Two Tears in a Bucket List

There seems to be a lot of talk these days about bucket lists. So much in fact, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made a movie titled just that – The Bucket List.  If you haven’t seen the 2007 movie, there are a few redeeming moments. I’m just not sure there were enough memorable scenes to make two hours with your butt planted on a couch worthwhile.

Travel-related blogs almost always contain at least one article about bucket lists. It’s all the rage.  What travel experiences or achievements do I hope to accomplish before I meet my maker?  What is my bucket list? I can’t deny that it all makes for a very interesting and compelling topic. I can’t ignore that a bucket list embodies the very essence of travel and adventure.  Despite all of this, there’s something about publically creating a bucket list that makes me feel… what’s the word… entitled?

Whoa! Calm down!  I understand how hypocritical I must have just sounded.  Please, before you going throwing Big John’s Adventures in Travel off a cliff with that high-end mobile device attached, allow me to first explain myself.

In my opinion, a bucket list usually tells more about what a person has already experienced or achieved rather than what they hope to one day accomplish. In simpler terms, a bucket list seems to suggest more about where a person has been and less on where they’re going. Now even I’m confused. Maybe I can explain things another way.

I’m a middle-class American male and my bucket list is as follows:

Before I die I hope to:

•ride a bull in Fort Worth

• ski the Swiss Alp

•hit a jackpot in Vegas.

With my bucket list, I just said so much more about where I come from than where I’m going. My desire to ride a bull tells the reader I come from a culture that values the thrill-seeker and adrenaline junky. My hope to one day ski the Swiss Alps tells the reader that my country affords me the lifestyle to ski recreationally and to freely travel abroad. My wish to hit a jackpot in Vegas says that I have the luxury of gambling and spending money haphazardly.

Now, let’s pretend I’m a peasant in a farming village of North Korea. My bucket list is as follows:

Before I die I hope to:

• eat a steak

• see my mother in the South

• buy my grandson a bicycle.

With this bucket list, the reader learns that I live on a meager diet consisting of little meat.  I’ve been separated most of my life from close family members and my government won’t allow me to freely move outside its confining border. My financial state is such that my life savings would be gladly set aside to purchase my grandson a bicycle.

It puts an entirely new perspective on bucket lists, doesn’t it? But is creating a bucket list wrong or just too damn self-centered? I don’t think so, or at least it doesn’t have to be. To dream is to hope and to hope is to live.  A bucket list is just that, it is hope for the future.  I’ve only recently come to realize that my bucket list always seemed so wrong because I was filling it with the wrong types of things. In the end, it’s not about what I’ve accomplished for myself that will have given value to my life. On the contrary, my life will have been of value for every experience or accomplishment I’ve made towards helping others.

It is for this reason, Big John has devised new rules for creating his bucket list. For every self-serving goal or experience I place on that list, I will add two  deeds or actions that might dry a few tears for someone else.  I will call it my Two Tears in a Bucket List.

Big John’s Two Tears in a Bucket (amended bucket) List is as follows:

Before I die I hope to:

• ski the Swiss Alps

• hold an orphaned baby

•help a third-world community build a church.

This is my bucket list.


bucket list

Whether you’re a returning visitor to my site or this is your very first visit, I certainly hoped you enjoyed my article. Before you leave, please post a comment and tell me all about your bucket list. Feel free to explore other areas of my blog and show some love on social media.

Happy travels,

Big John


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