It’s my birthday! As this post is published I’ll be out on my secret surprise day with Tim and I’ll be happily spending the day away from my laptop. In the week running up to my birthday, I’ve been thinking about the things I want to focus on this year. These aren’t goals. Having goals does nothing but stress me out and make me feel guilty when things inevitably don’t go to plan. If you’ve read anything else on this blog, you’ll have found bits of self-reflection and personal development in between all the travel stories because…
Self-reflection is important
Self-reflection a great way to feel connected with your life, especially if life has been crazy busy and you’re feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to involve meditation or therapy or reading self-help books (but if that’s what works for you, great!) Sometimes just taking the time to work out where you’re at physically, mentally and emotionally helps to make life seem a bit less stressful.
26 Things To Focus On This Year
1- This Blog
I’ve only been blogging for a month but I’ve already had some great feedback and I’ve learnt a lot. I’m hoping this year the blog grows and I can create interesting useful content. If you haven’t already, you should totally subscribe to my email list to get the best stuff and inside info before anyone else.
2- Drink Booze (for the right reasons)
I love alcohol- good wine, creative cocktails, craft beer… Living in Margaret River has made me recognise the importance of great booze. BUT I want to stop drinking to cheer myself up. Not that it happens often, but we all know how getting drunk can make a bad mood worse. This year, I’ll only be drinking for the right reasons (I admit, sometimes the right reason is just because it’s a particularly sunny day…)
3- Send More Cards
Since I started travelling, I’ve stayed connected with family for birthdays and special occasions through sending photo cards, mostly because I’m terrible at speaking on the phone. I use Moonpig to send personalised cards and I love it. Send more cards, people!
4- Take No Shit
I used to be a complete doormat, especially at work. I told myself it’s because I didn’t mind what happened so there was no point speaking up, I’m calling bullshit on myself. I’m done with accepting things when they’re inconvenient or unfair. This goes for work and my personal life- I’m 26 now and if I don’t agree with something, I’m going to make it clear (politely!)
5- Keep Cycling
As the laziest person in the world, it’s been difficult to find a form of exercise I don’t despise. Luckily, cycling is something I can do every day without making excuses to get out of it. It’s cheap, fun and I can pretty much do it wherever I’m living. I plan to explore places while travelling Asia by hiring a bike- I can’t wait!
6- Stop Dwelling On The Past
This is totally a genetic trait in my family. We love to dwell on things that we can’t change. I need to stop because it can ruin a good day for literally no good reason. I want to find a way to let go of the past and not let it affect my mood.
7- Explore Alternative Ways of Making Money
I read so many blogs of digital nomads who manage to make enough money through various online ventures to travel full-time. That’s the dream, but I don’t feel like I have any skills that would allow me to do that. My aim this year is to explore ways that might allow me to make money online alongside a regular job.
8- Learn To Focus
I need to stop pretending that having thirty browser tabs open while trying to write a blog post while trying to plan my travels is ‘multi-tasking’. This year, I’ll set aside blocks of time to focus on a single task to avoid wasting a whole afternoon only half focusing on a dozen different things.
9- Connect With Places
I’m a fan of slow travel. I want to really get to know a place when I visit and spending more time in a place is the best way to do that. When Tim and I travel Southeast Asia, I’m hoping to spend more time in fewer countries rather than rushing around to try and see it all.
10- Quit Thinking About Politics
To be honest, I’ve been good about this for the past year. I used to care so much about politics and social justice that it would make me stressed and angry. No more! Sure, call me disengaged and selfish but I have zero time for getting angsty over things that I can’t change.
11- Stop Comparing Myself
I’ve written about how toxic comparing your life is. I need to focus on taking my own advice. No more negative comparisons this year!
12- Eliminate FOMO
Fear Of Missing Out- it plagues us all. To continue on the slightly selfish theme of this list, I’m going to stop going out when I don’t really feel like it. The people I’m friends with are all cool enough to understand and it’ll be way easier to save money if I’m picky with the times I go out socialising.
13- Focus on Friends
I’ve got some amazing friends who I’ve fallen a bit out of contact with, since living on the other side of the world. This year I’m going to reconnect and regularly catch up with people as much as possible.
14- Apologise Freely
I’m stubborn as hell. If I’m in the wrong, it’s usually a wrench for me to admit it, so I’m going to work on that and start apologising sooner.
15- Save an Emergency Fund
I want, no, NEED an emergency fund, especially since I’m planning some serious travelling this year. I’m going to open a separate account and start funnelling a bit of money there, just in case.
16- Stop Buying Things
I don’t need Things. I’m living out of a backpack and this year, I’m going to make sure everything I own actually fits comfortably into that one backpack.
17- Keep Making Lists
I love lists! I have the app Wunderlist on my phone and laptop where I keep all the things I want to try and that I’ve discovered e.g. Wines I Like, Movies To Watch, Travel Recommendations I’ve Received From Random People At Work.
18- Take More Photos
I want to start taking more photos, not just for my blog! I’m not keeping a journal anymore so photos will be the best way to remember my travels.
19- Wear Less Makeup
Since living in Margaret River and cycling everywhere again, I’ve started wearing so much less makeup. I’ve whittled down my collection to only half a dozen items! And I don’t miss it. My skin feels much better since I stopped wearing heavy foundation, too.
20- Accept I’m Not Fashionable
I love to read fashion magazines and feel bad about my lack of style. I hate spending money on clothes. This year, I’ll lean into it and stick to what I know: I like playsuits, dark colours, dresses and minimal jewellery. Nothing too crazy.
21- Eat Simply
It’s cheaper, easier and healthier. I don’t always manage to win against pizza cravings but I’m going to focus on making simple meals with fresh ingredients as much as possible.
22- Hydrate Properly
When I was doing my regional work in unbearable heat, I got so good at drinking loads of water. I’ve been terrible at it recently. I’m going to buy myself a good travel water bottle with a filter (maybe this one) and start hydrating myself properly.
23- Get Some Decent Shoes
I live in Vans and flip flops but for travelling, I really want some nice, supportive sandals (am I turning 26 or 86?) I’m so tempted to get some Birkenstocks… I always thought they looked ugly as hell but I’ve seen a few people pulling them off and they look so comfortable.
24- See More Sunrises
It’s the loveliest time of day! I want to start getting up early enough to see it, as much as I can.
25- Stop Getting Sunburnt
I’m always getting burned because I’m really pale and terrible at remembering to reapply suncream. I don’t even want to think of the damage I’ve put my skin through! This will be the year of factor 30 or higher!
26- Don’t Feel Guilty
I feel so much guilt about so many things. That I’m not active enough, that I’m not earning enough money, that I should be thinking about settling down, that I don’t have a career… It’s not healthy. I’m happy with my life so there’s no reason for me to feel bad about it. If something’s making me happy, then it’s not a waste of time. This will be the year of letting go of guilt.