I used to have a bucket list, and I used to think completing it would make me happy.
In 2009, after finally ending a long, drawn-out battle with my doctoral thesis, I set out into the world, with a backpack and a ticket to India and South America. On my journey, I dutifully intended to complete the predetermined things that ‘I had always wanted to do before I die’:
- see the Taj Mahal,
- trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu,
- take those incredible surreal reflection shots on the Bolivian Salar de Uyuni,
- pair wine and steak in Mendoza,
- party it up in Buenos Aires,
- go to Carnaval in Rio.
Maybe, if I got round to it, I would also snake my way north to spend time living in a celebrated, world-class city like New York or London (forgetting that I had come from a celebrated, world-class city already, Sydney).
It was a list of my so-called ‘life goals’, things that I had gleaned from glossy travel magazines, movies, documentaries, Lonely Planet guides, friends’ Facebook albums and a lifetime worth of other bucket-list creating impulses. For sure, I imagined, getting these things ticked off would make me a more complete, satisfied person.
Or something like that.