bucket lists

I keep stumbling across “bucket lists” (things to do before you kick it) on the internet. Evidently it's a big, popular thing.

I suspect most of them are made by young people, just setting out on their adult life. Travel destinations seem to feature strongly. When I started to think about what would be on my bucket list, my first step was to look back on all the things I've done, and since I enjoy travel so much, I'm happy to be able to look back on lots of travel achievements.

24 travel things I've done which might well be on other people's bucket lists

  • learnt to speak several foreign languages, including one fluently
  • visited the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre
  • thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain and seen the Sistine Chapel ceiling
  • backpacked around Europe in the summer, sleeping on trains
  • flown in Business Class
  • seen the Grand Canal in Venice
  • sunbathed at Cannes
  • got drunk on a warm foreign beach at night
  • seen dolphins and whales in the Bay of Biscay
  • visited the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty
  • seen a white christmas in England
  • looked across Tiananmen Square from the Forbidden City
  • mingled with the crowds in Times Square and on Shibuya Crossing
  • been showered by cherry blossoms on the Philosophers Path in Kyoto
  • had a spa holiday, hot stone massages and all
  • swum naked in the sea at naturist beaches
  • taken the water-bus across Sydney Harbour
  • walked on a glacier at Chamonix
  • rode the cable car in SF
  • drove an open-topped car over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • climbed the Great Wall of China
  • stayed the night in a Buddhist monastery and got up before dawn for the morning chanting
  • climbed to the top of Angkor Wat at dawn
  • flown across the equator and the International Dateline

tail fin view from an A380 as we were over Finland

There's a lot more to life than travel, though.

12 life achievements which might be on other people's bucket lists

  • been in a hot air balloon
  • acted in a film and on TV
  • ate at a Michelin starred restaurant
  • been awarded a PhD for original research
  • mentored people, at work and outside of work
  • been boss of my own company
  • bought a convertible sports car
  • campaigned for a cause
  • spoken at a conference in front of hundreds of people
  • fallen in love with someone who fell in love with me
  • had a stylish wedding
  • adopted a puppy

I've also done a lot of things which I don't see on other bucket lists, but I'm proud of them.

9 moments which probably aren't on many bucket lists

  • seen England and France at the same time from an aeroplane
  • been president of a society and chaired a union meeting
  • been on a conference organising team
  • been famous on the internet (I was a FAQ editor in the days when the internet was a lot smaller)
  • designed and operated theatre lighting for several plays
  • explored a catacomb stacked with bones
  • won a poetry prize
  • quoted an entire episode of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy from memory
  • eaten pizza in Chicago, clam chowder in Monterey, Peking Duck in Beijing, sushi in Tokyo, and drunk a Singapore Sling in Singapore

Since I'm more than half-way through my life, naturally my bucket list of things still to do is shorter than the lists of things I've done. Also, I might die soon and I wouldn't want to leave a long to-do list.

my bucket list: 14 things I would still like to do

  • go north of the Arctic Circle and see the northern lights
  • meditate every day for a year
  • invent a Zen koan
  • walk the Pennine Way and the Coast-to-Coast (with a dog)
  • write a complete novel to my satisfaction
  • be at a live Vangelis concert
  • visit Finland, especially the islands
  • visit the temples of Thailand and Malaysia
  • travel in India by train
  • visit Hokkaido and Kyushu, as I've enjoyed my visits to Honshu so much
  • have a completely relaxing holiday, where I neither rush around trying to pack too much in, nor do so little that I get bored
  • see a floating lantern festival
  • commission a new piece of art
  • discover Byzantium (not necessarily the historical one; a personal, metaphorical one would be fine)

There are other things I'd like to do, like figure out how to achieve world peace or make the people I love happy, but let's be realistic.

Having said that, suggestions are welcome! Please comment below.