How would you like to climb the highest mountain, fly at the speed of sound, explore the ocean in a submarine, run a five minute mile, parachute from a plane, read the encyclopedia cover to cover, or play classical music on the piano?
These are some of the dreams John Goddard had as a child, and at age 15 he included these on a list -- 127 things he would like to do or see or experience during his lifetime. Today, John has completed 109 of his goals.
In high school, we were treated to the awesome adventures that John Goddard shared with us in Leuzinger's Rice Auditorium. He made us believe that the fundamental purpose for our being, the reason for your being, is to enlarge the lives of others. As a result, your life would be enlarged also. John is truly a model for goals and achievement.
Here are some of his accomplishments:
He climbed the Matterhorn during a blizzard that was so bad, not even the professional climbers would go along.
He retraced the route of Marco Polo through all of the Middle East, Asia and China.
He rode in the Rose Parade, visited the Great Wall of China, the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, and the everglades of Florida.
He was the first man to explore the whole length of the world's longest river, the Nile. Two other men went with him on this 4,200-mile, 10-month trek (John says he had yet one more traveling companion -- he contracted a tape worm that he named Rodney). And what type of boat do you suppose they used for the trip? Each man paddled his own little kayak! He also boated down the Amazon, Congo and others.
He was charged by hippos, crocodiles, a furious wart hog, and bloodsucking leeches in the Congo.
He survived plane crashes, earthquakes, three rounds with quicksand, almost drowned twice, and had an appendicitis attack 200 miles from the nearest health care facility. He has faced death 38 times.
He was bitten by a diamondback rattlesnake and lived!
He became the youngest ever admitted to the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles, and is a member of the Royal Geographic Society of England, the French Explorers' Club (only American), the Mach II Club, and others.
He has lived with 260 different tribal groups. John says these tribes range 'from the head hunters of New Guinea, to the pygmies of Central Africa, to the hippies of Tempe ....'
He has climbed Ararat, Kilimanjaro, Fiji, Rainier, the Matterhorn, and the Grand Tetons.
He has been to 120 countries, learned to fly a plane, explored underwater the reefs of Florida, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea, and more.
He has flown 47 different types of aircraft and set several civilian air-speed records including one at 1,500 miles an hour. He flew an F-106 to an altitude of 63,000 feet, making him the only civilian to pilot an aircraft that high, a record which he still holds.
In 1940 at the age of 15, John sat down and wrote a 'life list' of 127 goals that he wanted to do before he died. Goddards list is below, with an asterisk (*) behind the goals that have been achieved...
1. * Nile River
2. * Amazon River
3. * Congo River
4. * Colorado River
5. Yangtze River, China
6. Niger River
7. Orinoco River, Venezuela
8. * Rio Coco, Nicaragua
STUDY PRIMITIVE CULTURES IN:
9. * The Congo
10. * New Guinea
11. * Brazil
12. * Borneo
13. * The Sudan
14. * Australia
15. * Kenya
16. * The Philippines
17. * Tanzania
18. * Ethiopia
19. * Nigeria
20. * Alaska
21. Mt. Everest
22. Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina
23. Mt. McKinley
24. * Mt. Hauscaran, Peru
25. * Mt. Kilimanjaro
26. * Mt. Ararat, Turkey
27. * Mt. Kenya
28. Mt. Cook, New Zealand
29. * Mt. Popocatepetl, Mexico
30. * The Matterhorn
31. * Mt. Rainier
32. * Mt. Fuji
33. * Mt. Vesuvius
34. * Mt. Bromo, Java
35. * Grand Tetons
36. * Mt. Baldy, California
37.Carry out careers in medicine and exploration (studied pre-med, treats illnesses among primitive tribes)
38. Visit every country in the world (30 to go)
39. * Study Navaho and Hopi Indians
40. * Learn to fly a plane
41. * Ride horse in Rose Parade
42. * Iguacu Falls, Brazil
43. * Victoria Falls, Rhodesia (Chased by a warthog in the process)
44. * Sutherland Falls, New Zealand
45. * Yosemite Falls
46. * Niagara Falls
47. * Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great
48. * Coral reefs of Florida
49. * Great Barrier Reef, Australia (photographed a 300-pound clam)
50. * Red Sea
51. * Fiji Islands
52. * The Bahamas
53. * Explore Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades
54. North and South Poles
55. * Great Wall of China
56. * Panama and Suez Canals
57. * Easter Island
58. * The Galapagos Islands
59. * Vatican City
60. * The Taj Mahal
61. * The Eiffel Tower
62. * The Blue Grotto
63. * The Tower of London
64. * The Leaning Tower of Pisa
65. * The Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza, Mexico
66. * Climb Ayers Rock in Australia
67. Follow River Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea
68. * Lake Victoria
69. * Lake Superior
70. * Lake Tanganyika
71. * Lake Titicaca, S. America
72. * Lake Nicaragua
73. * Become an Eagle Scout
74. * Dive in a submarine
75. * Land on and take of from an aircraft carrier
76. * Fly in a blimp, balloon and glider
77. * Ride an elephant, camel, ostrich and bronco
78. * Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath two and a half minutes underwater.
79. * Catch a ten-pound lobster and a ten-inch abalone
80. * Play flute and violin
81. * Type 50 words a minute
82. * Make a parachute jump
83. * Learn water and snow skiing
84. * Go on a church mission
85. * Follow the John Muir trail
86. * Study native medicines and bring back useful ones
87. * Bag camera trophies of elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, cape buffalo and whale
88. * Learn to fence
89. * Learn jujitsu
90. * Teach a college course
91. * Watch a cremation ceremony in Bali
92. * Explore depths of the sea
93. Appear in a Tarzan movie
94. Own a horse, chimpanzee, cheetah, ocelot, and coyote (yet to own a chimp or cheetah)
95. Become a ham radio operator
96. * Build own telescope
97. * Write a book (About his Nile trip)
98. * Publish an article in National Geographic Magazine
99. * High jump five feet
100. * Broad jump 15 feet
101. * Run mile in five minutes
102. * Weigh 175 pounds stripped (he still does)
103. * Perform 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups
104. * Learn French, Spanish and Arabic
105. Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (Boat broke down within 20 miles of island)
106. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Sorenson in Denmark
107. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Goddard in England
108 * Ship aboard a freighter as a seaman
109. Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (Has read extensive parts in each volume)
110. * Read the Bible from cover to cover
111.* Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Rousseau, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Talmage, Tolstoi, Longfellow, Keats, Poe, Bacon, Whittier, and Emerson (not every work of each)
112.* Become familiar with the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ibert, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Liszt, Rimski-Korsakov, Respighi, Rachmaninoff, Paganini, Stravinsky, Toch, Tschaikosvsky, Verdi
113.* Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, microscope, football, basketball, bow and arrow, lariat and boomerang
114. * Compose music
115. * Play Clair de Lune on the piano
116. * Watch fire-walking ceremony (In Bali and Surinam)
117. * Milk a poisonous snake (bitten by diamondback during photo session)
118. * Light a match with .22 rifle
119. * Visit a movie studio
120. * Climb Cheops' pyramid
121. * Become a member of the Explorer's Club and the Adventure's Club
122. * Learn to play polo
123. * Travel through the Grand Canyon on foot and by boat
124. * Circumnavigate the globe (four times)
125. Visit the moon ('Someday, if God wills')
126. * Marry and have children (has five children)
127. * Live to see the 21st century
John's life list has grown to 600, and at this time he has achieved 520 of them.
'To dare is to do ... to fear is to fail.'
This philosophy has characterized John Goddard since he was 15, when he listed 127 challenging lifetime goals--like exploring the Nile, climbing Mt. Everest, running a five-minute mile and playing Clair de Lune on the piano.
John has logged an impressive list of records. He was the first man in history to explore the entire length of the world's longest river, the Nile, in a 4,160 mile expedition which the Los Angeles Times called 'the most amazing adventure of this generation.' He then matched that achievement and became the first man ever to explore the entire length of the Congo; he scaled the Matterhorn in a raging blizzard after several professional guides had refused to go along, and he has established numerous records as a civilian jet pilot, including a speed record of 1,500 mph in the F-111 Fighter-Bomber, and an altitude record of 63,000 feet n the F-106 Delta Dart.
A graduate of the University of Southern California where he majored in anthropology and psychology, Goddard has studied obscure cultures in all parts of the globe. In addition, he has climbed 12 of the world's highest mountains, conducted 14 major expeditions into remote regions, traversed 15 of the worlds most treacherous rivers, visited 120 countries, studied 260 primitive tribes, and traveled in excess of one million miles during his adventurous life.
A resident of La Canada, California, where he lives with his wife and two of his five children, Goddard does not believe in pursuing adventure for the sake of frivolous thrills, but used these experiences to achieve a worthwhile end. This end, for him, is scientific exploration, adding to the world's store of knowledge. 'Digging out the facts is the real challenge,' Goddard says in summing up his career. 'The adventure is exciting and enjoyable--but secondary.'
Yet digging out the facts can be a hazardous occupation. Goddard has been bitten by a rattlesnake, charged by an elephant, and trapped in quicksand. He has crashed in planes, been caught in earthquakes, and almost drowned twice while running rapids. But his overwhelming desire to discover fresh knowledge and to complete his youthful list of goals has driven him on in spite of the danger.
Honored by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of California's outstanding young men, Goddard belongs to the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles (youngest member ever admitted), the Adventurer's Club of Chicago, the Explorers' Club of New York, the Savage Club of London, the Royal Geographic Society, the French Explorers' Society (only American member), the Archaeological Society, the Mach II club, the Sigma Chi Fraternity, of which he is a life member.
Yes, I remember John speaking at Leuzinger, the first time being in 1973.
Truly inspirational. In fact, I have the original Life magazine which had the article which spelled out his life goals. He inspired me so much that I made it my own goal to visit all seven continents before the year 2000 (which I did) among other life goals. Many years back I wrote him a thank you note care of the explorers club. Not sure whether he ever got it, but I just wanted to pass along some thanks as one student who took to heart his message of trying to accomplish something in life.
Oh my goodness! I went to Leuzinger High School in Lawndale CA. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was better than our John Goddard assemblies. It was a time when all my friends and I sat mesmerized by the awesome adventures he shared with us. This was in the late 7o's early 80's. Is Mr. Goddard still around doing assemblies? Are his films available for purchase? Does anyone know how to contact him?
I would love to share him with my 9th grader's school.
At the beginning of the Nile journey, no one thought Goddard and his two French companions would succeed or even live to tell about it.
When asked, what was the most difficult thing he had to endure? Goddard is quick to answer:
'Keeping from starving to death. We were emotionally unable to shoot game. And when natives offered to share their meat, knowing how scarce their supply was, we were reluctant to accept.'
John and his two French companions did survive. But on his Congo Expedition, two years later, he witnessed the drowning of his best friend, only 400 miles from the end. Among the numerous accolades received, Goddard was one of the youngest ever to be inducted into the prestigious Explorers Club of New York.
John Goddard, one of the world's most famous anthropologists, explorers, and adventurers, passed away Friday, May 17th in Glendale, CA, after battling a rare form of cancer known as WaldenstrĂ¶m's Macroglobulinemia.
Called â€śthe real-life Indiana Jonesâ€ť by the LA Times, Goddard will be remembered as the world's greatest goal achiever and survivor of numerous edge-of-death experiences through his 88 1/2 years of life. He documented his adventures on film and showed them to thousands of youth and adults across the globe, inspiring them to set and achieve goals. His motto was: To dare is to do - to fear is to fail.
Excerpts from the original Chicken Soup for the Soul:
One rainy afternoon, an inspired 15-year old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad, 'My Life List.' Under that heading he wrote down 127 goals. These were not simple or easy goals. They included climbing the world's major mountains, exploring from source to mouth the longest rivers of the world, piloting the world's fastest aircraft, running a mile in five minutes and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
Goddard completed all but a few of the goals from his original bucket list and hundreds more from subsequent lists. He became the first man in history to explore the entire length of the world's longest river, the Nile, in a grueling 4,160 mile, nine month kayaking expedition which the Los Angeles Times called 'the most amazing adventure of this generation.' He then matched that achievement and became the first man ever to explore the entire length of the Congo River (also by kayak), and he scaled the Matterhorn in a raging blizzard after several professional guides had refused to go along.
At the age of 18 he enlisted in the Army Air Force and was stationed in Foggia, Italy with the 15th Air Force 463 Bomber Squadron for three years. After serving in World War II and receiving numerous honors, he established records as a civilian jet pilot, including a speed record of 1,500 mph in the F-111 Fighter-Bomber, and an altitude record of 63,000 feet in the F-106 Delta Dart.
A graduate of the University of Southern California where he majored in anthropology and psychology, Goddard studied the effects of modern civilization on obscure cultures throughout the world. In addition, he climbed 12 of the world's highest mountains, conducted 14 major expeditions into remote regions, traversed 15 of the worlds most treacherous rivers, visited nearly every country of the world, studied 260 primitive tribes, and traveled in excess of one million miles during his adventurous life, the equivalent of 45 times around the world.
Goddard was attacked by vicious hippos and crocodiles, bitten by a poisonous snake, charged by a rampaging elephant and rhino, almost buried alive in a blinding sandstorm, shot at by Egyptian river pirates, stoned by a mob of hostile natives, survived desert temperatures of over 140 degrees, weakened by malaria and dysentery, and trapped in quicksand. He has survived a plane crash, been caught in earthquakes, and almost drowned four times while running rapids and deep sea diving.
Goddard was honored by the Encyclopededia Britannica as a recipient of the â€śAchievement in Life Award.â€ť He was also a life-long member of the Adventurers Club of Los Angeles (youngest member ever admitted); and also a member of the Adventurers Club of Chicago, the Explorers' Club of New York, the Savage Club of London, the Royal Geographic Society, the French Explorers Society (only American member), the Archaeological Society, the Mach II club, and Sigma Chi Fraternity.
Goddard has been the subject of numerous articles in magazines such as National Geographic, Life, People, Reader's Digest and appeared in over 200 television talk and adventure shows. He has been the guest of such television personalities as Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and David Frost.
Goddard is the author of two books: The Survivor and Kayaks Down the Nile
Born July 29, 1924 in Salt Lake City, Utah, son of Percival Lundburg 'Jack' Goddard and Lettie Alice Sorenson, and was raised in Los Angeles, California. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Carol, six children, and twelve grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held in Newport Beach, California.