2014 has been a year full of change. Which was exactly what I needed. The years before had been much the same. I lived in the same place. I had the same boyfriend. I worked the same job. I felt trapped. Towards the end of 2013, on my 25th birthday, I was distraught. I couldn’t believe that my life had gotten so monotonous. I wasn’t working towards anything. Nothing that I was doing then was helping me build the future I wanted. I was just killing time.
After a horrible day of work on my birthday I called my mother and vowed that I would not turn 26 in England, working a soul destroying job and getting nowhere. 2014 was the year I woke up and decided to start building the life I wanted. I kept my promise to myself and I’m so happy I did.
People will make you believe that you should just be happy to have a stable job, or a person that cares about you or a roof over your head. But if you are not happy, something is wrong. Just because a job pays well, or a significant other treats you well, does NOT mean that it’s right for you. You deserve whatever it is that you want your life to be, and you can make it happen. All you have to do is make small changes. “One foot in front of the other.”, is my favourite saying. Small, tiny, changes make a massive difference in the long run. It only takes one step in the right direction to get the ball rolling. So, if you’re not humming “Man in the Mirror”, by Michael Jackson right now, you should be. If you aren’t familiar with the song, who are you?! Go Youtube it or at the very least google the lyrics.
THE BIG CHANGES
The first big thing I did in 2014 was start a FB page for my art. Now, I have been neglecting this massively due to the fact that I am travelling and have a very limited selection of artist tools with me. However, I did manage to sell several pieces of art before I left and I got a very positive reaction from people. It was exactly what I needed to do in order to make myself feel like I was doing something productive and important for my life.
The second massive change was the end of my longest relationship. It was a sad end but necessary for me to pursue the kind of life I wanted for myself. That was a mile stone for me as usually my relationships only last about 6 months. This relationship had been 3 times that. It was hard to do, but I knew it had to happen eventually.
The third was reconnecting with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years. This was important for me as he was and still is one of my best friends and favourite people in the world. I’m not 100% sure if this was the start of 2014 or the end of 2013 but it was important nonetheless.
Fourth. Finally quitting my job. Well, getting a career break. It’s basically the same thing. That job had been tearing me apart. The pressure was unbelievable. Contrary to popular believe I don’t just “stick a label on a box”. One night I got home from work and sat in the shower crying my eyes out like some sort of abuse victim because I could not believe that I was still wasting my life, working my ass off and getting nowhere. The unfortunate part was that I had to work 3 months notice. However, when it came time to leave I knew that I would miss my co workers and even some of my patients. My tears in work that final day were different. It was like leaving my family again. I kept reminding myself that change is not always easy but it is necessary.
Fifth was giving away my rats. They were the only pets I had ever had that were completely mine. I had lived alone with them and they had kept me company for a whole year. I had trained them from the beginning to be friendly and tame. Luckily I was able to give them to my Dr.Dolittle of a sister. I have complete faith in the fact that they could not possibly be better looked after. However, I was absolutely devastated the first day they were gone. I still reserve visitation rights though.
Meeting my current boyfriend, I suppose, was quite an event. I had planned on going to Canada on a working visit in 2014 or early 2015 with my afore mentioned long lost friend. However, my current boyfriend asked me to go travelling with him on our third date. The crazy thing was…. I pretty much said yes after thinking it over for about 2 weeks. And here I am, sat in the Philippines with him.
As much as I hate to admit it, he was definitely a life changing decision in 2014. He was exactly what I needed. I needed someone that could travel with me, that wasn’t tied down. God bless Tinder for this absolute fluke of a relationship.
Packing up my life and saying goodbye to my insanely wonderful apartment. I’d lived there for nearly 2 years and to see it so empty was surreal. That was also around the time I realised that I had WAY too much stuff and needed to never buy anything again, EVER. Packing up that place was the most mammoth task I’d ever undertaken! When I say I…. I really mean my mother and aunty….. because I mostly just watched in horror.
Last but by no means least, starting my blog. This was another thing my boyfriend convinced me to do. He’ll be delighted I admitted that too. I had always wanted one but didn’t really know where to begin. He showed me all the basics and then kind of left me to it. I always loved writing and telling stories so again it felt like I was taking a step towards what I really wanted to do with my life.
Other notable events;
- Got my drivers license, FINALLY.
- Renewed my NZ passport.
- Learned to Scuba Dive.
- Learned to Free Dive.
- Decided I don’t like surfing.
- Visited 4 NEW countries and 7 countries in total.
- Had my first jellyfish sting.
- Learned to cook the best wedges EVER. This is a big development, I am domestically disabled.
- Swam and dived with sharks, manta rays, turtles and whale sharks.
Favourite place I visited;
Apart from home, Iceland and the Philippines were my two favourite places by far. If you ever get a chance to visit either, jump at it. Though the Philippines is considerably cheaper and warmer! In fact, my boyfriend and I loved the Philippines so much that we returned a few days ago and are currently exploring Palawan. We would like to return to Iceland in the future but maybe when we’ve saved a bit more!
Again, I couldn’t chose between the Philippines and Iceland. Swimming with whale sharks in Oslob was AMAZING. However, horse trekking up a volcano on Icelandic ponies outside Reykjavik was exactly the kind of thing I love as well. That’s the thing about this year, there’s been so many wonderful experiences that it’s hard to choose.
This is an easy one! Getting eaten alive by sandflies in a beach hut in Koh Tao which may or may not have had bed bugs with no air conditioning . HELL. I hate beach huts. I put so much hydrocortisone cream on. I also put tiger balm on, but ended up putting on TOO much so then my skin felt like it was on fire and I had to jump in the shower to try and cool myself down/ wash it all off. I also refused to go to the pool because I looked like elephant man with all the lumps all over me from the bites. Such a miserable few days.
Plans for 2015;
Well, It’s going to be a busy one. We’re going to be spending some time in Australia and New Zealand. Quite a lot of time I expect. I’m flying back to England in April to do a bit of work and see some friends and then it’s off to Portugal for a wedding! From there I head back to Dublin to see the family and hit another wedding. After that it’s back to NZ, hopefully with some fun stops on the way. That should bring me up to mid June. After that I have no idea. I just hope Fiji and Samoa are involved at some point!
WRAPPING IT UP!
Finally I just want to thank all the wonderful new people that I’ve met along the way. You’ve all made this trip and the last few months even better than I imagined. A special thank you to Rich, Jayme and Biscuit in Bali for making Kuta feel like home away from home.
I hope everyone had a great 2014 and has an even better 2015. Remember, take a look at your life every once and a while and think, “Is any of this getting me closer to what I want for myself?”. And if the answer is No, then just change it. You have a right to change whatever you want about your life whether your employer, brother, mother or partner likes it or not. So go ahead!