I think it is good to reflect on the year, the achievements, the highs and the lows and also to look to the new year and set out some aims too.
I have been trying to keep my posts pretty short and easy to digest but on occasion they do tend to be longer, and seeing as it is covering the whole year, this will be a little longer than usual, but hopefully it will keep you entertained!
Well. Firstly, I have to say. What a year, I said this last year but I am pleased to say that 2013 managed to surpass 2012. Thirteen is my favourite number, I even have it tattooed on my leg, and so I expected big things of this year! But no doubt it has also been a challenging year with many ups and downs, stresses and strains too, but the good definitely out weighed the bad, and I think in reflection some of the bad things have taught me some lessons. As I said last year I aim to do new things and fulfill goals and dreams every year and this year I have definitely been able to do that again.
We we did much more this year and the climbing in the first half of the year came on leaps and bounds with many experiences indoor and outdoor including leading our first trad routes. But towards the end of summer the story has changed a little and if I’m honest I have been a little down about this. On reflection this was probably more to do with being too busy with uni work and other commitments and loosing touch with a few people which meant not having a car made it a little difficult. But I made a lot of progress and visited some new crags such as Ilkley, Angleszark, Wilton, Cows Mouth, Summit Quarry and also bouldering at Bridestones, Craig-y-longridge and on the limestone in north wales.
I did experience some of the same problems when it came to urbexing as climbing this year with travel and other peoples commitments making it harder than before. We have tried to be a lot more independent and managed to see quite a few places from our own work which was probably more rewarding in the end. Again time and transport issues made it a little harder but we went looking for places within reach of public transport. We visited the old Mayfield ghost station before it started being developed, a few factories here and there, St Lukes hospital in Huddersfield which was brilliant to photograph and also a culvert over in dovestones as well as revisiting the arches.
January came something which for me was a massive thing which was seeing the “Dropkick Murphy’s” in Manchester, they are at the moment my favourite band so to see them at a headline gig was cool, this was also my third time seeing them. I haven’t been able to see as any bands live recently as I used to or would like due to time and money issues but when I did I made the most of it and they didn’t disappoint.
We were unable to go to Download festival as we have the last few years due to the wedding and missed rammstein which was a little gutting but instead we decided to go to Leeds festival in August. We could only afford day tickets for the sat and was the first time we had done this but given the other bands it worked out to be just as much fun and we didn’t really miss out on much. Seeing system of a down again was amazing and the main reason we wanted to go. Also for me seeing New Found Glory was something I had waited for since school and I was just in my element with them playing “sticks and stones” in its entirety.
Music wise it has been a little quiet this year but I can’t say there have been many gigs I have been too bothered about missing having seen so many of our favourite bands already.
2013 was also where I started to embrace the outdoor lifestyle a lot more, not only climbing but spending more time on the mountains in training for the three peaks notably Ingleborough and Pavey Ark in the snow which was an amazing adventure. I really love being out in the wild and challenging myself and hope to gain more opportunities in the new year for this.
Originally we were supposed to have done the 3 peaks in April, this ended up getting called off because of unseasonably cold weather making it dangerous especially on Ben Nevis. So then it was re arranged for the May…the week before my first major assessment on my MA, this ended up in a really hard decision for me to make as I had to prioritise uni instead of doing it. In the end things worked out for the best as we got the opportunity to do the 3 peaks in September with Lee, Nic and her family and friends. I won’t say it was easy and in some parts I did wonder why I was so adamant I wanted to do this but I loved it, the challenge, the adventure and the achievement. It proved to me that that spirit of never giving up and keeping on pushing is still there and that if you put your mind to something you can do it. We also raised money for a great charity and got to spend some time with great people, making new friends on the way and going to new places in the UK. In fact Fort William is actually the furthest north I have even been in the whole world.
UNI WORK AND JOBS
My uni work also developed massively this year and I had a major assessment point around May in which I gained a merit. Since then I hit a period over the summer where other things maybe distracted me a little more than they should and my time management should really have been better. But actually I do believe that many things this year lead to the point in which I now find myself and so I maybe needed that reflection time.
I have done a lot of experimenting with processes and techniques and learnt a lot about myself as well as my chosen profession. Developing more of my own style and gaining much more confidence and beginning to identify as a “graphic explorer”. I enjoyed most this year the screen printing experiments I have even able to do and the publications I have made. I have realised through my MA not to take for granted the opportunities being in university gives you, being exposed to new things and people and the amazing facilities available. I have enjoyed above all just being a student again and just soaking in as much as I can and working hard.
I have also gotten my cv and portfolio together now after doing some freelance competitions and briefs and feel like I am now ready to begin to look for a design job. My uni work and my contexts presentation in general made me understand what my work is about much more clearly and understand the connections to my personal and political believes. Things like travelling and exploring and questioning normality lead to a series of revelations which resulted in me and shorty becoming vegetarians too.
My blog has developed this year and become much more important to reflect and record my life and Uni work. One of the things I began to do also was to start to backdate and to add things of importance. To be this blog has become part of how I record my life and it felt only right to add things from before I started this blog. So with travel and music being important to be I began to compile lists which documented the places I have been and the bands I have seen and some of the stories connected to those. I have also noticed my blog has been steadily rising in hits over this year and I have tried to blog as much as I could to keep that going. I am thankful to all who find this page interesting and notice a wide range of hits from all over the world. I would like to begin to have more of a dialogue with those viewing my page and connect a little more. I am far from earning a living of blogging but feel I have made progress in what I am doing on here and it has become much more a part of my everyday life and something I do naturally. I want to develop and redesign my blog this year too.
TRAVEL AND WEDDING:
Travel for me is always top of my agenda but some places call me more than others and I had the opportunity to fulfill some of those travel dreams this year.
Firstly came the trip back to NYC, now New York really is the place in which my heart truly lies, I know I have many more places in the world to go, but I know my love affair with this place is not over. Going again felt amazing and it only took a matter of minutes to get back into the grove. To take my family there too was great as I wanted to show them this place I loved so much. To get married here was something I thought could only be a dream but to do it, after all that planning and many headaches was by far the greatest thing I have ever done. Of course it didn’t go off without a hitch, having to change the venue at the last minute because of rain. We ended up in the prestigious Yale Club across from grand central, then getting photos all over the city before having the most amazing meal in the revolving restaurant above Times Square. I have to thank my parents for making all this possible and for making our dream wedding a reality. Not only that but we had 10 unforgettable days in New York exploring every corner once again and most importantly finally catching a game watching my beloved New York Mets play!
We also went down to DC for the day which had always been a dream of ours and was nice to see all those historical landmarks and places of such importance. Unfortunately we didn’t end up having chance to go to Canada for a few days on this trip as we had hoped but we thought that instead of rushing it we would save that for the future and hopefully go to for much longer in a few years time.
So what could possibly top getting married in NYC…a honeymoon in TOKYO! After Moscow last year we said to each other, where is next on the list, where now is the place we want to go more than ever, and the answer was Tokyo. We have many plans for travel in Asia but just couldn’t wait until we go backpacking to get a piece of it, this was our first time in the Far East and we were enchanted! It is such a culture shock and you really do feel half a world away from home, and I just loved that feeling of everything being new and exciting, and of embracing all of this weird and wonderful stuff. Communication was quite hard, the subway was pretty confusing and food was weird but the people the friendliest we have ever met. We just loved the place and got to see so much in the time we were there, the craziness of the modern fast paced streets with beeping and noises everywhere to the quiet and serene temples of contemplation and reflection. Japan is just such a fascinating place with so many different sides to it. I just can’t wait to get out back to Asia and see many more amazing things it has to offer. I would like to visit Japan again in a few years to visit some other cities and also rural locations too.