We are rapidly approaching the end of 2014. As ever, this time of year is synonymous with reviews of the year that has passed and targets for the year coming up. I’m not going to write a full review of my targets for 2014 and then pen a list of achievements I would like to make in 2015. Personally I don’t think there’s much in the saying “roll on next year”; what’s going to be different? Ultimately the clock keeps ticking, you wake up and know that for at least the next 2 months you will still have to think which year it is whenever you are required to write it down. We should aim to make the most of every moment, every day, every weekend, every month, every year; whether or not we have “started afresh” because our calendar gives some false perception of a new start.
I’ve said I will not write a long post reviewing my achievements (or lack of) in the 12 months just passed. However, I am going to list some of my favourite things from this year as it’s good to take stock sometimes and appreciate the positives.
Favourite place (UK) – Bude, Cornwall
I’m not sure I will be able to put into words why this was my favourite UK place this year, but it was a combination of beautiful vistas, excellent company and unlimited silliness. I spent a lovely weekend in Bude with a few great friends in July this year. We camped at Cerenety eco campsite: think sawdust toilets, minature horses, campfires, and lopsided fields. It was great! We enjoyed surfing, bodyboarding, relaxing in the sun, walking around the quaint seaside towns and I generally recharged from Glastonbury festival the week before!
Favourite place (foreign) – Bled, Slovenia
Breathtaking. Sublime. Incredible. I could list superlative after superlative to describe this place yet it still would not do it justice. The vistas over the the lake were stunning from whichever vantage point I took. Sitting under the trees turning red in autumn and reading my book; I could have been in heaven. I went canyoning in the coldest, clearest water I have ever seen, ate local food, chatted with many travellers in the hostel, rowed across the lake, explored the old town and neighboring scenery and generally relaxed. I would go back in a heartbeat and highly recommend it to everyone else.
Favourite book – “I Am Pilgrim” – Terry Hayes
I stumbled across this book whilst looking to purchase some entertainment for a 3 hour train home from Manchester earlier this year. And what a gem to find! A great debut novel by Terry Hayes combines multiple plotlines of espionage, murder, bioterrorism, and a credible hero: Pilgrim. It’s a long book but not a long read; the pages almost turn themselves. You can find many more detailed reviews on Goodreads, but this was hands down my favourite read of 2014. Nothing else came close.
Gig of the year – Imagine Dragons, Glastonbury
Picking Glastonbury festival as my favourite gig felt like cheating. But picking Imagine Dragon’s set as my highlight also feels a bit blasphemous; the entire weekend was insanely brilliant and it’s so hard to pick my 5 favourite performances let alone the top one. Imagine Dragons took the top spot as their set was brilliant from end to end. They entered the stage smeared in the Glastonbury mud: literally exuding the spirit of the festival. The moment when the beat drops during “Radioactive” was incredible! I was one of thousands of people bouncing and singing with a look of pure joy on my face.
Favourite sporting moment – Arsenal winning the FA Cup
It had been a long time coming. 9 long years without a trophy ended on a sunny evening in Wembley. 2-0 down within 10 minutes and it was not going to plan. Having been in the pub since 11am we were less than accommodating of an Arsenal team that looked to be capitulating as we often have in recent years. But the boys fought back and we clinched the silverware in extra time. I can’t even remember Aaron Ramsey’s winner, but I celebrated hard! The parade the next day was sensational; 250,000 people lined the streets, singing songs at the players we adore and congratulating the team.
There’s plenty more things I could include in this list, but this could get to be more of an essay than a blog post! Many of the other top moments of 2014 are likely to be included in future blog posts and I can’t wait to write about them properly! I’m heading to Sweden tomorrow (via Denmark) to celebrate the new year with some friends and I can’t wait!