No Bucket. No List.
Here we are in January, the month of lists, resolutions, goals, hopes, and dreams. As an inveterate wanderer and traveler, I’m often asked, “what’s on your bucket list this year?”
I have no bucket. And….I have no list.
When I say that, you cannot imagine the shocked looks I get, and the things that are said. “What? YOU? No list of places to go, experiences to have, things to see? YOU of all people???”
Yup. No bucket list. Actually, the term has always bothered me. It’s a personal thing.
For me, the term “bucket list” implies something very finite, something that boxes me in. The very idea, after I have checked everything off a highly specified list, that I’m somehow done with it all, absolutely doesn’t fit who I am.
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have aspirations, dreams, and hopes. I call this my “package of possibilities”. It’s like a big bundle wrapped in colorful cloth, tied with silken cord, and I take it down from the shelf sometimes and stir it around. I add things to it, take things out, and wrap it up carefully again, putting it back in its place of honor. What’s in there? Oh, this and that: a line from Kipling’s “Mandalay” about the “sun coming up like thunder outta China crost the bay”–I’d like to see that. My mother’s descriptions of Vienna in the winter–perhaps I might see that someday. And so many other wonders. Last year, when an opportunity for a trip to Massachusetts with my cousin came up as a complete surprise I put it in there, let it sit, then took it out, shined it up, and made it ready to go! This year, prospects and possibilities are tucked away like jewelry awaiting an occasion; I shall see what the year brings.
Another reason I don’t rely on lists when it comes to wandering the world, is that often the best trips appear out of nowhere! As I write this, I am seated in the very coffee shop where, years ago, a friend looked me in the eye and said, “wanna go to Costa Rica?” (For the record, it took me about five seconds to say yes!) I’d never considered travelling in Central America, and this also involved travelling with a group, but when an opportunity comes along, I’ve learned to find a way to say a resounding YES, and to turn chance into reality. My trip to Egypt with my mom in 1987 came about that way, as did my trip to Bulgaria with my dad in 1989.
So there is no bucket. There is no list. There are no New Year’s Resolutions. But there are always…ALWAYS….hopes, dreams, aspirations, flights of fancy, and castles in the air! Join me, won’t you?