THE ULTIMATE BUCKET LIST DREAM | TOUCHING THE POLES

posted in: Bucket List, Outdoors, Personal | 26

I have become somewhat known for the state of my bucket list. It’s the way I introduce myself at events, it gets mentioned when I see old friends or meet family for dinner, and tends to occupy my thoughts more often than not. The version here on my blog is in need of an update (must do that soon), but even without adding all the new things that haven’t quite made their way onto the official version, it’s a huge and unwieldy beast. It’s quite un-tamable; every time I am fortunate enough to tick something off it, I end up adding a whole load of other things to the bottom. It includes a huge variety of things that are not only adventure or outdoors related, but that come under a number of categories that should keep me going for a very long time.

My Ultimate Bucket List Dream, Splodz Blogz

While sometimes I do look at it and wonder what on earth I’ve done by writing it all down and therefore setting myself up to fail (there is no way I’ll ever tick everything off, even if I had all the time and money in the world), the vast majority of the time it provides me with inspiration and motivation to get out and get on.

I was recently featured in an online article for International Women’s Day for which one of the questions was “what are the top three things on your bucket list”. And actually the top thing on my list, my ultimate bucket list dream, is very easy for me to talk about. I’ve been asked a number of times other than for that particular article, and I happily give the exact same answer every time. It trips off the tongue instantly and without thought, and has not changed for a good number of years. What is it? Well…

My ultimate bucket list dream is to touch both the North Pole and the South Pole.

It’s as simple as that sentence is short. I don’t know or mind how, don’t have any particular desire to make it one long expedition travelling between the two, and don’t even mind if I get to each under my own steam or via some form of magical engine powered flying machine. I did originally think I could ride a motorbike to each in some super adventurous “first woman to” style situation, but while that would be SO cool, when I think about it I would be so deeply happy just to go and be there regardless of the level of adventure others considered me to be having.

There is something about the cold and icy landscape of the Arctic and Antarctic that draws me in and takes over my thoughts at night. My favourite places in the world are cold, covered in ice and have a pretty glow about them that changes as the light moves across the sky. I find the landscape and wildlife of each Pole totally fascinating and yearn to see it for myself. I imagine myself stood in the middle of a massive sheet of white ice, under a clear sky, looking out into the distance and seeing nothing at all other than more ice and more sky. I imagine sitting still and quiet while watching penguins waddle about and huge whales breach. I imagine standing on a boat crashing through ice and swaying with the swell. I imagine grabbing a camera and getting the most awesome trig point selfie of my life.

Winter Holiday in Ruka, Finland

Ice and snow in Ruka, Finland.

But when I speak of my dream I am instantly dismissive. It’s just so huge. I mean, other than suddenly finding myself with a shed load of money from a random or unknown source, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I mean, as a 36-year-old full-time employed communications professional with no spare cash or time and very little expedition experience. My knowledge of both the Arctic and Antarctic is limited to what I read in magazines and see on television documentaries, and I don’t know anyone who has been to either. I wonder if it is worth me spending any more minutes thinking about this thing than I have done already? Some people have said, “just make it happen” and the like, but really, how?!

But this is exactly the point of my bucket list. Yes this particular dream is probably out of my reach, at least this week, but a whole load of the other things on that very same list are already in the diary. Last weekend alone I cycled down a hardcore mountain bike run, climbed down a hole in the middle of a field and crawled through some caves, and shot a gun at some flying clay discs (blogs on each coming just as soon as I find time to write them!). Bucket lists, dreams, wishes, whatever you want to call them, are meant to challenge us. They are meant to inspire us. They are meant to occupy our thoughts at night and fill us with excitement. They are meant to worry us and make us question our sanity. They are meant to motivate and inspire us to do things only we think are possible.

Tandem Skydive for RNIB

Tandem skydive, a bucket list favourite.

I would even go as far as saying that bucket lists are meant to be self indulgent. And that is okay. There is nothing wrong at all in wanting something for yourself, for writing it down, and then for making plans to make that thing happen.

You might think that my dream of wanting to touch both the North Pole and the South Pole – to get the best trig point selfie possible – is a bit of a silly thing to be at the top of my bucket list. You might be right, especially as I openly admit I’m not actually expecting to ever tick this one off. But the idea of a bucket list for me means that I can dream silly dreams and in doing so create a whole host of opportunities for me to try new things and create memories that I couldn’t even have imagined when I was younger.

You never know, dreaming of visiting the North Pole may mean I find a way to take part in an expedition in the Arctic circle to see polar bears and the Northern Lights. It may mean I get to have a play on the Triumph concept ice bike they showed at Motorcycle Live last November. It may mean I save up my pennies and get a place on a ship travelling through the Antarctic. It may mean I get to sleep in an igloo. It may mean I can kayak through broken ice. It may simply mean I get to sleep well at night with wonderful dreams of amazing scenery for company.

Now, if someone fancies helping me…

My Ultimate Bucket List Dream, Splodz Blogz

I’d really love to hear what your ultimate bucket list dream is. Write it below, say it out loud. I’m not going to hold you to account or make you feel stupid, whether it sounds super easy or the most difficult thing in the whole world. I simply want you to get excited about your dream and share it with others. You never know, there might be someone else here who can help make it happen.

And if you have any suggestions of things that should be on my bucket list, because there is always room for more, drop a comment below and let me know!

26 Responses

  1. Whilst I hadn’t thought specifically about reaching the poles, I do want to visit and experience the Arctic and Antarctic. And like you, I don’t necessarily have the knowledge or ability, and certainly haven’t done anything to even start working on how to achieve it – but I agree wholeheartedly that thinking about it, is all part of the experience of the bucket list (or whatever someone ones to call the mental to-do list in our heads).
    Keep on dreaming and experiencing – I love reading about your adventures, both big and small.

    • Absolutely – there is everything right with dreaming, it’s the first step to making something happen. And thanks 🙂

  2. Writing a bucket list is something I’ve never really thought about. I find it too scary. It’s a bit too “big” if that makes sense?! I always write a yearly Fun Things To Do This Year list and end up ticking off half the list and moving it to the next year. I definitely don’t think your dream of visiting the poles are crazy! Every great achievement starts with a dream. 🙂

    • It is definitely scary, I mean the very idea includes the notion of death, which I’m not that happy about! A yearly fun list does sound like a great idea, what are the top things on it this year?

      • Ohhhh this year is a bit different as I turn 30 AND I’m buying my first house, which is totally not adventure related – in fact it’s the opposite as i now can’t afford to do as many fun things due to saving! But some things include another bike touring adventure, a triathlon involving an open water swim (my last one was a disaster), bag 20 Munros (I’ve done 4 so far this year) and hopefully a marathon!!

      • That’s a lot for a year! Good list though, lots of fun to be had there 🙂

  3. If you are going to dream then dream big. Mine was to see a whale shark until last July when I finally managed it. I had previously just missed then several times. I now want to see a Polar Bear 🙂

    • That’s what I think too – might as well make it a biggie! I’m with you on the polar bears, I was lucky enough to see both Black Bears and a Grizzly Bear in the wild last summer, a Polar Bear would be the perfect addition to my collection!

  4. Yes, there is definitely something about reaching the poles. Id love to be part of a big team expedition to get to them to enjoy the teamwork and cameraderie; plus I reckon I’d get lonely on my own haha.

    • A group expedition would be awesome, but I have to admit I do like doing challenges alone – I think this kind would be way beyond me independently, definitely the sort of thing made better with a team 🙂

  5. I published a UK bucket list at the end of last year as I thought it would be more achievable – still 98 things left to go on it though!

    • A list for the UK is a great idea, it’s important to remember that we don’t have to go far to have fun and adventure 🙂

  6. How about visiting Patagonia (motorcycle the Careterra Austral perhaps?!) then heading down to Ushuaia – you can get to Antartica from there *without* having to go on a massive expensive cruise (apparently there are boats of varying prices once you are there).

    • That’s the way I thought I would do it… you know, in my dreams 😉 I like the idea of road tripping to Ushuiaia anyway.

      • I would recommend that part of the world, obviously 😉 It wouldn’t have to be mega expensive – you can cheapen it up (and make it more of an experience) by wild camping, just eating pasta etc – lol! (although Chile is more expensive than some other SA countries) I see you and LincsGeek doing an extended South American motorbike trip someday anyway though….so I forsee you’d just add it to the end of that as you’d work north to south…;)

      • There is always a way to get it done, I have learnt that over the years. We’d have gone into Mexico last year if it had been a little easier, but the trip was full enough in the end, so there is definitely potential for a South America trip. Africa is probably higher on our list though, we would both really like to head to South Africa.

  7. Oooo aha OK! So I would DEFINITELY recommend SA too – one of my favourite places (probably why I have been 3 times now…!). If you need a hand with any planning, let me know. I also know people out there so could put you in contact if needs be. Just shout!

    • We will definitely give you a shout! In my mind we would combine some motorcycling with a safari and some surfing/hiking. But first, Iceland.

  8. I’m so short of time at the moment that thinking of all the things I want to do is overwhelming. In the not too distant future I would like to do a long distance hike and I really want to go to Norway (well any Nordic/scandi country, but that’s currently top of my list!) Love the idea of touching both poles, I think you might just do it one day 🙂

    • I totally get that feeling, and I often feel that way. But somehow writing it all down helps me make sense of it and also prioritise my hopes and dreams. Norway is on that list, too, I fell in love with Finland and was once told it’s even more beautiful.

  9. This is such an inspiring post. Why shouldn’t we go all out for our dreams.

  10. This is really inspiring, I was going to reply and say I don’t have a bucket list, but with no thought at all I knew straight away what would be at the top. And a little bit of thought later, it was several dreams long.
    I fully agree that the cold and icy places of the world are just wonderful, too.

    • Ha ha that’s how mine started! So go on there… what’s at the top of this non-existent list?!

  11. I was reading about Ben Fogle’s trip to Antartica last night and it sounds like an absolutely mind blowing place, with lots of fun and strange quirks – have you heard about the static thing? Crazy! I hope you can make the trip one day! It is certainly more do-able than in Scott’s day and who knows what the future holds 🙂 I’d love to hike the AT or PCT.

    • It just sounds so amazing, a totally unusual place that has to be seen to be believed. And I wanna see penguins! I would absolutely love to do the PCT; I rode all the way down the west coast last summer and the scenery is totally stunning.

What do you think? Comment below...