Day 18. Start Packing

There’s a WordPress blog that I’ve recently started to follow — Bucket List Publications.  The author of the blog creates a new bucket list every year; and the other day she shared this year’s list of 100 things she wants to do.  Yes, 100!  She has completed some, but still.  I was exhausted just reading it.  That’s what I call ambitious.  Anyway, she invited readers to share their lists, as well.

Her list intimidated me at first.  I thought, God, where do I even start?   Then my phone rang, and that was it for a while.  Then, without being aware I’d even been thinking about it, a couple of hours later a list popped into my head.  I won’t bore you with all of it, but I will say that out of 10 things I’d like to do, 5 were travel-related.  Even more interesting, at least to me, is the fact that out of those 5, I’ve been hankering after 4 of them for quite some time.

So I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating, and get on with it.

The one I hadn’t thought about doing before I read Lesley’s blog is learning to speak Italian while living in Italy.  Over the years I have wanted to learn to speak Italian, but I never considered doing it by living among the people — which one could do even for three or four months.  Nobody ever said I had to become fluently bilingual.

Volunteering at an elephant sanctuary is something I’ve wanted to do since my trip to India.  Despite their size, their unpredictability and the fact that they are capable of attacking even their keepers (as happened last year at a sanctuary), there is something very gentle about elephants.  I am fascinated by them because, like humans, they grieve.  There was an incredibly moving story that made the news this past spring about a herd of wild African elephants, who made their way through the bush to mourn the death of Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who had, years before, saved their lives.

I did a fair bit of research on elephant sanctuaries and found one I really wanted to go to:  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  Among the other incredible work they do, they have a shelter for orphaned baby elephants.  It’s now run by his widow, Dame Daphne Sheldrick.  She has, over the years, successfully reared more than 130 newborn orphans, some from just hours old.

Unfortunately they don’t take volunteers.  No room for them to live.   They are also concerned that the elephants, who have already been traumatized enough, will become too attached to humans, who will end up leaving.  But as I can’t get this idea out of my mind, I must persevere until I find a sanctuary with volunteer programs.  Or, at the very least, take a trip and go to visit this shelter.  You can visit.

Something else I’d like to do is spend about a month in Paris, visiting a different arrondissement every day or two.  The catch is, I’d be taking the Metro.  Now to you, that may not seem like anything out of the ordinary.  But I have absolutely no sense of direction.  I spend my life, lost.  So for me this would be a huge leap of faith.  Of course, what’s the big deal if I do get lost and end up where I wasn’t planning to go?  Might turn out to be more fun, actually.  More of an adventure.

Speaking of adventures, how about the ultimate adventure?  I think it would be fabulous to live somewhere I’ve never even been to before.  To just pack up and go — for three months or six months or a year.  Perhaps even longer.  I’ve thought about doing it for a long time.  So why not?

By now you’re either thinking that I’m very wealthy (an incorrect assumption) or you’re wondering how I plan to support myself, while I’m off gallivanting here, there and everywhere.  Which brings me the last item on my bucket list:

I am a writer.  Anybody want to buy a travel story or two?  Or three?  Just thought I’d ask.

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