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 improved 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 within 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 🙂