Monday, December 14, 2015

Head/Heart: November 2015.

I am both relieved and shocked that it's mid-December. Relieved because the new year brings fresh opportunity and many changes; shocked because I normally feel fairly prepared for December, crossing the T's and dotting the I's of the last 12 months to make way for the following year, and right now I don't feel like I'm ready to start anew. I feel as if I'm a tennis ball someone threw at the start of the year, simply hurtling to the other end of the court with no end in sight. I'm used to being busy, but this year was something else.

I've included plenty more photos than usual in this post because there are so many great ones to share from Tasmania (and these are just a tiny selection from the hundreds I took on my iPhone). I'll also be writing my usual year-in-review post which I'm hoping to have finished before Christmas, but writing meaningfully about the whole year can sometimes take a little while—I like to let the dust settle and really think about what it is I'm trying to say, and right now it's taking a little longer for everything to get clear.

What I'm grateful for:

Safe travels.
Not only am I grateful for me & Martin's safe travels around Tasmania, I'm also grateful for the safe return home of my little sister (who just came back from travelling around America) and my mother (who just came back from visiting my aunt in Canada, who has been recovering from surgery). It was this exact day last year that I woke up to the news of the Sydney Lindt cafe shooting from our hotel room in Beijing; it's been a month since the shootings in Paris; and while my sister was in America, three shootings occurred within a single fortnight. It makes me so sad that this is the world that we live in, where humans are willing to hurt other humans, so I am all the more grateful whenever we return home safe with only happy tales to tell.

Climbing Mt. Wellington.
While we were in Tasmania, Martin and I climbed from the bottom to the top of Mt. Wellington (1,270m above sea level) and back down again. It was a physically and mentally challenging, yet rewarding, 8.5 hour adventure, and symbolic in many ways: we've been on the down end of a few things over the last two years and even though it's been really rough, when you both want to make it work, you find you can get through it all. In retrospect, I realised we were always encouraging and supportive whenever the other was starting to feel drained, never taking anything out on one another—I think that says a lot. We could have driven up that mountain; we could have, at any point during the climb, simply turned around and walked back down; Martin has a bad knee and a steel bone and could have easily decided not to do it. I'm really grateful to have had the experience, as it will have only brought us closer together, and we'll never forget it.

What I've been thinking of:

I almost don't want to answer this.
My brain is very full. Right now I'm thinking about Christmas—for what may be the first time in my adult life, I don't already have my gifts sorted (normally I've done all my shopping by November). What with all the travelling my family and I have been doing, not to mention impending trips within the next 6 months, we decided to keep Christmas fairly simple this year.

Every year Christmas (or any other major holiday) comes around, I find myself getting bothered by the amount of stuff we come away with, or how crazy the shops get at this time of year, or how cranky/rude people can get. I never want to lose sight of what's truly important during this and any time of year, which is the act of getting together and spending time with the people you love. There is absolutely no present in the world that could match what that gives me in return. We all have enough stuff, and I'm hoping as the years go on I accumulate less of it as a result of Christmases and birthdays, and instead receive more experiences and memories with loved ones.

What I'm excited for:

Christmas, Canada & the New Year.
Need I say more? I really love this time of year—I love being able to spend quality time with my family, and this year I'll be lucky enough to travel overseas for the New Year (again!), this time just with Martin and my little brother. It will be our first time in a wintry country around Christmas-time, so I'm sure it's going to be magical.

What I've been doing:

Travelling around Tasmania.
As most of you know, my November was spent travelling Tasmania. If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen my epic travel spam (sorry not sorry; it's beautiful, and so worth sharing). I'll be writing dedicated blog posts for our Tasmania trip highlights in the new year, so keep an eye out if you're keen to visit our southern-most state.

I've also finally joined the Snapchat bandwagon (you have my siblings to blame)—if you want to see some “real life” updates from me and snaps while we're in Canada, my username is camillenathania on there too.

What I've been reading, learning, making:

Reading: A Bone of Fact, David Walsh
This book is actually on my wishlist, but I started a few pages during our stay at Pumphouse Point (there were several books in our rooms ready for us to read). A few days later we visited MONA (which is excellent, by the way, and well worth the hype), created by Walsh himself, and I was even more intrigued to know more about him. MONA isn't your standard art gallery, so it stands to reason that his autobiography isn't your standard autobiography—he's certainly injected as much of his character, sense of humour and wit in each and remained authentic throughout. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy in the not-too-distant future.

Below: exploration and adventure, November 2015.

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