Reflections On 2015

Reflections On 2015

‘Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.’ – Peter Drucker.

At the end of each year, I like to spend a bit of time reflecting on the year that has passed and focusing on some of the things I’d like to achieve in the year that is coming. In this post, I’ll look back on 2015, a year that has been, without a doubt, one of the best years of my life so far.

That’s a big, bold statement to kick off a blog post with, but it’s true. I am leaving 2015 behind feeling like it is going to be a big year to beat and 2016 has got a lot to live up to! If 2014 was all about major life decisions and big changes, 2015 has definitely been all about having fun and enjoying this new chapter in the life I’ve decided to lead.

With that introduction to this post, I am going to go ahead and let you know exactly why 2015 has been such an amazing year for me. Here goes!

I found a new (old) hobby that I really love.

My love of photography had been growing slowly for some time, but in 2015 it developed into a full-blown passion. I can’t go anywhere nowadays without scouting the location out for photographic opportunities – checking out the light, looking for great colours or shapes, finding good viewpoints for landscapes and storing away great photo ideas in my head for future reference.

Since I invested in my first DSLR back in August, I am getting more confident in my photographic abilities and I am increasingly shooting in manual mode when I use my camera – for reference, a Canon EOS 1200d. It is a beginner’s DSLR and I am shooting with the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens kit that it came with when I bought it, but I can feel my photography improving on a daily basis as I start getting a greater understanding of the mechanics of taking photographs. I am also beginning to appreciate the elements that turn a good photo into a really excellent photo, like interesting light, good composition and trusting your instincts when it comes to getting the perfect shot.

I know that having a better camera doesn’t automatically make me better at taking photos – no matter what kit I use photographs can and do still turn out shit (I took over a thousand images in the Philippines and will share maybe 50-100 of them on social media and via this blog). I need to continue honing my skills and carry on striving to advance my photography. Further down the line, I’d like to
invest in more kit, starting with another lens and a tripod. Maybe I’ll take a course.
Without a doubt, 2015 has definitely been the year when I realised just how much I love getting creative with my camera and from now on, with perseverance and ongoing passion, my photography will only get better. Keep your eyes peeled for more photos upcoming from the Philippines and Wales on this blog and Instagram page. Photography is officially my new (old) favourite hobby!

Writing has come fully back into my life again – long may it last!

I have been a writer since I can remember, but after I finished university, writing took a back seat and I didn’t do very much for a few years. Before I started travelling, this blog meant very little to me. It was something I’d created one rainy Sunday afternoon and then rarely thought about afterwards. That all changed when I went to New Zealand and finally had something I wanted to write about – my love of travel, my love of New Zealand, the new life I was making for myself.
Suddenly, this blog became a huge priority in my life. Around the same time as my blog started playing a bigger role in my life, I started to read other people’s blogs too. I gathered writing inspiration from my favourite bloggers (such as This Battered Suitcase and Alex In Wanderland) and I began to aspire to what some of these writers have achieved – earning money through their blogs and building up
portfolios of work that have led to them writing books and getting published, which is a dream of mine!
I find myself spending more and more time contemplating my next blog post – what I will write about, how I will present the post to my readers, the things I want people to know about. Suddenly, writing, which has been an interest of mine since a young age, is right
back in the forefront of my mind and I am really enjoying it. I love posting about my travels and I love getting people’s feedback on my writing. It fills me with delight whenever someone compliments my blog because it really does mean that much to me and I want people to enjoy reading my posts just as much as I enjoy writing them, editing them and putting them all together. I am so glad that 2015 has been the year for me when writing really came back into my life.

I’ve got some really amazing friends, both old and new.

2015 has shown me the real value of friendship. I have had the opportunity to make fantastic new friends, and the opportunity to retain my amazing old friends.
I am grateful to have met some truly wonderful people in 2015. Although some of them will just have been passing (albeit great)  acquaintances, I also know that I have new friendships that will last a lifetime. I now have several people with whom I’ve become extremely close, people who have come to matter to me a great deal and whom I will (or already, depending on if they’ve already left or not!) miss ridiculous amounts when we no longer spend as much time together.
I admit that I wondered occasionally if I would drift apart from some of my old friends, or if things would be different between us when I returned. However, it has become clear to me whilst I have been back in the UK that the friends who truly matter to me, those that I really want and need around me in my life, are still here for me. My relationships with these people are just as wonderful as they were before I went away, if not better. Distance is no match for strong friendships built on solid foundations and I am lucky to have so many friendships
exactly like that right here in rainy old Blighty.

I have taken the opportunity to try lots of new things and in doing so, become more self-confident.

Trying new things and taking as many opportunities as I can has helped me to realise that I can do anything, if I set my mind to it. As a result, my self-confidence has improved and I am beginning to realise that the limits of my own tolerance and inner strength are far higher than I thought they were before 2015 happened.
All of the new things I’ve tried – like sky divingflying a plane over Wanaka and learning to snorkel in the Philippines – have helped me to recognise the fears that I have and overcome them. Whilst I know I am probably never likely to be fearless, I do want to continue pushing the limits of my comfort zone. I want to live as freely from my anxieties as possible and not just when it comes to jumping out of a plane
or snorkelling on the edge of the drop-off zone, despite my irrational fear that a shark is going to come along and bite a chunk out of me. I want to live like this in all walks of my life.
Doing things that scare me has helped me to become more determined to succeed in everything that I do, whether it’s something as simple as containing my fear of heights so that I can hop on a ski lift to go luging in Rotorua or something more complicated, like achieving my ambitions for 2016. But that’s for the next blog post, coming soon…

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