bucket list: noun | informal
1. A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to accomplish in their lifetime.
The mere mention of the term ‘ bucket list’, popularised by the namesake movie, invokes thoughts of far-flung adventure, fine meals and adrenaline-fuelled activity (well, for me anyway – as always, each to their own).
I never kept a diary. I never scrawled aspirations across a crumpled piece of paper. I never put a lot of thought into what it was I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. As far as I was aware, I never maintained a bucket list of my own. I was fine with that…until I realised I had one all along. A small list formed, unbeknownst to me, in the back of my mind.
This became blatantly apparent as I sat making plans for my trip, as it dawned on me that the smattering of destinations I had pulled from across the globe had solely been driven based on everything I had always silently wanted to do and places I had always hoped I would go. The route didn’t always make sense – in fact, at some points, it was the complete opposite – but it made me happy.
Which brings me to the next question: what exactly was on my bucket list. To be honest, there are, predictably, too many bits and pieces to mention. But let me take you through the top three greatest hits!
1. Explore the cities of Angkor
You have read the articles and seen the photographs – but nothing prepares you for the sheer expanse of the archaeological area that encompasses the cities of Angkor. A truly spell-binding place. I spent three full days wandering through endless worn corridors, clambering over fallen stonework and marvelling at the detail etched into the lichen-covered lintels. In all their grandeur, the elegantly crumbling ruins appeared distinctly out of place hidden amongst the thick jungle.
2. Follow my parent’s footsteps to Palenque
My parents had always spoken fondly of their trip to Mexico, and of Palenque in particular. Resultant of this, it had, from a young age, been my dream to venture there and experience it for myself. Like many things held with great fervour, my expectations were unabashedly high. I was almost certain that my excitement was destined to be met with crushing disappointment. How lovely it is to (sometimes) be proven wrong. Dramatic impact was afforded by the relatively condensed area in which the primary temples stood and the surrounding mountains, cloaked in emerald green jungle, framed the whole scene beautifully. Palenque was even more spectacular than I imagined.
3. Walk the Inca Trail
As I have mentioned previously, I am not a physical person. Whilst I enjoy walking the distance, this does not necessarily extend to hiking at altitude. I was apprehensive at the thought of the trek and was unsure whether I could manage it in its entirety – camping: not my thing; no showers: not my thing; scaling mountains: not my thing. But I did it…and it was the single best thing I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, the Inca trail is certainly no walk in the park. However, every oxygen-deprived breath and every painful pang of the knee as it stomped down another 500 year old stone step – was totally worth it for the most magical scenery I have ever laid eyes on.
Needless to say, a bucket list is now something I keep. It has become something of a goal-keeping activity for me. Something to strive for.
So tell me, what is it that tops your bucket list?