The boy who moved away

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things,
trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself,
changing yourself, changing your world.
You’re doing things you’ve never done before,
and more importantly, you’re doing something’

– Neil Gaiman

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Sitting atop Mt Ngauruhue with my mascot, Khaleesi

In my 2015 year review, the boy who started to live, I finished my post with the above quote by Neil Gaiman. If anything, it is more relevant for 2016 than in any year previously.

Why? Because over the course of this year I have made mistakes. Some were negative, but others did lead to positive outcomes. That is just on the surface though. If we look at it as some sort of checklist then;

  • Making new things? Check
  • Trying new things? Check
  • Learning more about the world around me? Check
  • Pushing yourself? Check
  • Changing my world? Check
  • Doing things I’ve ever done before? Check

If we measure 2016 against this then, without doubt, it is my most successful yet. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though. I may be extremely fortunate to have ended up in my current situation, but it didn’t come without sacrifice and hard work. So, as the year pulled into its home strait and the emotional goodbyes were had, there I was. One a plane bound to New Zealand. Now here I am in Australia, my home for the foreseeable future.

When I say it that way, it just seems to cap off a very strange year. Not so much for me, but just in general. Those working in the newsrooms have certainly earned their keep in 2016, because when there wasn’t tragedy striking at the heart of Asia, Africa or Europe, then there has always been another high-profile death. There was no such thing as a slow news week either because, if there was nothing new to report regarding the above elements, then the various forms of media outlets could always fill their boots with Brexit and the rise of Trump.

As I said, 2016? A very strange year. On a personal level though, I have to admit, it’s been pretty great… which is probably an understatement.

Considering that for the majority of the year I have spent my time saving money and sacrificing social opportunities, I have accomplished a lot. Notable highlights for this include:

  • Working for BP at their Milton Keynes head office, first as a Trading Support Assistant and latterly the Buying Assistant
  • Attending my first work conference and my first work awards ceremony
  • Photographing my first wedding (thank you for the opportunity Charlie & Toni)
  • Successfully creating and photographing a project of my design (thank you for being my guinea pig Addie)
  • Featuring in a local photography exhibition (thank you NCPS)
  • Gaining full marks for two of my photos, winning both round 1 and round 2 of the NCPS Intermediate Internal Photography Competition
  • An amazing long weekend in Edinburgh
  • A near-perfect weekend in Brighton
  • Plenty of live theatre, including Rocky Horror
  • Two university reunions in Bath
  • Meeting one of my favourite chefs, Glynn Purnell, whilst dining in his Birmingham restaurant
  • A relaxing, long weekend away in Paris

And that was all before I left for New Zealand, whilst it also doesn’t include the many fantastic evenings and weekends I spent with my friends and family.

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‘Smile’, my winning image from the NCPS ‘simple pleasures’ set subject round 

It wasn’t all smiles though. There were some very sad moments to cut through the joy. As a result, I would like to acknowledge George Armstrong and Doreen Fisher, who sadly passed away during 2016. You will live on in this you left behind.

‘I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts
. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death‘ – 
Robert Fulghum

When re-reading my post from last year, I mentioned that I wanted 2015 to be the springboard to bigger and better things in 2016. When I think of what I did during my time in New Zealand – and what I did prior to that – then a springboard is certainly one way to describe it. After all, in addition to the above list I have;

  • Gone sandboarding
  • Had a bonfire on the beach for this first time in my life
  • Looked out over the most beautiful night sky I have ever seen
  • Tubed through glowworm caves
  • Visited Hobbiton
  • Walked the physically demanding Tongariro Crossing
  • Climbed Mt Ngauruhue (also known as Mt Doom)
  • Gone white water rafting, going down the highest commercial waterfall in the world
  • Skydived (again)
  • Bungy jumped from 43m and 134m (my second and third bungy’s), in addition to going on the Nevis canyon swing
  • Walked on a glacier
  • Burst people’s eardrums whilst drunkenly singing karaoke
  • Split my Christmas Day between my Aussie family and the beach
  • Spent New Years Eve in central Melbourne
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Down the 7m Tutea Falls I go

2017 is where it really begins though. I am living abroad in Australia and currently on the hunt for a job, still living out of backpack in a hostel. I have no idea what the next 12 months will bring, but hopefully they will be filled with joy, laughter, fun, friends and adventure.

So here is to my first year living abroad. Here is to all of you back home whom I miss dearly. Here is to the friends I have made, and those I am still to make. Here is to a strange 2016. Here is to 2017.

Happy new year guys, happy new year.

‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page’ – Saint Augustine

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