Must Hurry, For I think There’s a Hole In My Bucket List.
I have always loved to travel: in fact, right now I am on the delightful island of Nusa Penida.
As a wanderer, I believe that, if I haven’t used my passport at least three times in a calendar year I am seriously failing at my quest to see as much as I can in the short time that I have left on this planet.
Travel has for me become a hopeless addiction, an unstoppable craving, meaning I constantly lust for the feeling for the impermanent, a yearning to be on the move. I needn’t go far, just somewhere new, somewhere ‘fresh’ where I haven’t been before.
I think it was Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who popularized the phrase, “The Bucket List “ in the mediocre movie of the same name. The film, involved two geriatric terminal – cancer patients undertaking an unlikely journey to do remarkable things before heading off to meet their maker. From that cinematic creation, everybody’s personal ‘wish list’ suddenly had a name and the bucket list as a moniker was universally adopted into the world -wide vernacular.
“Kicking the bucket,” is in my humble opinion an altogether too- jolly a euphemism for act of dying. The phrase, is as far as I can work out is actually a derivative of the old French word buquet, meaning a balance or beam from which slaughtered animals were suspended upside-down in order to slowly bleed out.
Lately, that self same ‘bucket list’ has broken through the confines of travel destinations and become an exercise in the wishful pursuit of self-improvement such as learning another language, practicing yoga becoming an accountant or, for the exhibitionists among us, streaking naked across the pitch at a major football match.
Actually, when you think about it the phrase, ‘bucket list’ it does have an almost, ‘devil may care’ attitude about it, rhyming perfectly as it does with the expression, ‘fuck it.”
Patricia Shultz’s “ 1000 Places to See Before You Die” has no doubt made things a lot simpler for those following the bucket list trail. She has thoughtfully compiled a mouth – watering array of exotic destinations for those who feel they are hurtling towards their untimely demise and must therefore hurry to the nearest travel agent to fulfill their quests.
Not to be outdone, Mimi Sheraton leapt upon the bandwagon with her weighty tome,“1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die.” appealing no doubt to those who wish to exit this life in an orgy of self- indulgent gluttony. This has led to a plethora list books with the title of 1000 things which seems a rather simple way to write a book!
For those with little or no imagination you need not fret, for some clever IT type has developed the ingenious, ‘i wish app.’ This delightful piece of software will fill the proverbial bucket to the brim on your behalf with suggestions on everything from bungee jumping over the Zambezi to meeting an Emperor penguin in Antarctica. If that were not enough, the ‘i wish’ app. will diligently keep track of your progress along the way dispensing timely reminders by way no doubt of issuing forth annoying little beeps, letting you know that your tardiness has been noted meaning that you are falling behind with your allotted tasks.
So, what is the appeal of the ‘bucket list’?
Is it simply fulfilling a dream of having seen the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids or the Mountains Of The Moon that, once done it can be safely crossed off the list and entered into the app as: ‘been there, done that’?
Lately, the tireless pursuit of fleeting experiences seems to be of greater substance than an extended entanglement in something that should be savored and enjoyed. The dogged pursuit of the 1000 things to see, eat, or listen to before you die will result in frantic ten -minute dashes hither and thither to see or ‘experience’ something spectacular must be quite exhausting. However it will go a long way towards fleshing out one’s experiential résumé and at the same time keep one step ahead of that pesky app.
One should however take time to remember that, “there is more to be seen than can ever be seen, and more to do than can ever be done.”
Now, having said all of that, I must away to swing from my own personal buquet as I have a train to catch.
Paul v Walters is the best selling author of several novels and when not cocooned in sloth and procrastination in his house in Bali he scribbles for several leading international travel and vox pop journals. His latest offering Scimitar was released in October 2016 and his latest offering Asset, will (if procrastination doesn’t trip him up) be released in late 2017.