Looking back at 2014 we can only compare it to the year before in 2013 where we travelled through Europe, got engaged in Wicklow Ireland, married in Bali and ticked off a handful of dream destinations. So 2013 was our best year to date but I would say 2014 isn’t far behind. On paper though it does look tame, because in all honesty we didn’t really do much. As far as travel goes we didn’t leave Southeast Asia and the only new countries we explored were Brunei and Myanmar (twice). But it isn’t travel which motivates me, or, if anything travel is just one of my many motivations. So this year we were happy just to stay put and enjoy our new relaxed married life but in 2015 we will be changing this as we prepare for the next stage of our lives. For me it could also be the best year yet, a year of change and transition and it is no doubt a scary new chapter of our lives… but for me this is a motivational thing.
Back in August 2013 I set a plan for a tick-list vowing to visit five new countries each and every year. The year following, from August to August, I failed miserably in reaching this goal and struggled to only reach three (India, China and Myanmar). This year I should outdo this failure with potentially only one new country ticked from the list. This however is the one country we’ve both always dreamed of exploring, two weeks starting in Tokyo for extensive travels in Japan. This will dwarf any other potential travels in the area. So in short, I’ve completely lost interest in any tick-list and I failed to see the purpose of forcing myself through countries I’ve no current interest in. Instead we will cover more of China, a country which left me desperate to return after our visit last winter. So to date these are the only travels booked and planned for the coming year and I’m happy to leave it at that. We have other priorities to follow this New Year.
Having settled so well in Bangkok we are now going to up our roots and disappear. We are leaving our ‘retirement’ in Bangkok for a move to rural Thailand for a number of months. We will relocate to Fanfan’s old home in Isaan (Nang Rong) where will be working on my Isaan Tours website, running small group tours and completing a number of books. So it is no doubt a step backward for Fanfan but for me it is exciting. Also, to be fair to both of us, I have promised for us to pack our bags again later in the year to fly to the opposite side of the world and try life and travel in the UK.
So most people won’t understand this decision at all. The plan is to moving from our comfortable semi-retirement in Thailand and travel back to the UK for cold weather, and potentially a nine to five office job. The reason for doing it is that life is getting to ordinary and complacent here. When repeating the same thing everyday, life can become a little bit boring and this goes the same for travel in the region. After travelling in Japan and China there will be little left to keep us excited and motivated. Therefore Europe is now on our radar to continue our travels. Yes, we’re a bit apprehensive but if I look back at every major step up in my life to date, they were terrifying. From my first solo travels to Thailand, to buying property in Bangkok. This is no different. While it might look like a step back I feel it is more of a move forward to experience my home country with new eyes and ambitions. Of course it will also offer us a handy base for travel in Europe. Change and moving forward, is always a good thing, and if all else fails we always have retirement in Thailand to fall back on. Some of the more exciting projects I have planned for Northern Ireland and the UK include Jenny Watts Treasure a heritage treasure hunt in my home town in Bangkok. I will also be starting a new website Explore NI to follow our adventures in the country which I failed to appreciate while living there before. I’m also looking forward to chip shops and Whisky.