#21 The Bucket (List) Runneth Over, Not

Why does a great list of endorphin and adrenaline-generating activities have such an ominous name is beyond me.

Everyone has some form of this bucket list thing in their lives, be it stored in their mental notes or scribbled down on their trusty journal, or publicised on their blog. Even though some may be quite eclectic things they want to do and therefore may choose to keep ’em private, like, say doing the chicken dance on a nudist beach (sans clothing, of course), I think it’s a good idea to share the list of things that you want to do in your life with people around you. You never know when you will need someone to join you, help you find out a way to get there easier and faster or simply someone to share your joy and ambitions!

Of course, there are a couple of “universal” bucket list items that I will nonetheless include – no point acting all I’m-a-traveller-so-I-shun-all-touristy-stuff, when secretly (and now openly) I want to see the Grand Canyon and hike the Inca Trail.

Some people like to ‘prioritise’ the items on their lists. I was considering doing that, but I don’t really have a queue for the things I want to do. Ideally, of course I would love to try something like skydiving when I’m young-ish. Yet, I also relish the idea of letting the urge to do a particular thing come to me. Like a food craving, except even more powerful. And if I suddenly don’t feel like it’s particularly appealing anymore, I let it go. I shall control the list, instead of letting the list control me.

And frankly I think the bucket is threatening to overflow… even as we speak. We can never have enough items in the bucket. It seems to be a bottomless pit of ambition and wild adventure.

Fear not, for as long as you (and I) are determined, we will overcome the ominous bucket as we go along. ♥

p.s. Pop over to my list for ideas/inspiration, or if you just wanna compare notes.

#20 Snowboarding Lessons

My first attempt at snowboarding was more than a year ago on the slopes of the Southern Alps. It was a Christmas present — oh what a great (and painful) one indeed — from my boyfriend who was eager to hit the slopes with me. Except I was literally hitting the slopes.

Some people learn snowboarding, at least the basics, on their own without an instructor. I think it’s perfectly doable except you might end up with poor posture and a couple of well-placed bruises… and then some.

One thing about the snowboard: It’s bloody HEAVY. (Okay, maybe I’m a weakling.) But hey, I’m allowed to say that since I weighed in at only 92 pounds at that time. When I eyeball-ed at the thin slab of metal in the rental store, I never imagined it to be so insanely heavy. And it only got increasingly heavier as I trudged up the slope yet another time to practice sliding down. The black and red Burton snowboard felt like lead chains tied to my ankles (although it was probably made of aluminium and some fancy schmancy stuff like Kevlar).

I lost count on the number of times I fell. (Mind you, I don’t give up easily.) All I remembered was the excruciating pain that exploded through my tailbone and my back as I tumbled down the slope — I probably did a little somersault or two too… I didn’t even register that my woollen hat was thrown six feet away from me.

And to add insult to injury, I lay face first in the snow, watching a young freckled boy, barely a day past 16, whiz past me effortlessly on his snazzy neon yellow board. It delivered a quick whip of cold wind, which stung like a slap across my face as my eyes watered with pain, but mostly anger at myself. Why is this so hard? And why does it hurt so much? How did people do it?

By then, I was freezing, I was tired, and I was aching all over. I couldn’t even turn my head around — whiplash? — after I was awkwardly flung over a particularly tricky mogul on the slope.

I was like, F*** this shit, I’m outta here.

Naturally, the expression on my boyfriend’s face resembled that of a disappointed parent looking disparagingly at his ill-performing child. I don’t blame him — he probably already forgot how it was like to struggle when learning how to snowboard for the first time. I just wanted to get home, have a hot shower and lie down to rest my bruised body (and ego).

I remembered telling myself that I will never do this again. It was too hard and too dangerous, and on top of that it wasn’t even cheap to begin with.

Yet, months have passed and I found myself secretly looking forward to the next time I have the opportunity to travel somewhere with a ski station nearby, so maybe, perhaps, I could fit in a Round Two.

Me vs. the Snowboard. Doesn’t that just sound awfully appealing and decidedly reckless?

Even though my mind’s all “Girl, you’re insane”, but my heart is saying “Yes, you deserve that much”.

Like I said earlier, I don’t give up easily. One important lesson the snowboard gave me, is that I need to give myself a second chance. And a second chance it is.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I’m a goofy. ♥

#19 Revamping The Way I Travel

My eight travel-related new year resolutions for the year 2012… with a dash of poignant self-revelations, guilt-ridden self deprecation and the simply straight-up honest stuff. :)


And then, there is more. I mean, how can I just leave it at three? Long winded and over ambitious, as I am, of course there would be more coming. You expected that, didn’t you?

4. Learn to compromise and let go when travelling with a partner.

Sometimes I fail to realise that my travelling buddy/partner is also on the same trip as a whole person, and not simply a travel accessory or an appendage. I know that sounds really bad but I (and I’m sure some of you do too) get preoccupied by all these soul-destroying lists (“I need to check the Giza Pyramids off my list!!”) that I sometimes forget that he or she may have their own lists of things to do (or maybe they just want to chill and relax).

5. Be MORE adventurous, food-wise.

I *need* my rice. I always go back to my comfort zone — Chinese food with all the reassuring fluffy white rice and dishes with a soup on the side — when the going gets tough and I’m sick and tired of fighting with the unknown. This happens especially on the first few days of a trip to a completely new place. I should forget about familiar food when travelling and just accept that to be a real warrior-traveller I need to jump straight into the deep end of the eating pool.

6. Write more postcards.

I always leave the postcard-writing task till the end, and only when I am sitting at the airport terminal waiting to board my flight that I realise I forgot to buy and send some postcards before it’s too late. Bad, bad, bad. But this is why I need to write resolutions, no?

7. Use audio guides in museums!

I started working on this resolution recently but I need to step on it. Sometimes I *still* forget. Since I am going to spend a couple of hours indoors, cooped up in an overrated overwhelmingly crowded museum full of masterpieces, I might as well drop a few dollars to get the audio guide and educate myself thoroughly. (And my pet peeve is people who float aimlessly from one artwork to the next and snapping pictures of them without pausing to appreciate! Own up if you are guilty!)

8. Get fit!

Okay, so this is not entirely travel related but…actually it is. I need to get fit in order to jam in some adventurous and sporty type of activities into my itineraries in the future. I would consciously avoid biking in the countryside or try rock climbing because I know I will be aching for the next few days and I’d hate to feel uncomfortable on a trip. But that’s such a big wander bug NO-NO to avoid what I would otherwise really enjoy. And ironically, I really love hiking! So, I need to get my buggy arse up and get fit!

So here are the eight resolutions at the top of my head (will add them to the mental list when I come up with, naturally) and time to get cracking with ’em! ♥

#18 The Lost (and Found) Art of Wandering

In the age of the all-knowing, all-encompassing guidebook-style travels, most of us seem to think that we have the world below our feet. Line up your leave dates, now with your credit card in hand, you soon have your ticket booked, then bags are packed and you’re ready to rock and roll. The world’s completely in our control because we know the best places to see and eat at, the most exciting things to do, the latest travel trends to keep up with. But do we really KNOW?

Indeed, when most of us, including myself, start planning a trip, we have a go-to mental list inside our heads.

1. Decide what kind of vacation it would be.

If it’s going to be sultry one, most likely you will be on a sunny island, or a lovely beach sipping maitais in your swimsuit. You will be packing light, including the latest summery read. You start to worry if your tummy is flat enough to be beach-worthy. If it’s going to involve shedding serious calories (snowboarding, rock climbing), we’ll reach for our trusty gear list and amp up our workouts at the gym. In any case, you already know what to prepare yourself for, and will likely only plan and pack specifically for that.

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