The last year of my 20s was a true celebration of everything I've been working towards. Like the pic above, it was explosive, fun, challenging and at times downright difficult to predict, but wow, I wouldn't change how it all played out for the world.
This post contains all the highlights of an incredible year. So, sit back and enjoy!
It all started with a mysterious upgrade to First Class on my flight to Toronto back in January. As I sipped champagne and played around with my magic seatbed, the first item on my 30 Things list was born:
1. Fly First Class long haul from anywhere to anywhere
The 3 weeks I spent in Canada were exceptional visiting family and exploring more of Ontario, but if I had to pick a single favourite memory, it would have to be the snowball fight we had on the banks of Lake Ontario.
That and the upgrade ensured it was the best start to a new year ever!
Something easy and edible had to come next, so I completed this one whilst on holiday in Canada:
6. Try 3 new variations of foods
Mmmmmmm a cold sprout sarnie post Christmas, poutine (I admit to being scared of things in gravy other than roast dinners) and red and green dragon rolls (sushi at its finest).
This turned into a planning and preparation month.
More edible items now:
12. Bake a marble cake just like my mum’s
I have never baked a cake in my life so there was more riding on this than I'd anticipated. It turned out pretty good though!
13. Make a decent curry
Like so many projects I take on, I wanted to make a curry from scratch just to see if I could actually do it.
Enter King Prawn Korma complete with homemade saffron rice.
In February, I'd had 2,816 website hits, so I was estatic when I reached the goal of 3,000 in March. It seemed fitting considering I was almost at my one year anniversary for www.piarastrainge.com
27. Achieve 3000 unique visitor hits on my website in a month
April was "family month". I wanted to work on our family tree and have a fun photo shoot. I managed to tick off these two items:
8. Complete a family tree with at least 50 people on it
9. Fun family photo shoot
I was travelling for much of May, first around the UK, then in Cuba and finally touching down in Canada again. It was a brilliant month for new experiences and I completed the following (amongst a ton of other stuff) for my 30 Things:
3. Experience the Caledonian sleeper train to Scotland & ride around Edinburgh in a funky Billy Connolly trike
4. Visit 1 of the countries in my Top 3 “before it changes forever” list - Cuba
I hit the ground running in June, returning from Canada and two days later heading into London for:
2. Take a photography course
23. Ride the London Eye
The day after that, I was at Wembley ticking off:
18. Experience an England Wembley International footie match
Rounding off another very productive month, a holiday down to Cornwall ensured I could complete:
20. Climb the Rainforest Lookout at The Eden Project
July was all guns blazing as I ticked off 5 items:
10. Fly in a Tiger Moth
This had been postponed from June and in the end coincided with the one year anniversary of my debut novel being published - nice one!
15. Garden re-design
I started this in March when a hosepipe ban was imposed, then it never stopped raining from April until mid July. Ironic! All the same, the new garden looked beautiful for the latter half of the summer so I was very pleased.
17. Get some real life interview practice
Went for two jobs - and got both! I decided on the part time one for the time being to be able to pursue all of my little projects.
22. Do 1 presentation to an audience
I actually talked to 3 Junior classes so did this presentation 3 times! It was entitled "From the humourous to the heart pounding - a collection of travel tales."
28. Work on my photography
I really got into taking photos of the little things and this went on all summer. It became a bit of an obsession!
Despite the terrible weather, by the end of August, I'd been up and down the UK passing through more shires than a hobbit, so ticking off this one was no problem whatsoever:
5. See more of the UK
I'd also got stuck into eBaying finally making some headway with a good old clear out:
7. Mega eBaying
The month had kicked off with this incredible event - probably the most ambitious of my 30 Things:
11. Tandem sky dive
and as September loomed, another trip to London made sure I could tick off these too:
21. Visit the British Music Experience
25. Climb Up at The O2
26. Take the new Emirates Thames cable car
It was time to start putting a video together of my amazing year, so next up came:
16. Make an iMovie
And, although not walking the complete sections of this item that I'd wanted to (largely due to the crappy weather), I was happy to tick off:
30. Walk parts of the Thames Trail
The final month was here and brought with it some tidying:
14. Clear out office
A new slimmer me:
19. Lose 14 lbs
And probably the best city break I've ever had:
24. Take a trip to New York
There was one more item left on the list and what a gem it was! After celebrating my 30th and having one last jaunt out to Canada to see my lovely family once again, it was time to tick off No.29. Pure coincidence the 29th item was the last to happen in my 29th year:
29. Go to a long awaited concert – Alanis Morissette
"BRINGING THE CURTAIN DOWN ON A MARVELOUS YEAR. THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!"
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.