I love New Year’s. When I was younger it was a chance to wear a sparkly dress on a night out and write out my list of resolutions for the year. To be honest, not much has changed.
As I fly back to London after an incredible year overseas, I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learned and what I’ll take forward with me.
This has been a year of immense personal changes.
I left a company I’d spent two years building. I left London for the longest stint in 11 years. I fell in love and got engaged. Together, we lived in 8 different cities, moving every month.
I achieved some personal goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. I ran coast-to-coast along Hadrian’s Wall this May. I spent two weeks volunteering in Greece to help refugees arriving. I took Arabic lessons – and even threw in Portuguese for good measure.
I can confidently look back and say it’s been an interesting year.
As I look forward I feel nothing but excitement for the year to come. I’m getting married (!!) and we’re actively planning our year’s travels with returns to many of the places we’ve lived this year.
I will still be setting myself goals to be fit and active; to learn languages; and undertake challenges. But this year I also have the overarching goal to be more conscious of my impact.
I’ve been confronted by the many negative impacts that human activity has on our environment. Many of the cities we’ve lived in this year suffer from high levels of pollution. Area of natural beauty are fouled by rubbish. Massive divisions exist between people of differing political perspectives. And I know that my lifestyle has a heavy burden on the environment.
But despite this, I’ve been so inspired by the all of the examples of individuals, businesses and communities working to have a positive impact on the people and environment around them.
Practically for me this may mean trying to reduce my environmental impact by shopping locally and seasonally, eating-in more and travelling overland where possible. As a traveller and a tourist it may mean being conscious of the decisions that my presence makes on the cities, communities and natural environments I’m in. At home and in politics, it means being more conscious of the way my words and actions affect those around me and being more sensitive where I can.
These are just a few ideas. I’m sure I will be learning all year. I’d love to hear your stories and tips on what you’ve done that can help me achieve this goal. Please do share!