But all this doesn't meant that we don't have any goals in what we're doing over the next year. It's not every day that you pack up your comfortable life and set off on a journey to fulfil a few dreams, so, feeling more than a little bit inspired by Boots n All's 2012 Indie Travel Challenge, I spent some time mulling over what I want out of the next year.
We left Sydney with a couple of big goals, namely being with my mum while she went through radio therapy and working out what was going on with the littlest hobo's health. With both of these under our belts we're ready to move forward and embrace the year to come, and there are some important things to achieve on the way.
For me, some of it is about seeing places that were on our doorstep at times and we never seemed to make the time to explore properly. All the countries we are visiting this year are places we've lived in or visited before - we've had a taster, but feel we didn't get enough, so now we're going back for more. And I really hope that I will remember this in the future, and always live like a traveller at home in the future, embracing everything that my surroundings have to offer.
I want to develop myself. I spent a year and a half being the littlest hobo's mum, and nothing else. It was an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling job, and I would recommend it to anyone, and do the same again tomorrow, but often the achievements are disguised in every day life, and you don't get that same sense of having done something new and massive that I did from work in the past.This blog is one of those efforts - while it's proving a great means to keep friends and family up to date with what we're up to, it's also a fantastic creative outlet that's challenging parts of my brain which have been left dormant for perhaps a little too long. Last year I rekindled my previous interest in photography by participating in the 365 project. While I didn't keep up with the project for the whole year, it did ignite a passion in me for creating photographs, and late last year I signed up to study for a photography diploma. It's an online course with the Photography Institute and while I was hesitant about doing a diploma while we were travelling i figured there'd be plenty of time for the reading, and besides there's no time like the present. So this year I will endeavour to complete my course and improve my photography.
I'm keen to experience travel in new ways. For the last few years we've been lucky enough to always stay in 4 and 5 star hotels or opulent apartments, travelled by taxi and flown business class for all but the shortest journeys. While we're not planning to rough it all the way, I'm really looking forward to experiencing a few different ways of travelling. Like the littlest hobo, I'm most excited about travelling in a campervan. So far we haven't met many other travellers on our trips, and I feel thats really important, for the experience, and for our sanity! Í'm hoping that staying on some camp sites might open up a few possibilities.
This one's for Mr T. But I'm in, I think. Sometimes you have to make the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction before you can find your new momentum. We both feel that we've all been spending too much time staring at screens, and we want to spend a bit more time living in the moment, getting out and trying new things and really living in our experiences. So for a month at some point we plan to go technology free. We're still setting out the parameters, and I am bucking against it at every mention, but I'm softening every day and I can see a strong argument for doing it too. We'll be putting the computer, iPad and iPhones aside and doing things the old way - it remains to be seen whether there are actually enough phone boxes left on the planet for us to phone our folks now and again, but I love the idea of finding things out by talking to people and researching within our environment. I even bought a paper version of the Lonely Planet New Zealand book the other day in preparation (half price on Amazon - bargain), and I'm sure that some of my buddies might actually relish a bit of peace and quiet on facebook! Rest assured when the time comes you will get plenty of forewarning though!
But the most important thing of all is about spending some time immersed in being our family. Children grow so quickly, and while they're young their little brains are like sponges. I love the fact that in the last few months the littlest hobo has had both her parents as a massive influence on her life. She's exposing parts of her personality from spending all this time with her daddy which may have stayed hidden if we'd carried on with our previous way of life, simply because they're not personality traits I posses. They're both courageous and cheeky with a wicked sense of humour that I just don't have, and it's magical to see it all coming out. And me and Mr T, we have time for each other too, rather than a snatched hour when we are tired at the end of every day, where we recap all the things we achieved separately, we are building memories together, like we used to when we first met. We're all on a fantastic journey together, both physical and spiritual. I wonder how i will reflect at the end of the year.
Where are you taking yourself in 2012? What do you hope to achieve?
This post was inspired by and forms part of the Boots n All 2012 Indie Travel Challenge - a prompt, question or challenge, every week for the year of 2012. I'm hoping that it will be a little more realistic for me to achieve than a photo a day proved to be in 2011!