Traditionally, a Bucket List records aspirational trips to unexplored destinations. Chartered client, Jeunesse Park, took a different route – literally – on her recent travels: she made her Bucket List all about seeing people who mean so much to her.
Around the world in 90 days!
Traditionally, a Bucket List records aspirational trips to unexplored destinations. Chartered client, Jeunesse Park, took a different route – literally – on her recent travels: she made her Bucket List all about seeing people who mean so much to her. Here is Jeunesse’s account of her epic journey to connect with special people in her life. Be inspired!
I realised that, having worked so hard all my life, I had left little space for enjoying family and friendships. In recent years, I have lost my parents, my life partner and, in 2018, my close childhood friend and another two friends died. Other friends and family were facing transitions, and some were feeling a bit adrift, even depressed.
I decided to live life to the full while I can still walk, talk and think for myself, to revisit people I care deeply for and places I have lived. To finance my trip, I used money I earned running my family home (all children moved out years ago) as a BnB for four years. I bought a round-the-world trip, not more expensive than flying return to the furthest spot on the planet.
Here is a brief travelogue.
My first stop was London, beautiful in the summertime, where I visited a cousin I have loved since we were tiny girls. We now work together on a Bushman project that is close to our hearts. Together, off we went to Paris to drink wine, eat oysters, walk kilometres daily, chatter and laugh a lot.
The following destination was not my favourite, but it was where (it turns out) I was needed. My brother in Los Angeles needed input on some family issues. I always love seeing him and hope I helped.
A dear friend, the first ever Mexican Ambassador to South Africa who studied his Masters in the ‘greening’ of Mexico City via UNISA, invited me to visit Mexico City. He had translated my ‘Greening Booklet’ and distributed it to a million Mexican schools. I was delighted to stay with him and his wife and explore wonderful museums and galleries. The terrible pollution, and seeing my friend suffering from asthma, was disturbing, though. Like Cape Town, Mexico City is drying up and he introduced me to top water people in government. Some may join us in May 2019 at the W12 Congress in Cape Town for the first 12 major world cities running out of water.
Back in the USA, I spent 10 days with my ex-husband. Forty years ago we had travelled across the country in a camper van. We had planned to camp in Yosemite National Park and for us then to drive north to Seattle, but the park was closed owing to raging fires. The North-West Pacific, full of beautiful natural places where I am most happy, was besieged by fires and choking smoke. This was truly, as the Plume app* describes it, an airpocalypse. We did find some lovely places to camp along the magnificent coast and engaged in fiery climate change, political and philosophical discussion en route. Our marriage had ended badly. This time, we resolved much: with time to chat, we heard each other’s side of the story and agreed that we are friends forever.
My next sojourn, beautiful Seattle, USA, where I had visited my uncle four years before while on a climate training with Al Gore. Back then I believed it was the last time I would see him, so was excited to celebrate his 90th birthday with him. He is quite deaf and succumbing to Alzheimer’s, though remembers his youth. He quipped, “I may be losing my mind and my hearing, but not my sense of humour!” We giggled and reminisced.
My next stopover was the garden island of Kauai, Hawaii, but climate change beleaguered me there, too. I had booked a small AirBnB between a beach and a river. On arrival, flood warnings greeted me as a hurricane approached. I relocated to a hotel, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and my beautiful Californian niece joined me for a week of hiking, cycling and swimming.
I next went to Sydney, Australia to connect with a great environmentalist friend and some family. I cruised the magnificent harbour with a young cousin and her new baby, swam in Byron Bay, where the water is so clear that I could see the flash of fish swimming around me, and walked McMasters Beach with another young pregnant cousin.
I visited relatives who had just lost their son and spent some time hugging trees on his birthday in his favourite spot at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. His bereft mother, who had not ceased weeping, smiled for the first time. Such is the healing power in nature and in bonding with it and each other.
Finally, I stopped off in Bali for a week. My friend, Solar Marc, took me on his motor bike to visit an eco-village. We wore masks to filter out the terrible air pollution and though the seas were cleaner than when I was last there, the island is tragically nothing like the exquisite paradise I lived in in the 1970s.
I highly recommend such a relationship Bucket List. I was on my own, but was never lonely.
My most memorable moments were those spent with people and in nature. Many I stayed with said that I brought good energy and joy into their homes which, along with the feeling of closing circles of life, made this a most fulfilling trip.
I was present in each moment and really appreciated people in my life. Though I visited places I had lived before, I did not reminisce so much as reflect on who I had been then, who I am now, and how I can consciously live the rest of my life.