Monday, June 24, 2013

Bucket List - live like you mean it

Six years ago today I was flying back from my first serious bucket list excursion - a mountain climbing expedition to Peru and Bolivia.  Back then (I was 58) my bucket list was just in my head and I had focused on just one item--climb a 20,000 foot mountain.  As it turns out, the trip was probably more memorable for another classic bucket list item, but I'll reserve that for another post.

A year after I got back from Bolivia the 'Bucket List' movie came out, and modern Bucket List mania began.  I absolutely loved the movie.  Morgan Freeman is like a minor god to me (in fact I want him to star as First Prince Mbele in the film adaptation of my novel 'Eden's Womb'.)  But even with all the buzz about the topic at the time, I still didn't establish a formal bucket list; and the 'state of the list' hasn't changed since - until yesterday when I started going back through the photos of the Bolivia trip, reminiscing, and contemplating my upcoming 65th birthday.

So I thought I'd finally get serious about this formal bucket list thing.  I Googled a few web sites for bucket list ideas, searched some 'seven wonders of the world' web sites, etc., and came up with my first draft list.

Bucket Lists are, of course, very personal.  But I found that reading other people's lists provided inspiration and ideas for my own.  And to my surprise, things that I had done but had never really considered to be bucket list items showed up on some of these lists.  That was encouraging - suddenly I realized that I've been a closet 'bucket lister' for most of my life.

So, without further ado, here's my list, with items accomplished in red with strike-through:

  • Become the most interesting man in the world (note well: become, not 'be' - it's the journey that makes us interesting)
  • See the Moai (statues) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
  • Write a novel (Manuscript finished August 1, 2013 - 'Eden's Womb' see sidebar at right -->) 
  • Write an Appalachian Trail book chronicling my 2012 double thru-hike
  • Witness the highest tides in the world (Bay of Fundy, NS) and a tidal bore (Truro)
  • Integrate my life into a nurturing virtual family (real family included) - a mutually sustaining support system to carry me into old age
  • Visit the great pyramid of Giza
  • Experience the midnight sun (Tromsø, Norway, late 1990's)
  • Live for a year in Svalbard, Norway (three months of dark, three months with no sunset)
  • Drive the Dempster and/or pipeline highways to near the Arctic Ocean in Canada and Alaska
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail (both ways in one calendar year without spending a night on the trail.  Done in 2012, January 1st to November 3rd.  (See daily reports and more on this blog)
  •  Live to be 88 years old so I can hike at least a small part of the Appalachian Trail on the 100th anniversary of its completion in 2037.  I'd consider it a victory if I could do one step, but aspire to try to become the oldest to hike it all--currently the oldest thru-hiker was 81
  • Connect a continuous string of footprints (walk) between every place I've ever lived (Personal Continuous Footpath)
  • Then extend my Personal Continuous Footpath to every one of the 49 continental US states and to the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories (they are building the road).
  • Witness a total solar eclipse (Montana, February 26, 1979). See this post for more info.
  • Visit Machu Picchu.  (May 31, 2007) See the report here.
  • Stand on the North (and/or South) Pole (how about a cruise to the North Pole on an icebreaker!)
  • See Uluru and drive Australia's outback end-to-end
  • Visit Sydney Harbor and see the Opera House (1992)
  • Visit Nepal and Tibet and trek to Everest Advanced Base Camp (21,000 feet)
  • Visit Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Set foot in every one of the 50 US states.  Accomplished that long ago, so now I'm working on ...
  • Visit every one of the 3143 US counties and county equivalents
  • Climb to the summit of a 20,000 foot mountain in South America
  • Learn the Chinese Language
  • Walk the Great Wall of China (all 1800 miles would be nice)
  • See the Terra Cotta Army, China
  • See Angel Falls (in clear weather) and climb a Tepui in Venezuela
  • Hike the Grand Canyon, rim to bottom and back
  • Visit Stonehenge
  • Cruise the Panama Canal
  • Vacation in Palau
  • (safely) witness a tornado
  • See the Aurora Borealis
  • Experience a hurricane (done with Irene, 2011) - but still want to be in the eye of one
  • Build my own house (not supervise it - build it personally by hand) - done TWICE
  • See and interact with (e.g. poke sticks in) active lava flow (Hawaii)
  • Build a house with a multi-story indoor waterfall and grotto-swimming pool
  • Learn to sail a sailboat (sailed, raced and cruised the Chesapeake Bay on several boats)
  • Learn to fly an airplane
  • Father and raise two children, one boy, one girl
  • Scuba Dive (Sturat Cove's, Nassau, Bahamas)
  • Fly in a helicopter (Kaua'i, Hawaii)
  • Live in an ocean-front home at the beach (North Topsail Beach, NC)
  • African safari, climb Kilimanjaro
  • See the baobab trees of Madagascar
  • Visit all seven continents (Five done, two to go - Antarctica, Africa)
Okay, this is now my official bucket list.  Yay!  I'll be updating and adding to it as time marches on ...

No comments:

Post a Comment