JESSICA EVANS: So let’s see another major one that year. So, this is all throughout 2016 and through 2017 actually. So, 2018 a big one for me was to run a marathon. So I have lupus, which is an autoimmune disease, and can cause a lot of issues. My main issues with it are joint pain and fatigue. But in some people can cause you know, kidney issues and heart issues and things like that. So I had had a dream to run a marathon for a long time, several years. And my rheumatologist kind of told me that he did not think that I should do that because [it??] could send me into a flare or I could have some health issues. And then along with that my ex husband had also told me that he didn’t think I could ever physically accomplish such a thing. So that really made it so that I never then ran my marathon that I wanted to. So in 2016 I was like “You know what, I haven’t had any issues with my lupus in a long time.” I’m pretty healthy, like I’m just gonna to start training, and that’s going to be my goal. But if my health, if something happens along the way, like, I’ll dial it back and things like that, but I did this by myself. So that one was a little harder to do on your own. Because when you’re doing those long training runs, like, you know, 16 to 20 miles, it does get pretty lonely. But I did the whole training. And then I did, I did do my full marathon. And I think it was September of 2016. And I didn’t, I need to get the time that I wanted. But I finished. And that was my goal to prove to myself and everyone else that this was something I could do, and I wasn’t going to let my health hold me back (with the diagnosis of lupus) anymore, and that I was going to accomplish whatever I wanted to physically. So that was a big deal for me.

TAMAR: So let’s talk about that for a minute. I started running December 24, 2018. And I’ve kind of I’ve been every single day I’ve made an effort to quote unquote, run. When I say run sometimes it’s just like a very short Sprint’s because of logistical timing issues. And sometimes it’s about being on the treadmill for at least 20 minutes, 20 to 60 minutes, of which most of it is walking, but a little bit of running. And then of course there’s other times where I’m like, you know, I’m doing intervals, where 17 minutes is running one minute is it’s like you know, like a Couch to 5K type of thing where I’m kind of building myself up. So it’s 370 minute intervals of running with one minute rest pipes between. So, I’m just kind of curious, did you come from an area of running? Were you physically fit at all? And, you know, for someone who’s like me, who still kind of trying to mentally wrap her head around the notion of running 26.2 miles? Like, what have you done before that? Were you like literally zero miles to 26.2? Or were you building up? We’re doing 5Ks were you doing 10Ks? Were you doing half marathons and just kind of curious to hear about how your trajectory was in your fitness and also in what you have done previously prior to actually running your marathon.

JESSICA EVANS: So I had a few years before that. I had done a half marathon. And that was at the time, the biggest thing I had done. I think I had done maybe a couple 5Ks. And when I had initially come to my doctor and said I really want to run a marathon, it’s a goal of mine, and he poo pooed it, I thought “Well, okay, let me run a hand.” Let me just see how that is. And I ran a half. And I didn’t know anyone at the time who was into running. I did have a friend who did the hack with me. But neither of us knew what we were doing. So, we just followed an online plan. And I definitely was wearing the wrong kind of shoes for it. So, it was a really rough half marathon on my feet anyway. So, I had done that. But then I’ve always worked out and I had done you know programs like p90x and insanity and things like that. But I really wouldn’t have considered myself quote unquote, a runner until after I had done my full because I think when I was training for the full, I didn’t do that year, I don’t think I had done any other races. That year, I had just followed a plan where I ran two short runs a week and one long run a week. And then I also would go to the gym and do weightlifting on the days in between to keep up my strength and to help prevent injuries.

TAMAR:  That’s very, very, very cool. So yeah, you’ve been working on it for a while. I feel like I probably am where you were a couple years prior to your marathon. But I can’t see myself doing a marathon yet. It’s maybe on my bucket list. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I do think I put it on my bucket list about a year, I don’t know about seven or eight months ago. But mentally it’s just so difficult to picture yourself in that so it’s just amazing to you know, see that I’ve been able to do that and especially, you know, with what you physically have to potentially risky with, especially with your doctor saying, “Hey, you know, you might have a flare up” that could be, you know, could change your course of action. So yeah.

JESSICA EVANS:  So actually that marathon set me on a whole other trajectory. And you know, not just like, “Okay, my year of the bucket list sent me on a whole different path in life,” but completing that marathon, and not getting sick afterwards and feeling really good, really gave me courage to push myself and I’ve done well beyond that in, you know, coming years after that. So it got me into triathlons. And I kind of worked my way up all the way to full Ironman. And I’ve been trying to improve times on my half Ironman, and I even did an ultra. And I’ve not, I not had any problems, and I’ve gone back to my doctor since then. And he is very excited for me. Actually, every time I see him, he’s like, “What did you do now? I need to know.”

TAMAR: Yeah. Have you got any of those mud runs in the Spartan races where you just like, get all dirty and covered-up.

JESSICA EVANS: I haven’t. Yeah, I haven’t done any of those yet. Mainly because you really got to have a team to do those. I feel like and most of my runs, and triathlons I have one friend do something. But usually, it’s not like a big group of people that I know or anything. So, I think my next one that’s been on my bucket list is the Ragnar Race. And that’s one of those running races that you do overnight. And I think that’s going to be a good time. Maybe one day I’ll do one of those mud races, but those I feel like do require a lot more upper body strength. So, I definitely have to kind of change gears a little to do the obstacles.

TAMAR: Oh, yeah, man. I don’t know. That’s like I look at that. And I’m just like, you know, it’s funny because I used to think that all anything above a 5K is overwhelming. And now that I’ve done a 5K, everything is overwhelming. And then you’re talking about these, like overnight races, which, to me is as far as I’m concerned as an ultra something or another. Because they are there. They’re massive. And that’s a tremendous undertaking, but it’s so nonetheless, it’s inspiring as heck to like, you know,  to hear so many people doing it. And I you know, it’s interesting, because I think we have an interesting challenge as runners or runners beginners and advanced like you, I would say you’re more advanced than I have, at least in that our local community, we don’t really have, at least for me. Personally, I mean, there are runners in my community, but among my closer friends, nobody really wants to run. So yeah, the challenge of will I get somebody to run a 5k with me? Probably not. Can I get somebody to run a Mud Run with me? Probably not. And I mean, it’s something that’s why we find online communities to kind of satisfy our desire for connection in the things that we love to do. So right. It’s just we have to find strangers with similar interests that kind of want to get together with us, in order to accomplish these things that we might want to do. I’ve mentioned running to my friends all the time. And I always get pushed back. I’m not a runner. I’m not a runner. Well, neither was I five minutes ago. You can always be a runner if you try, but anyhow —

JESSICA EVANS: And everyone somewhere.

TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. So tell me more about your bucket list items.

JESSICA EVANS: Oh, well, I think the biggest one was a trip to Australia and New Zealand. And I did that by January of 2017. And I did convince one friend to go with me. And it was actually a friend that had been in my sorority in college, but we didn’t actually go to college together. So, it was like I knew her through other people, which was kind of cool because then I got to really know someone new, kind of because she really wasn’t a close friend of mine at the time. But she was down for some adventures. And I kind of told her, all the things I wanted to do was like, “Look, you can do these things with me. But if you’re uncomfortable, I understand, you know, you don’t have to do everything.” And she was down for everything. So, I was like, “This is gonna be awesome.” So that was a two-week trip. And we did, I did many of my bucket list things on that trip. So, I did scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, which I should back up and say, one of my bucket list thing was to get certified in scuba diving. And I did that the summer prior. So, I went and got certified in scuba at my local place. And I did that one alone. But so we went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. And then we went skydiving in Australia. So that was really cool. It was really scary. And I will say that I am afraid of heights. So I am afraid of heights. So,it was scary to jump out of that plane. But it was a really awesome experience. And honestly, you only feel like you’re falling for like two seconds. And then you just feel like you’re floating. So once I got out of the plane, it wasn’t very scary.

TAMAR: Wow, because you’re so high up. And that helicopter ride from some of the Grand Canyon, it still didn’t freak you out. Because for me, the types of things that –

JESSICA EVANS: I do better if I’m strapped in, like if you strap me into something, I’m okay. But something like walking around on the edge of a cliff is not my thing, is that really scary to me. And then also in Australia, we did a learn to surf lesson at Bondi Beach. And that was really cool. And just another thing of trying to challenge myself physically, if something that I always thought looks cool, I thought that I could never do kind of thing. And I actually picked it up really quickly. And it was a lot of fun. So that’s still on my [bucket list]. If I get somewhere where I have surfing again, obviously you don’t see it in Ohio. But I do like to surf. And then we went over to New Zealand. And in New Zealand, the big thing was bungee jumping. So, they have the first ever commercial bungee jump there. And we wanted to do that. And that is probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Because you just have the rope attached to your feet. And I in my head I was like, oh, nowadays, they probably have given like a big thing around your chest and things but they do not. They will just rope around your feet. And my friend and I were really nervous. So, we actually did a tandem jump. So, they tied us together and we jumped together to me is a little bit better. But it was so pretty scary.

TAMAR: I don’t know if that would make it any better. For me, personally.

JESSICA EVANS: Well, I had someone to hold on to.

TAMAR: Yeah. So you’re both tied together? That’s what that’s that. Yeah, that would have been the philosophy. Exactly. Yeah. That is so cool. I don’t know I can. I don’t think anything, Oliver over here will ever top what you’re sharing right now. So, I know you’re probably saying that these are big ones. So, you basically said, “Well, I’ve done, you know, the painting class and the cooking class in the Grand Canyon and Australia.” And you probably don’t have anything they have, a topic, but I’m kind of curious to know, like what you’ve done, it doesn’t have to be big, as long as you’ve done something that’s like out of your comfort zone which or something you haven’t done before. But I’m curious you know, for inspiration for someone like me who might want to consider bucket list items, those some of which might be not necessarily huge, but some of them might be big, like for example, going to Australia, New Zealand and bungee jumping connected to a completely random stranger that you’ve met on sort of theatres there who hasn’t got to college with. You know, like, I’m curious to hear like, what other things you’ve done?

JESSICA EVANS: Well, so since then, I did a full year of this like one thing a month, actually. Okay, so one more little thing was that I went to the movie theaters by myself. That was like a big deal for me. I’m an introvert, it was difficult, but I did it and I was like, “Okay, this is not so bad.” So, it was another little thing but so after I finished the year, the bucket list of like, you know what, was so much fun. I just, you know, discovering who I am like, I need to continue this and maybe not something every month but you know, I made a list of some of the big things that I want to do and I’ve been actively, seeking out those things. Because sometimes we might say like, “Oh yeah, well, I want to do this one day.” Well, if you just say I want to do this one day, it might never happen. Like, you have to make an accurate plan like, “Okay, you know what, this year is the year I’m going to do this or next year that’s I’m going to plan, you know, 2021 sure, I’m going to do this. So, I did. I’ve done a couple other very big things. I kind of have a list of what I call my adrenaline seeking bucket list activities. So that would be my bungee jumping, skydiving, scuba diving. And so, there was a few more on that list that my goal was to accomplish before I have children. So, in 2017, in the summer, I went to Pamplona, Spain, and I did running with the bulls. And yet that one was scary. So, I convinced them, really funny, I convinced my grandmother to come with me, because I didn’t have anyone who wanted to go to Spain at the time. And I didn’t tell her I was running with the bulls. I just said, “Hey, I want to go to Barcelona. And what do you think about that?” And she likes to travel. And so, she was like, “Well, if you add on Portugal, because Portugal is the only country over there I haven’t been to yet.” All right, done. So, I booked our flights. And then I said, “Hey, by the way, I’m running with the bulls.” So she was like, “Oh, my gosh,” so I got her balcony seat. And I did this running with the bulls. And that was pretty scary. But I didn’t know anyone. Now I do speak Spanish. But when you’re, you know, in that kind of environment it’s pretty stressful. And it’s hard to think in another language that I kind of wandered around until I found a group of guys who all looked like they were English. And I kind of hung out with them and listened to their tips because they had been there all week watching and kind of made friends with them. And it is very much not very many women do this. This is a lot of men.

JESSICA EVANS: So there’s a lot of men doing it. But I did make it the bulls ran past me I have a really awesome shot that the professional photographer took of me, like with the bull running right next to me, which was really cool. Goal is to make it into the ring at the end. And so, I was able to run fast enough that I got into the Bull Ring before they closed it down.

[words simultaneously spoken by TAMAR and JESSICA, unintelligible]

TAMAR: Do people usually [get hurt??] in general.

JESSICA EVANS: You can get hurt and people have died. I think they’re one an American or two Americans that week that had got seriously injured or maybe died. I don’t remember but the risk is getting gored from the bulls, but the higher risk is getting trampled by the people. Right. It is really risky. And that’s what my whole family was like, “You’re crazy.” Like they were a little upset that I was doing this.

TAMAR: Yeah, I have to do it.

JESSICA EVANS: I have to do this thing that I’m like always wanting to do. I’m young. I’m healthy, I have no kids right now. So, like, “There’s no one depending on me.” Like “If I got injured, I got injured.” But the real risk is if you fall that people will trample over you.

TAMAR: How many people are in this event with you?

JESSICA EVANS: It’s, thousands probably, it’s a week-long thing and people run every day. And the whole street is just packed with people.

TAMAR: Wow. And how many bulls are there with the people, against the people? Like this?

JESSICA EVANS: Um, I want to say there were —  I think that there were six or seven bulls maybe somewhere between five to seven.

TAMAR: That doesn’t count. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a massive risk because there’s so many people that people are clearly the distraction but I guess if you’re running with the bulls, you actually want to run with them and not be completely in the corner.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah. The goal is that you want to get into the bull ring at the end because then it’s like a big party. And so the bulls run through and then you have the heifers run in behind them because they’re making them continue forward. And once the last heifer gets into the ring they shut the door.

TAMAR: Well, so let me ask you to dispel a myth of that clearly we’ve watched on TV a lot. Is it really true that if you wear red, the bulls come after you?

JESSICA EVANS: I’m not sure how true that is. But they do want you to wear white and red. Like it is a huge thing. Like you need to be in kind of a costume. Everyone’s wearing like white pants and shorts and a white top. And then you’re supposed to wear a red handkerchief around your neck, and a red scarf, like around you like a belt, a scarf belt. And most people wear something like that and it is a big thing. The one thing I will say is they don’t want you to wear shirts that are red, because the people who are like the EMSs, paramedics or whoever that are watching, need to be able to tell if you actually have any blood on you. Or if you’re just wearing a red shirt.

TAMAR: Yeah, I so figured as much. Interesting. That is so cool. But it’s also scary. It’s too bad your grandma didn’t want to join you in the bull ring.

JESSICA EVANS: She had a nice balcony, see, and she had the time of her life, sitting up there and talking with other people. And watching us so she had a great time.

TAMAR: That’s cool. Very cool. It’s also very cool that she was able to go on that with you. It must have been really, really fun. Just that kind of bonding opportunity that you had as well.

JESSICA EVANS: Yes, for sure.

TAMAR: Yeah. So, any other bucket list items that you’d want to potentially share?

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah, so my other two big ones that were the adrenaline ones were hang gliding in Brazil. And I did that this year, this summer. So that one was scary, because I didn’t realize that you have to actually run off of the mountain.

I thought you just like step off or so. Yeah, like you’re running on this wood ramp and jump, like have to leap off. So that was Gary doing that. That was up there, that and the bungee jumping. I am remarried now. I just got married this past summer. And he joins me in adventures now. So, he went hang gliding with me. And he had a blast. And he was all for that one. But of course, they had him go first. And in my head I was like, “Oh my gosh, he’s gonna die off this mountain. I gotta call his mother.” It is scary. There are definitely things that can happen when you do these. So, I always say, you know, I’m not going to tempt fate. I’m only doing these things once, you know. But then the next thing we did was this fall, actually, we went to Africa, which has been on my list for a long time. But it’s such a long trip to get over there. But you have to have at least two weeks. So, it can be harder to work in, you know to schedule. It took us like three, eight hours or something to get over there. So, while we were there, we went cage diving with sharks. And that was a big thing for me. And he was not fond of that one.

He’s like, “I don’t think I’m gonna go. I’m just gonna sit on the boat.” But then I got him on the boat. And he was like, “You know what, it doesn’t seem so bad.” And so, I did get him in the water. So, you know, with these things, it’s like, it might seem scary. But then once you get there, you might realize, okay, maybe it’s not so bad. So, he’s done that [inaudible], but he had a good time, you know, actually doing it.

TAMAR: Yeah, you never know. Things are scary. And then all of a sudden, you just do them. And I’m like, “Oh, that’s exhilarating. I want to do it again. Let me put some other items on my bucket list.”

JESSICA EVANS: Exactly. So those are all my adrenaline seeking ones. And then I have some of my other ones: I want to see the wonders of the world. So there are seven man-made wonders, there are seven natural wonders. And of course, they think there were Seven Natural Wonders actually changed in 2011. But I’m trying to see all the ones before 2011 and after 2011 plus the manmade. So those are ones that over years I’m working on seeing and some of the locations we’ve been to are coupled with seeing the wonder of the world in that area or some of them have more than one wonder of the world.

There. So, for example, when we went to Brazil we saw the Amazon River, which is one of the newer natural ones; we saw Iguazu Falls, which is between Brazil and Argentina. And that’s one of the new natural ones. And then in Rio, Rio de Janeiro itself, you have the Christ the Redeemer statue, which was the man-made one. And also, the harbor of Rio which is one of the older natural ones. So, I got to knock out four, just in that one show, which was pretty cool.

TAMAR: That is really cool. I want to do all the things you’re doing, but I don’t know about the things in the air. That I don’t know. It’s you know, it’s I also have a fear of heights, but like a fear of flying as well. And last year, after the trauma that I endured, I decided I’m going to take a class. There’s a class the local airport here called Freedom to Fly and it’s a partnership with a local hospital, where basically it was a five-week thing for three hours a night at the airport, where you’d meet with a psychologist who kind of giving you some of the psychological reasons why you’d be afraid to fly. And then they introduced a pilot as well. But it also ended with a trip, you know, for us, it was a local trip. So, like from New York to Boston was the experience that we had. I couldn’t make that flight. So, I ended up yeah, it was unfortunate. But then again, I’m not so afraid of commercial flights, I don’t love them. I’m just like, very uncomfortable to the point that I’ve never not gone on a flight, because I’ve been afraid. But I’ve been like, I don’t really necessarily want to go anywhere. Because I don’t want to fly. Like I was so committed to the flight. I’ll go on it. Not some of my friends will not. And the people especially in that class, some of those people would not, but and some people hadn’t been on flights for like 30 years, and it’s crazy. But anyhow, my combination of that particular class, it was a local flight on a Cessna 100 I think it was, and that is a tiny, tiny plane. I sat right next to the pilot, there was a back row with the psychologist who was working with me. And we flew in the New York area, it was right over the Tappan Zee Bridge, and then right around, and I have to tell you, because the plane that like it moves, it’s really scary. I have to say that that was a scary experience. And it’s like one of those things. And I feel like I can ask you this, and you’ll probably give me the answer that I predict. But like you would want to do it again. But you’d still be terrified to do it kind of thing like I would kind of feel like I would do it again. But still I don’t know if it helps me overcome my fear of flying. I just know that. Now I can do that and I’ve survived it. I probably am okay. Just kind of curious to hear your thoughts. Like, would you do these things again? Or are you just like I crossed it off my bucket list that’s done?

JESSICA EVANS: Yes. So probably someone could probably convince me to do them again. If they were like, “I really want to do it and I need your help,” then I would be like, “Oh, okay, I’ll do it for you.” But myself, like I said, I don’t want to tempt fate. Like I survived. I did. Okay. Like, I’m good. So, I don’t have a desire to like, “Hey, let’s go back to Brazil. And I’ll go hang gliding again.” I don’t have that desire. But I mean, I thought it was a great experience. But like, say, for example, my husband has never gone skydiving. And if he came to me and said, “You know what? It’s on my bucket list to go skydiving, but I don’t want to do it alone. Will you go with me?” Then I would probably say okay, like, “Let’s find somewhere cool to do it.” And I would do it again for him or if I had a friend who said something like that to me, I probably would do it again.

TAMAR:  Okay, so in other words, you’re not going to be sharing this podcast with him or any of your friends.

JESSICA EVANS: [Laughs] Don’t convince me to do it. I don’t really want to but God, yeah, those things were scary, and it was a lot of fun. And I wanted to do it. And I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and I did it. So, it’s kind of like I have so many other things on my bucket list that I want to accomplish that before I would make rounds and do things again, like I need to do some of my other goals.

TAMAR: Let’s just share a few of those as well.

JESSICA EVANS: Well, so kind of a newer one that I was working on was there’s a couple really cool races that I want to do. So, for example, the half marathon on The Great Wall of China.

TAMAR: Oh, that is cool.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah. And so, I do want to see all seven continents, and the only ones I have not seen so far are Asia and Antarctica, and Antarctica is going to happen. So that’s on my list. But that’s probably a while from now, because that is a very expensive trip, a lengthy trip, maybe something when I’m closer to retirement, honestly. But that is on my list. And yes, I really would like to do the Great Wall of China half marathon. And I think I found someone to do it with me already. So, working on that maybe for 21 or 22. And then there’s just other things like I want to see: Thailand, and in Thailand is some of the best scuba in the world. And so, my husband is not scuba certified yet. So, this is what we’re waiting on. Like, he needs to get scuba certified. And then we’re going to plan our trip to Thailand so that we can go scuba diving in Thailand.

TAMAR:  Cool. Very cool. We got to work on him.

JESSICA EVANS: Yes, exactly. Yeah.

TAMAR: Wait, let me ask you a weird, weird question.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah, sure.

TAMAR: Is your ex aware of what you’re doing right now? And like, how do you think he’s responding to all this?

JESSICA EVANS:  Yes. He knows some of what I’ve done. Because when we were going through our divorce, we didn’t get officially divorced until January of 2016. I think it was actually sometime in 2017.  It was after Australia and New Zealand. It was after I did some of that stuff. I had found some things of his that I had, and he had some things of mine still. And so, he actually stopped over to exchange. And I had my basements. My basement was my entry level at the time. And I had it decorated with all my travel adventures. So, he did see all my pictures of me bungee jumping, skydiving, running with the bulls, and all that stuff. And he kind of made a comment to me of  “Wow, you look really great.” And it’s like, “Well, you know, that’s what happened when I did a marathon and training for my Iron Man” and this and that. And he was just kind of like, what the hell he was shot. Now I don’t know if anyone said anything to him since then or beyond then because I do have him blocked on all social media. So, there is that, but I’d like to think that I’m a much different person than the person that he knew. So, I think that he would be pretty surprised to see my life, how it is now. Definitely, definitely much different. Much more adventurous. And I kind of am more confident. I know myself. And when I say like, “Hey, I’m going to do something. There’s no doubt that it’s getting done.” Like I’m doing it.

Yeah. And if anyone says like, “You can’t do that,” or whatever I like, I just sit back and think “Okay, okay, watch me, and then I do it.”

TAMAR: Right. Right. Wow. That’s pretty cool. And it’s amazing that I mean, usually everybody who’s endured a trauma has been held back by somebody and that claw. Usually when you let go that claw and you’re willing to really overcome it, I mean, you can really  accomplish pretty much anything and I totally identify with that, personally very, very much. Yeah.

JESSICA EVANS: Yeah, I think a lot of it was fueled by, you know what he put me down for so long and I’m gonna prove him wrong. But then along the way it turned into, I’m doing this for myself,

TAMAR: Right. I think a lot of people have done that. And someone had asked this question on Reddit a few months ago. And, you know, they’re like, I want to get over this group of friends. How do I do that? And I think everybody’s little propeller, the little propeller in the back of their mind, their little impetus is like, it’s to prove people wrong, but then you keep doing it. A lot of, not many people are proven, especially if they’re really willing to take this extra step and help themselves besides just showing somebody “Oh, well, I’m the boss down.” It’s really, really bringing yourself and realizing, you know what, I enjoy this. I derive great benefit from it. Why not? Just continue —

JESSICA EVANS: Right.

TAMAR: Yeah. Awesome. Well, this is so cool. I’m just curious if I can just ask you one maybe closing question. If you can give your previous self some advice, like what would it be? Oh, it’s always a loaded question.

JESSICA EVANS:  Yeah, it is. I think I would tell my previous self to not be afraid to take chances. And not be afraid to push yourself. Because I think I live for so long, fearing, fearing things that I really wasn’t living and once you stop letting fear control you, you can have a really full and adventurous life.

TAMAR:  Yeah, I absolutely, absolutely, wholeheartedly embrace that. I think that’s so important. And I do think that sometimes there are things, really people that will prevent you from being able to live your life to its fullest. And it’s just amazing to see that. I mean, it’s four years, since you really kind of started doing this. But like where you are today. And I really, I really hope that other people can build their bucket list. You know, it’s funny, because we’re in January right now, January 2020, I think this is the perfect time to like, I think if I can give people an assignment, it’s just like, take a piece of paper, or even just write online and you’re like Google Keep or Google Docs, and [compose??] your bucket list because you only live once, and you might as well take advantage of doing what you can to make your, your selves happier. And just give yourself opportunity to live. Because I mean, you can and you will, and you’ll love it. And it’s just exhilarating, and should take advantage of what you have. Because yeah, we’re sure we’re only on the earth for a finite amount of time.

JESSICA EVANS: Exactly. Don’t be afraid to start your bucket list and put it that way. Like I said, if you’re just like, throw something out there, you might never do it, but put a deadline on it. And yeah, I’m gonna do this by this month or this year. And that is going to make it more really for you and make you do it. And even like a tiny thing, like I said, a painting class or something like that doesn’t have to be something crazy.

TAMAR: Right. Absolutely. Yeah, I would just say that when goal setting you know, you want to set like a goal that’s like SMART, which the S M A R T stands for different things: realistic, actionable, timely, measurable, and specific. But you know, the you look for that look over the acronym online. And I mean, this is something that you just, yeah, you should always do. I have a marathon in hopefully, hopefully soon. I’ve definitely like I said, “You know, I have want to do three, 5Ks by the end of 2019.” And I successfully did that. The rest of this stuff is kind of there. And I know it’s some stuff that I’m working toward. I said I was gonna have 100 items on my bucket list. I’m thinking I’m at like 51 right now. Because yeah, I still have a life to live in. I’ll figure out things to populate that and fill that out. And I think everybody can and should in the end. It doesn’t have to, you don’t have to like compose it now. I mean, I’m sure you’re gonna come up with other things in the future,

JESSICA EVANS: But definitely changing and constantly adding.

TAMAR:  Right. And it’s got to be so much fun. So that’s really cool. Yeah. So, thank you so much, Jessica. I really, really, really appreciate you sharing your adventure with us. I hope other people come and go on some adventures as they were inspired by your story and till next time, I guess. Yeah.

JESSICA EVANS: Thank you very much.

TAMAR: Yeah, sure. All right.