A bucket list journey
Published 4:16 pm Thursday, March 24, 2016
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
In February, Valya Mobley put another checkmark beside an item on her ‘bucket list’ in Tulum, Mexico as she climbed down a ladder into a cenote or sinkhole into an underground water-filled cave.
In a 2009 interview, Mobley introduced me to both the term ‘bucket list’ and ‘cenote’ and she recently updated me on her progress.
Her Mayan guide, Jorge of Mexico Kan Tours nodded sagely as she shared the term with him and then tried his best to find a spider monkey for her without success in the monkey reserve jungle of Punta Laguna.
2013 found Valya swimming with the whale sharks (the largest fish in the sea) after a long boat ride off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Her group boated for two hours before finding a pod of the massive creatures and jumping in the ocean to snorkel with them.
“I received a Bucket List Journal as a gift in November of 2015, and I had to scramble to record future visions,” Mobley relates. “I also recorded past accomplishments for the sheer pleasure of checking them off.”
On that list was a trip to St. John, U.S.V.I. and the British Virgin Islands by catamaran.
Mobley waded through the boulders of the Baths on Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. and snorkeled the Indians, 60-foot high rocky pinnacles off the coast of Norman Island with 50-foot drops with elkhorn and brain coral.
“With imagination they look like feathers in a headdress. On St. John, I snorkeled in the crystal clear waters alongside my daughter following the path of a sea turtle.”
Mobley has now been up in a seaplane in Couer d’Alene, Idaho and on a Segway through downtown Pensacola, Fla. She has walked on a swinging bridge over the raging Kootenai River near Libby, Montana, the setting for the movie, “The River Wild.”
“I still want to sleep in a treehouse or fire tower and go up in a helicopter,” she told me. “And experience Yellowstone and Yosemite and visit the Dry Tortugas and Niagara Falls.”
This spring she hits a milestone birthday and has no plans to slow her pace.
“My list may never be completed, but,” she adds, “It is always the journey, not the destination.”