Bucket lists. What are they, why do we make them? According to Stanford, a bucket list is an itemised list of goals, experiences or achievements that people want to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” — or die.
I made my first and only bucket list when I was 12. For me, the things I put on that list were pipe dreams, things that I never imagined I would do, but that I was content with dreaming about. And they were all big things:
Swim with sharks
RIde in a hot air balloon
See the northern lights in person
Travel the world
In the 7 years since I made that list, I hadn’t made a dent in it, and all of a sudden I was diving headfirst into 6 weeks overseas. 6 weeks away from my family, 6 weeks exploring a new city, 6 weeks working in a foreign country. And now, five weeks in, I realise that that’s what this trip has been to me – bucket list moments left, right and centre. The end of every week brings a weekend ready to be explored, and every night is an opportunity to get out and see the city, try a new dessert and mark the day with a new experience.
I keep pinching myself to make sure this is all happening. Every time I encounter something new and exciting, the predominant thought running through my head is “I cannot believe this is my life”. I’m constantly torn between trying to keep my phone in my pocket to live in the moment, whilst also wanting to capture it permanently. Having the ability to fly out of state for a weekend away not once but twice has been such a privilege that has brought such incredible memories. It has been a journey of coming to terms with this reaction and relishing in those moments, while recognising that, especially in India, most people won’t have the chance to experience them.
Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve realised it that in the many memories and experiences that will stay with me, it is the most unexpected ones that I especially hold onto. Riding a camel in Jaisalmer while the sun sets was something I’ll never forget, but so was playing catch with the handlers in the sand dunes using a water bottle filled with sand. Going to see the Taj Mahal was insane and so beautiful, but I had just as much fun riding a ferris wheel in a pop up street carnival. Locals feeding cows roti in the morning, our taxi driver stopping to buy himself a cup of chai, finding the best vada pav in Mumbai. All the little things combined have made this trip a whole bucket list in itself.
So yeah, if you had told me a year ago that I would spend my summer interning in Mumbai, riding a camel, going to the desert, visiting the Taj Mahal, I would have laughed in your face. Even now, I’m still no closer to achieving most of the items on my bucket list but maybe it’s time that list was updated to reflect all the small everyday things that have made this trip so special.