The bucket list...
Wish lists, want lists, need lists. We’ve all got them. Shopping lists pinned to the fridge and lists of birthdays and phone numbers in the back of tattered old diaries. There is nothing quite as satisfying as the sound of a pen drawing a thick black line through one of those items, crossing it off. Completed. I imagine lists make up a large part of most people’s days, everyday tasks organised neatly, scrawled in biro on the first piece of paper you find. But what about the other lists? The non-essential lists, the lists that are comprised of things that are nourishing for your soul. The lists that allow you to round up and organise all the things you want to accomplish with your allotted time on this planet. Bucket lists.
The bucket list is pretty popular, almost everyone has one and whilst there are some similarities and cross overs each one is usually pretty unique. They might include extreme, edge of your seat, white knuckle thrills like white rafting, sky diving, pot holing and rock climbing. Or they might focus on drinking in as much culture as possible; seeing the great wall of China, driving route 66 in America, or trekking the Inca Trail. Then there are those that look at creating a list they feel will better themselves as people, some want to learn musical instruments or languages, or perhaps they want to study a new subject and master that. Someone’s list may be particularly personal and focus on re-connecting with loved ones or kicking old habits and creating newer healthier ones for themselves. There is no end to the limits of these lists, or how all the experiences can intertwine to create one persons ultimate set of goals. They allow someone to put a stamp on their life and values and create a purpose for themselves. They are purely and irrefutably individual. And it got me thinking about mine.
When I think about my bucket list I want to focus on all the experiences I deem important to me, and I could probably put together a series of lists for each different category; thrill seeking, culture, travel, bettering myself and so on. But when I really think about what’s important to me, what drives me, makes me tick, and gets me really riled up are three different things; nature, my camera and travel. Now, I could easily put together a never-ending list of experiences associated with these things but I want to really narrow it down. To organise it into a collection of experiences that when I sit down later in life and look back will put a smile on my face and fill my heart with joy. An achievable chunk, with a dash of dreaming on top. It wasn’t hard to narrow down and actually the majority of these things are pretty achievable with most being set in the wilds of the U.K (there are a few exceptions). I’ve done white water rafting and sky diving in New Zealand, I’ve tried surfing, stroked a lion cub and road tripped my way to some pretty remote parts. But, what I seem to be drawn to now are simpler experiences, the more stripped back things that are just within reach of our finger tips if we take stock and watch. They open up as we get know the environment and the animals that reside in it.
My Bucket List;
· Spend a night in an ancient woodland under a tarp and then spend the following day waiting and watching to see what comes by.
· Seek out and photograph wolves in a big European forest, I don’t mind which one as long as it’s big and it has wolves.
· The Scottish Big Five – red squirrel, golden eagle, otters, harbour seals and red deer (but the red deer only count if they are rutting).
· Find an established fox and badger den to watch and record – basically attempt to recreate Dark is Light Enough by Chris Ferris.
· See the Northen Lights, ideally in Norway but I will take Scotland.
· See a stellars sea eagle in Russia and visit the Ural Forests there as well.
· Puffins both on land and at sea. Seabirds fascinate me, I would love to see the big groups out in the middle of the ocean.
· To see orca whales in the wild. Every time I picture orcas in the wild, I see the emerald green seas and feel the chill of the sea breeze. Take me to them.
· Find a tawny owl roost and watch them teach their young to fly.
· Be able to identify the majority of British birds based on their songs alone.
I could go on, but these are my stand out wildlife wishes. They aren't all extravagant, not all of them require travelling to far flung destinations (ok some of them do), but they require involvement, all of them need a bit of work and effort to make them happen, that's what I like about my list. There’s a nice mix there of easily tickable tasks and a few not so easy one just to mix it up a bit. I honestly don’t know if I could realistically get to the seriously remote Ural forest of Russia but the thought of it warms my insides and it’s a goal to aim for – it's potentially doable. Now some of this list I am well on my way to completing already, which there are a few that might say this is cheating or it lacks ambition but I don't care it's my list! It’s not about ambition. It’s about laying my dreams and wishes out in front of me, charging forth into the wild and having a bloody good crack at completing them. What if you never tick off your bucket list items? Is that a failure? To me no, no it’s not. The sheer fact that you said your dreams out loud and set in motion plans to achieve them means that you are in fact living. Ok, you might not reach the end destination but I’m pretty sure just attempting the journey will set in motion things you never thought you would accomplish. It’s always worth a try. It makes me think of John Muir’s quote about embracing nature and using it to fulfil your life and nourish your soul;
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
I wonder what was on his bucket list?