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Looking Back

Another year over and that means it’s time to assess the resolutions from the year gone by with one last wistful, nostalgic sigh before looking ahead to what 2015 has in store.

After a less than stellar effort in 2013 saw me only check off three of my ten resolutions, I’m pleased to say that I did considerably better in 2014 – thanks largely to my move away from the hustle and bustle of Nanjing and into the peace & quiet of rural NSW. It’s hard not to be productive when you’re away from the distractions of a night life!

Here’s how my 2014 Resolutions looked.

10. Improve Aussie on the Road and launch another website.

9. Get into better shape.

8. Successfully set up a life for myself in Thailand.

7. Check off another 10 bucket list items.

6. Finish Dustbowl.

5. Scuba dive more often.

4. Be a better uncle.

3. Visit 3+ new countries.

2. Be happier.

1. Spend more time outdoors.


When you consider the fact I checked off all but 2.5 of my resolutions, it might look like a made a concerted effort to pursue them and run them down.

Truthfully, I didn’t consider my resolutions for long after I wrote them; but the fact I achieved so many of them is a good indication of a year well lived and, (perhaps) my being more realistic in my setting of goals each year. My resolutions are slowly falling more into line with my own desires (rather than what I feel obliged to chase after) and my own abilities to achieve them.

Aussie on the Road enjoyed a very good year – with a new design and renewed committment translating into drastically improved traffic and social media, as well as a bit more financial reliability. This year also embark on my first two press trips – a visit to Broke Fordwich in the Hunter Valley, and a five day safari in Tanzania!

I’m still yet to follow through on my desire to launch a second site – but given I’ve yet to really perfect the one I have, I’m okay with that.

My time at home has allowed me to drop from a record ‘high’ of 112kg back down to a somewhat more slim 102kg, and I’m confident I’ll be able to keep dropping the kilograms into the New Year as I battle towards getting back to my 2010 weight.

man at stonehenge
Visiting the UK (and Stonehenge!) in early 2014 was the achievement of a lifelong travel ambition.

I visited four new countries (the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Tanzania, and Kenya), scuba dived more often (twice is better than the zero times I dived in 2012 and 2013), lived a generally happier life, and managed to be a better uncle simply by being in the same country and time zone as my adorable niece and nephew.

Spending Christmas with them was definitely a highlight.

How did I do on the bucket list? Let’s see:

1. Kiss Passionately in the Pouring Rain

4. Give a speech at a good friend’s wedding.

best man speech
Giving the second of two best man speeches for 2014. No less terrified.

6. Swim with a whale or whale shark.

9. Go on safari

34. Swim in an isolated canyon or gorge.

108. Be in a real fight.

144. Have a bar or cafe I’m a regular at.

155. Eat haggis in Scotland.

299. Spend the night in a five star hotel.

I also made progress on my desire to scuba dive on every continent (adding Asia), kissing a girl from every country (adding the Philippines, Kenya, and Wales), visiting all of the continents (adding Africa), and seeing a bunch of different animals in the wild (seeing elephants, lions, giraffes, hyenas, rhinos, and hippos).

leopard in a tree
How the hell wasn’t ‘see a leopard in the wild’ on my bucket list? Definitely a high point in my year.

I also came perilously close to achieving #195 (be in one more play) when I was cast as the lead in a local production of The Producers, only to have my safari plans rule me out! Ouch!

Not a bad year at all!


Frustratingly, the two resolutions I had no joy in achieving were arguably the two that would have made the biggest difference to my life!

For a few years now I’ve dreamed of setting up a life for myself in Chiang Mai or El Nido where I could focus solely on my writing as both a source of income and enjoyment. Alas, my damnable credit card continues to dog my tracks!

My second ambition – to finish my novel, Dustbowl, continues to be thwarted by my own lack of commitment. I go through flurries where I’ll generate 40,000 or 50,000 words in the space of a few days, only to not look at it again for a month or more.

The upside to knowing that this failing is entirely of my own doing is that it’s within my power to remedy it. You can be sure that ‘Finish my fucking novel’ will again make an appearance on this year’s resolutions.

Speaking of…

My 2015 Resolutions

#10 – Get rid of my credit card

My damned credit card has been maxed out and paid off twice now, and I’m in the process of slowly paying it back down for a third time. As convenient as it is having it, I’m itching to finally get it paid off and then shut down for good.

If it weren’t for the hanging sword of unpaid debt hanging over my head, I’d be considerably more open to the idea of just packing a bag, buying a ticket, and seeing where fate took me.

#9 – Visit 4+ new countries

For the past two years, it’s been a resolution to visit 3+ new countries. Given how easily that has been achieved, I thought I’d up the ante a bit.

Having done the math, I need to visit four countries a year to make it 40 by 40, too. Since my late start stopped me from doing 30 by 30, 40 by 40 will have to do.

Where will those countries be? I haven’t the faintest idea!

#8 – Get back to my 2010 shape

Shortly before Christmas, I weighed in at 102kg and could feel a swell of pride at having shed 10kg since returning from China. More gratifying was being able to fit into the Game of Thrones t-shirt my ex bought me that I’d never been able to wear.

men in cowboy hats on the beach
I’d love to be able to pose for this shot with my brothers without feeling quite so inadequate by comparison.

That same day, TimeHop was cruel enough to bring up a status from four years ago when (on the same day) I’d weighed in at a post high school record of 92kg.

Not one to balk at a challenge, I’ve now made it my goal to get down to 92kg or lower by the end of 2015. Methinks it’s going to mean a whole lot more running…

#7 – Check off another ten bucket list items.

I only just scraped in this year thanks to going on safari and staying in the Four Seasons Serengeti, but I’ll keep to my traditional ‘ten or more bucket list items’ goal.

The list is ever expanding, so it shouldn’t be too hard to chase down a scant handful.

#6 – Make writing my primary source of income.

The dream is to someday be able to say “I’m a writer” and mean it in every sense of the word. As it stands, my writing income isn’t quite enough to be considered a full time job.

I’d love to get it to a point that I could say I earned a living solely from my writing – be it on this site, through freelance work, or (gasp) through selling a novel and becoming the next Stephen King or George R R Martin.

#5 – Finish my fucking novel.

With that in mind, I’d like to finally pull my thumb out of my arse and finish my novel. At 183 pages, it’s criminally short for a fantasy epic. I guess I’ve got a lot of work to do in 2015.

#4 – Continue my education.

Whether it’s learning a new language or going back to school to learn something a tad more useful and vocational than my Bachelor of Arts, I’d like 2015 to be a year where I expand my knowledge base beyond useless trivia and fragments of languages.

There’s still the chance that I make a full time return to study in 2015, with a Bachelor in Tourism Management being of appeal due both its subject matter and the fact it’s a course with a few travel opportunities includes. I’m just not sure I want to commit three years of my life to Australian life. There are reasons that I hate living in Australia, after all…

#3 – Be happier.

Every year I say this and every year I struggle to decide whether I’m happier or not. It’s not exactly an easy thing to quantify.

men at a party
Singing up a storm with old friends. Recipe for happiness.

Still, if I can look back at the year just passed and think of it with more fondness than bitterness – I feel confident in saying that I’m happier. Let’s hope that 2015 can make it a two year streak.

#2 – Launch an Aussie on the Road podcast or web series.

While writing is my first love, I’ve always enjoyed both radio and acting. In 2015, I’d love to launch one (or both) mediums on the site. While I don’t have a face for television, I like to think I’ve got the enthusiastic personality to make vlogging an option, and my past radio experience (however limited) makes me confident I can rock a podcast too.

Sadly, neither is likely to eventuate while I’m living in a village with pedal powered internet…

#1 – Find somebody special

Deep breath


It’s a ballsy resolution when it’s largely beyond my control, but I’m not getting any younger and I like to think I’ve reached a point where I’m emotionally and mentally ready to add somebody else to this chaotic, fun existence I lead.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of rushing into things buoyed by the irrational belief that I just needed a significant other to find that enigmatic happiness; but these last few years have taught me that it’s entirely possible to love your own life without having a love of your life in it.

I’m always going to have growing and improving to do, but I’m pretty happy with who I am and where I am in life. I’d like to finish 2015 with somebody to share that contentedness with.

Your 2015 Resolutions

What are your 2015 resolutions? How did you go in achieving your 2014 resolutions?

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