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My “Grand Slam” Bucket List

When my son Nick was 10 years old, he asked me if we could set a goal of going to “all the Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments before we die.”  I blurted out, “Yes!”

Six years later, Veronica, my British-born girlfriend, who knew about Nick’s goal, called me up and suggested we turn the goal into reality and start with Wimbledon!  I almost fell over.  She and her 18-year old son Sam were taking a trip back home to England and invited us along.  How could we refuse, especially when free lodging was involved?

We attended the first two days of Wimbledon after standing in the “queue” for ground pass tickets and stayed until dark.  We basked in tennis all day long, and enjoyed the rich traditions, including the famous “strawberries and cream”!  After Wimbledon, we explored the many sights of London as well as enjoyed a peaceful retreat “in the country” with Veronica’s family for 5 days.  As with most vacations, we had an itinerary planned in advance, and while most of it went that way, we had some surprises, such as an extra 5 days in Iceland on our way home due to a flight cancellation.  That reminds me of the statement, “Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans.”

When you go on vacation, do you plan so much you miss spontaneity and the best “lessons of life”?  It’s easy to do that!  Reflecting now on that great vacation, I ask myself, “What was the best part?  What did I learn about England and what did I learn about myself?”

If I could pull up one theme from my trip, it would be the recurring revelation the past few years of my travels.  My favorite experiences were all FREE.  Of course, it was wonderful to go to Wimbledon and take in the most traditional tennis tournament in history, bicycle around London to see the landmarks, then view this grand city from the London Eye, the famous gigantic Ferris wheel. It was amazing to tour Wembley Soccer Stadium and hear Jack Johnson in concert at the O2 Arena, and see the play Oliver Twist.  Yet the best parts of the trip had no entrance fee and they were things such as these:

  • Listening to European accents
  • Chatting with the hospitable volunteer stewards along the queue at Wimbledon
  • Delightful conversations with Veronica’s family and friends
  • The feel of cobblestone under my feet (imagining Charles Dickens around the corner!)
  • Swooning when British waiters would say to me, “What can I get you, LOVE?” or if I bumped into people on the street, “That’s alright, LOVE!” or if I asked a question, “What do you need, LOVE?”  I simply loved being called LOVE!  I think of old Beatles movies and envision Paul McCartney saying to me, “May I kiss you, LOVE?” (at which point I would faint!)
  • Being in awe of buildings… the architecture and the history within
  • Getting the giggles over funny things that happened on the underground trains
  • A sunset picnic with Veronica’s family
  • Breathtaking views during early morning hikes
  • Watching the wild Exmoor ponies graze freely in the hills of Somerset
  • Crab fishing in the harbor and the joy of setting the crabs free again
  • Standing in awe in the presence of Van Goghs, Picassos and Monets at the free art galleries (thanks to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria)
  • Making new friends in Iceland that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been stranded
  • Bonding with my son (hey, how often does a mom get a teenager to herself?)

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  And I’m not the only one who felt this way.  My son didn’t buy a single souvenir from the Wimbledon Souvenir Shop.  He said, “The souvenirs are too expensive.  Just being here is where it’s at.”  We were both there when John Isner forced a 5th set with Nicolas Mahut for the longest tennis match in history.  Priceless.

One Grand Slam down, three to go, yet for some reason, if I don’t make the other three, I’d be fine.  The joy of this one would be tough to beat.  The only problem is that Nick, now 21, is still carving out plans for the next Grand Slam.  He hasn’t forgotten the goal we set 11 years ago.  Okay, yes!  I’m still in.

What are your dreams that you are keeping on the back burner?  Are you ready to take action to live a more meaningful life?  If you need a little nudge, you came to the right place.  Check out my  Dream Mapping workshops or consider a coaching package for one-on-one action planning.  Not sure where to begin?  Email me at [email protected] – I’d love to brainstorm with you.  Who knows? You may end up at Wimbledon!


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