Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bucket Lists

You know them, right? Bucket Lists: a compilation of the things you would like to do before you kick the bucket.

Since I am at the stage in life where I am closer to kicking the bucket than not, I’ve had many years to chip away at my list. Periodically, I add new things. Occasionally I have had to drop something off my list as no longer practical.

For example, since the time I was a Boy Scout, I wanted to hike the Appalachian trail. It would take a whole summer (something I never had available until I retired, given that I preferred earning money to crossing wishes off my bucket list). By the time I retired, my left shoulder could no longer take the weight of a pack for any length of time.

For a while, I considered hiring people to carry my gear. I finally decided my objective was more than just walking the roughly 2,200 miles; I needed to carry my own gear to satisfy my wishes, and so crossed it off the list as unattainable.

Some of the bucket items were easy one-offs. My partner, Jan, gave me a hot air balloon ride as a birthday present. I went parasailing while in the Virgin Islands years ago. Those kinds of things appear on my bucket list because I want, or at least am curious about, the experience they offer.

One of my biggies was to visit all fifty states in the United States. I polished that off when I visited Alaska in 2008. Jan still has a few states to go, and so I have on MY bucket list (because she doesn’t have such a thing) to get her to remaining ones. I’m using that as an excuse to justify attending the 2017 Left Coast Crime in Hawaii.

One long-time bucket list item was to experience the northern lights. I temporarily removed that item when I first saw the aurora borealis up at my place in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (where I set Cabin Fever). I have seen them a few times since, but at a latitude of 46.40N, it happens mostly for short durations or during winter when I usually bask in Georgia’s relative warmth.

Nice, but not awe-inspiring. I added back onto the list a desire to really experience them. Jan has never seen them, so as this is published, we will have nearly completed a trip that takes us to Churchill, Manitoba (58.80N). Churchill is smack dab in the high aurora borealis belt. We expect to have several evenings of great views that will last for much of the night.

What about you? What’s on your bucket list?


Shari Randall said...

Well, I saw on Facebook that you and Jan have seen the Northern Lights! Thank you for sharing those photos. Now seeing the lights is on my bucket list, along with bagging those last few pesky states.

Jim Jackson said...

Yes, Shari -- We saw them the first two nights we were here in Churchill, Manitoba. Last night it snowed, and we fly out tonight.

Warren Bull said...

My wife visited West Virginia to complete her list of visiting every state. It was beautiful although a friend of our complained that she couldn't see anything in West Virginia because all the trees got in the way.

Jim Jackson said...

Warren -- I remember someone arriving at our camp in Michigan's UP and complaining that on the way all they saw were trees. They haven't been back!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

The northern lights are fabulous. I want to see them in Iceland, after I've read some Icelandic noir to enhance my visit.

KM Rockwood said...

So many people's lists include seeing wonderful sights!

I can't say I have a true bucket list. I've already seen and done and accomplished so much more that I ever expected to in this lifetime. It seems greedy to want more.

I'm very glad I did some of the more challenging trips when I was a bit younger. My daughter and I went on a trip to Tanzania, and I'm not sure I'd be up for the climbs up the river banks, the ten hour trips in a cramped vehicle, etc. again. Ditto for walking the Great Wall of China.

Kait Carson said...

Delightful list. Sorry about hiking the trail. I'm in Kathleen's camp. I really don't have a bucket list. When I was in high school a psychic told me I would die by 30, so I decided that if I did die at 30, there would no coulda, shoulda, wouldas left. We didn't have the concept of a bucket list then. Needless to say, I survived 30 by a lot of years... There's still more things I want to do, but there is no urgency about them. Good on on Left Coast Crime. Great reason to attend!

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I'm glad you're completing some of those things on your list.

At one time after reading the story of an elderly farm woman from Ohio who not only hiked the Appalachian Trail once, but did it a second time, too, I thought I'd like to do that, too. However, I realized I didn't want to spend that many months away from home so I settled with doing five days and nights at a time hiking the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park. My sister and I covered all but maybe one or two miles of the trail going through the park in the summers we hiked it taking up where we'd left off the year before.

At one time I wanted to move to a cottage in a small town in England. I have to admit those dreams came when I was raising four kids less than five years apart from first to last. I have visited Great Britain twice, and would like to go back someday especially to visit one of my critique partners who lives there.

Other than those two things, I don't have a bucket list. Although, I haven't seen all the 50 states, I have seen probably two-thirds of them. I've been overseas five times as well as Candada numerous times so I've seen a bit more than just this country

Jim Jackson said...

Margaret -- I'd love to see Iceland as well, but I keep getting sidetracked because there are so many great places in North America I still haven't seen.

KM & Kait -- the expression that "youth is wasted on the young" was not made for you two!!

Gloria -- Just because the whole trail is there doesn't mean it needs to be hiked in one go. I've hiked much of the New Hampshire section. Some folks do the entire trail the way you did the Shenandoah area.

~ Jim