My time here in Australia has been winding down, and I've had a lot of people ask me about what's on my "Australian bucket list". At 29, I am far from being a wise old woman, but I am really annoyed at how much weight people put on so called "bucket lists". I am adamantly against bucket lists - because if you wait until the last minute to do all these great things, what the hell have you been wasting your time on in the interim? Why are you saving everything for a bucket list? Get out there and do it, dammit!
There is really only one "bucket list-worthy" item that I'd like to do - visit and experience the Great Barrier Reef. Now that would be a great trip. Unfortunately I can't afford the flight/accommodation/etc required to do the trip. And if I'm going to do the GBR, I'll want at least two weeks to really take it in. A two-week vacation to the GBR isn't in my "time-budget" here in Australia. After all, the reason I came here was to study/learn/train at the lab I'm currently at, not to extensively vacation around Australia.
Google (yeah a great source, I know) defines a bucket list as "a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have to accomplish during their lifetime" or in my case "to accomplish during their time in a certain part of the country/world". You shouldn't make a bucket list 6 months before you die, or 2 months before you leave your location - no, you make your bucket list TODAY. And tomorrow, you start on it!
The GBR is a long-off trip to be planned. But everything else - during the first week after my arrival in Australia, I immediately started doing things, going places, attending festivals, trying restaurants. If you don't start on the things you want to experience on day one, then you'll never give yourself the chance to try it all. I've done a ton in Victoria, seen lots of the tourist places and historic sites. I've been to quite a few museums in the area to learn about the culture, as well as made a small number of friends that have helped me with/taught me about local traditions and customs.
|Do fun stuff! Do it!|
I've done this before on a smaller scale - I did short 3-week trips around the country during my 4th year of vet school. My trips were mainly to visit/work in labs around the country, but also to experience the culture in that region. I got to live in Connecticut for 3 months after first year of vet school, and I did my best to experiences as much as I could during that internship. I'd make great friends, do fun things, and then have to say my goodbyes.
"Bucket list" items (seriously, I hate this term) don't just include food/locations, they also include people. For each trip I've taken, I've been lucky to meet great people both at work and outside of work. I was only there for a short time, so I made the most of the time I had with them. And dammit if there wasn't always that one person who brushed me off for two weeks straight, but then during my last week "Aw! You're leaving soon! Let's get coffee together everyday this week and spend the entire weekend together!" NO... that isn't how it works people. Spend time with people when you can, and one last hurrah is appropriate for a send-off, but it is completely inappropriate to guilt someone into feeling bad for not spending lots of time with them right before they leave.
I'm not naming people, but this has happened to me four times now: Connecticut, Louisiana, Iowa, and Kansas all had culprits. Kansas was by far the worst one. I loved spending time with the people I knew back home - some of them for years. But seriously, I lived in Manhattan for ten whole years before moving to Australia. Yet a few individuals couldn't be bothered with me until *just* before I left. It's insulting. Enjoy the long weekends with friends when they come. Go out for dinners/coffees often - do it for no other reason than "just because".
I've had some friends lose friends/parents this year, and I apologize if the following paragraph sounds flippant. Death is no small matter, and I don't consider it something to be trifled with. My "leaving" locations was temporary for Kansas, but not really for CT, LA, IA. I'll likely never see those people again, maybe I will, who knows. So saying goodbye was semi-final (but not as final as death of course). PEOPLE LEAVE! People move, people start new jobs, lives change. So if they are important to you - SPEND TIME WITH THEM WHILE THEY ARE HERE. They may move, they may get sick, they may end up in a terrible car accident. Ok, I'm being dramatic, but really. Spend time with the people who are important to you.
Ok, back to the traditional "bucket list". "Oh but M, I have kids, I can't experience all the things going on in my location because I'm busy with kids" Yeah that's another bucket list you can tick off everyday - each day is a gift, but especially with kids because they grow so fast and in a blink of an eye they're teenagers! Experience as many activities as you can with your kids, but it doesn't have to be an award-winning restaurant or a huge cultural festival. Moments during a tea party or playing in the sprinkler in the backyard can be more precious than any event you have to pay for. Friends with kids - you probably already know this, I'm preaching to the choir. You know, because I have so much "experience with kids", haha.
In summary.... man this post ended up much longer than anticipated, sorry about that. I'm not really a fan of editing.
In summary... visit the historic places in the area you live, go to a few cultural festivals, go to that restaurant you've been "dying" to eat at. Stop waiting to do that "thing" or that "thing" will be closed/over and you'll have missed it! If you have kids, you can reduce this list as you like, but you're not getting off on the next point.
Spend time with the people who are important to you!!! For me, that's my family. Living overseas has been really rough in that respect, but being so far away from my family has made me appreciate how lucky I was to have them nearby when I lived in Kansas. If it's your buds - spend time with them and don't wait until the week they leave to hang out with them. (They will end up resenting you if you treat them like that)
If you have enjoyed my post, please comment! Really, I think I am the only person who visits this blog anymore....