Show Time: The Buried Life

Noa Glow | May 2012

Photo: Rob Daly

Find out how four BC guys made it big — starring on their own reality show and writing a bestselling book — simply by following their dreams.

How did four guys from Victoria manage to meet Oprah Winfrey, shoot hoops with President Obama and drive across America making their own — and others’ — dreams come true?

Duncan Penn, who stars on MTV’s The Buried Life along with younger bro Jonnie and buddies Dave Lingwood and Ben Nemtin, has a simple explanation: “Anything’s possible if you believe it.”

The show—which, after two seasons, will return soon in a slightly different format—is based on the B.C. boys’ idea, five years ago, to create a bucket list of 100 things they wanted to accomplish in their lifetimes.

“We were just coming out of high school, feeling pretty disillusioned with where our futures were headed,” he says. “We wondered, if nothing’s impossible, what do we want to do before we die? So we made a list, bought a camper on eBay and took off, trying to cross off as many items as we could.”

That two-week road trip turned into a reality series, on which the group has kissed the Stanley Cup, made the front page of the paper (several times), partied at the Playboy Mansion and helped to deliver a baby—among other things.

For every goal accomplished, they help someone else fulfill an item from his or her bucket list, including the young soldier who wanted to propose to his girlfriend before being deployed to Afghanistan and the homeless man who wished to be reunited with his son. “That’s been the most rewarding part of this whole experience,” says Penn.

He and the guys recently checked Number 19 off their list: write a bestselling book. What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? (released in March) includes the best fan-submitted bucket-list items, plus details on the triumphs and struggles each cast member has faced following his dreams.

“When we started we had this feeling we were being given permission to go after anything we wanted in life,” says Penn. “Our goal with the book is to keep the journey going by giving others the same message — when you do something as simple as writing down your dreams, it can be really powerful. You start to chip away at them—and, before you know it, they become reality.”