Bucket Lists are funny things. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, the point of them is to checkoff a list of items you wish to experience, usually travel related, prior to kicking the “bucket”/ “finding yourself six feet under”/dead. While I would be lying if I said that I don’t have not one. Hell, I not only have a section on this website that is an old static list of things that I want to do, but also notebooks with random sub-categorized lists, including future trips I want to take. These lists are ones that have been inspired by articles and books that I’ve read;conversations with people about their life and travels; documentaries and movies that I have just watch; or from some other source.
For myself, I could really care less about checking off the items, but for others, it can become a major priority. This has become true for some of my family members after the harshness of reality has reared its ugly head. Life can be short, unfair, and end before you know it. Aging, sickness, and death of loved ones are very powerful motivators when you are forced to deal with the reality of the situation.
For the reasons listed above, I have been helping to identify, prioritize, and plan how my loved ones can check off as many items they can. Thankfully, I am able to get to take two vacations a year for the the past few years with each of my parents.
One even numbered years, I generally take shorter trips (under a week) in the US with my mom, and then longer ( 2 weeks or longer out of the country) with my dad. On odd numbered years, things will switch up, and I will spend a longer period with my mom, and a shorter period with my dad. This allows for my parents and myself to be able save up money and vacation time. This allow my parents to plan their must visit items as on a dream trip where there were no unforseen obstacles, and widdle down their list and decide on their one or two must see places.
For me, I get to not only spend time with each of my parents and get to know and understand them better, but I get the satisfaction of helping them be able to do something they never thought possible.
Some of the more highlights that have occurred in the past few years included:
- With my mom, we had the opportunity to visit Honolulu, HI, where she got to reminisce and point out places where she and my dad lived and frequented while they were stationed there in the Army. While there, we were also able to experience and visit places that she always wanted to go, but was never able to, such as the Allerton Garden on the island Kauai.
- With my dad, we were able to go on a Mediterranean cruise with stops throughout Greece, Italy, and Turkey. He was able to see the history up close and visit the island of Delos, the Parthenon in Athens, a castle in Budrom. Plus, we were able to spend a few days in Rome and even visit Florence for the day.
- With my mom, I was able to take her to New York during Christmas. She got to first hand experience the window displays along 5th Avenue, the crowds in Time Square, the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, views of the city from atop the Empire State building and the Staten Island Ferry, riding the NYC metro system, and a hellish travel day at LGA, all of which she only saw in the movies and on TV.
- With my dad, a road trip to see five baseball stadiums and attend 5 games in 5 days. We managed to make it to Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo all in one piece, albeit with incurring one speeding ticket, but it was a blast and a blur.
While I travel for work, I rarely get to really experience the location I am at. I usually spend most of my time in the office, airport, and hotel (in that order). I am grateful and lucky that when I am able to take vacation, I get to help others explore and experience things that they have only dreamed about. In the following few months, I will share the adventures that I have able to take this year.