12 for 2012

12 for 2012

Bootsnall is back with a new challenge for travel writers: Indie 2012. A full year of writing prompts, challenges, and such sent to bloggers each week. I had so much fun writing Indie 30 in November that signing on for Indie 2012 was a no brainer. Especially because I’ve got big travel plans for this year.

In honor of the year, I decided to make twelve resolutions. I realize that this is quite a large number and that I usually mock people who make more than two resolutions because they’ll never keep them. I’m breaking my usual resolution rule because I’m using the term resolution loosely and feel no need to begin all the resolutions at once. Some of these are goals, others are ideas to live by, and I suppose a couple could be called resolutions. I’m starting some of these now and will revisit others later in the year when I’m ready. I also started with just a couple resolutions but was inspired by Bootsnall’s 18 Travel Resolutions to Keep and just kept thinking of new wishes for my life.

And now, my resolutions:

1. Farming in Europe (or elsewhere). At the end of Indie 30 in November, I announced my plans to go to Prague and teach English. It was a plan I’d had in the back of my mind for years and worked on making happen through all of 2011. And then in December, I scrapped it. I’ve changed a lot since I cooked up that idea and realized it wasn’t what I really wanted, nor could I afford to do it. Instead, I’ll be traveling slowly and working on farms. I’m dreaming of exploring small-town France, climbing mountains in Slovenia, breathing in the damp salty air of coastal Wales, picking olives in Italy…

2. Be flexible and spontaneous. This morning I received an email from the woman I’d like to do my first farm experience with this spring. I’d been hoping to be able to commit to a few months at a time in each location to get a real feel for each place and to keep my transportation costs at a minimum, but I was informed that, in general, going ahead and agreeing to host a stranger for several months at a time just isn’t done. She told me that we could agree on a definite week in April and then see how we like each other before making a longer commitment. And she told me that’s pretty standard for most hosts. She’s been doing this for about a dozen years and knows what she’s talking about. I can understand why hosts want to work this way and respect it. I also likes that it gives me an out after a week as well. But it’s not really how I work. I’m a planner. I like an itinerary solid enough that I know where I’m going to sleep every night. In my European adventures, I know I’m going to have to be willing to change plans more often than I’d like, which is a good thing, but I need to resolve to work on this skill.

3. Ramp up my freelance business. Even though I have a bit of savings and I’ll be working for room and board, I’ll still need some cash coming in while I’m traveling this year. I’ve been freelancing part time while also working as a medical language specialist. This year, I want to focus on my freelance writing business and gather up some clients to work for on my travels. In the past couple of years, I’ve come to love blogging and writing web content, so I don’t want to give that up while off farming!

4. Spend more time with friends and family. We all want this – more time with people we love. And not just more time, but more quality time. More time spent in the kitchen together or walking in the woods or just chatting over tea and cake. Since I’m off in April, I’ll be focusing on this one until I leave and afterward. I want to spend as much time with my existing friends and family between now and April, then keep in touch plenty while I’m gone. While traveling, I want to make lots of new friends and enjoy them as much as I can.

5. Focus on health. I was sick quite a bit last year, and like a hipster, I’m over it. I know there will be some sniffles and sick days this year, there always are, but I want fewer. I want to stay out of the hospital. I want to be able to eat without being in pain afterward. I’m adding some yoga to my life and I’m working to be more conscious of what I eat. Part of the reason I chose farming over teaching is because I feel better when I’m outside more. The healthiest I felt in 2011 was in the garden at Eden Hall planting chard, picking basil, pulling weeds, and tasting cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine.

6. Try lots of new foods. I love to eat. I already try lots of new foods in my regular diet. Really, I’m just resolving to keep one thing in my life the same.

7. Go for more walks. I love walking. While in Tampa for the holidays, I took at least two walks every day. I don’t need to keep up that pace now that I’m back in Pittsburgh, but I don’t want to go too many days in a row without going for a walk just for the sake of going for a walk. It’s important.

8. Write on paper. I started writing on paper. I’m more likely to find my lyric voice with a pen in my hand. I enjoy how writing on paper feels: focused, determined, raw, and full of energy. The older and busier I’ve become the less I write on paper. There was a time when I drafted everything on paper before typing it up. Although that’s impractical now, I want to start spending more time with my notebooks again.

9. Finish my afghan. I started crocheting my first afghan in October (thanks for teaching me Mom!) and it’s my winter project. I’d like to nap under it at least once before I leave to go farming.

10. Write about our planet and how/why we should love it and save it. I love this world. Much of what I love about it is in danger. I want to talk about that. The more we talk, the more thoughtful our actions become.

11. Practice sitting still. I don’t sit still well. I love to be moving and doing new things. I enjoy to the point where if I don’t have much going on I get really depressed. But when I can sink into sitting still and just do one thing, I love living like that, too. I used to be able to lose myself in books and sit in the same position for hours just reading; I’d get up and discover both my feet had fallen asleep. It was magical. I want that back.

12. Participate in Bootsnall’s Indie 2012. Here we go. 1 prompt down, 51 to go. Already enjoying the ride.

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