Where in the world have I been lately? I’ll tell you where I haven’t been… I haven’t been sitting at my computer coming up with regular blog posts to both delight and inspire my fan base –who, given my inexcusable absence, has no doubt probably dwindled to just my immediate family. Instead, I’ve been doing a whole lot of traveling and a whole lot of slacking off at writing. In the last few months I visited the Philippines, spent time in Germany and went on holiday in Honduras. I fly to California next week and Andy is hell-bent on hitting Vegas for at least a few days before he jets off to Asia in February for another two-month work stint – where I’ll probably be visiting him.
Right now though, I’m back in the States and blog post ideas are overflowing from my jet lagged brain. But first things first: Happy New Year!
I rang in the new year at a beach party on the island of Utila off the coast of Honduras. There was sand beneath my toes, a cold beer in my hand and spectacular fireworks overhead. It was the first time I’d been back to Central America in a long time and I can’t tell you how much I’d missed it; by my best count, this was my 10th trip to that part of the world.
Most of these trips were planned around my college schedule during Christmas breaks, spring breaks or right at the start of my summer breaks… in other words, right after I’d put one term to bed and right before I was starting a new one. For anyone who has ever gone to school, you know this is an important time – a time to say good riddance to the class you just couldn’t get, the professor you just didn’t like or the test you just hadn’t passed. This is making me sound like a bad student; I wasn’t. I was a good student who finished her college experience with a bachelor’s degree and a respectable GPA… but some classes, despite a perfectly acceptable final grade, just need to be given a good riddance (Literacy Theory 494/595 springs to mind).
So most terms, after I filled in the last Scantron bubble of my final exam, I’d wave goodbye to my little college town, take the shuttle to the Portland airport and find some sunnier skies in Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica or Guatemala. I catch up with my mom or my sister, get a sunburn and take showers with lizards. I’d bask in the sun, the local culture and the fact that a fresh start awaited me when I made my way back to Oregon State University. I would make lists upon lists of goals all while looking forward to the term where I would finally get my act together.
I’m long done with school now, but on this trip to Honduras I just couldn’t shake the familiar sense of anticipating a fresh start. Happily, our trip coincided with the start of a new year so I felt validated in thinking so much about goals and resolutions. This is the start of 2013, the year I’ll turn 30, the first full year that Andy will be at his new travel-heavy job and, of course, this is the year that I’ll finally get my act together.
Since it isn’t really relevant to travel, I won’t bore you with the details about what I hope my workout schedule will look like or what books I plan to read this year. Instead, I’ll go over a few of my travel-related goals that I’ve laid out for myself:
- Travel as often as possible: Always saying yes to trips comes pretty easily to me, but just in case I start to slack off, I thought this one ought to make the list.
- Blog regularly: No more long absences, I promise!
- Take more pictures: I have exactly one picture of myself from the two weeks I spent in Germany this winter – and it isn’t even a good one.
- Take more videos: Most of our travel videos turn out like this one… chaotic and poorly lit. When they’re good though, they pack a memory punch like no other.
- Become a better traveler: Connect with more locals, sample more foods, ask more questions, learn more answers.
- Pack perfectly: I’m already a light packer, but my recent whirlwind travels have made me realize I need to have a better go-to travel wardrobe for any and all climates.
As you might have noticed from my recent absence, Goal #1 and Goal #2 seem to be a bit hard for me to tackle at the same time. I hereby resolve to do better! I resolve to learn to write and update my blog even while I’m in the eye of the travel storm that we Shamblins are lucky enough to be in the middle of.*
This list, along with my personal goals and resolutions seems a bit daunting and one problem that I’ve had in the past with New Years resolutions is that, unless perfectly executed, they tend to set me up for failure. To this I say we should all start living like college students again. Not because I think we all need more ramen and cheap beer in our lives, but because I think we all need a few more fresh starts. If you blow a healthy day by eating too much cake you shouldn’t write the entire day off and have ice cream for dinner. On that same note, if I fail to get my act together in the next three months I will not chalk it up to a failed resolution – instead, I’ll just start afresh for the spring term of my 30th year.
Where you’ll find me next I’m not sure, but come March, I’ll be the one drinking some bubbly and singing Auld Lang Syne.
*I tried re-wording that sentence about a hundred times to no avail to avoid ending it in a preposition. So to all you grammar sticklers out there, I leave you with a quote from Winston Churchill, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”