I woke up today and it’s another year,
in another country,
on the South side of the Earth.
When you start a new year, you can’t help yourself making a record of what happened the previous year. I know it’s only a calendar change, another Earth movement around the Sun. There should be no reason to review the previous year. But this time, this New Year is matching with my 6 months travelling anniversary. 2015 is going away, quietly, lightly, by the light of an Aurora Australis in Stewart Island.
And 2015 was such a generous year, it makes me dizzy.
5 SUPER AWESOME THINGS I’VE DONE IN 2015:
(Actually, I have at least 42.)
- Becoming a Couchsurfing host in Strasbourg
I’ve been welcoming the world in my room, showing them my city, my favourite places and bonded really quickly and intensely with some of them. This life experience brought me to become a Couchsurfer as well, particularly in Japan.
- Selling my belongings, leaving my flat in Strasbourg and going to New Zealand with the Working Holiday Visa (WHV)
By myself. Since I landed in New Zealand 6 months ago, I can’t stop being amazed. Of my own ability to do some things, of those magnificent landscapes spreading in front of me, of those people I’m meeting on the way. And I want to test myself more and more every step of the way.
- Quit smoking
I must say I’m very (VERY) proud of this one. And I was a regular smoker since age 13. To quit smoking was a recurrent idea the past three years, but the fear of nicotine craving only made me fail every time. However, at the Charles de Gaulle airport, just before hopping on the plane, I finally decided to quit. I gave my packet away to a random stranger, passed by the Duty-Free stacks full of cigarettes without batting an eye and I landed in Japan almost healed. Changing habits and landmarks, and most of all, HAVING BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN SMOKING, well, that helped a lot. Okay, I compensated with delicious carrot cakes and start gaining weight like I was turning into a massive potato, but that’s also because by saying goodbye to cigarettes I said hello to flavours. I’m now eating capsicums, seafood and even coconut, which were things I deeply disliked before. I turned into a boring girl now, although: no alcohol, no cigarettes. Let’s bring the granny teapot baby.
- Watching wild animals in their natural habitat
A southern right whale, glow worms, blue penguins, yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions, Hector dolphins, Tui birds, Fantails, Weka, Kaka and so many other weird birds have crossed my path since the beginning of my trip. It made me think a lot about the urge to protect endangered species. Especially when you can witness the many changes that occurred in the New Zealand biodiversity since the Maori and the Europeans came. It’s alarming. So, on a worldwide level, it gives me the creeps.
- Spending a night in an Onsen Ryokan in Japan
It was undoubtedly the most unaccustomed experience of my life. Being in this Onsen Ryokan in the middle of the Japanese Alps was unbelievable. It was a traditional Japanese Ryokan, which means that nothing was written in English, that there were only Japanese customers and that I had the best meal of my life. And I spent a whole evening bathing in the natural hot springs. That was a dream coming true.
- BONUS: Becoming a Helper
Here’s a nice way to travel for cheap: working for accommodation and/or meals through HelpX. This experience allowed me to meet awesome people and do various types of jobs (housekeeping in a lodge, seeding in a nursery or gardening) and sometimes unexpected jobs (working in a former prison, helping a jewellery artist, working in a smoked salmon factory.) HelpX also allowed me to settle down from time to time and put Monster in a corner in places I could briefly call home.
I’m not into New Year’s resolution anyway. I never believed New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start. Quit smoking, learn Spanish, lose weight, etc. Most of the time, we just throw those resolutions to the pigs after January 2nd.
But this year, something is slightly different. Not that I’m wanting to impose myself some unreachable goals. I would like to wish things for myself instead. I would like to wish me some dreams. Other dreams. For I know this time it could be doable. That sometimes all you need is a little impulse, a little push, to gain momentum, to shut down this fear of unknown.
5 DREAMS I’M WISHING MYSELF FOR 2016:
- Getting another Working Holiday Visa to Australia
It’s like a must-do after a WHV in New Zealand. A winning duo. And since I’m soon reaching the age limit to apply, and I’m already in this part of the world… It does make sense, right? All I need to do is save up some money and get started.
- Exploring Asia
I’d love to go back to Japan to see my friend Noriko again, go to Bali for some holidays, discover Singapore with Brenna, witness the Angkor beauty, enjoy the nice beaches in Thailand, do some Couchsurfing in India… I have so many Asian dreams at the moment!
- Going scuba dive again
Maybe when I’ll go to Kaikoura, or in Bali, or at the Great Barrier. But I have to try scuba dive again. Last time was over 10 years ago in Corsica, and the amazing feeling I had while being underwater is still pretty vivid.
- Hike a Great Walk by myself
I enjoyed hiking the Abel Tasman Track so much that I would like to hike another one of the 9 Great Walks of New Zealand. But all by myself this time. So I could go on my own pace, and feel this immense satisfaction of accomplishment fully. Kepler Track is teasing me, it’s so near to the place I’m currently living.
- Volunteer for an association/NGO related to animals
- This could be the ‘more useful’ version n of HelpX. I could volunteer for the New Zealand DOC, or help an association which is protecting elephants in Thailand like Sophie & Russel did. Anyway, I’d like to feel useful, to serve a cause, a greater purpose.
- BONUS: Heal myself
So I could come back to France one day, come back to my loved ones, in peace. And my mind full of new possibilities.
Happy New Year to my dear family. Happy New Year to my dear friends. Happy New Year to those I’m loving from far away now and Happy New Year to those I’ve met along the way the past 6 months. Happy New Year to you that I’ve encountered on my novice adventurer’s road, to you with whom I shared a car, a tent, a van, a carrot cake, a lemon tea, a stroll, a cinema seat, a road trip, a cruise ship, a meal, a laugh with.
2016 is going to be amazing.
“I know places we can go, babe.
Don’t ask me when, but ask me why.
Don’t ask me how, but ask me where.
There is a road, there is a way.
There is a place. There is a place.”
(Lykke Li, I know Places)