Let’s Talk with James M Jackson

Bucket Lists
By James M. Jackson

You know them, right? Bucket Lists: a compilation of the things you would like to do before you kick the bucket.

Since I am at the stage in life where I am closer to kicking the bucket than not, I’ve had many years to chip away at my list. Periodically, I add new things. Occasionally I have had to drop something off my list as no longer practical. For example, since the time I was a Boy Scout, I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. It would take a whole summer (something I never had available until I retired, given that I preferred earning money to crossing wishes off my bucket list). By the time I retired, my left shoulder could no longer take the weight of a pack for any length of time. For a while, I considered hiring people to carry my gear. I finally decided my objective was more than just walking the roughly 2,200 miles; I needed to carry my own gear to satisfy my wishes, and so crossed it off the list as unattainable.

Some of the bucket items were easy one-offs. My partner, Jan, gave me a hot air balloon ride as a birthday present. I went parasailing while in the Virgin Islands years ago. Those kinds of things appear on my bucket list because I want, or at least am curious about, the experience they offer.

Cabin FeverOne of my biggies was to visit all fifty states in the United States. I polished that off when I visited Alaska in 2008. Jan still has a few states to go, and so I have on MY bucket list (because she doesn’t have such a thing) to get her to remaining ones. I’m using that as an excuse to justify attending the 2017 Left Coast Crime in Hawaii.

One long-time bucket list item was to experience the northern lights. I temporarily removed that item when I first saw the aurora borealis up at my place in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (where I set Cabin Fever). I have seen them a few times since, but at a latitude of 46.40N, it happens mostly for short durations or during winter when I usually bask in Georgia’s relative warmth. Nice, but not awe-inspiring. I added back onto the list a desire to really experience them. Jan has never seen them, so as this is published, we will have nearly completed a trip that takes us to Churchill, Manitoba (58.80N). Churchill is smack dab in the high aurora borealis belt. We expect to have several evenings of great views that will last for much of the night.

What about you? What’s on your bucket list? Enter your answers in the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an electronic version (Kindle, epub, or pdf) of Cabin Fever.

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Comments

  1. I’d love to get to the Galapagos Islands.

  2. Terry Ambrose says

    I really don’t have much of a bucket list and those things that might wind up on it would probably not be practical. I’ll go with simply enjoy life and try to keep the stress down. Yeah, maybe that one is on my list. Still working on it!

    • I’m sure the Buddhist approach of taking each moment as it comes is more healthy — but, I’d die of stress trying to live up to not having plans and hopes. Probably makes me hopeless, eh?

  3. I spent the Summer of 1986 in the British Isles. But I didn’t get to see all of the historical sites I wanted to in Scotland (only had two days in Scotland). I would love to visit Scotland at length again. Maybe take my grandchildren with me! That would be so fun… jdh2690@gmail.com

  4. I’m with Maggie, although I do want to take the cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Panama Canal and back. Cruising is a stress-free vacation once you’re on board. The only decisions are what to eat.

    • My grandfather traveled the Panama Canal soon after it opened; my parents did the trip 75 or so years later. I’m thinking I won’t live for the 150th anniversary, so I probably won’t make that trip — but I’d like to.

  5. maggietoussaint says

    I think I must be an anomaly. My bucket list is to spend as much time as possible with family and friends – and to stay home!

  6. A bit of an update: we had two fabulous nights of northern lights viewing, plus a bonus of terrific views from the plane ride from Churchill to Winnipeg. If you’d like to see a couple of my pictures, you can find them at (scroll down a few posts to see them). https://www.facebook.com/james.m.jackson.author

  7. The aurora is on my bucket list too.