It’s Christmas Day and I’m in Chiang Mai, Thailand, sat in my underwear, wine in hand and laptop on my knee, thinking about what a crazy year 2014 has been.
Without a doubt this has been the best year of my life so far, but my Christmas 2013 self didn’t expect it to be. At the beginning of the year I had no exciting plans at all, I half expected to still be sat in my bedroom in front of my computer playing poker 3 hours per day and sleeping the other 21, that’s pretty much how I spent most of my spare time since I graduated. How different my year has been to those expectations! So I thought it would be interesting to write a short letter for my future self to read on Christmas Day 2015 as a short round up of what I’ve done so far and what I expect to do in 2015.
So what exactly did I get up to this year?
How Did You Get Here?
In short, I travelled a lot in 2014. I visited more different countries than in all previous years combined and had some seriously awesome experiences. Some of my personal highlights were:
Carnaval in Rio De Janeiro – It was an insane two week long party, surviving on 3 hours sleep and 1 sandwich per day. By the end I honestly thought I might die (My pee was a funny shade of red I’d never seen before), but it goes down as two of the best weeks of my life.
Clubbing in Ibiza – I’d always wanted to go, but none of my friends ever wanted to. Luckily this year I found some new friends who did want to and it was absolutely as epic a party as you might imagine. Again, slight fear of death.
Volunteering in Germany – I went to Hannover and joined Rick volunteering at a guesthouse for a month. Although the work wasn’t super exciting, it was fun to experience actually living outside of the UK for a while and it was my first time volunteering (and working) anywhere, so it will stick with me for that reason if nothing else.
Romanian Summer Camp – I taught English for 7 weeks at a summer camp in Romania, it’s something I always wanted to try and although there were plenty of low points and stress, I look back on my time there fondly. Overall it was a great experience and meeting the kids and making friends with some awesome staff members really made it worthwhile.
Teaching in Thailand – So now I’m here in Chiang Mai for 4 months with Rick, teaching English to young kids 2 days per week and playing online poker almost every night. We both left home to travel the world and we’re here as kind of a pit stop to make some money to continue travelling with. Just living a normal life here still feels like a holiday for us. Life in Thailand is so laid back, you just don’t see people getting stressed or arguing, everybody always has a smile on their face and not to mention the weather is much nicer (or should I say less shitty) than in England. I am getting a bit bored of the food and am getting far too excited about making a proper Christmas Dinner later, but the overall lifestyle suits me better and I feel like I could live here for a long time.
Where Are You Headed?
Our friend Simone, from Manchester is coming to visit us over new year and we are planning to head down to Bangkok to celebrate NYE, because why not?! Our teaching contracts end at the beginning of March and we are planning to leave for India straight away, as we just found out that the Holifest (that festival where they throw coloured powder at each other) is celebrated in the first week of March, we already went to the one in Hamburg this year, so now it’s time for the real deal.
We plan to stay in India for a few months and travel around to see as much of the country as we can, it is the size of a continent after all. Our friend Zahra who we met in Romania is going to come meet us in India at some point and after that we only have very rough plans. We want to stay travelling in Asia for quite a while yet, maybe go to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and slowly make our way towards Japan and New Zealand. All of this will probably take more than a year, but we have plently of time and if we need more money along the way we will look for more teaching jobs, which seem fairly easy to come by for a native speaker in Asia and I can play poker in most countries.
So really there isn’t much of a plan, but I’m ok with that. I didn’t plan to leave home this year, we didn’t have a plan when we set off and we didn’t plan to spend Christmas in Thailand, but that is what has made this year so special. None of it was planned, but I set off for an adventure and was open to the opportunities which came along.
2014 really was the best year of my life so far and I hope to make next year even better.
So here’s what I have to say to my future self and also to you reading this – I hope your 2015 is your best year yet, but you have to make it happen, it won’t just happen to you. Keep an open mind to any new opportunities which may come your way, because if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’re gonna keep getting what you always got. Don’t plan too much, there’s less to go wrong and the unexpected pleasures are the best. Remember to have fun along the way, what’s the point of life otherwise? Party and drink a bit more, because no great story ever started with ‘a quiet night in’. And finally,
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year x