2016 has been an odd year.
Sometimes I think of world events and honestly, the phrase “What the actual f—” just circles around my head. I can’t believe Trump will be president of the USA next year. That Britain would so viciously cut its nose off to spite its face. Or that bloody Pauline Hanson (a crackpot Australian politician) is actually relevant again.
On the other hand – this year has been one of the best I’ve had. Ever. In so many different ways.
I wanted to pen a round up post, because they’re fun, yet I got a bit stuck on what to write about. Last year I wrote a summary of a year overseas. Well, I’m not an expat anymore, so that’s not going to float.
So, in tying in with my promise of keeping things a little more personal on this blog, I decided to do things a little differently this year.
In recognising that it’s been a jolly good twelve months for me, but that’s not exactly been the case for everyone else – I’m going to tell you exactly what I’m grateful for.
It’s a bit of a list. It’s not my fault, it’s a result of all the yoga I’ve been doing lately. Feeling very zen these days.
I’m grateful for having the time, funds and opportunities to travel
First and foremost, as this is technically mostly a travel blog – I’m going to start with the obvious.
I travelled to twenty-one countries this year – some new, as well as visiting old favourites.
Some trips didn’t meet my expectations, but others exceeded them.
I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to travel as much as I did this year (and to be honest, I don’t think I’d want to!). Nonetheless, I’m grateful for all the experiences that were thrown my way and don’t regret a single penny spent.
I’m lucky to have my family and friends – both old and new
I’ve always felt blessed in my family. We’re a tight unit, we work hard at our relationships with each other and it pays off tenfold. I missed them immensely when I was an expat and am pretty stoked that I now get to see them all the time. They are my soulmates and my better parts. I wouldn’t be who I am without their influences.
I’m equally as grateful for the various relationships I have in my life – my personal relationship as well as friendships. Not only my mates in Australia who kept in touch with me for almost three years and rushed to catch up when I was back, but the pals I met and bonded with whilst I was abroad.
Also fun are new, online friendships. It’s all so delightfully new age!
I’m happy that German Shepherds were invented
I think I missed my dogs more than anything else, whilst I was abroad. You can email and call friends and family but you can’t exactly Skype your dog for a conversation. Poor things get overexcited and then confused.
Sometimes I look at my main man Bentley and think about how insanely beautiful he is. Look at him! He’s so regal looking! I’m mad about Shepherds, they’re just such a lovely breed of mutt.
I’m glad that I’m not one of those people who “doesn’t really get excited about food”
I actually had a few people say this to me when dating. It was a red flag – an immediate sign that I should never, ever go on a date with them again, as we were clearly not compatible.
I love food and am literally always thinking about where/how I can get my next meal. One of the things I enjoy most about travelling, is eating. So many of my stories revolve around good meals. This would be a food blog, if I bothered to learn how to photograph dishes properly. I don’t have the patience and my meal would go cold, which would be upsetting.
I’m super happy about being around nature again
I always felt a little bit out of whack when I was living in London. It wasn’t until I travelled to Costa Rica in May, that I realised it was because I really missed being around nature.
Related: Escaping City Life for Costa Rica
You grow up surrounded by the natural world, in Australia. Everywhere is inundated with birds, animals, plant life and vicious creepy crawlies. You can’t escape it.
London felt so sanitised in comparison. Yes, there are parks and pigeons and the occasional urban fox. It’s not the same. You’re living in an urban jungle, not the great outdoors.
It wasn’t until I was back home, free to stare at the lake or go to the beach whenever I wanted, that I finally felt as though my chakras or something had been aligned. I felt like me again. And I no longer start crying when I listen to the sound of a magpie warbling on YouTube, because I can now hear it outside my study window.
I’m grateful for being healthy
One of the more horrible aspects of this year, has been hearing about friends and family who have been hit by various muscle injuries, involved in freak accidents or struck by the worst disease of all… cancer.
If you are genuinely healthy, it’s probably something that you take for granted. I know I do. Not only being disease free, but being able to walk, talk, see, hear, taste, smell… we think it’s our God-given right to have control over our bodies, but it’s not always the case.
I’m really happy that people still write and that bookstores continue to exist
I love to read almost as much as I love to write (this whole blog should be testament to that fact).
And although I make a lot of book purchases online these days, either in hard copy form or on Kindle, nothing replaces going to an actual bookshop and roaming around the store until you pick a book up off the shelf.
If you’ve got any recommendations, let me know on Goodreads.
It’s good that Nicéphore Niépce took a photo a couple of centuries ago
I’ve had to learn how to photographise at a better level for this blog and admittedly, it’s a hobby I’ve pounced upon with much gusto and enthusiasm.
There’s a lot more to learn, but it’s something I enjoy doing and I’m quite pleased with some of the photos I snapped across the world this year.
I’m glad I discovered golden lattes
My mother had been going on about these golden lattes for awhile and I’d been all like: “S’ok Mum I don’t even like coffee.” FOOL ON ME because they don’t even have coffee in them!
They’re a delightful drink that have turmeric and other spices in them and they often get served with almond milk and honey and I love them and want to drink them everyday. My favourite so far was at the Maitland Art Gallery, which is possibly the best place to grab a meal in the entire town.
I don’t actually remember what my life was like before discovering this drink.
And lastly, I’m grateful for this blog
As I mentioned in my two year anniversary post, although my blog really, really frustrates me sometimes, I owe a lot to it. It’s nice to have a hobby, for one thing. It’s led me to become a better writer and photographer, I think. It’s opened up doors, that I never realised I’d one day have the key to. And it makes me happy.
Which is the main thing, right?
How about you? How was your year? What are you grateful for?