The term “Bucket List” is one most of us know, thanks to the movie The Bucket List (2007). Basically, it a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfil and life adventures you desire to experience before you die.
Some people like the word bucket list and some don’t. There are other names for it – an anti-bucket list, life list, things-to-do list, call what you like – to me, it is an action list to live my life without regret.
As for me, I didn’t really have one until after I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014. It was a series of events that lead to this mountain that changed my life.
In the mid-1990s, I had a bone tumour removed from my face that meant a face reconstruction with 24 titanium pins. The operation was successful.
However, when the drain was removed from neck, my jugular vein was nicked. I started to bleed to death in front of them. As fate would have it, my doctor was in the hospital car park and after a five-day intensive care stint; all was well.
Back on the ward, I swore to live my life differently and wrote a list of the things I wanted to do before I actually died – they were either adventures or activities. However, I let life get in the way, and then 16 years later I received a wake-up call.
Within one year, three friends passed away from cancer – one was my work bestie, and it knocked me for a six. It had me questioning my life. How was I going to live it?
Then the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro came up – it was like a nudge from the universe – what was I going to do with it?
On September 15, 2012, I reached the summit of Kili, the world’s highest standing mountain at 5985 metres. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done!
We left at midnight – it was freezing – my progress was slow due to the high altitude playing havoc with my asthma.
However, my vitals, such as oxygen percentage and heart rate, were good. So, the head guide Amos decided he and I would climb separately from my buddies.
We plugged along for hours. Just before daylight, I wanted to give up. And said to Amos: “Let’s go down after I’d seen the sunrise over the Tanzanian plains and Kili’s snow”.
He smiled and nodded. When the sun rose it was spectacular, I began to warm up and feel better.
Amos said see up there; “It is Stellar Point, the first summit, about an hour.” I nodded. Then from Stellar Point, he pointed to the second summit and the peak. I nodded.
We set off and made it – to the top of the world’s highest freestanding mountain. It was an amazing, exhilarating and exhausting!
Yes, I did it – climbed Kili. So what else could I do?
One of the first things was to produce a film on our trip called Kilimanjaro – Hakuna Matata. It was shown on the big screen in the local theatre and sits on YouTube.
Then I started to seize other opportunities including the Outback Marathon, skydiving over Lake Macquarie, sleeping under the stars at Redhead, climbing three peaks in South America for charity, Annapurna trek and Kathmandu Valley earthquake recovery project.
Still to tick off is seeing Mt Everest, the Taj Mahal and Northern Lights as well as learning to sing, flamenco classes oh – and did I mention – I’m also going to write a book!
The adventure at the very top is to keep spreading the word to Live Your Bucket list – regardless of your gender or age, draw up a list and start doing it. It’s your life, and you can live your dreams.