Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Bucket Lists

RHYS: On my Fiftieth birthday I sat down and wrote out a list of things I still wanted to accomplish in the rest of my life. My own bucket list. It ranged from learning to play the harp to winning an Edgar to going through the Panama Canal or on safari.
I'm delighted to say that I have checked off quite a few items on that list. I bought a Celtic harp and have learned to play it. It sits in my office and gives me a great excuse to turn away from my computer when I should be writing. (I have bought a Navajo flute for the same purpose at our Phoenix condo). I was an Edgar nominee once, which is probably as close as I'm going to get, but I have won an Agatha with is almost as satisfying.

Of the many travel items on the list I have accomplished only a few: I've been through the Panama Canal, though not the Midi canal in France in my own boat. I have been on elephant shikar in India but not safari in Africa. This year we have planned a trip to Uluru (Ayers Rock) but I still need to see the pyramids and Petra.

So here is my list of places I still need to see:Egypt, Jordan Peru African Safari Crete, Turkey (although I did spend three months bumming around the Greek Islands when I was a student. You've seen Mama Mia, haven't you, so you get the picture)The South of Spain and Portugal

That's about it. I have no wish to ride the TransSiberian Railway or go anywhere else cold and dreary. I like sunshine too much. And the problem is that I love returning to my favorite places. We talk about Spain then rush back to Italy or France. We mention Peru then go back to Mexico. And as I get older, I find there is a dilemma between going on adventures and not being too uncomfortable. I don't like the bathroom down the hall, or, God forbid, out back any more. I need a comfortable mattress. I'm still a good hiker but my husband is a lot older than me. Can he handle 13,000 feet?

So how about it, Jungle Reds? Do you have a bucket list of things to do and places to see before you die? What about our blog visitors?

And a couple of notes before I stop: when you read this I'll be on my way from the Malice Domestic convention in Crystal City VA to the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont PA. I'll blog about the experience later in the week.

And one item I notice is still on my list and laugh Have a clutter-free house.Still working on that one!

RO; This will take a while..I've been lucky enough to do a lot of the things on my original bucket list, made years ago when kicking the bucket seemed light years away.
I'd still like to visit Antarctica, snorkel The Great Barrier Reef and ride horses in Mongolia (not on the same trip) but I too have so many places that I love and keep returning to - Yosemite, Utah, Montana, Tanzania. Jost van Dyke. I will also go to Rome at the drop of a hat. Someone, please drop a hat.

I'd like to see the northern lights, climb Mount Rainier, live on a houseboat for a few weeks, ride the Orient Express (is that still operating..I may have missed my chance).. I'd like to really learn how to ride a horse, not just get on and hang on..but mostly I want to go Arlington and Oakmont, so that's what I'm doing.

HANK: I've never done this. I've never had a list. Hmm. Yes, the northern lights, that would be wonderful. I'd love to live in Paris, really live there and not have to hurry away. Be absolutely fluent in another language, not just stagger my way through. I'd like to see how my grandsons turn out. I'd like to write a fantastic smashing NYTimes bestselling novel. (An Edgar, yes yes yes, but I'm with ya about my precious Agatha.) Not care about how I look. Understand my mother. (Maybe Antarctica is easier...)

JAN: I don't have an official list, but I've always wanted to experience the midnight sun, preferably in Sweden or Norway. I'd also like to go to Red Sox Spring Training and the Australian Open. On the career front, I just realized one of my bucket list items by finishing a movie length original screenplay! And of course, there's that NYT Bestsellers list Hank mentioned.

HALLIE: Honestly, not to sound like a Goody Two Shoes (though I know I do), the things that matter most to me I have--a cozy little house, a sweet husband, and two adorable daughters who keep me in stitches. Yeah, I'd love to have a novel hit the NYT best seller list, but the ride I've been on with "Never Tell a Lie" has been spectacular. The Northern Lights, Alaska, Greece are on my wish list. But really, my bucket list begins with *slow down and enjoy.*

ROBERTA: I don't have a literal list either, but I do suffer from the "problems" you guys already mentioned--I love to go back to the places I'm familiar with, like Paris, Paris, and Paris. (I'll see you there Hank!) But a couple years ago my hub insisted we go to Barcelona, and my gosh, it was incredible. So I have to combat the middle-aged creep of complacency and love of creature comforts and keep trying new things. Like India fascinates me--or it did until the Mumbai bombings and the poverty shown in Slumdog Millionaire. And Japan, that's on the list. And New Zealand. One other problem is that my dear husband loves the idea of going places where you carry everything on your back and see no people for weeks on end. He went to the Alaskan hinterlands with the Sierra Club and I passed on that one. And in the end, there's really no place like home:)

RHYS: You're right about no place like home. But reading this I can picture us as adventurous, daring and fun old ladies! So, Jungle Red Readers--do you have a bucket list?


  1. Great topic. Although I have lived abroad more than the average bear (a year each in Brazil, Japan, France, Mali, Burkina Faso), I've still never visited Tahiti, China, Tuscany, New Zealand, or India - and want to! I also want to get to know my grandchildren, who are as yet not even conceived, should I be so lucky. And finish writing my first novel, and then see it published, of course. I'd also like to make it to retirement age and then be able to actually afford to retire, which for me would mean half-time writing and half-time gardening, with some yoga and travel thrown in. Ah...

  2. Not being much of a traveler, there's no place I dream of seeing before I die.

    That said, I love my road trips. Where I live I'm just hours from several great places: NYC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philly. No passport, no shots, no airports!

    As a matter of fact, in a couple of hours I'll be heading to Oakmont. Ro, Rhys, I'll see you there!

    Paula Matter

  3. A year or two ago, there was a "meme" floating around on Live Journal - 100 Things You Want To Do Before You Die. I have to admit that I struggled to come up with 100 things. I've been lucky in that I've managed to do and see a lot of things in my life. Even so, its fun to go back and mark one off (like selling a book), going to RWA this summer, the cruise I'm taking next January...)

    That said, the one thing I really would give just about anything to do is attend the Edinborough Tattoo. (No, this does not involve ink and needles! LOL) To see the massed pipes and drums of the British military, plus some private bands.... *le sigh*

    Some day!

  4. Hey All

    Breaking news

    We're back from Malice with wonderful photos...ncluding one of Rhys you won't believe. I'll put it up asap!

    Why is that especially important? Our dear Rhys will be the guest of honor at next year's Malice. And when you see the photo, you'll konw what we'll ALL be wearing in her honor.

    Quick question--the main blog format is looking weird on my computer. How 'bout yours?

  5. The blog looks fine to me, Hank (Windows XP Professional running Firefox).

    The Malice pix that were posted by a Guppie look great! And congrats, Rhys, on several counts.


  6. My list is more keeping ahead of doomsday. Going to Alaska to see glaciers this summer before they all melt. Up next might be Africa to see lions before they are poisoned to extinction.

    Blog looks fine on Firefox and Explorer to this fan.

  7. Thanks Edith and Kira. Anyone else? I'm seeing a lot of black on the sides, and the text squeezed.
    Maybe it's

  8. Rhys, congrats--sounds like you can check another item off your list! Paula, wish I was going to Oakmont. I do love Mary Alice and Richard's Festival of Mystery. And Kira, I guess you could make a long list that way...maybe Antarctica and Iceland too?

  9. Gee, Hank, your description of the blog you see sounds like a very old-fashioned problem. If I thought you were running a CRT, I'd say your electricity is dropping a bit.

    There are too many responsibilities I can't, or don't want to, delegate. Taking care of Mom, DH, DD & the grandkids. I want to be the kind of grandmother that, fifty years from now, my grandkids will remember as someone who loved them, took time for them, and taught them cool, useful secrets.

    Northern Lights would be good, too, but let me see them from the deck of a good-quality cruise ship. A smallish one without drunks. Yeah.

    An Agatha is nothing to sneeze at.

  10. I was ordained in 2008 with an eye to disaster relief, where often survivors need the presence of a minister for any number of reasons: solace, certainly, but also encouragement and occasionally funerals, baptisms, and weddings.

    In a non-disaster context, I'd love to conduct 100 marriages and 100 'blessing of the animals' ceremonies in my lifetime. I think that would put such a hopeful spin on things that I could go out quite cheerfully.


  11. Fun entry...and what a great blog! I'm enjoying getting caught up. Some of these bucket answers have full-blown novel potential -- 3 months bumming around Greece as a student...road trips...mothers...good stuff here. Me -- I'd love to spend at least six weeks in an Irish cottage -- we're going to Ireland next week for six days. Hey, it's a start. ;-)

  12. Hey Carla! Hey Ddusty.
    Nice to see you both here..

    And believe me, DD, I'm not sneezing at my Agatha. More like--bowing to it, and making sure it has constantly flattering lighting.

    Wait til you all see who's here tomorrow!!!

  13. Scotland would be the place for me to spend six week. But I loved Ireland, too.

  14. Lets see - my life revolves more about needs than wants in this economy. My wish list? Get that darn book finished and out. Learn to accept the fact that my husband is a crack editor and he WILL disagree with me and he WILL change my characters...somewhat :-) Put the kids through college. See Iceland, Finland, Italy, Cambodia, Indonesia. Run/walk a half-marathon, or even a marathon. Actually catch a big fish when I am fishing. I want to have a regular string of storytelling gigs. I want to go back-packing on a bike, and on a canoe.

  15. Am I home yet? What day is this? (I took the scenic route back from Malice.)

    One can never have too much Paris. The last time I was there, I took my mother and my then nine-year-old daughter along (my daughter fell asleep with her head on the table at the Meurice on the Rue de Rivoli--jetlag, you know). Tell me where we're meeting (and I speak French!).

    Australia was a mind-blowing experience, even without Ayers Rock. Maybe I need to go back to check it out, along with the Great Barrier Reef.

    I'd love to live in Ireland for a while--they give writers a tax break there, bless them.

    Which leaves Greece. I'm still waiting to see Delphi.

    My passport is ready and waiting!

  16. Rhys, If you ever make it the Middle East, do let me know. I'm in Jordan now and then and have been to Petra umpteen times. As I'm based in Abu Dhabi, UAE during part the year, it is easy to fly about in the Middle East and experience all of the wonderful places. Yes, Petra must be seen to be believed. Egypt it also a great experience. You can do both (Egypt & Jordan) in one trip, and quite easily at that--I'd say two weeks would do if you just do Cairo and a bit of Jordan so as not to feel rushed.