When I was 8 years old, my family went to Scotland to visit my parents’ families. My brother and I were showered with gifts from our numerous Aunties and Uncles, including many a £5 note which was squeezed into our hands as we left their houses. One of the presents I was given was the 1976 Blue Peter Annual.
Blue Peter is a British CBBC children’s television programme which first aired in 1958 and is the second longest-running TV show in the UK. It is a magazine/entertainment format, and that annual contained articles about some of the story highlights from the year. One of those articles was about a trip the presenters made to Turkey.
Now, I had no idea where Turkey was. I knew nothing of its history or its culture. But when I read that article (over and over again, for many years to follow) I was determined. One day, I would visit Turkey.
And thus my ‘bucket list’ was born.
Of course back then we didn’t call them ‘bucket lists’. We just had lists of places we wanted to go, or things we wanted to do. I guess we called them life goals, or to-do lists? It wasn’t until the 2007 movie of that name that the term ‘bucket list’ was popularized.
I know many people set out to write extensive lists of places, experiences, achievements. I don’t write mine down. It’s not even really a list. It’s scrawled jottings on mental notepaper stored in the recesses of my brain, and it just consists of cool stuff I come across. Places to eat, sights to see, experiences to be had, things that intrigue or inspire me.
In fact, this blog post is the closest I’ve come to actually writing a bucket list – at least in part.
Over the years, many items have been added, and some removed. Throughout the 1980s, I wanted to see the Berlin Wall, but by the time I set foot on German soil the Wall was long gone. Disneyland figured somewhere near the top of the list for the 12 year old me, but the 40 year old me who finally made it there accompanied by beside-themselves-with-excitement-children was somewhat begrudging about the visit herself.
I think the main point of a bucket list is that it gives you something to look forward to, and a vague sense of a plan for the route ahead. Some of the items floating around on mine at the moment are:
- Seeing Gaudi’s Cathedral in Barcelona
- Experiencing Hogmanay in Scotland
- Staying at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur in India
- Eating at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck restaurant
- Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity
- Seeing the Aurora Borealis, and
- Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Plus I have a whole mental sub-list item which consists of my ‘fantasy hot springs world tour’. The idea of that is to go from one hot springs location to another around the world, slowly becoming more and more wrinkly. Some of the hotsprings on my itinerary include:
- Bath in England
- Grindavik in Iceland
- Pamukkale in Turkey
- Banff in Canada
- Waikato in New Zealand
Some of the highlights of the bucket list items I’ve already done were: seeing Pompeii, walking inside the Hagia Sophia, experiencing a white Christmas in New York City and visiting Stonehenge on the winter solstice.
Oh, and that trip to Turkey I dreamt of in 1976? I finally did that last year.
What’s on your bucket list?