For the past 2 years I have been setting myself personal challenges for the year, rather than resolutions that I’m unlikely to keep. Did I complete my “15 for 2015”? Lets see…
1. Visit somewhere I haven’t been
Hmmm this was probably far too easy as I’ve been to many new places in 2015, both in the UK and overseas. Maybe I should have called this one “visit a new continent”? My main trip in 2015 was 2 weeks in Australia at Easter. I flew into Brisbane and boarded another plane to Gladstone where I caught a ferry to Heron Island, after that I hired a car and drove to Bundaberg and took a short flight in a Cessna to Lady Elliot Island. After time on the islands I headed further south to spend 5 nights in Noosa which is a stunning breach town on the Sunshine Coast with a great river, national park and beach. It’s laid back atmosphere really suited me.
During this trip I also caught up with my Godfather who I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, I met him and his wife for a picnic at the Glasshouse Mountains lookout, which is a truly beautiful spot. I also managed to catch up with friends I met whilst overlanding in Africa in 2012…..a fabulous and packed 2 weeks… exhausting but epic!
2. Catch a fish for my dinner – Line caught
I managed to achieve this very early in the year. On 4th Jan I went fishing with my Dad and Brother at Cooden Beach. I may have had some beginners luck with my new rod….6 fish caught, 4 went back, 2 were barbequed on the beach for our lunch! Awesome.
3. Cycling weekend or longer
Whilst I didn’t book an organised cycling tour, I had fun taking my bike with René to West Wittering for a weekend in September, peddle power was all that was needed to get between the beaches and campsite. I had a perfect stay at the small family run Scott’s Farm Campsite between East and West Wittering. In addition to this I travelled to Copenhagen in early November and hired bikes each day, including the Danish equivalent of London’s “Boris Bikes”, except these were electric assisted, much needed over this windy weekend city break!
4. Learn to actually edit my Go Pro Video collection and use them
I bought an iMac to assist with this one. Result, I need more practice!
5. Dive somewhere new
6. Swim in the sea at least 15 times
If I’d kept count I think this may be close to 100 sea swims, quite a lot of which were in the UK. From swimming the island beaches in Australia, taking a dip at Dancing Ledge in May (damn cold), snorkelling in the Mani Greece and later in Crete, to swimming with my nephews and niece at my local beach, I think you can say I smashed this activity. My last swim of the year will be in the Maldives on New Years Eve.
Okay this may be a bit of a joke but I actually did it in 2015!! His name is René and he’s 20 years old. I’m twice his age and I’m not sure which of us is in better nick.
8. Read at least 15 travel books
I really enjoyed this and liked almost every one. You can read about it here.
9. Go to 15 live events
Not quite achieved but I had a good time trying. 12 managed: The Book of Mormon, Herstmonceux Observatory open evening, Eastbourne feastival, Chaz n Dave, Roaring 20’s, Carnival, Open air Shakespeare – Twelfth night, Airborne, Festival of the sea, Moscow Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Battle Festival, Cats. I may attempt this again in 2016.
Failed. I blame the terrible weather throughout this year, though probably just a lack of time and motivation. It’s been on the list 2 years in a row; clearly I don’t want it that much or it would be done. Time to think of something new.
11. Host a beach BBQ
I’ve had several barbeques on the beach, some alone, some with family, some with friends. The main event was hosting a summer BBQ for my team at work. Titled ‘the inaugural PF annual summer BBQ” I hope it does become an annual event.
12. Learn a new sport
I moved to the seaside in 2014 and had seen the coastal rowers at sea all summer; I jumped at the chance of taking the “learn to row” course. Now I’m hooked! Not sure how my aging body will cope with the training haha, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’ve started to feel fitter already….racing next year?
I deliberately kept this a secret as I didn’t want to jinx it, would you have stated number 13 is related to flying?? As my Australia trip was just for 2 weeks I decided that I needed to “hit the ground running” and bought a Business Class ticket from Emirates. The plan was to fly only one way in relative luxury. However, as I had been struggling with my back for several months I decided to go the whole hog. Let’s just say this has spoilt me for life, and I would never want to travel that far again without an upgraded ticket.
I slept properly for the first time ever on a plane, said yes to champagne and yes again to the delightful choice of food and wine. The A380 even has a bar to hang out at. This is definitely the way to travel.
14. Naked swim
I tried to find quiet spots in Dorset, the Mani and in Australia but finally managed to complete this challenge in September on a beach in Crete. I took the hire car down a long track full of potholes to a dusty parking spot in the middle of nowhere. Then climbed down a steep rock and shale hill through some woods to an isolated beach in South West Crete. There were just a few people dotted around in the trees at the top of the beach, mostly naked men (their girlfriends wearing clothes???). Was this a life changing experience? Not really, would I do it again? Probably.
15. Continue to use Facebook as my life diary and memory keeper
I started a blog and FB page instead!
Let me know what you think
PS my 16for2016 is here