bucket list

Bucket list vs. to-do list. The static vs. the dynamic.

Bucket list. Places to see, things to do/eat/try before you die. Trips of a lifetime. Are you as sick of these headlines as I am?

I’m not sure I have a bucket list. I’m not sure I can do all the things I want to do before I die. But there are some places I want to see and some things I want to do. Not just before I die, but now. This year. I think of it as my to-do list.

Why the distinction? Because bucket list indicates that you have a set of tasks to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ and I am a bit too “ooh, shiny” for such a list to ever work for me. A bucket list, to me, is just too static.

So I have a to-do list. Places I want to go and see and experience right now but which may change at any time.

First item on that list? Argentina and in particular, Buenos Aires. I really, really want to go to Buenos Aires. I haven’t yet set foot in South America and this is the place I want to stake my first flag. I should point out here that until about three months ago that flag was going to be planted in Santiago, Chile.

I read a lot about travel on a daily basis. I help people plan trips and well, Buenos Aires was a place I did a little investigation on for a friend. It sounded awesome and amazing; incredible even. Thus Buenos Aires moved to the top of my to-do list.

Second item – a walk in the Alsace wine region. That got on the list as I was looking at, of all things, Riesling. In an attempt to figure out the origins of a wine I had just purchased, I discovered that there are these wine routes all over France. Walking paths that go through vineyards and small towns; routes that can take anywhere from a day to weeks to finish (you can string them together).

What I want to do is get a group of friends together and do a week-long walk on the Alsace wine route. I have this vision of sumptuous picnics in leafy vineyards (we bring the food and prevail upon the winery to sell us a bottle or two of whatever will pair well with our lunch). Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?  I’m itching to go, let me know if you are too….

Then there is South Korea. I am intrigued by the place. Partly, I suspect because Dad spent some time there in the run up to the Korean Conflict, but also because I really want to go someplace that is a completely different culture.

South Korea sits just at the edge of my comfort zone and for that alone I am intrigued. One of the things I love about travel, that I harp on, is the transformative power it has. Stepping outside of the comfortable familiarity of Western Europe can only be good for me. Besides, it just looks really, really interesting.

Finally, there is Malta. This little trio of islands that sits in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily and a bit north-east of Tunisia just fascinates me. I spend an inordinate amount of time gazing at it via a set of webcams on Skyline. The gorgeous churches, the history, the stunning setting, of course I want to go.

There it is, my top few ‘to do’s.’ The ranking is always somewhat arbitrary – whatever has caught my fancy is next on the list, and it that will change from time to time. Sometimes it changes from day to day.

I guess, in the end, I want to live my life in a way that doesn’t require a bucket list. I want my life to be an ongoing quest to get to the next to-do. I want to travel in a way that doesn’t make me beholden to some plan that may no longer fit my life.

For me, the bucket list is a static list of things to do, that is ranked by priority (because bucket list indicates that you have a finite amount of time to complete it) whereas a to-do list indicates that priorities and interests change and that sometimes things even fall off the list because they become obsolete or unnecessary. The latter is flexible and dynamic while the former is rigid and unforgiving.

I choose the to-do list because today I might be interested in Australia, tomorrow I might be smitten by the idea of Peru. I want the luxury of being able to shuffle that deck any time I please, as the fancy strikes me. It just seems a much more sensible way of looking at the world.

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