Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's on Your Bucket List?

It may be another typical characteristic of the boomer generation, always wanting more out of life than generations past, but in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on "bucket lists" and "places to see before you die". The recent coverage on CTV's Canada AM of "The Best Job in the World", a competition created by Tourism Queensland in Australia in an effort to draw attention to The Great Barrier Reef got me to thinking about my own "bucket list". For those of you unfamiliar with the competition down-under - here is a description from their website: The Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef is a newly created position. There are a few minor tasks that need to be taken care of, but the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what’s taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Wow! It does seem ideal. The competition has been whittled down to 16 and tomorrow the winner will be chosen. I must have missed the memo on this job posting, because I may have applied. It has however, served as a reminder to me that snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is on my list of one of the things I still want to do before I die. My whole family (all 3 of us) love to snorkel. We never take a Caribbean holiday without bringing our masks and snorkels (don't like using rented equipment ), and it is our number one beach activity by far. I don't think there is anything as peaceful and awe-inspiring as swimming with the fish and sea creatures in the crystal waters of a coral reef. On our last trip to San Salvador, a tiny island in The Bahamas, Emma and I went out on the boat to a different reef everyday, sometimes twice a day. We swam with a nurse shark, barracudas and countless other brilliant tropical fish in the most spectacular under water world we had ever seen up until then. It was the best snorkeling we had ever experienced. That's why I know, I absolutely must snorkel The G.B.R. before the end of my time here on earth. If it is the best in the world, I can hardly imagine how incredible it must be. I am embarrassed to admit, that I never did it the first time I was in Australia. A mistake I won't repeat again. Another item on my list is golfing at St. Andrews. That's the dream of many golfers I'm sure. I once golfed with a women who had been there the summer before and she was sporting a St. Andrews golf shirt - her shirt and her stories - that's as close as I've come so far. It just won't do. Thirdly, as a result of another mistake from my past, I want to go to Italy. I want to experience Tuscany, ride in a gondola in Venice, wander the streets of Florence, shop in Rome, throw some coins in the Trevi Fountain, and see all the other sites I've read about and dreamed about all my life. On my first European adventure, I saw 12 countries, but not Italy. It seems crazy to me now, but at the time, I had just spent a month in Greece and after 30 days of fending off the aggressive men of the Mediterranean, we just weren't up to more of the same in Italy, which we were told was even worse. (remember - I was 19 then). Now, I'm quite certain that would be the least of my worries. The good news is, I'm pretty sure, this list is still doable. And even better news, I have already done quite a few things on my list. The thing is, I never used to worry about running out of time, but when you're over the middle hump and on the down slope, the invincibility and seeming endlessness of youth is but a memory and there's no time to waste. (well, less of it anyway) I gotta go now - I need to call my travel agent.

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