2015: twelve in twelve

I’ve never been especially proficient at planning. I have three more nights in my hostel here in Phnom Penh, but don’t really know if I’ll go north or south after that, though at the moment my money is on south. I’m usually on the take it as it comes plan. However, that is not to say that I am not a fan of goals.

And as much as I dislike inspirational quotes (especially when superimposed on a generic beach-sunset background), I think there is more than a little truth to this one from one of my idols, the overly-quotable Douglas Adams:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” from The Long, Dark, Tea-Time of the Soul

Oh, excused me… that should be (fiddles with photoshop for 30 seconds… *poof!*):

Cheesy Douglas Adams Quote

**Note to self: possible back-up career option: cheesy-quotations-on-saturated-photos meme maker.**

Also, I love making lists… so this post also plays into that obsession. I am actually unsure how I will cope without my piles and piles of Post-Its when I’m on the road. Thank Jibber Crabst for the Mac Stickies app. Its like Nicorette for the list-addict.

So – there is of course a long list of things to do before I kick the bucket, but let’s take it a year at a time, shall we?

My twelve goals (and loosely, my plans) for my first twelve months as a vagabond:

  1. Go WWOOFing. That’s Willing Workers on Organic Farms – an organisation that matches up people like me with organic farms where they can work & learn in exchange for food & accommodation. I’m thinking maybe Japan in the autumn? Any advice?
  2. Take a stab at a new language. Khmer? Bahasa Indonesia? I’ve heard the Indonesian language isn’t overly difficult to pick up, and it might also be fun to stay there during Ramadan, which leads me to my next goal…
  3. Celebrate Ramadan. I have a recently developed desire to participate in the fast in a predominately Muslim country. This was inspired by my office-mate who admirably held to the fast in summer in Sweden (when sunrise and sunset are only about 5 hours apart). Though I am far from religious, I think this is worthwhile. The fast isn’t only about God-y stuff – it is about understanding human suffering and those that have less. It is also about coming together as a community, and in some aspects the way my friend described the end of Ramadan (the big feast!) reminded me of the exciting, cosy time that Christmas was to me as a kid – just without the stress of gifts.
  4. Submit at least one scientific paper. Gotta keep up the CV, and I’ve got a load of data I’m sitting on so it shouldn’t be too hard. Could also dovetail with #12?
  5. Become a PADI divemaster. What can I say – I got the diving bug.
  6. Keep a journal. I use a computer so much that my hands hardly know how to write in analog anymore. But there is something so special about looking back on my thoughts years later, I can’t deny future-me that enjoyment!
  7. Splurge. Perhaps for my birthday? I’m thinking: a couple days in a swanky hotel, get a massage, maybe even a haircut?, wear proper clothes, put on make-up, go out for a decent meal with some wine, etc. After weeks/months on the road I often stop looking in mirrors and feel a bit like a cockroach crawling from one hostel bed to the next – sometimes you just need a break.
  8. Surf. It has to be on the list, despite being the ultimate cliché. But after conquering my fear of deep water last spring when I learned to dive in Honduras, this seems like the next step.
  9. Learn to cook rice properly. I have tried before, and sometimes it is fine. Sometimes it is mush. And sometimes it has an extra burnt layer across the bottom which, incidentally, means I can cook the perfect Malagasy rice – they even make a soup/tea out of the burnt bit on the bottom. It is vile.
  10. WHALE SHARKS.  Must. See. Whale. Sharks.
  11. Do some field work. I’m a biologist. Good luck keeping me out of the field. Already have some options in mind for this one.
  12. Learn to code. Woah, so nerdy! Isn’t this supposed to be ‘a break’ from geek-work? This is one of those things I have always wanted to do, but never found the time for. Thanks to Codecademy by year’s end I will hopefully be the only girl on the beach with a divemaster qualification and the ability to script in Python. And there is nothing as sexy as that, amIright?

I’m looking forward to this time next year when I can see how many of these goals I managed to tick off.

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