Okay, where are we.
Well, I’ll tell you where I am, right now. I’m sitting in my bed at the Somerset Sukhumvit service apartments in Thong Lor, Bangkok. My partner and I have just finished a wonderful dinner at an Isaan restaurant nearby. We’d just discovered it today, and no doubt it will be one of our favourites for years to come. We’re here for a week to ring in the new year.
Has this year been my favourite? I think it just might be. I started a new job and met some really fantastic people who became friends, the kind I’d like to come to my funeral. My partner and I travelled to Switzerland and discovered – surprisingly – a love for chocolate in a form I was pretty sure I’d never love. Turns out all it took was the right kind of chocolate: a little quirky (have you ever tried Läderach’s chilli chocolate?) and plenty of quality. We drove from Zurich, Switzerland to Munich, Germany, and discovered Liechtenstein, a whole new country on its own somewhere in between. It’s been one of our best drives through sun, rain and Avicii’s Hey Brother on repeat on the radio where it hit Number 1 in Germany (beats Adele’s Someone Like You on repeat on the drive through New Zealand a few years back). I love the beer halls of Munich, with an irreplaceable atmosphere that you can’t quite replicate anywhere else in the world.
We travelled up to Japan for a bit in one of its hottest months ever. We drank lots of beer, shopped as much as our pay checks would allow, and ate as cheap and as good as much as we could, which was plenty. Tokyo oozes massive cool even when its city is constantly threatened with a heatwave in August. Like having Thai food in Bangkok, you can’t really appreciate quality Japanese food till you’ve had it in Japan.
So what makes this year so much better, all travelling included? As I’m nearing the big 3-0 in my life(!) I find myself pushing harder for work-life balance. To do more of the things that matter to me in life – Finding time to have more dinners (and cooking them if I could) with family. Taking care of my body through regular exercises (I try to do Bikram yoga at least three times a week). Pursuing hobbies more aggressively than just thinking about it (still working on it). Finally not giving a heck and just getting the lip piercing I’ve always wanted, a ring on my left lower lip (yay!).
Getting older isn’t really scarier, not at this stage anyway, but all the clichés are coming true and that’s a little intimidating. I get a bit of a thrill buying insurance, which is weird and I don’t think happens to anyone else. I worry about savings and retirements. But I’m also so strangely aware now, more than ever, about how much I need to not regret anything in life when I’m older.
Updated 27 December 2013
We’re in the middle of 2012 now – can you believe it? This year I’ve travelled astoundingly – not just extensively. It’s not the scope and breadth of it, it really is what you do with it when you’re there.
I watched the All Blacks win the Bledisloe Cup in Sydney and Auckland (I watched them win last year in the Rugby World Cup); I enjoyed my 27th birthday in Bangkok, a trip where I discovered excellent high end Thai food (Long Table) and equally excellent low end Southern Thai food (Phuket Town).
I walked on a glacier, and went snowboarding in Queenstown, where I fell so hard I sneezed a little brain. I drove 536km (roughly) in South New Zealand, where a fearless black cow let me pat its head rather nicely. I discovered the parallel cities of Istanbul – its old and new, and watched the lives and kindness in Beirut unfold. I followed a stranger to a secret art compound in Kiev; I watched a sultry flamenco dance in Seville; I watched a breathtaking Dervish dance in Istanbul. I finished reading quite a few books on several trips.
This year, I went from Paris > Spain > Andalusia > HCMC, Vietnam > Beirut, Lebanon > Dubai > Istanbul, Turkey > Kiev, Ukraine > Bangkok > Sydney > New Zealand.
Throughout it all, this year seemed most to be a year of foundations, of learning, of remembering why one began a journey a long time ago.
Jack Kerouac’s quotes make sense now, when you try:
“Life must be rich and full of loving–it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.”
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream”
Updated 28 August 2012
When I first started this site, it was on blogger, in 2009, in a very different world from today and a very different blog away. I had some comments here, and since I’ve moved and updated and mucked about I’m afraid they’ve been lost to me. I also had a very different about page then – I talked about work, about how I cook, about what happened in 2011.
But 2011 is coming to a close, and when I looked at this page I wasn’t sure I wanted to read those same things.
I always get stuck when people ask me about me, I’m never sure which are the freaky parts to leave out till when people get to know you better. I’m loud, I laugh a lot, I get excited, I get really moody, and pensive, and I very often put my foot in my mouth. I crack a lot of jokes, mostly crude, sometimes funny.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s move on to other things. I drink a lot of cappuccinos and green tea, and when I need a little treat, a mocha frappe or hazelnut bubble tea. I don’t like eating chocolate bars and I don’t like marshmallows, but I have a weakness for rocky road chocolate. I almost never eat candy, but I like gummy bears.
Since I met my partner, we’ve travelled extensively. I have him to thank for making those dreams come true, amongst many others. I wouldn’t know what else to say here, I’d like our story to continue unfolding.
I read a lot of fiction as a child, these days I appreciate non-fiction just as much. I haven’t had as much patience to finish a good book now as an adult, it’s a habit worth getting back into. I have a firm believe that a good chair and a reading spot is all I need to make this happen. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen was the last fiction book I read and thoroughly enjoyed. Since then, I’ve kept my nose firmly in non-fiction like How We Decide or The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, both I highly recommend. I would also say to read anything by Malcolm Gladwell, and Haruki Murakami.
Finally, as an eater, well. My partner would say I am greedy to a fault. I eat everything, and anything. Everything’s my favourite food, and he’s sort of right. But home cooked meals are everything to me, I could easily pass up fine dining for rustic or home cooked any day. It’s also what I bring to my cooking, and recipes, always with a bit of quirk. I experiment with recipes as much as I can, which has produced some very special meals.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I’d like yours.
Updated 13 December 2011