Like you, I am far too young to be thinking about that inevitable day when we must leave this place called Mother Earth. Most of us shudder at the very thought but if we’ve managed to keep things in perspective and maintain the right level of faith, we believe that we can look forward to a great after-life. But what about this life? When you think about it, as routine and hard as it sometimes feels, every day of our life can be adventurous. Sometimes, the unexpected happens. Sometimes bad things happen, but hopefully there are more pleasant surprises.
The reason for starting a bucket-list as early as today is practical. It may take years for us to realize our dreams for this world, so why not start planning for it now. Most of our dreams will be an adventure of a lifetime or some such thing. For some, it may be something as gentle as going on a field trip to their nearest nature reserve. For others it may be something a lot more audacious, such as climbing to the top of Mt Everest for instance. I think we can agree that most of us will not reach that level in this lifetime.
But in the afterlife, well, you never know. For those that didn’t know up to now, a bucket list is simply just a list of things you’d like to do before you die. Most of us, including me, will have realistic expectations about this list, so in the beginning it may not seem like much to other more adventurous souls. But what if we dared to dream? Great minds have always had lofty dreams and many of them have acted on them ambitiously. History tells us that, for better or for worse, those great men and women’s dreams came true.
What if I shared with you, right now, today, my own dreams? Let’s give it a try, shall we? And at the end of this, don’t be shy about sharing your own dreams with the rest of us, no matter how zany it may seem. For at least half of my life, I’ve lived a sheltered existence. But within the confines of my conventional life, I’ve always been interested, sometimes inspired, by other cultures. And when experiencing something new for the first time, thankfully, this has happened; it has always taken me a while to find my bearings.
But when I did, it became an enriching experience, and throughout my life I have never strayed from my belief that our world is blessed through our cultural diversity. Benefiting from this can start right in your own neighborhood. Take your favorite restaurants, for instance. Hands up any of you who like Chinese on one day, fish and chips on another, and then a hot Indian curry on the next. But in order to truly appreciate how different we all are from each other, I’d really like to travel the world and see as many sights and hear as many sounds as possible.
I’d like to mingle with many folks too. Let me round off my bucket-list with a few surreptitious thoughts during my whirlwind tour of the world. I have never experienced it but strangely I am not scared of earthquakes either. Chileans seem to have more than their fair share of this natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, their austere and civil way of life, in spite of a traumatic past, is comfortable for me. I’d like to traverse their mountain ranges, and before I leave the South American continent, I’d like to experience the tango first hand. For that, I’d have to travel to Buenos Aires in Argentina, the land of Eva Peron and the real cowboy ranches.
It would be all good and well to romanticize about past revolutions but I have always frowned at the tragic and violent consequences of such events, even when it has been for a just cause. But I am more attracted to the good-natured and generous spirit of Cubans, in spite of their extreme poverty. Glad to see that things are changing for the better for Cubans today. The country of their northern neighbors is quite large, so I may need to spend a couple of years there experiencing everything that I have in mind to do. But for now, I’ll stick with the city that never sleeps and the magnificent natural beauty of Alaska. Cold weather doesn’t chill me much, so I’d like to cross the continent and pay a visit to Greenland as well.
Visiting Europe for the first time, I’d like to learn how the Scandinavians have managed to create for themselves the highest standards of living than in any other country on earth. I must see Paris, mainly to visit the Louvre. In order to absorb every historic art work on display there, I would probable need to stay a few days. Then it’s off to the Islands, mainly to visit Ireland and to kiss the blarney stone. I’d also like to find out why the Irish are one of the happiest groups of people in the world. Time is running out for me. Before visiting the Taj Mahal and the land of Gandhi, I’d like to pay a visit to the Vietnamese whom I’m told have come a long, long way since the Americans (and the French before them) first invaded their beautiful country.
It’s called Myanmar today, but before I make my way over to India, I must see tiny Burma which, in spite of years of oppression, is a model of many cultures, religions and languages. And what about Africa and the cradle of mankind, or the Antipodes? Even Antarctica? While the world is a small place today, my bucket list of cultural adventures is already full.