Before we jump to the fun plans of each of our bucket list items for 2017, I wanted to share something more personal. 2016 was a very difficult year for me in terms of heartbreak and loss and I have felt the grief and despair that I believe Anita experienced too. Without the care, friendships and love from friends and family, I feel certain that she and I would have shared a similar fate. Those around me knew how much I was hurting and really pulled me through the darkness. It is my hope that anyone who feels helpless seeks the help they need. Life isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon and there’s always lessons to live through and learn from.
In 2013, the travel blogging world lost Anita Mac, and many of us lost a friend. Anita inspired each of us in different ways with her huge, welcoming smile, eagerness to help, colorful fashion sense, as well as a shoulder to cry on and a willingness to comfort and listen. For many of us, Anita comes to mind almost daily, but most often during our travels, so each year since her death, our goal has been to honor her in some way. We want to pick up where she left off, as her blog focused on bucket list travel, so we are going to dedicate an item from our own bucket list to her during 2017.
We hope this reminds our readership of the wonderful world we live in, how we can all experience it, and how fragile life can be. For Anita, we pledge this for 2017:
Where in the World is Lola? (moi)
This past year I didn’t have a bucket list item for Anita but I guess my own personal yearly bucket list wish is to always travel somewhere new. I can happily say that did happen in 2016. I traveled to the Dominican Republic and was able to donate some of my time helping those in need there. Otherwise, 2016 was a pretty quiet year for me travel-wise. I’m hoping 2017 will be a bit more active.
I am starting off my year headed back to New Orleans and cannot wait. Other than that, I have no firm travel plans as of yet. I think I would like to prioritize traveling with some of my travel buddies somewhere – new or old! Some thoughts I have are Scotland and Vietnam but I’m open to anything so long as it is with people who are near and dear to me. Anita would love this. She loved us all being together as a group. Her last trip was, in fact, a group trip with several travel gals to Montreal. So, I hope you’ll consider planning an adventure together with me (you know who you are!).
In less than two months I will be traveling to Anita’s hometown. This is the second time I have visited since she passed away. When I met her at TBEX in Toronto, and I told her I might be skiing the Gatineau Loppet, she invited me to stay with her. When I finally did make it to Gatineau, which is right across the river from Ottawa, Ontario, Anita had already passed. I sadly spent most of my time alone. This year I will be returning to the region to ski in the Canadian Ski Marathon.
The fact that I am returning to Canada actually has nothing to do with my bucket list item for 2017. I am psyched to return to Anita’s homeland, but that is not my 2017 bucket list item. The Canadian Ski Marathon is an endurance race where participants partake in two days of skiing totaling 100 miles. If the number one travel experience I was looking forward to in 2017 was to ski myself into complete exhaustion, then I would be insane. I just needed a hook to tie in travel and Anita. Now that you are honed in on my bucket list, and wondering what the hell it is, I am going to switch gears from cross-country skiing and Canada, but not too far away.
Since I am quite sane, my 2017 bucket list item is to visit Maine, and I am pretty sure it is going to happen. I have signed up to join Bullmoose Patrol on a wilderness canoe trip in October on the Allagash River. I have never been to Maine, so I hope to see some moose, breathtaking fall colors, catch and eat some fresh fish, canoe a beautiful river, and drink some Allagash beer near its source. I am quite certain Anita would approve of all the above.
Follow Ted’s travels on his blog Traveling Ted
The World Wanderer
We encourage you to join us in this quest and take on at least one Bucket List item in 2017, but more importantly, we also hope you take the opportunity to (re)connect with friends and loved ones during this holiday season and throughout the year.
The purpose for writing this post is not only to inspire others to travel the world and explore, but as a way for us to remind all of you who are reading this post to look around you, see who you can reach out to and possibly help reach their goals and feel supported and loved. Our friend and fellow traveler, Anita took her life because she didn’t see any other options, we don’t want anyone else to feel that way.
Please share the momentum.