Saturday, 4 January 2020

Looking forward by looking back. Thanks 2019.

A highlight of the year - our family holiday to the Isle of Skye. This was at Loch Coruisk 

Each New Year is an opportunity to consider whether you made the most of the one before, whether you used your time wisely, your opportunities to the full. 

I'll be honest, 2019 was good, but it could have been better. If I had used my time better, and stuck to my priorities without being distracted by less important calls on my time and attention, I'd have fitted in more quality time with my family (which should always be my number 1 priority), and more time enjoying and learning about the great outdoors. 

I shared some goals this time last year (see those here) for some noteworthy trips and challenges. Not all of them worked out, but I managed many of them, and added quite a lot more. The biggest omission was probably not being able to walk the route of Hadrian's Wall, a long held goal - in the end I just couldn't take off the time it would have required at the time of year I had intended to walk it. But its been there for 2000 years, I doubt it's going anywhere anytime soon. There will be another chance. 

Some of the 'adventures' have already featured in the blog, others haven't ... yet. There is another goal for this year, to make more of this blog. The posts may well be shorter to enable them to be more frequent but I can live with that. 

There was the trip to Wales with my brothers in February - that was a lot of fun and a rare opportunity to get time with my siblings. There was the family reunion to southern Scotland in April with my mothers side of the family, then the trip to the Isle of Skye with just our little family in early May. Good thing Scotland never gets old, in fact it seems to get better and better with every visit. There were family visits to the beach, a short trip over to Wales with one of my brothers for a last Hurrah before he went to live abroad for two years as a volunteer missionary for our Church. There were family days out in the Peak District in Autumn colours, and on winter days to see water falls. 

And in looking back on all that I think, 'Yea, we did alright'. But in looking back to what happened in between those adventures, large and small, the lost days because we got up late, or had jobs to do which I could have done the night before if I had foregone the telly. Or the evenings when I could have done something to earn a bit of extra pocket money to pay for a slightly more interesting adventure than I ended up doing... I think you can see the pattern. 

As such, I am not going to make specific 'resolutions', rather my goal for the year is to make better use of my time. Less TV, less social media, less lounging around, less late nights not really staying up for anything except to just stay up. More reading real books, more writing blogs or articles or books (I have a long list I'd like to write), more time facilitating adventures. 

And I use facilitating instead of planning because 'planning adventures' way too frequently turns into scrolling through Instagram looking at the latest fad for "influencers" and "content creators" to head to the same exotic place and take very similar photos of very similar places. And actually, that's not what I want. I want my own adventures, not someone else's left overs. 

By facilitating I mean more than dreaming or wishing, I mean really planning. Studying maps, setting routes, identifying potential wild camping sites, understanding travel requirements, finding the buses / trains / planes I will need to get there, understanding the likely cost of the travel, taking that into account in my adventure budget, understanding what time of year will be best based on what I want to see / peak season higher prices / weather conditions and so on, considering what equipment I will need based on where, when and what I will be doing - not just the latest cool must have gadget, but the items I will actually need to undertake the trip (which I am very grateful to say for me is a relatively short list these days, unless something has worn out or broken, or I am really pushing my comfort zone!), adding those needs into my adventure budget, then planning how I will save or make the money needed to hit that budget in time to achieve the goal, then making the money stretch by buying second hand or last season (because who cares if the colour palette doesn't match the latest catalogue), honestly assessing my fitness or capability levels and determining whether practice / training or formal instruction is required to get me physically ready for the endeavour, then setting a training plan to get me ready, following that plan, tweaking the route, checking the kit, practice packing it all in to make sure it fits, some demo journeys to see if I actually need everything I packed ... oh, and then actually going on the trip I suppose. 

Phew, that sounds like enough to keep me busy. 

So, goodbye 2019, thanks for the fun times, and thanks for the reminder than I can accomplish way more when I put my mind to it than we did together - my fault, not yours. 

Now then, 2020 - lets see what we can manage when we put our minds to it!

See you out there,

Richard     

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