Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's on Your Bucket List?

It’s time for my family to start planning summer vacations. For the past two summers, my children and I have gone on two trips each year, one with my late husband’s relatives, and one with my clan.   It seems that this summer we’ll be continuing the trend. As we discussed possible destinations and activities, it occurred to me that we’re not getting any younger, and I shouldn’t miss any opportunity to check items off my bucket list. 
In case you missed the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, a bucket list is a group of life goals that one hopes to accomplish before one “kicks the bucket” -- a euphemism for death. Although I’m a list fanatic, I don’t have a paper copy of mine yet. It’s still no more than a vague slideshow in my head. But if I could include it here, you might think it was rather tame. There would be no entries about swimming with Great Whites or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, no plans to run the Boston Marathon or swim the English Channel, and no desire to ride the tallest roller coaster or bungee jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. 
Though most of my goals are travel-related, I’m not a fan of pain or fear or falling. I’d prefer to spend the summer months in a different country each year, eating where the locals eat, shopping where they shop, and becoming fluent in multiple languages. I want to see my kids climb the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, kiss the Blarney Stone, walk on the Great Wall of China, and touch the Pyramids of Giza. I want to force them to wander around the Louvre, the British Museum, the Accademia, the Rijksmuseum, and the Uffizi Gallery while I try to instill in them a love of art and history. And I want to be there when my mom crosses that Around the World Freighter Cruise off her list. 
I’m so consumed with travel plans that I’ve made the heroine of my first book a travel writer. She’s been sent to do a story about a tourist town on a small island off the coast of Louisiana, but she dreams of getting the really big assignments such as Paris, Florence, or Dubai. All she needs to catch her editor’s notice is a really great angle. Perhaps she can dig up some juicy tidbit about the gorgeous and gifted chef she finds burying his talents on this island at the end of nowhere. 
My March 20th deadline for finishing the story is fast approaching, and the pressure is on. But with everyone around me looking forward to summer plans, perhaps I can be forgiven for spending a morning blogging about my travel dreams and calling this task part of the job. And, I’m certain, you could be forgiven for spending your “free time” leaving us a comment rather than working on your taxes or folding laundry or paying bills. So tell us, please, we can’t wait to hear from you: What’s on your bucket list?


Kathy Faucheux (pronounced fo’- shā) is a former foreign language teacher who married her high school sweetheart, thus joining a lively, close-knit French family from the New Orleans area. Recently widowed, she’s moved home to North Louisiana to be near her mother, best-selling author Jennifer Blake, and to pursue a writing career. She’ll be publishing her first book with Steel Magnolia Press in early spring.


Landra said...

This is a topic of discussion that has come up a lot between me and my friends.

My bucket list is rather small and most likely laughable, but here's a few of them:

-Go see a chippendales show.
-Visit Las Vegas
-Tour England, Ireland, and Scotland
-See Van Halen in concert.

Kathy Faucheux said...

Those are great ones, Landra! I haven't thought about the Chippendales in years, but I have been wishing I could see the Bellagio. And who doesn't want to go to Great Britain? As for Van Halen, well, now that David Lee Roth is back with the group, my friend Felicia and I just might have to take a road trip to their nearest venue!

Suzy said...

Travels are definitely at the top of my bucket list too Kathy. So many places I can't think of them all right now, but Greece, Egypt, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, Australia & the Redwood Forest come to mind :-) I also have decided I'm renting a villa for a month (or as long as I can afford) in Italy for my 50th birthday! Hmmm...what else...okay...I want to sleep in a castle, learn Russian, knit a sweater, & write a mystery novel! Your new book sounds fun...Grand Isle??? Love it!

Kathy Faucheux said...

Thanks, Suzy! More good ones to add to my list. Hey, you might need a travel buddy for that month in Italy. Keep me in mind!

Kathy Faucheux said...

And you're close, Suzy. While doing a little research for the book, I've been looking at my pictures from Grand Isle and those posted by friends and family. But I won't be using Grand Isle itself. I'm adding an imaginary one down there somewhere near Cocodrie and the group of islands that make up Isles Dernieres. That way, I can give it a bit of a Key West vibe.

Jennifer Blake said...

Can't resist chiming in, since I've made several bucket lists at different times. Here a combo on one from last year with one from yesterday:

Go around the world on a freighter--or a cruise ship, I'm not picky!
Play Auntie Mame to my grandchildren (“Oh, the wonders we will see…”) once more.
See the pyramids and the temple at Karnack, cruise down the Nile.
Live in Italy at least six months.
Be in Venice during Carnevale. (Do you see an Italian trend here?)
Use up all my half million frequent flyer miles!
Have a house beside the sea, any sea.
See El Divo in concert.
See Australia and New Zealand.
See the Hermitage at St. Petersburg.
See the Little Mermaid at Copenhagen.
Learn Italian.
Become fluent in French.
Eat lobster in Maine.
Go to Alaska in the motor home.
Attend an opera at the Met.
Kiss the Blarney Stone.
See the ancient family seat of the Blakes in England.
Ride the Orient Express from London to as far as it goes.
Write the matrilineal society book that I’ve had in mind for 20 years.
Write Harlequin-type stories set in Italy—and take a tax deduction for research travel!
Help the girls make a career in writing.
See the Great Wall of China.
Have a home greenhouse again.

Don't want much, do I???

Kathy Faucheux said...

I'm so glad you shared your list! And since I'm one of your travel buddies, I'm thrilled that it's so long! I think I'll just print yours instead of making my own.

So, how many of these do you think we can check off in 2012?

Tamelia Tumlin said...

I guess I'll post my bucket list as well (or at least what I have on it so far). :) Travel seems to be everyone's goal (maybe we are all a bit part gypsy ourself). LOL!
My list includes...
Disney World (which may just be attainable this summer if all goes well...ahem.. I wonder why that might be, Kathy) LOL!
A cruise somewhere (can be a short one at first) Maybe Mexico? Or Bahamas?
Oddly enough I want to visit Amish country as well.
I'd love to see Greece, Italy, and Spain
Egypt would be fascinating
Ireland (I used to date a guy from there and he made it sound so fabulous)
I hope to retire from teaching reasonably early (20 years would be nice) and supplement my retirement with a writing career.
Learn to speak Spanish fluently
Ok... here's the real wild one.. I want to build a Morrocan style house with the interior courtyard, fountains and exotic decor.

Kathy Faucheux said...

I loved reading your list, Tamelia! It seems we want to go to some of the same places. Maybe after you and Lindy retire, all the SMP writers can spend a few months in Italy together seeing the sights and working on a set of novellas. They could all feature Italian princes or tycoons like the hero of your latest book! And it would be tax-deductible! Yay!

Landra said...

Italy?? Oh that sounds wonderful! Yes, let's go! The food, the wine, and the location, heaven!

Felicia said...

Here's what's on my current bucket list:

Visit Australia - I've been longing to go since seeing Crocodile Dundee!

Visit Ireland - lots of Irish in my heritage! A photographer friend recently shot a wedding there and the photos were INCREDIBLE! I've never seen so much green!

Christmas in New York with Michael and the kids. I even have a separate NYC bucket list that I’ve been accumulating for years! Eat at Morimoto’s. Have frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Visit FAO Schwartz. Take a carriage ride through Central Park…

Washington D.C. – I went on a work trip several years ago and visited the Lincoln Memorial at night. I sat on the steps to call Michael to tell him about it and just wept when he answered the phone! I can’t wait to share with my family the beauty and whispers of history that flow everywhere in our nation’s capitol!

Go on an Alaskan cruise.

Complete a triathlon. Okay, that’s not really on my list. It just sounds good snuggled amid all the food-related endeavors! Michael has completed lots of triathlons and used to speak glowingly about couples who completed them together. I finally told him that even if I lost weight and got in really, really, really good shape, I would never have any desire to torture myself like that! I admire those who do, but I’m quite lazy by nature!

Take the kids to Disney for two straight weeks.

Start singing again. I haven’t sung onstage since I was pregnant with Elizabeth, so it’s been more than 8 years!

Become a published children’s book writer.

Build our own house. I’ve been sketching plans for years. The entire house will center around the kitchen – which contains a fireplace and sitting area! Pinterest is giving me lots more great ideas!

And a road trip with you to see Van Halen would be fabulous!

Kathy Faucheux said...

Felicia, I can tell from this beautifully eloquent list that your children's books are going to be fabulous!

I agree with you about photos from Ireland. The sky there seems bluer, the lighting seems magical, and everything else is, well, green just as we've always heard it would be.

I've been wanting to take my kids to Washington D.C. for years. The plan was to go before they took American History in high school, but that trip never happened, and now I've missed that timing with the three boys. This year is booked up, but maybe we'll add it to next year's to-do-list.

I hope you get to do everything on your list soon! And maybe we should check into Van Halen's tour dates. This might be the only chance to mark that off a mental bucket list we made, um, decades ago...

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Wow, you guys have such wonderful lists! Aside from the rather mundane wish to completely remodel my current home and to never have to fix a water leak out in the fields again (which aren't really bucket items, are they?), my list is pretty short.

My main bucket goal was to retire early and have a place where I can take in a few beasties who need a loving home. I have that, so now I just need a few more beasties. While I'm not choosy for the most part, I would love to take in a rescue horse that I can eventually ride.

My secondary goal was to get a book or two published. Be careful what you wish for! Writing is addictive, and one or two books not nearly enough.

I have bigger dreams, of course, but none that I would regret not having accomplished if today were my last. So I'm either the most boring person in the world or one of the most content. I suppose it's just possible I'm both ;o).

Kathy Faucheux said...

I think it's great, Phoenix, that you've done almost everything on your bucket list and are content. There's a quote by James Oppenheim that says, "The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet." So it seems that you're the wisest of us all! Of course, those of us who benefit daily from your publishing and technology savviness already knew that!