A New Year always feels like an opportunity. The last days of December are slow, tired and overfull, good for nothing but sleeping and leftovers; whilst January dawns fresh, crisp and clear, a month of beginnings, resolutions and promise. I feel the urge to clean, cleanse and clear; to purge extraneous and unnecessary clutter from my life and begin again. I even cleared out my wardrobe, a previously unscalable task. I long for empty, light flooded space and white walls, considered accessories, clean hair and a clear desk. Sadly, I have a mild shopping addiction combined with a genetically inherited hoarding tendency, so my room still resembles more of a haberdashers stockroom ransacked by the Borrowers than the tranquil whitewashed retreat of my January dreams.
2012 was a pretty good year. I dug out a list of aims made at the beginning of 2012, just before I was about to move home, which made for interesting reading. Unfortunately I am no closer to being fluent in French, I still can’t use a sewing machine and my photos remain tragically uncategorised into albums; however achievements have definitely been made over the last year. These are the biggies;
- I got my 140 hour TEFL certificate early on in the year, topping up my qualification to maximise my chances to be able to earn money abroad if needed.
- I got a job which, whilst not being what I want to do long term, has at least given me the opportunity to explore areas I find interesting, and surprisingly has proved innately useful in developing skills relevant to this blog. And, of course, provided me with the source of income I need to fund my travel savings.
- I paid off all my outstanding debts, something I was determined to do before I started saving in earnest. Cutting up my Topshop card was a great day.
- I took the plunge and bought a Macbook Pro, something I’ve wanted for years. Her name is Annie (Mac – geddit?) and yes, sometimes I fall asleep with her in my arms. True love.
- I manned up and got over my anxiety about driving – having built up a mental block whilst not driving for the last couple of years, I’m proud that I got behind the wheel and tackled my fear head on.
A couple of trips proved memorable highlights last year, serving to take the edge of the wanderlust despite stringent saving. My favourite travel moments included;
- Diving, meeting elephants and getting some much needed beach time on the Thai islands of Ko Lanta and Ton Sai in January
- A summer of festivals – Benicassim in Spain and Carling festival in Leeds meant great friends, great music, a little bit of sunshine and very little sleep.
- A trip to Scotland in a VW camper van in October, during which I explored the beautiful coastline of the Lowlands, experienced the freedom of wild camping and fell in love with Edinburgh.
As with everything I think, my aims change and evolve constantly in response to my experiences and things I learn. Although I started 2012 packing to move home with the vague aim of ‘going travelling’, throughout this last year the vapors of that dream have crystallized and taken form, becoming a reality which seems within grasping distance rather than a mere itch of longing. This year my aims and resolutions are simple – to make my plans of travel happen and to embark upon the journey I have been anticipating for over a year.
And so 2013 will be a year of change; of planning and saving and the purification of shedding additional belongings, and ultimately, a year of adventure, exploration and brave new worlds. Here’s to a good one.
Have you made any New Years resolutions? What are your travel plans for 2013?