Over the Christmas holidays, I took a short trip around the UK, visiting my old haunts in Norwich, Cambridge, London, York, Durham and Edinburgh. Since the weather was pretty dismal it was a good chance to reacquaint myself with some of our former empire’s first-class museums (many of which remain free somehow).
It was also an opportunity to overindulge in some delectable home cooking and reflect on what had been a pretty different year; I moved to a new country for the 3rd time, went back to school for 6 months, and worked freelance to pay the bills. It was both extremely challenging and rewarding with plenty learned along the way:
- Survived 6 months of intensive Japanese classes in Tokyo
- Attended lots of events and got better at networking
- Went on some great trips to Guangzhou, Taiwan and Portugal
- Continued to improve my design skills and launched an app
- Had a couple of articles go viral and do very well
- The nagging feeling of instability made it hard to relax
- Didn’t write as much as I planned to here because of this
- Didn’t travel as much as I wanted to in Japan
- Living in a shared house again after 5 years of independence
All-in-all 2013 was good but I hope in 2014 I can find a bit more head space to do more of the things I have planned without the nervous tension in the back of my mind which kills creativity.
- Find a private tutor to continue learning Japanese
- Learn how to cook a few staple Japanese dishes
- Take some short trips outside Tokyo to the countryside
- Travel to Kashgar (west China) and go diving in Malaysia
- Move to a new apartment somewhere interesting in Tokyo
- Blog at least once a week and take more photos
- Learn to relax and worry less (yet again)
When it comes to doing things differently it can be difficult to hold the line but I found a nugget of inspiration in an exhibition at the Science Museum in London – Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr:
Eccentricity is a quality the British prize above many others. It may be impractical, uncomfortable and at times a nuisance, but it denotes character and individuality. It also pleases the escapist imp in all of us.
A genuine eccentric is one who pursues his own version of the truth and value of things untainted by outside pressures or conventions.Tony Ray-Jones
I hope you will have an excellent 2014, whatever your world looks like 🙂