Alas, since I rarely go to movies but wait for them to appear on TV, I was clueless about Bucket Lists (which turn out to be well beyond travel). But here my concern is indeed travel.
As a person at midlife (whatever that means these days), I have lots of points and lots of miles and lots of dreams. I also have really bad arthritis. Only when someone on Forums pointed it out (NewHilton?), did I realize I'd started fulfilling my Bucket List last year when I went to Greece.
Although my early life was not great, I benefitted from a fabulous public high school education, then had to work before going to college and grad school. That's when I learned the value of loyalty programs. While some of my friends chose the least accessible routes to get the cheapest fares, I stayed with one airline and one hotel chain (alas, till the early 3rd millenium it was Hilton) and have since told all my students to do the same. The difference in savings (admittedly more so on airlines) is negated by the dozens of free international flights I've had and now that I'm Marriott Platinum the great free stays I've had throughout Europe and the Middle East.
I am currently embarking on one of those things on my hitherto-unknown Bucket List -- Egypt. I met my best female friend in an ancient Egypt course taught by rather horrible professor -- but no matter. The subject matter spoke for itself. It's not only a subject that fascinates me, but something I write about and sometimes teach. But until this coming week I will never have seen Egypt.
When I injured my knees (that danged arthritis) the last day of my trip to Turkey and saw two continents in one day, it was a moment not only of pain but also enlightenment. Our lives are short, however longer and frequently more painful they're becoming. So we must live them and make our dreams into reality -- thanks to those loyalty programs we invested in long ago. Since it's ever harder in the current economy to do that, loyalty programs have become ever more important.
So on Tuesday I embark for Egypt. If all goes well, Thursday I will be visiting the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, Memphis and Sakkara (a tour guide hugely recommended at tripadvisor). Thanks to the incredible help of the Marriott Cairo and Omar Khayyam Casino staff, I am booked Friday to fly to Luxor for an amazing trip to the Valley of the Kings and Queens, Memnon, Karnak and other places before getting back late at night to my hotel. That leaves me Saturday and Sunday where I can use either tour service for tours of the major landmarks of Cairo or venture out on my own. (Or if I hurt too much, I can sit on my balcony -- hopefully overlooking the Nile -- sipping wine and reminding myself of how lucky I am.)
Enjoy life! I am so lucky to have found myself in a profession that has allowed me to explore new places (even if they are VERY old), find new friends, and experience the world.
PS -- I will send photos from Egypt. I am never without my computer for that reason alone.