Friday, July 9, 2010

Making A Bucket List

Did you see the 2007 film titled, “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? This movie is about two terminally ill cancer patients who decide to travel the world doing whatever wild thing that comes to mind. So they go sky diving, get tattoos, race vintage cars and visit some of the great sites of the world (like the pyramids in Egypt). Although the movie wasn’t profoundly deep, I took something significant away from this movie: the idea of a bucket list.

Basically, a bucket list is “things to do before you kick the bucket.” After seeing the movie, Donna and I sat down and talked about places we wanted to experience before we died (or couldn’t physically travel). This conversation led to a trip to Normandy and my trips to Patagonia and Machu Picchu. We decided to try to visit one place on our list each year.

I think the bucket list concept can also work with pilgrimages. Making a list of sacred places you want to experience can itself become a spiritual exercise. I have developed my own list that includes: visiting the island of Iona in the Hebrides, going to the Arctic Circle to see the aurora borealis, hiking the coast-to-coast trail across England, flying to Kathmandu to hike in the Himalayas, touring New Zealand, and seeing the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Of course, the above list is of far-off places. I also have a list of places that are closer and easier to get to: climbing Mt. Mansfield in Vermont, hiking the Connecticut portion of the Appalachian Trail, touring Yosemite, visiting the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, I could go on, but my list is beside the point. The question is, what would you include on your list?

Making a bucket list involves allowing your imagination to have free reign. Here are some questions that may help guide your forming a list: What places, when I think of them, bring a smile to my face? What gives me great joy? What feeds my soul? What places have meaning and significance for me? Happy imagining!

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