Over the years, my bucket list has taken on different forms with the order changing and certain items dropping off, only to be replaced by something new to reflect my changing priorities and needs in life. While my bucket list has been somewhat fluid over the years, there are those certain ticket items that have not changed. For me, these items are located in the upper tier of the list and are those activities and goals that I have dreamt of since I was a boy.
My list is not entirely unique. It contains some items that are typically found in any given bucket list. I would love to one day jump out of a plane in a solo skydive. I want to actively monitor and take part in a sea turtle breeding program to increase the numbers of Loggerhead Turtles. I want to spend a week in the Rwandan rainforest tracking gorillas, just to lay there in silence for hours with nothing around to distract me from observing these majestic animals in their natural environment. While listing and describing my top 50 items may cause some of you to doze off or hurriedly click the close icon, I have decided to include only my top three items in this post. There is no timeframe on ticking these items off, except for that of my lifetime. I hope to one day, years from now, reflect on my life as I pass from this world to the next and smile as I remember all the adventures I had and the people I met and loved along the way.
Counting down from three to one, my bucket list looks a little something like this:
3. Free-dive with Tiger Sharks: Everything about this goes against everything you were ever told to do. The logical part of your brain raises a big stop sign and implores your rational self to say, “Come on now, let’s think about this before we do something stupid”, right? For those of you who have read my blog before, you will know that my life and world centres on the greatest life force on this earth: the ocean. We humans have been bred to fear the oceans greatest predators but I am very much of the opinion that these creatures are simply misunderstood. I am not saying that I won’t be laying on the bottom in complete fear when I get the chance to do this, but the thought of being accepted as a guest in the home of such a creature is something that excites me greatly.
Photo Credit: @juansharks (Instagram).
2. Learn to speak Spanish fluently, quit my job and spend a year in the Basque Country writing: The very fact that I have even put this notion out into the public realm is a giant step for me. For you see, I was brought up in a world where a man was supposed to be a man. You didn’t have time to sit down and write out feelings and thoughts that you weren’t supposed to even have. You were supposed to build things, fix engines, drink beer and watch football. While I enjoy doing these things, I have learnt to balance them with my other passions: writing, photography and exploring other creative aspects of my life.
A few years ago, I spent six months living in San Sebastian (previous blog post found here), running a guest house and living what is commonly referred to as “The Dream”. I often find myself staring out the window dreaming of the day I return to this happy place. Before I get there though, I want to learn to speak Spanish fluently so I can chat with the locals instead of only throwing the odd broken phrase at them in between sips of wine and mouthfuls of Pinxos. I dream of renting a small apartment with a simple kitchen, a bed and a writing desk with nothing on it but a vintage typewriter and a stack of blank note pads waiting to be filled with my thoughts. This dream is not about making money or even publishing my writing. It is more concerned with the process of living the simple life.
The simple life in the Basque Country.
1. Spend time cruising the islands of Indonesia with my father and my son surfing: OK, a little caveat here… I don’t actually have any children yet but I have always dreamt of the day when the three of us head off to Indo on a surf charter together. Three generations living simply, surfing perfect waves and exploring parts less-known. Obviously this list item is not anywhere near achievable at the moment since there is no immediate prospect of children on the horizon, but I am a patient person. In between now and then, I have a lot of other items to tick off my list.
The important thing to remember with any bucket list is to enjoy life in between ticking off your items. Sometimes we have to do things that aren’t all that exciting. It is nice to have dreams and goals to focus on to get you through these times.
The grace and beauty of the Sea Turtle (Photo Credit: Clarke Little).
My Bucket List: Confronting my fears (Photo Credit: @abcexplore – Instagram).