Kim Olver

My Bucket List Quest

In terms of traveling and crossing things off my bucket list, March 2022 was a big month for me. Ever since I watched Reva on Guiding Light drive off the end of the bridge to the Florida Keys in the ’80s, I’ve wanted to drive to the Keys. I created that opportunity in March. It was an amazing trip. Of course, I had no desire to drive off the end of that bridge!

I had the idea to rent a convertible for the trip, but even though my car was confirmed, there just wasn’t a convertible available for me. In my vision, I was driving on a gorgeous day with the top down and wind in my hair. I told the woman at the counter how disappointed I was—that this bucket list item of mine was accompanied by a very specific picture of a convertible. She felt awful. She couldn’t explain why they didn’t have a car available, especially since she could see my confirmed reservation on her computer. She offered to give me the rental for free. How could I turn it down? I remember reciting my motto in my head, “Nothing happens to me; everything happens for me.” This helped me realize that perhaps there I would benefit from not driving a convertible, other than the cost-savings.

Somewhere around Miami, there was construction, and traffic was down to a crawl. The driver behind me wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended me. She didn’t hit me hard, but we pulled off the road to survey the damage. She apologized profusely and admitted she wasn’t looking, as she was trying to stick her feet into her Crocs. The damage was hardly noticeable; there was just a crack in the bumper. I told her it was a rental and got her information and was on my way. I wondered if things would have been different if I had been driving the convertible. I don’t think so, but you never know.

I had a friend with me. It was the first time we had traveled together, and I was sure it was going to be a fantastic trip even though we didn’t really know how it would go. He wore hearing aids, and I didn’t realize until we were on the road that having the top down would have been horrible; we wouldn’t be able to have any conversation. So, it was for the best that we weren’t in a convertible.

We had a lovely dinner, ate key lime pie in Key Largo, spent the night and returned the next day. It was a quick trip, but it was everything I had hoped for. Another bucket item off my list.

The second bucket list item was to get to Idaho, the only state I had yet to visit. A trip to Idaho and I’d have been to all 50 states, an accomplishment I had been working on most of my adult life. I was so grateful to receive a call from the Yellow Ribbon team to do an event for the Army National Guard in Boise, ID, and I couldn’t wait for the day.

This Boise, ID trip blended into my third bucket list item. If you have been following me on social media, you might know that I’m on a quest to visit all the places in the world named Kimberly. I began in 2019 by visiting Kimberly, South Africa and Kimberly, Australia. Both were amazing trips. My mother was with me in South Africa, along with her friend, Ellen, and my sister-in-law, Denise. We toured the old mining town and saw the Big Hole, where I bought a beautiful necklace. My mother got on stage and played the piano with a local singing group. It was quite out of character for her, which made it even more special.

I did the Australia trip on a cruise with only 15 other passengers. It was a wonderful trip with lots of swimming in lagoons, fishing, crabbing and excellent gourmet cuisine throughout many sunny days and star-filled nights. In October 2020, I knocked off a close one and went to Kimberly, WI with Denise. We took some pictures, visited the local library and had lunch there.

Guess what? There’s also a Kimberly, ID, so I was able to scratch two things off the bucket list on that trip—my fourth Kimberly and my 50th state. It was a fantastic trip that started with me getting an upgrade from the economy car I had rented to a beautiful off-roading Toyota Tacoma! I didn’t take her off road, but I sure did see some beautiful country, and to top it off for me, the speed limit was 80 miles per hour. I love driving fast—to be within the speed limit while doing so was a special bonus.

Kimberly, ID is a small town of 10,000 people. I stopped in their City Hall, had some pictures taken, and stopped in at the local library to see if they were carrying any of my books. They weren’t, but the librarian looked them up, at least. I even dined at one of their two sit-down restaurants in town. I found the people quite friendly. I got some pictures at Shoshone Falls. It was beautiful and quite windy. I spent the night in Twin Falls since there weren’t any hotels in Kimberly.

On my way out of town the next day, I stopped off at a scenic overlook to get some pictures of the Snake River. It was memorable. There was also a lone man there with a service dog. I guessed he was homeless and potentially a veteran. We started a conversation and I learned he was resting there because of a long walk he needed to make to the truck stop up ahead. I asked how far it was and he pointed down the road at something I couldn’t see.

Before I had time to think about it, I offered him a ride. It seemed the right thing to do, even though as soon as I spoke the words, I heard my mother’s voice in my head telling me never to pick up hitchhikers. I had heeded those words for many years, but on that day, in Kimberly, ID, I decided to give a stranger a ride, for which he was extremely grateful. And since he technically wasn’t hitchhiking, I figured I was still within the letter of mom’s law. I don’t know if I’ll ever do that again, but it felt so good to do it that day.

I will remember March 2022 as the month I crossed three things off my bucket list and did something I’d never done before. It’s good to be alive, to trust your own instincts and to experience joy in the little things. What is a recently realized bucket list item of yours? Have you had a positive outcome doing something you never thought you’d do or that scared you some? I’d love to hear about it.

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