If this post is a little late arriving, it’s because I was lucky enough to spend the new year in Sweden and I was too busy building a family of snowmen on New Year’s Day to think about my resolutions! Today is when the Three Kings come to give out the presents in Spain, so technically the festive season isn’t quite over, so this post is still completely legitimate…
Having come down from my snowy Swedish cloud, fueled by glogg (mulled wine but better) and waffles (a post all about the joys of Sweden will be coming your way very soon), I’ve had a chance to look back my 2015 of travel and mull over what 2016 might look like.
12 months ago I welcomed the new year in the square in Bonito, Brazil. It was the middle of a gloriously hot Brazilian summer and I was making the most of every second, knowing that 2 months later my internship would be over.
Predictably, that flew by, and before I knew it I was meeting Megan in Florianopolis to start a month long adventure up the Brazilian coast. Then I made my way back west and crossed the Bolivian border with Victor, squeezing in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay in 2 months.
I got back to England in May, and fitted in an Irish road trip with my brothers and a 3 week stint in Barcelona in between earning some much need travel funds.
Since September, apart from a couple of weekend breaks to Madrid and Lisbon, I’ve been back at university in Southampton. Anyone who has ever gone back to studying after their brain has been on holiday for an extended period of time (18 months in my case) will appreciate what a shock that was!
What’s the plan?
2016 is getting off to a cracking and very snowy start, as next week I’m handing in my essays and celebrating with a few days on the Austrian slopes with my oldest friend Juliet. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been on skis so my skiing might not be pretty, but the mountains sure will.
After that (get your violins out) I’ll have to knuckle down and study hard for a couple of months as I think I’ve been neglecting my degree in favour of travel for long enough and I finish in May! Can anyone explain how it is physically possible for 4 years to disappear that quickly?!
Don’t hold me to this, but the vague plan is then to do an English teaching qualification (a.k.a passport to a job anywhere) in June before my graduation ceremony in July.
The best news is that at the beginning of August we’re off on a family adventure to Nova Scotia, Canada for 10 days. We’re going for the commemoration of 200 years since the building of my great great great Grandfather’s house, as he was the first Attorney General of Nova Scotia. After we meet the extended family at a big reunion, we’ve booked into a few Airbnb’s to explore a summery Canada.
Come September, it’ll be time to spread my wings again. I don’t intend to spend a winter in England again unless I absolutely have to, so I’m looking into internships both in Spain and South America. Watch this space…
So what are my resolutions?
- To seize the day, at all times.
I know it’s incredibly cheesy, but I am determined to live every day to the absolute fullest. During my internship in Brazil, I never said no to anything, as I was in ‘experience’ mode for the whole 9 months. I drank too much and slept too little, but I felt great on it and made the most of it because I knew it wouldn’t last for ever. The same was true when I traveled in Australia for 6 months. But nothing lasts forever, so why don’t I live every day like that? In 2016 I’m going to try and make ‘experience’ mode my default.
2. To get out of my comfort zone.
2015 has been incredible, but in 2016 I feel like I need to push myself with another solo trip. I haven’t felt that strong sense anticipation/fear since I got on a plane to Brazil in June 2014. Life can get a bit boring if you don’t do something that scares you now and again, and there’s nothing like the feeling of getting on a plane all on your own going to a country you’ve never set foot in before to remind you you’re alive.
3. To learn a new language.
Travelling in South America as a Spanish and Portuguese speaker has shown me how much better you can understand a country when you can chat to the locals, but also means I feel incredibly frustrated when I go somewhere where I don’t speak the language. Even in Sweden last week (where they all speak INCREDIBLE English) I felt so powerless not being able to speak a word of Swedish.
This resolution is in two parts:
- Before the end of 2016, I want to be able to hold a simple conversation in a new language.
- Before going to any country I will learn the basics of their language.
4. To keep notching up the countries.
I’m on 27 countries, but if I want to see more of the 199 on offer I’d better get cracking. In 2015 I checked off 6 new countries, so I’m hoping to match that in 2016, starting with Canada! Iceland and the Czech Republic are also pretty promising candidates to bump my number up to 30.
5. To be grateful, appreciative and humble.
My biggest goal for 2016 is to stop complaining. I am blessed in so many ways, the travel opportunities I have being one of them, but I still find myself grumbling about early mornings to catch a flight. My goal for 2016 is to be able to recognise when I’m being ungrateful and unreasonable and, well, stop it. Feel free to remind me of this one when I’m being pessimistic!
And last but not least…
6. Blog more.
Every new year’s blog post I’ve read says this one, so I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. Hopefully you should be hearing more from me in 2016, as I slide out of the security blanket of university and start to negotiate the difficulties of any graduate with a travel addiction, finding myself with the big wide world at my feet, not quite sure which path to take.
Happy new year one and all!