At the risk of being self-indulgent, this post is more for me than readers – a convenient way to see everything I did last year of significance, all in one place.
Walking and Running
I carried on walking with my walking group, although I wasn’t able to make as many hikes as I’d have liked due to them clashing with other events. I also spent a weekend walking in the Brecon Beacons with my brother, including a hike of the Pen-Y-Fan Horseshoe.
As promised in my New Years resolutions for 2013, I successfully completed a 10km race. I also wanted to run a local, off-road 10km race called the Wolf Run, which has lots of obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do this as the date was announced while I was in America and by the time I got back it was sold out! It’s all worked out well though as many of my friends were also interested so we now have a group of 10 or so of us signed up to run it at the end of April.
It was a good year for travel, beginning in late March when I joined 7 friends for an epic 3 week roadtrip holiday, travelling to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, down the central California coast to Los Angeles and then across to Las Vegas, from where we took a trip to the Grand Canyon. It was my favourite holiday I’ve ever had – it really was a trip of a lifetime! During the 3 weeks, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, rode a San Francisco cable car, explored Alcatraz, saw Giant Redwoods, gazed in awe at the sheer magnificence of Yosemite, surfed badly in the Pacific alongside some dolphins, saw sea lions and a hummingbird, posed with the Friends sofa on the Central Perk set, gambled in Las Vegas (I lost, obviously), fired a shotgun and marvelled at the Grand Canyon.
In August my family and I went to the Lake District for a discounted week in a caravan. We were on Ullswater, which is a stunning lake. It was a great week, especially as the four of us haven’t holidayed together in several years. My brother and I enjoyed some outdoor activities – climbing Blencathra, Helvellyn and Skiddaw, wild swimming in Ullswater (utterly fantastic, albeit a tad chilly) and canoeing to an island on the lake.
In December I went to Rome. I was proud of myself for taking the big step (to me) of going it alone and though I would have enjoyed my visit more if I’d had a companion, it was great to see the sites. It also added an extra country to my talley – Vatican City!
I added another new country 3 short weeks later when I saw in the New Year with friends in Dublin, though my favourite part of the trip was a visit to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
I took a couple of daytrips to parts of my own country I hadn’t seen before. My Mom and I visited Stonehenge and Salisbury for the day, which was really nice. I also visited Bath with friends, which was fun.
My Dad and I competed in a charity sailing race, helping to crew a 72ft yacht in a circumnavigation race around the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately the wind didn’t really want to co-operate but it was a great experience.
With my friend Zoe, I went to watch a disabled athletics event. It was fantastic to see so many Team GB paralympians competing! We saw Hannah Cockcroft and David Weir, among others.
I finished my photography course and a number of us saw it out in style by arranging an exhibition of our work, which was thrilling!
The final big event of 2013 for me was starting a new job. I had the interview back in September but all the pre-employment checks took so long I didn’t actually start until a week before Christmas. I was sad to leave my old job, which I found interesting and enjoyed most of the time (I worked with some great people too) but the new job is in my chosen field and is a promotion so it was a no-brainer, as they say! It’s been less than two weeks but I’m enjoying myself there.
All in all it’s been a pretty good year!
What 2014 Has In Store
I doubt I’ll be able to travel much, if at all, this year. That’s because my primary goal for 2014 is to buy a house. I’ll be booking an appointment with a mortgage advisor shortly to get things moving. If things go smoothly I hope to have bought somewhere and moved in by the halfway point of the year. This will no doubt suck up all my money for some time! If I can afford it, I might do the Caledonian Canal canoe crossing this year.
Other than that, I’m in training for the Wolf Run at the end of April. My new workplace has a very cheap gym on site so next week when everybody’s back in work I’m going to see if I can have a look at it. Assuming it’s ok, I can quit my existing gym membership (saving myself more than £200 per year in the process) and work out before or after work instead, hopefully several times a week. With luck and motivation I’ll be fitter than I’ve ever been – although that won’t be difficult!