Though I’m not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions, especially not of the New Year New You variety*, or keeping a bucket list of travels, adventures and destinations, I do find it useful to make a short list of things I hope to do over the next year. It’s a simple exercise, and I scribble down notes in my journal to look back at through the year and help me focus on what’s important.
*breaking them is usually much more enjoyable, and far more achievable.
My goals for 2019
Live more sustainably. And travel sustainably as possible too. Without getting overly morose, the clock is ticking and time to act is short. A report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last autumn warned that we have only twelve years to ensure global warming is kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even a further half a degree will significantly affect the impacts of drought, extreme heat, flooding, and storms, on people and our planet.
Habitats and ecosystems are diminishing, oceans are overwhelmed with plastics, and species are disappearing. And the vast gulf of inequality that exists between the poor and the wealthy means many millions of people on this planet will suffer terribly before I am more than inconvenienced.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Do a long-distance hike. I think you learn so much more when you travel through a landscape at walking pace. I’m going to be taking part in the TGO Challenge in May, a backpacking challenge to cross Scotland on foot from the west coast to the east coast, wild camping as I go. I’m planning on taking 12 days to complete the hike, so I’ll be looking to build up to that with shorter hikes over the next few months.
Watch the stars. It means spending more time outdoors, away from the distraction of TV and the internet, and venturing out into wilder, more remote areas, where views of the night skies are unbroken by light pollution.
Dive. I’m a qualified scuba diver, actually a BSAC Dive Leader (roughly equivalent of a PADI Dive Master), with over a hundred logged dives. But it’s been years since I’ve been in the water, after suffering a dental barotrauma** on a training dive in Stoney Cove. I’m well out of practice and all my kit is out of test, but I love being underwater and want to get back to it so much.
**Pressure changes and a badly-done filling by my dentist resulted in a cracked tooth. Which then led to root canal treatment, almost eighteen months of faffing about, and a huge amount of anxiety about being in the water. Then I split up with my main dive buddy, and everything was shelved for another few years.
Do something new every month. Taking pressure off the beginning of the year, this will give me the chance to focus on something different every month; a brand new experience or challenge, learning new skills, or putting things I already know to the test.
So here’s to the New Year, full of things that have never been, and all the things that are yet to come.