What’s in a bucket list? Or, on a bucket list?
I mean … I’ve never really had a bucket list. I’ve tried to have one, but the amount of experiences in this world I would love to have cannot be contained on one clear, succinct little list.
Instead, they flutter about the crevices of my mind, occasionally popping into my consciousness when an event, a person, a word, sparks them. For instance, I see someone’s post on Facebook about what they have just done, and BAM, I remember that is on my list.
I also don’t really have a list because right now, I don’t travel too much. I focus on my work with Lek and the elephants, so there is little time for me to daydream about skinny dipping in the Maldives or camping in the middle of no where and looking up at the Milkyway in front of a fire on a crisp fall night in the desert.
Sure, I say things in passing, mostly to the extent of “Oh, man. That [fill in the blank] would be SO cool to do. I need to remember that.” Then, I promptly forget what that activity is.
So, when push comes to shove, no. I don’t really have a bucket list in the sense of something I am ticking off per great adventure. But, I do have things in my life I would love to experience.
What are they?
The Northern Lights
I think this one time, I might have actually seen the infamous wonder, but it was on an airplane coming home from Alaska. My eyes could have been playing tricks on me, but I swear, for a minute there, I thought I saw some dancing green and blue from out my little window.
Since, clearly, that was not enough to satiate my desire, I want to go back to Sweden and see the magical lights way up north. In doing some research, I think the best place to go would be Abisko National Park.
Because, why not? I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve seethed with polite jealousy at others’ trips down there, and the penguin and ice cap and serene, empty beauty. I. Want. It.
Oh, Mongol Rally. This little experience has tempted me for years. A car. A few people. And a trip from Europe to Mongolia to raise money for a charity. I mean, I can’t change a tire, but I know people who can. And, seeing all of that immense beauty of the world and culture? Come on. I have to do this. One day.
Forget that Beyonce and her ostrich-elephant-python-every-other-endangered-animals-grossness-sneakers and Jay-Z just were there. There is something so incredibly romantic about the little country south of Florida. And, I want to experience it for myself. Before Americans are technically allowed in and, in my opinion, it loses its exotic luster.
Two of my good friends, Mindful Wanderlust’s Cody and Giselle, went here on their recent travels before coming to Elephant Nature Park. India was never really on my list as one of the places that captivated me. I always thought of it as super crowded (and we all know I freak in crowds) and a country where the runs are about as normal as breathing.
Then, I learned about Varnasi and my entire opinion changed. I’d go to India just to visit here. Of course, once I arrived, I’d probably take a month or so and gallivant around the rest of the country (which everyone I know loves … so thinking I will end up loving it, too).
To take from Wikipedia, this statement alone fascinates me:
“The city has been a cultural center of North India for several thousand years, and has a history that is older than most of the major world religions.”
The spiritual center of India sounds like a place I need to experience.
Camino de Santiago
I don’t really like climbing hills or anything, but the pilgrimage in Spain – the Camino de Santiago – isn’t only a challenge but an incredible way to see the more untouched beauty the country has to offer.
I have a few friends who have done it, namely Daniel from Canvas of Light, and his stories alone about the hiking, the camraderie, are enough to get me to push myself to do the month-or-so long trek.
Camp outside of Area 51
Living in Las Vegas as long as I did, I never made it near Area 51. And, I would have really liked to do so. Sure, there were loose plans discussed, but nothing ever came of any of it.
I love the desert, I love camping and being able to combine the two in a moderately eerie spot … yeah, perfect. Oh, and it has to be a crystal clear night so I can see all those beautiful stars.
Give Paris another chance
I went to Paris in 2002 and was underwhelmed, to say the least. I was 22, missing my boyfriend, at the end of my trip, and just wanted to go home. Instead of embracing Paris, I simply went through the motions. I rushed through school groups at the Louvre to see Mona Lisa. I took the metro to Moulin Rouge and took a photo outside. I didn’t even drink good wine or eat cheese because I think back then I was a) unappreciative of wine, and b) not a cheese snob — I hated cheese except on pizza. So, returning to Paris at 33 (or older) seems like something I need to do. I’d also like to explore the entire country since I didn’t get to do so on my last big visit to Europe.
Meditation Retreat at Doi Suthep
My friend, Lindsay, did a 10-day version of this recently and fell in love with it. I have this huge problem where I cannot get my mind to shut up, even when I really want it to. She learned how to meditate and got more connected to herself. And, I’d like to do the same. Ten days with no internet, only eating from 6 a.m. to noon, learning more about Buddhism and speaking with monks sounds like something that could really benefit me.
Have meaningful experiences
So, this isn’t really a “place” or anything, but it is truly what I want from every moment of my life: meaningful experiences. Connections. And, mindful. When I first came to Thailand, I wanted to ride an elephant. Of course, I quickly learned how horrible that is for them, and instead now work to educate others on what they go through in the name of tourism. But, I also learned how my tiny little decisions can cause a ripple in the world. I want to do things in my life that are responsible, meaningful, and above all, kind.
My top 10 bucket list post is a part of Save Elephant Foundation’s blog carnival to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park. Elephant Nature Park is celebrating 10 years of success protecting the Asian elephant, educating tourists and tour operators alike that there is another way for us to interact with these wonderful animals. Please take a moment to visit their website, visit their Facebook, and connect with them on Twitter.