Monday, January 27, 2014

dreams for the year ahead

So, a month into the New Year and already some of my ''must do in 2014'' list has been ticked off.   It's a wide and varied to do list - experiences, jobs for completion, places to visit.

The children have had a wonderful summer packed with holidays with family and friends, and I too have had a great break - escaping home several times with my lovely to far flung spots of NZ but also just hanging out at each others houses with wine and music. We have had the real luxury of lots of child-free time which I become more and more certain every relationship needs. There's been lots of down time for all of us - and the first for me in many years, and both deserved (obviously:)) and needed.  Cooking simply, shopping for food little and often, starting the days slowly and the ending them in the same vein truly makes for a reviving break.

I've also, as always, had another frenzy of sorting and have managed to donate a full car load of things to a day care centre, rehome two outgrown bikes to next size down kids,  sell a heap of things on TradeMe (who knew I even had anything left to sell...) and do another wardrobe cull resulting in a box of lovely things doing the rounds of my friends as we speak.

I've spent way too much money this summer - mostly on holidays and gifts, and of course the new car - but am hopeful that a change to employment (another thing on the to-do list) might help with that. In the meantime, an upcoming payrise with help with the post-Christmas pain.  I want for very little (as long as I keep away from the glossy brochures....) and think that as I get older I become more content with simple pleasures and less longing of 'things'.

That said, there's still some BHAGs on my list for this year - some dependent on the employment situation, and so I plan to keep them under wraps until the way is clearer.  But ultimately I hope for more of the same - fun experiences, meaningful time with family and friends, stable employment, good health and maybe a little more wealth.

It would be easy to offer a wish for the same for all who might be reading this - and of course I really do so with heartfelt sincerity - but it's also so easy to be trite about ''good wishes''.

What do you REALLY want this year? Have you made plans? Dreamed dreams? Are you brave enough to share?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

the holiday evolution

When I was a very young girl (pre teen) I did a lot of tramping with my family.  Just day trips, but always fairly strenuous, and yet completed with the bare minimums of sneakers, home made nylon day packs (oh how I hated mine which would dig into my shoulders and get hot and sweaty), and a picnic lunch that invariably included warm Raro, a scotch egg and a lettuce sandwich.

Throughout my teens my family camped in Camping grounds, the same ones year on year, always handy to the kitchen and ablution blocks, and I would sleep in a set of camp bunk beds (eek) in the awning of our camper, or a sheeted off area of the tent - until I got my own at age 18, a ''southern cross tours'' centre pole affair that leaked, couldn't be touched in the wet and had no floor.  ah luxury that was!  The same day walking  trips would apply, only this time I would usually insist on wearing shorts and jandals and come back blistered and sunburnt.

I set off on my OE and camped/backpacked around Europe a couple of times.  It was brilliant!  Me and my pack and a sleeping bag, and not a whole lot more. But on my return to NZ decided that I was done with roughing it and my future holidays would be by car, staying in a minimum 3 star accommodation, and using a wheeled suitcase.

And so for the past few years that's what's been happening.  Tramping (and that's a broad exaggeration of the actual activity) was restricted to one day, usually child-friendly, ventures.

And then this summer everything changed.  I had the pleasure of four days on the Coro, in DOC camps with the barest of essentials and the most amazing of views. And then just last week, 4 days and 48 km of tramping around one of New Zealands most beautiful places.

Sure, it's easy to make light of the bare-essentials style camping trip - there were a few things (like a warm shower) that might have made this better...but mid summer, with a river nearby it didn't matter in the least.  And yes, a tramping trip such as this was made all the better by having fantastic companions, great weather, and no kids.

But, despite the aches and pains, and the previously un-experienced simplicity of both of these places, I have to say I'm a convert.  It was a reminder of a simpler life unencumbered by technology and noise.  It was good to see and appreciate parts of the country I had never visited before.  It was wonderful to share these experiences with someone I care about deeply. And it was FUN. It really was.

And those things, surely, are the stuff that all good holidays should be made from, don't you think?