Travel bucket lists can be macabre, locking their authors into a sense of obligation cloaked in the tacit expectation of death. And there’s also the problem of scale – bucket lists are often so ambitious and grand that they become logistically more or less impossible to accomplish.
A travel to-do list, on the other hand, can be more of a push than a prison. This is mine.
1. Get on a train with no destination in mind.
2. Have a cup of coffee at Café Bon in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighbourhood. The coffee is very good, and the owners go out of their way to select a cup that matches each customer’s personality. (They are said to stock 1500 or so cups.)
3. Be surrounded by fireflies at dusk.
4. Visit Ordubad in the far south of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave – right on the border with Iran – to eat the local lemons, said to be so flavourful that they can be eaten raw with just the merest sprinkle of sugar.
5. Make a journey by cargo ship.
6. Do the four-day hike from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island.
7. Go swimming in bioluminescent waters at night.
8. Eat a sliced pork sandwich with slaw at Craig’s Bar-B-Q in De Valls Bluff, Arkansas.
9. See the Queen of the Night (Selenicereus grandiflorus) during its single night of full bloom.
10. Cycle across the flat eastern Austrian state of Burgenland, starting in just across the northern border in Bratislava and ending up in the lowlands of the Pannonian Basin in eastern Slovenia.