Bucket lists edged its way into our consciousness in 2007 when Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, two terminally ill patients, frolicked their way across the silver screen trying to make sense of the last chapter in their lives. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, recovered from a recent brush with cancer or heart disease, or are just battling with feelings such as there’s got to be more to life than this, injecting excitement into life seems enticing.
Travel is something I’ve always done regardless of the health of my pocketbook. In leaner times, travel may have consisted of a family skiing trip to the Poconos, navigating the wonders of Disney World or in better times, a “real” vacation to Puerto Rico. As the years rolled by, my family vacations became more expansive and included trips to places like Mexico, Hawaii, Spain and Portugal. I love to travel. I love to immerse myself in other cultures, culinary delights, and activities that I normally would not dream of like zip lining, rappelling and other extreme sports.
As I think about the next stage of life, and envision my own bucket list, I am amazed by the thoughts that have begun to creep into my head. I always thought that the day I retired I would be on the first plane out of NY to Florida. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to loathe the winter and all that it represents. Although I’ve never been diagnosed, I am sure I have some form of seasonal affective disorder. On those cold blustery days when the sun vanishes from the afternoon sky by 4 pm, all I want to do is hunker down for the night. On those occasions that I am lucky enough to spend a few winter days in Florida, my flip flops become my constant companion. As the warm evening breeze caresses my skin, my mind continually admonishes me to move south. I feel alive, engaged, and happy spending so much time outdoors and the temperate climate encourages me to do so. So what’s stopping me? Why the change of heart.
I am blessed. I have great friends including a new community of golfers, whom I enjoy, and my family who are a great source of strength, love and encouragement. Being a people person, I am sure I will meet new and exciting friends wherever I go. An idea that has slowly but surely begun to invade my head space is the thought of spending my winters in a foreign country for x number of months. Soaking up the culture, learning a new language and customs has a very strong appeal. How great it would be to finally be bilingual. A million years of high school and college Spanish and I still can’t string a sentence in Spanish together without way too much thinking and stammering. Becoming a local, if only for a few months, would provide experiences I would never be able to replicate with a 10 day vacation. One winter could be spent in Costa Rica, the next winter in the south of Spain, the third winter in England, no wait, never England, much too cold, but you get the point.
I don’t know where my plans will take me, or how my bucket list will unfold, but I am very excited by the vast possibilities that lie before me. The only obstacle to making my dreams a reality is me. As I get closer to ticking off the first destination on my bucket list, I will make sure I let you know where my bucket list takes me.