I hate the term “bucket list.” I don’t know why. Kinda like I hate the term “staycation.” Can’t explain it – just hate it. I reluctantly use the term bucket list because there’s not a good alternative, other than to say something like, “blah blah blah is at the top of my list of things I want to do and places I want to see before I die,” which is quite a mouthful, so I do recognize the efficiency of the term. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to title my post “The Bucket List.” That’s when the quote that’s often attributed (apparently incorrectly) to Gandhi – “Be the change you want to see in the world” – entered my head. Though whoever said it almost certainly meant it for noble causes like promoting peace and eradicating poverty, I thought I’d apply it to ridding the world of this dumb idiom. I considered “Pail List,” but it’s a little too close to the original, though I don’t hate it and will definitely use it the next time the opportunity presents itself, if for no other reason than to see the look on people’s faces. I tried to think of other catchy euphemisms for death, and when my 40-something brain failed me, I googled them. A couple of oldies but goodies landed at the top of the heap. Namely, bite the dust and buy the farm, though I think the latter one sounds weird in the present tense. Anyway, without further ado, I present my Dust-Farm-Pail List:
Oh wait. I just thought of some ado. I feel compelled to point out that since I’m nearly two decades into a marriage, the list is an inevitable amalgamation of the husband’s dreams and mine. Sometimes we share a dream, other times we know one or the other of us will get dragged along for the ride. For purposes of clarity, I have indicated who owns each dream. And now, the list:
The Dust-Farm-Pail List:
- √ See the Tour de France in person (the husband) I was more than happy to accompany him
- √Get to Asia by age 50 (me) I’ve been to Europe. A lot. I will keep going, too, because I love it. However, many years ago, while on a visit to England, I turned to the husband and said, “I need to see somewhere totally different. I need to go to Asia.” The preferred Asian country keeps changing, but the desire remains constant.
- Drive the entirety of Route 66, from Chicago to LA, preferably in a classic 2-seater car (the husband) He will have to drag me kicking and screaming. We’ve done portions of the route before, and even in beautiful locations like Arizona it can be incredibly boring. What’s worse, the entire first half of the trip goes through what is called “flyover country” due to its total lack of scenery. Plus, I’m a notoriously heavy packer. There’s no way my luggage will fit in a 2-seater car, nor am I up for the challenge of packing lightly. Maybe I can get him to agree to fly into awesome Albuquerque and drive from there.
- Hot Air Balloon Festival, Albuquerque, New Mexico (me) I wrote a post on hot air ballooning and couldn’t believe the annual festival was not on my list. Now it is.
- See The Last Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London (both of us) I will definitely need to memorize the lyrics of all the classics beforehand. When we sing along with the radio from home every year, there’s a lot of “lah lah lah” going on where words should be.
- Cycle up the 3 iconic Tour de France routes (the husband) Alpe d’Huez? Check. Mount Ventoux? Check. All he needs is Tourmalet. Allez! Allez! Allez!
- Great Roman Games, Nimes, France (me) Seems like a Renaissance Festival on steriods, except that it represents a completely different century and location, but they’re all just period dramas, really, and I love a good period drama.
- Hut-to-hut cross-country ski vacation, western US (me) It needs to be one of those luxury ones where they cook great food, provide wine, and carry most of the stuff for you. X-C skiing is hard enough without carrying a massive pack and subsisting on freeze-dried backpacking food and no alcohol.
- Take part in the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon (the husband) A trip to San Fran, where I haven’t been since I was 18? Sure. We can hit up wine country for several days afterward, which frankly, should be its own bullet point on this list.
- Volunteer at Ironman National Championship in Kona, Hawaii (the husband) Again, I’ll gladly go along. Actually, he wants to race in this Ironman, but you have to qualify, and though he’s a decent triathlete, he’s pretty much resigned himself to the fact that he’s got to age up, by which I mean that he’s got to get so old that he wins a spot by virtue of being the only person left in his age group.
- Great Wall of China (me) I can’t say why… it just fascinates me. Actually, tons of places in China fascinate me. Annoyingly, the half-dozen things I most want to see in China all appear to be five-hour flights away from each other.
- Hike to Everest base camp (the husband) He’s not even that much of a hiker, so I don’t know why this has grabbed him and won’t let go. It’s no small undertaking.
- Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop (me) Why? Hot springs, hot springs, hot springs!
- Cycle to the top of (and, where possible, over) the five highest pieces of asphalt in the United States: √Cottonwood Pass, √Independence Pass, Pike’s Peak, Mount Evans, & the √Trail Ridge Road (the husband) All of these roads are in the great state of Colorado, so I’m actively encouraging this one.
- Cross-country Ski Festival, Thanksgiving Week, Yellowstone National Park (me) We’d better hurry, before climate change renders this one null and void.
- √ Find U2s Joshua Tree, outside of Death Valley, California (definitely the husband) If this is also on your Dust-Farm-Pail list, you should know that the GPS coordinates given online are somewhat inaccurate. We spent a good hour searching way too far off the highway. Fortunately, some more knowledgeable tree-hunters arrived and we just went to where they were gathered in the distance. Voila! A dream since the age of 16, realized.
- Volunteer with Project Jonah to save beached whales, New Zealand (me) I’ll probably spend each evening bawling into my hotel room pillow over the ones we couldn’t save, but what vacation doesn’t have its ups and downs?
- Hike in Death Valley in the winter (both of us) We were out there just this last summer. It was 124º. We could barely breathe, much less hike.
- Cycle Stelvio Pass, Italy (the husband) I’ll drive the support vehicle. No shame in that.
- Transatlantic journey on the Queen Mary II ocean liner (the husband) Though cruise ships don’t interest either of us, the husband would easily make an exception for this blast from the past from his homeland. I looked into it and I would, too.
- Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express (the husband) I might go bonkers in the more affordable tiny cabins, which, by the way, aren’t remotely affordable. The most “spacious” (I use that term loosely here) cabin goes for £55,000. For a week. Per person. Still, one can always dream…
- Climb Machu Picchu, including Huayna Picchu, Peru (me) The husband won’t have to be dragged to do this, exactly, but he’s not terribly keen on going. I say it would be a decent test of how we fare, both mentally and physically, on a multi-day trek. If he doesn’t end up enjoying climbing Machu Picchu, why on earth would we fly to Nepal and spend three weeks hiking to Everest base camp? Am I right or am I right?
- See an Arsenal game at Emirates Stadium (the husband) We’ve toured the stadium during the off-season, which naturally sparked a desire in the husband to see his beloved Gunners play there. Though I tried (and failed) to become a stalwart soccer fan, I’ll happily scream at the players for a few hours in exchange for a trip to England.
- Summit Britain’s 3 highest peaks: √Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England, Ben Nevis in Scotland (both of us) Many years ago we stayed overnight at a hostel in Fort William that was literally right across the street from the start of the Ben Nevis climb, but not only did we not have a Dust-Farm-Pail list back then, we hadn’t even climbed our first Colorado 14er yet. In other words, it just wasn’t on our radar. I guess we’ll have to make yet another trip to Britain. What a burden that will be.