I’m down to 60 months left in the 62/62 Life is Short Bucket List Challenge. That first 3% of the duration went quick!
The intention was never to focus on doing one per month, particularly as many are challenges that will take some time, and some are done concurrently. I have been making progress though (although this post is actually 8 days into Month 3, so a few things in the update have actually been done this past week).
I kicked off with Challenge 3 – virtual cocktails for Mum, which resulted in a nice three figure sum donated to various charities, and more importantly some really nice media coverage on my Mum’s birthday. I’m going to repeat this challenge each year on 8th April, encouraging people to donate the cost of the cocktail to the many other charity projects I am working on.
Also in April and May were the first discussions and meeting with Cruse Bereavement Care to look at email marketing for Mother’s & Father’s Day. The draft plan is to develop a white paper (fancy word in the business-to-business sector for an advisory document) on how best to do email marketing in the lead up to those days in 2017 to ensure that people grieving don’t get an email with the subject line of ‘Forgotten Mum, there’s still time to get a gift’. I’ve been saving all the best & worst examples (no naming and shaming though). There were some surprises though – some online retailers already allow you to ‘untick’ the box for Mother’s and Father’s Day marketing (Notonthehighstreet.com is one), but even so, you may not want to untick it if you have to buy for others (buying for your partner’s mum for instance), so the subject line is still important.
Rather excitingly, I’ve also booked my Everest Base Camp trek for Challenge 4, and have revised Challenge 47 a bit. Instead of ‘building’ a school myself, I’m focusing on raising the money for a rebuilt classroom. I thought more about it, and while I’m not afraid of DIY, robust building is what the people of Nepal need and many organisations are teaching the Nepalese special building techniques. Hammering some nails might make me feel like ‘I’ve helped’, but actually that’s not where the real help is needed – they need money to re-build and they need tourism revenue to re-invest into building work. Recently I attended a fundraising event run by Exodus called ‘Himalaya: One Year On’, which was amazing, and during the event, I learned more about the Nepal Youth Foundation. I’m about to sponsor a student scholarship via Wilderness School, but I wanted to set a fundraising target for my actual trek, so now I’ve got a fundraising page with a specific target for Challenge 4 & Challenge 47, to raise in the region of £4000 for Nepal Youth Foundation so that they can use this to build a school with the right design to help minimise the loss of life in an earthquake, and to provide a place where children can go to gain an education.
There’s been a few other small steps towards other challenges. I’ve attended three National Geographic Traveller magazine #TravelGeeks Rush Hour events on travel writing (broadly covers many of my challenges), South America (challenges x, x) and yesterday I went to the Arctic and Antarctica event which included a penguinologist (yes it’s a real word, so don’t red under-squiggle it WordPress). So I’m a bit more clued up on what to choose for challenge 58 (no penguins up north though) and definitely for challenge 59 (not sure if the penguinologist approves of ‘Happy Feet’ movies). Speaking of penguins, and my ‘David Attenborough’ inspired challenges on the list, this penguin ‘interview’ to commemorate his 90th is great.
Another small step in the right direction has been to establish contact with my local Girl Guides group for Challenge 48, and also I’ve set aside one Saturday a month to volunteer in London at a homeless meal centre to help gain a better understanding of the homeless situation for challenge 46. One small change in my life was swapping one of my weekly magazines (that I was flicking through in seconds) with buying a copy of the Big Issue each week. I’d always just figured that I wouldn’t find it interesting for £2.50, but when I considered that I spent that on the other title each week, I decided to try it out. I was surprised at what a diverse read it was,and is now my new bath-time read (although a tip – it doesn’t fare well if you accidentally drop it). I now speak to my local seller each week, who I’ve only ever walked past without a glance before, and now find myself saying ‘hello’ to other sellers and being able to actually decline to buy a copy by telling them I actually have one and what my favourite article was. I’ve even recognised one seller from him being featured in the weekly profile, and it’s really interesting to read the story of how they have become a Big Issue seller.
Challenge 45 has commenced with an element of reality – I opened a Help to Buy ISA. Property prices still make this a formidable challenge, but I’ve started the ball rolling, which is a first step to saving.
There are a few more other bits and bobs, but overall there is progress. I have a big planner with 62 squares on the wall with each month between April 2016 and May 2021, and little post-it notes for each of the 62 challenges. As one gets ‘locked in’ to a date (e.g. Challenge 4), the post-it comes off and the Sharpie comes out to commit to it. I’ve also been using my project and programme management experience to look at what things need to happen first before I can achieve a challenge – things like the writing challenges earlier on will potentially allow me to work more remotely and therefore not have the constraints of only a certain amount of annual leave per year. Therefore there may be more of the travel challenges later in the 62 months.
Still ,it’s positive to be still keeping up the momentum and having not so much of a ‘bucket list’ on a wall, but more a defined set of SMART goals that need to be worked on constantly.