I’m sat here in a small and poorly ventilated room, a mosquito keeps evading my murderous swipes and my current pair of socks are now on their third wear.

Why do I subject myself (and my husband) to this?

My first solo trip began when I was 16. I am so old that the trains still allowed smoking back then. I remember coughing and my eyes streaming as I chugged away from my small village in South East Scotland to my new life as a volunteer at a residential home in London.

I was terrified but also elated. 18 years on and my wanderlust has led me to visit 41 countries.

People have so many reasons for making the decision to travel but let’s look at the ‘bucketlist’ phenomenon today.

Lists of ‘must does before death’ have swept the world!

‘Kicking the bucket’ is a charming English idiom for dying. There is some disagreement on the etymology of the term – some trace this back to the old use of the word ‘bucket’ for a beam. Pigs were often slaughtered with their feet strung onto this with a bucket collecting the blood. Others feel it is more likely a throwback to the catholic tradition of mourners anointing the dead with holy water which – you guessed it – was placed at the deceased’s feet.

The coining of the term ‘bucket list’ itself is much more recent. Though once again there is a bit of controversy over the EXACT timing it is widely agreed that it came into popular usage following the release of the film Bucket List released in December 2007. You must remember?! Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman dying in a hospital. If you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil the ending but if like you like a good tearjerker about terminal illness its not to be missed.

So what do people have on their lists?

Livestrong investigated the most popular choices. As you can see popular travel goals are to see the northern lights, going on an African safari and to walk the great wall of China.

My top 3 were:

  1. Taj Mahal
  2. Angkor Wat
  3. Northern Lights

I have now been lucky enough to see number 1 and 2 and both really did live up to my expectations. I really do hope to see the captivating aurora borealis before I shuffle off this mortal coil….

Please let me know if you have seen this incredible natural wonder in the comments – I would love to hear more about your experiences.

If funds/time is short travel goals can obviously be smaller such as

  1. Eat fish and chips with mushy peas watching the goths in Whitby
  2. Cocktails at the shard in London (I still haven’t been yet!!)

I personally think that bucket lists are a very good idea. It is easy to fall into the procrastination trap and I have had many sad conversations with dying patients who delayed travelling until retirement but then became too ill to see the world.

Its corny and oft repeated but ‘don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today’ – who knows what the future holds?

I put my list up on a mirror much to the chagrin of my husband. It’s harder to ignore when you look at it every day and this can be very motivating/annoying to others.

What would be in your list?

Perhaps the rapid rise of bucket lists into modern day parlance and dinner party discussion is generational.

Many millennials cannot follow the well-trodden path of their parents of job for life, marriage, house buying and children. The world has changed and the expectations which younger people have from life have changed too.

But it is not just young people who are bucket listing it around the globe.

When supping a coffee in ‘Mercado de Brujas’ (witches market) in Lima, Peru  I got chatting to an couple in their 80’s. I began moaning about my recent sleep deprivation at a crazy hostel in Rio, Brazil (run by a Serbian war lord called Elvis -more on that later). I explained that this was my first and last experience staying in a dorm. They explained that they ALWAYS stayed in dorms making me feel like a seriously pathetic flashpacker!

I really do hope that this is therefore a signalling of a wider societal shift towards acknowledgement of life’s brevity and the value of memories and experiences over possession’s and security.

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