As the clock struck midnight last New Year’s Eve I was on a rooftop in Buenos Aires, surrounded by new friends I’d met at the beginning of my round-the-world trip and trying to dodge the stray fireworks the South Americans love to throw around like they’re confetti. I was just two months into my 30b430 adventure and I had absolutely no idea what the next seven months would bring.
Over the last few weeks so many of my friends have told me that 2012 has flown by and they don’t know where the time has gone. But for me it feels like the exact opposite. It seems like a lifetime ago that I boarded the plane at Heathrow. Looking back it’s hard to believe I began the year in Argentina before travelling through Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Burma and China. All of the while ticking things off my 30b430 list, fulfilling dreams I’ve had for years, from diving in the Great Barrier Reef to standing on the Great Wall of China. I returned home to the UK in August, just in time for the Olympics in London, which were absolutely amazing and celebrated my 30th birthday in September. I set up my new blog to hopefully help other people to take their own grown up gap year and I’ve just spent one of the strangest months of my life working in Qatar before coming home to spend Christmas with my family.
So when I cheered in the New Year yesterday it was with a little bit of sadness that 2012 is over. Although I’m looking forward to new adventures and challenges in 2013, I’m starting this year with more uncertainties than ever before. I somewhat naively thought that taking my trip would help to answer many of the questions I had about where my life was going. I figured that nine months would be enough time to make a plan and that I’d come home knowing what job I wanted to do, where I wanted to live and what shape I wanted my life to take over the new few years. But in fact I came back with less of an idea and far more questions. It feels strange and it feels scary and, if anything, a little irresponsible. I feel as though I should have it all figured out by now.
But on the other hand it also feels exciting. It’s good to know that I have the freedom to do anything, to live anywhere and to explore new opportunities. In 2012 I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, as I felt so happy that I was already achieving so many of my ambitions. But this year the list seems endless, filled with so many new things I want to try. I guess what 2012 did for me was show me the new possibilities. Before that I’d fallen into the habit of just going forward. I was so stuck in the day-to-day realities of life that I never looked left or right, I couldn’t see any other options. But having given all of that up the possibilities now seem endless, which is both amazing and terrifying in equal measures.
So here’s to 2013: to adventures and taking risks; to straying from the path and following new opportunities and to sometimes not knowing where you’re going to end up, but doing it anyway.
Happy New Year!