I recently returned from a vacation in French Polynesia. This was my first ever solo vacation and something I planned and anticipated for a long time before I could finally make it happen. It was not my first air travel, nor my first vacation, but the first time I traveled to a far-off place alone with no academic conference, family visit, or other purpose in mind. It was also the farthest from home I have ever been, at nearly double the distance of my previous record. And it was glorious.
I’ve occasionally been challenged to put together a bucket list, but that framing device doesn’t do much for me. My dreams are at once too distant and too quotidian to fit on a “before I die” sort of list. For now, they’re a “when the tide comes in” sort of list: a dream for a future where scrambling for every cent is a distant memory, a plan for when I’m gainfully employed again (for various tiers of “gainfully”), and a promise to my future self.