Six months ago, Claire and I sat down and set out what we wanted 2015 to deliver for us. Knowing that we would be travelling across the globe, we selected 15 things that we would work to achieve across the course of the year. With half the time now passed and less than six months left to complete these challenges, we thought it was high time we gave an update on our progress so far!
- Move to a new location – Completed. We’re a few days away now from leaving our home in Wuxi, China where we’ve lived for the past four and a half months on our TEFL China Internship with i-to-i and their in-country partners ImmerQi. Our eleventh-floor apartment was located in a development of over 100 blocks, all occupied by Chinese people. Needless to say we have truly lived in a new place – we’re now looking forward to the new locations coming soon!
- Shift from a possession-centric to experience-centric existence – In progress. Before we came to China, Claire and I both shed the vast majority of our worldly possessions in preparation for embarking on our internship and RTW trip. We managed to reduce our day-to-day life to a 65-litre rucksack each, plus a box of memories left in the safe custody of our families. Our time travelling to and around China has made us realise that we still have too much with us and we’ll therefore be moving to carry-on only for the next stage of our adventures. Stay tuned for more information.
- Walk a section of the Great Wall of China – Completed. Okay, so this is one more for me than Claire given she walked the Great Wall when she visited with Exodus Travels in 2013. We did go to a different section of the Great Wall on our cultural day with ImmerQi and, whilst cold and hard going, was as amazing as I hoped it would be!
- Add to Claire’s postcard collection – Completed. We’re only half way through the collection year and already Claire has surpassed her target of 15 postcards this year and there’ll be no stopping her collecting more. Truth be told, I’m as keen as she is to add to the collection which makes a conveniently compact method of capturing in a non-electronic form snapshots of our travels. Can’t wait to see the memories we get next!
- Sample new and unusual cuisine – In progress. Our avid followers will know of our culinary encounter with scorpions in Beijing’s Hutongs which more than qualified for this objective. Additionally, we have tried many other strange foods such as chicken feet, pig stomach, frog, shrimps and pig brain. Whilst our next destinations are not renowned for the unusual cuisine on the scale of China, we’re sure they’ll be more to add to this in the future.
- Learn a new language – In progress. Coming to China where the language barrier is enormous and English is rarely spoken amongst the general populace, we have learnt many essential phrases to help us get through life on a daily basis. With four more non-English speaking countries on our agenda, picking up new language phrases will be a must as we carry on travelling.
- Watch the Sun rise and set in new and beautiful locations – In progress. We’ve seen the Sun set over the Gili islands of Indonesia and the beaches of Bali but have yet to find a suitable sunrise to match these. Maybe the Taj Mahal in India will qualify!?
- Learn Tai Chi – In progress. Okay, so this wasn’t one of our most successful objectives. We covered the basics as part of our training centre experience in Beijing but have struggled to find Tai Chi anywhere in Wuxi where we’d be able to take part. We will however be looking to try a bit of Yoga during our time in India – more to follow!
- Make a difference – Not started. As teachers, you can argue we make a difference to some degree each and every day. That said, the difference we want to make is to those individuals who need it the most: the poorer and most disadvantaged members of the societies we visit. We fully expect to be able to make at least a small contribution to the lives of the communities we visit during our time in Nepal & India.
- Plan a RTW trip – In progress. Our plan is set for the first seven months of 2015/16 and will take us to Nepal, India & South Africa to work with young people and disadvantaged communities plus a month in Sri Lanka working with sea turtles. After this, we’ll be heading over to Australia, taking us to our third continent of the trip. After that, we’re not really sure – have to wait and see!
- Learn to juggle – In progress. I’m at the stage now where I can swap three balls through the air once without dropping them but need to practice a hell of a lot more to meet this objective. Claire’s working on her five ball cascade at the moment and making far better progress than me.
- Read a classic – Not started. My time in China has given me a lot more free time than my previous life in the UK ever offered and I’m back in the habit of reading regularly again. I haven’t started my classic yet but know this is something I need to address over the next few months so I don’t run out of time.
- Go to a music concert – Completed. We actually managed to complete this in the last 48 hours before we left the UK, going to an amazing gig by the Kaiser Chiefs in our hometown which was a 30th birthday present from my parents.
- Achieve 1000 Twitter Followers – Completed. We broke through our Twitter target back in May this year and are well on our way to achieving 2000 followers before the year is out – at last count, we had 1663 followers. This is a marked increase on 275 followers we had at the beginning of 2015.
- Write an app – In progress. We’ve completed some tutorials on this topic and made a couple of trial apps but have yet to master the more complicated aspects needed to put into practice a design of our own. It’s a lot harder to get our heads around than either of us anticipated and not having internet access at home here in China has slowed this learning process down significantly. Undeterred, we’ll still be working to complete this before the year is out.
Overall, we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made with 33% completed and only 13% yet to start. We’ve got six months left to complete our challenges and are excited to see what they and the future will bring. Did you make any plans for 2015? If so, how are you getting on – we’d love to hear from you!