“Carter and I saw the world together, which is amazing when you think that only three months ago we were complete strangers. I hope that it doesn't sound selfish of me, but the last months of his life were the best months of mine. He saved my life, and he knew it before I did. “
Edward Cole - The Bucket List
I’ll admit, I’ve never seen the movie The Bucket List. Let’s just say it’s on my bucket list.
A few weeks ago, I returned from the trip of my life. A polar expedition to Western Greenland in the Arctic circle. Typically, my idea of a vacation is a warm climate, lovely turquoise water, and packing as little clothes as possible. This was quite the opposite of the norm.
Traveling to the arctic was the furthest thing from my mind, until I became the digital marketing director for a polar expeditions company. It’s important to the company to have new employees to take a polar expedition, in order to get first hand knowledge of what our customers experience.
I’m not going to repeat my entire adventure, as you can read all about it in my previous article. Suffice it to say it was the most amazing trip of my life.
As I’ve said in prior articles, this trip was a combination of work and vacation. As the ship is smaller than the norm with a maximum capacity of 114 passengers, it’s fairly easy to get to know your fellow travelers. One of the first things I did notice were the amount of baby boomers. Not just people in their late 50's, but the first generation of baby boomers.
2011 was the year the first of the boomers turned 65 years old. Which meant on my cruise, the older boomer group was between 65 – 75. The majority of them
were young at heart, had constant smiles on their faces, and kept up with the younger crowd. They were there to not just see the arctic, but experience the arctic!
Don Mankin, the self proclaimed ‘adventure Geezer’, said, "We all have those things we want to do and then of course as you get older, time is running out,"
My new friends took zodiac boats off the ship for a beach landing, hiked in their wading boots, heavy parkas, water proof pants, and so on. I was amazed at the stamina many had when choosing to climb up a mountain for a better view, brave the colder weather, enjoy the end of the day recap with a child’s eye on what we were in store for the next day.
During dinner, I sat with many different people. We spoke of the day, enjoyed each other’s company and spoke of where we were from in the world. There were travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Taiwan, Austria, and Australia. (Forgive me if I missed anyone) For me, it was exciting to be of only six passengers from the United States. I was able to pick up some new words. Unfortunately my adopted British accent didn’t even make it back to the states.
Being the inquisitive person I am, I began to ask some questions as to what made them choose to pick a vacation where they were so active? Why aren’t they soaking up the sun in the Caribbean?
The answers ranged from “boring”, to “been there”, to “that’s where the old folks go”. One sweet lady from the UK who rarely had much to say, exclaimed in no uncertain terms, that she’ll sleep when she’s dead! (It was much funnier in a British accent!)
Let’s be clear, There were people of all ages on the ship. There were even some multigenerational families that traveled together. Although this article has been mostly about what baby boomers are doing when they travel, not all physically explored the lovely fjords, or toured the little towns along the Western Greenland coastline. Some were content just enjoying the views of the fjords, the incredible icebergs, and the educational lectures from our amazing expedition team. While on the ship, the food was equivalent to the Michelin travel guide, beautiful state rooms, and incredible service by an amazing staff.
So, the idiom “Bucket List” did not come from the 2004 movie. It just happens to be more of simplistic term for the things I want to do before I kick the bucket.
All for the love of the expedition!
If you have anything to add about an adventure you've either crossed off, or are about to cross off your bucket list, please do so in the comments!