2014 – Looking Back At The Highs And Lows

I think it’s always good to take some time to think about the year that has passed. There will be good memories, and there will of course be bad memories, but as they say time is one of the biggest gifts in life and we need to appreciate and be thankful for every last moment we are given. Sometime the days, the weeks, the months fly by so fast we don’t have time to reflect on what we have done, what we are doing or what we hope to do in the future.

As one of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more, it makes senses that I should write this post on January 1st. I must not put off ’til tomorrow what can very easily be done today. There’s another resolution for you!

So, before I sit down and make out a list of the things I would like to accomplish this year (and we all know that’s going to be quite the list!!) let me take a look back to see what weird and wonderful things I managed to achieve in 2014.

Personal achievements

first 10km group pic

I started the year on a real health buzz, committed to going to the gym 5 days a week, started running 10km races in Korea with friends and even accomplished a big goal of mine which was to run my first half marathon!

For the first time in about a decade, I succeeded in giving up alcohol for lent…a total period of 46 days. I even managed to survive St Patrick’s Day sober. Miracles do happen!

It may sound like a weird thing to call an “achievement” but some of the friends I made in 2014, the same friends I had to sadly say goodbye to in July, were some of the closest, most meaningful friendships I have ever been lucky enough to have. As my friend Shruti put it, “We’ll be friends for generations!” Great friends don’t come along that often, so when you find them you need to keep them close and really treasure them. You know who you are! 🙂

At the beginning of the year I succeeded in losing 10kg over a 3 month period and for the first time in years I felt perfectly confident in my own body. Bikinis on the beach were no longer an issue…at least for a while as sadly while it’s hard to lose weight it’s even more difficult to maintain said ideal weight.

This lovely little blog, which I sort of neglected last year, got nominated for an Irish Blog Award for the first time ever. I did not win any prizes (sad face) but sure that’s something to aim for this year.

Writing for The Irish Times has been a really exciting part of 2014 for me. My first article was published while in South Korea, and detailed what it was like to spend Paddy’s Day abroad. Then, once I returned to Ireland I have been working as a a freelance business and technology journalist for the last few months which has been a huge confidence boost when it comes to my writing.

Failures? My pathetic attempt to give up facebook for lent lasted a grand total of 3 days. We rely so much on our online social networks for keeping in touch and organizing events I fear the only way to escape them is to become a hermit for a month. Tempting.

Travel memories

mermaids boracay

Starting the new year in Cambodia with some of my closest friends from Korea. Watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat temple at the beginning of 2014 was a pretty special memory, especially as it was with such an amazing group of friends.

Fun in the Philippines – heading back to Boracay for my birthday with my running buddy Lauren was brilliant. Despite bad weather for the entire time we were there, we still managed to have lots of fun dressing up like mermaids and posing on the beach for loads of confused bystanders!

Weekends away in South Korea – camping on a deserted island, hiring a Korean tall ship for a weekend with 40 mad but amazing expats, ski trips which included amazing outdoor scented hot tubs in the snow and chilled out weekends on the beach with the besties. Every weekend in Korea was essentially a travel memory not to be forgotten.

In May, I got to go to a city I had always dreamed of going to..Hong Kong. And boy was it worth it. I still think I would move there in a heart beat if I could find the right job. Even better, I got to go there with friends from Ireland and relive childhood dreams by spending a day in DisneyLand!

The summer involved 2 months backpacking around Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. I still have not blogged about any of those adventures but hope to get around to it within the next 2 weeks. While most of my memories of this trip are positive, thanks mainly to Rebecca, Shruti, Morne, Johann and all the awesome people I met while on the road, it was certainly a period of mixed emotion at times.

My last trip of the year was a long weekend in Paris visiting old friends, checking out the Christmas markets, taking part in SantaCon and just enjoying all that belle Paris has to offer. A perfect destination to end a great year.

Failures? I wanted to travel home overland on the trans siberian. Sadly, for a combination of reasons including visa issues, lack of a travel buddy, finances and my desire to spend a ridiculous amount of time lunging on the beach in Thailand, this did not happen. I also wanted to go to many more*new* countries and instead found myself returning to countries I had already visited. Not bothered about that too much though…some countries are so beautiful you need to visit many, many times to truely appreciate all that they have to offer.

The “Job” front

travayl mobile travel app

I finished up my contract in South Korea and decided it was finally time to but that chapter of my life behind me. I wanted to move back to Ireland and try to “settle”, which in my world means trying to stay in one country and one job for longer than a year. Time to reconnect with old friends, rebuild friendships and start building a career.

The first few weeks home were tough. In fact, in a way, I’m still finding it tough. It;s always hard to know for sure if you have made the right decision to move home after living the expat life for so long. Committing to stay in Ireland can be very daunting and I feel like I have been on an emotional roller-coaster the last few months.

I spent my first 3 months home working for a travel start-up called Travayl, which helps bloggers like me to monetize their travel photos. I learned so much about the tech and star-up community here in Dublin and decided it’s an area I want to become more involved in. It’s a really exciting sector and one which motivates me to no end.

I had to make a really tough job decision in December which involved me turning down a dream job with the United Nations in favour of a job here in Ireland.It troubled me a lot and a lot of lists were made weighing up the pros and cons. In the end, I truly believe I made the right decision and am very excited to get started in my new role later this month. *watch this space*

I’m excited to see what sort of obstacles, hoops and adventures the next 364 days will throw at me.

BRING IT ON.

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