“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
I’ve decided to continue starting each entry with a quote (until I draw a blank and end up opening with things like “turns the milk chocolately”). After last entry’s Huzzah light-bulb I’ve also decided that you are to be subjected to some more of my doodle illustrations too you lucky things. Today’s topic is The Bucket List (not the movie). Things to do before you die. Dreams, Aspirations, Ambitions, wishes etcetera etcetera etcetera; the thesaurus starts to get a bit ropey after this point. Everyone’s got a List even if they haven’t got it written out and official; it’s the things you’ve always thought you really wanted to do or experience but which mostly you will never do. Now that departure is edging closer I’m starting to consider how much of mine I will be able to fit in on this round so here’s my list:
1) Buy an Arabian horse in Egypt and ride it home to England.
Ok, I thought I’d get that one in there first because I grant you it is the most ridiculous and unlikely. I’ll have to save it till either I’m loaded (obviously inevitable one day… somehow) or some generous organisation decides that they want to sponsor me. It might not even be possible to take an animal over borders like that, who knows – it’s still my biggy. I concocted this one somewhere between galloping about on Oscar the lovely Arabian in Dahab and reading Ranulph Fiennes’ Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, which educated me to the fact that if you’re suitably loco and determined people may pay for you to go and have ridiculous adventures.
2) Get my PADI dive certificate.
This one’s a bit more reasonable and I’ve wanted to do it since before I even knew what a PADI certificate was. My dad’s always loved snorkelling and the sea (provided that it’s definitely not an English sea) and happily got his PADI certificate a few years ago when my brother and I convinced everyone we know to club together and send him and my mum to Thailand for their silver anniversary. When I was about 13 and it became apparent that my big brother was as nervous of open water, particularly when it contained free-swimming fish, as most people are about terrorism, recessions or communism, I became the next most obvious paddling companion for my pop. Three years worth of summer holidays followed consisting of leaving my mum and brother lying on beach towels with summer best-sellers whilst my dad and I chased fish and played at retrieving rocks from the sea floor; bliss. That is until the apocryphal day when he decided to sneak up on me about quarter of a mile off-shore on route to an island and when land in any direction was starting to look very far away. He swam down underneath me, pushed himself off from the bottom and launched me three feet into the air to the tune of a line of expletives I don’t think he knew I was capable of! Anyway, love of the sea is hard-wired and therefore a PADI is mandatory. I’m hoping to get that in the bag in Thailand after the teaching internship.
3) Swimming with dugongs in Koh Libong, Thailand.
This is a particular water-based fantasy. Dugongs are amongst the most adorably ugly animals alive, perhaps second only to the baby aye-aye (google it, I dare you), and as they are allegedly the creatures that sailors originally mistook for beautiful women and the inspiration for mermaids, I especially want to check them out and see if I can get that same connection. Plus – beautiful experience in a beautiful place with a sadly declining species.
3) Horse-back trek around the hill tribes, temples and waterfalls of the golden triangle.
This is the newest listing and I’ve found a company I can do it with just north of Chiang Mai for a quite reasonable amount of money. There are several reasons why I really want to do this with a small select group, a local guide and on horse-back and I’m not going to lie – one of those is because I don’t think I’ll ever be fit or inclined enough to do two weeks of heavy-duty mountain-trekking on foot! That’s not just it though, since I was little I’ve wanted to do a long-distance horse-ride like a cowboy or a Bedouin; head off into the distance with my pack and my trusty steed, ride all day, break camp at night, ride all day and repeat. What better way to see the golden triangle than on a Pyrenean mountain pony, following the same ancient paths and travelling the same way that traders have done for millennia. Plus on horse-back you can cover much greater distances and take in more hidden jungle temples and pools – and there’s no pleasanter way to travel in my opinion. This is definitely happening after the internship; even if I have to put it on the credit card and pay it off in South Korea!
4) Whale-watching and playing with penguins in Antarctica.
That’s pretty self-explanatory really; stunningly beautiful, untouched, amazing. Whales are so eye-wateringly powerful, mysterious and majestic that they give me the shivers and penguins – well they’re penguins, automatic awesome.
5) Work in a beach bar for a few months
White sands, beach huts, cool beer, scuba and snorkelling in the days, coral, exotic fish, hanging out with buff, shaggy-haired scuba-dudes every night in a chilled out little shack… what’s not to like? Everyone should have this phase. Killing time between Thailand and SK perhaps…
6) Be in a real life horse round-up/Movie charge scene
These are two distinct ambitions granted but I thought I’d group them together as the general gist of both is being in the midst of a huge mass of galloping equines (preferably waving a sword and shrieking like a banshee). That’s a one I’ve had since I was knee-high to a hobbit and clinging to the girth of a galloping horse, my parents frantically trying to catch me, life precariously in the balance and squealing with delight and elation. When I was extracted from between the horse’s legs where I’d landed and my parents were trying to ascertain quite how traumatised I was all I said was “Can I do that again?” Who knows, South Korea’s got a burgeoning movie industry; if I stay in the middle and wear a helmet I’m sure no-one will notice a white girl…
I showed you mine, now show me yours…