Some people wait their entire lives to do the things they said they always wanted to try – like fly a plane, canoe through the Everglades, or ride in a hot air balloon. Michigan State University journalism alumnus Chuck Werle (‘58) wants to help people check off goals on their bucket list and encourage them to add new ones they’d never thought about before.
In between life as an award-winning public relations professional, Werle made the time to travel. He’s visited all 50 states and 11 countries, where he shared unique experiences with family and friends, and even attended local events, like the World Chicken Plucking Championship in Spring Hill, Fla.
In 2015, the seasoned traveler released his book A Lifetime in Reverse: What’s on YOUR bucket list? Werle said his goal is to inspire people to think about their bucket list in a new way by inviting people to read about a few of his adventures, including some he took with his wife and sons.
The book is divided into two parts: "Mine" and "Yours."
"The first part of the book is all about my experiences over 30-some years, and then the second part of the book is briefer," said Werle.
The second part lists 70 events or experiences that a person could have done, and can still do, in their life. The list includes five different categories – personal, humor, adventure travel, career/occupation, sports and hobbies – with goals like stage a surprise party, donate blood and more.
Werle’s inspiration for the book came from the well-known film "The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Released in 2008, the movie tells the story of two dying men who set out to accomplish the things they never got around to doing before they were diagnosed with cancer.
“It was all about, from their standpoint, (the) crazy things that they wanted to do that were really dangerous and they just had a great time, so they just kept adding to the list, so to speak,” said Werle. “I thought for years about that and I said, ‘You know, it’s a shame they only wanted to do all that stuff down the road instead of all the things that might have happened to them during their lifetime’.”
The more he thought about it, the more his thoughts gelled into a book idea. Werle submitted a pitch to Amazon Create Space and was offered a deal. One year later, the book was complete.
Today, Werle lives in North Carolina, where he’s been for the last 17 years. He helps other authors and writers by editing and promoting their work. He is also writing his third nonfiction book, this one is about crisis communication – his area of specialty in the field of public relations. In fact, the last time Werle visited East Lansing, he had been invited to speak to public relations and journalism students about his work in crisis communication.