Filling The Bucket! - A To-Do List - All About My Bucket List

Dear Henry,

The other day, I saw a random Twitter post about The Golden Girls. In the post, they gave the age of the characters, and I realized I am in that age range now. But, I'm far from old and now wonder why it was called The Golden Girls when they were (except Sophia) in their middle age.

Still, it got me thinking about my bucket list and my need for more focus on the list.

I've always wanted to complete one of the big 'through' hikes, like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest. Unfortunately, since "the accident," I cannot carry a backpack big enough or sleep on the ground long enough to complete one of those hikes. Fortunately, the Camino de Santiago offers a porter system and nightly hotel accommodations. The Camino de Santiago would also be an excellent option for me. Spain is the country of my birth. I was born at the Naval base in Rota during the Vietnam War, and even though the French way of the Camino doesn't go near Rota (maybe I could stop by and see it when I finish), I still feel a connection to Spain and want to see it. I'm also Catholic, and the Camino de Santiago is one of the more significant pilgrimages of the Catholic world.

Despite the promise of porters and a bed, there are still some weighty challenges to walking the Camino. First, while I can walk quite well, all things considered, the Camino de Santiago is just shy of 500 miles. Therefore, I would need to walk around 14 miles a day. That is 10 miles more than my current daily walk, and most importantly, I will need to be able to walk that distance consistently before I go, as I won't be able to "gain strength" during the walk. 

Another problem is the language. I can't speak Spanish fluently, but it's not for lack of trying. During "the accident," I bumped my head pretty hard, and that seems to make some things, like coming up with the right word, hard (I can see the correct word spelled out in my head; it just doesn't always come out right)  and speaking Spanish has been challenging (although I can read it just fine). I will keep practicing, and from what I understand, I should be okay with my limited skills. But, I am concerned about running into a serious problem, and I don't speak Spanish well enough to describe my past injuries in a clinical setting. 

I will also require some special accommodations. Because the flight coming into Spain is seven hours long, and because of the neurological and circulatory damage from "the accident," I'm going to need at least a day or two to recover from the flight. Adding the extra days, the porters, and nice cushy beds is starting to become a pricey endeavor, particularly since I will have to fly (particularly the long segment) at least business class.

Of course, as the price tag begins to climb, I  wonder if I wouldn't serve the world better by giving the money to the poor instead. But the quote "God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized..." from St. Therese of Lisieux sticks with me, and I'm inspired to keep practicing my Spanish and building up the length of my walks.

Another bucket list item is revisiting an old dream. Years ago, I wanted to attend St. John's College and complete its Great Works program. However, I was encouraged not to. It was considered "impractical," so I got an excellent, ordinary degree in Business Administration. It served me well while I was working as a corporate cost accountant. Now that I've had to retire from corporate life and am writing a book blog (, a degree in the Great Works of Western Literature sounds more practical. Of course, I'm not going to enroll in college again, but there isn't anything stopping me from completing the curriculum, and so, starting August 15, 2022, I will start reading the first book on St John's College reading list: The Illiad.

Finally, I've always wanted enough land for a big garden and Fish, and I think the Roanoke area might be "home." We are starting to look for the perfect house. And I'm getting ready to make the ideal garden. It is going to be spectacular! To ensure this, I will be starting the Master Gardner program next January. In addition to making my own garden great, I am looking forward to the volunteer hours at the community gardens. I like that type of volunteer work.

Of course, I will still work on my military biographies at and will always be planning the next road trip and adventure.

xoxo a.d. elliott


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at, you can also read her book reviews at and US military biographies at

Her online photography gallery can be found at


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