You’ve probably noticed I have a habit of making these lists at the start of the year – rather than make a typical New Year’s Resolution, I make a list of a bunch of random things I want to do during the year, inspired by one of my favourite writers and podcasters, Gretchen Rubin. The thing I love about these lists is they are a great opportunity to think broadly about what will enrich both my life and work, and also to try to be light-hearted about it – it’s not all “lose 10kg” and “never eat anything fun again”!
You can see my lists from 2019 and 2018 below – I have to say, I was particularly bad at getting things done in 2019, only properly completing six of the 19 tasks. Partly, that was because work got really busy in the second half of 2019, but also because some of the tasks were kind of huge. So, if you scroll down, you’ll find the list I’ve made for 2020, and see that some of them are smaller things (some are still huge though! Will I ever learn?!)
My 2020 list
Without further ado:
1. Bake a Linzertorte
My stepbrother reminded me during the year that I used to make these all the time. It’s a particularly tasty German (hmm, maybe Austrian?) cake and it’s not that hard but just takes a little time and so I tend to make it for special occasions. I will find such an occasion this year, for sure!
2. Launch our travel podcast for kids
This was on last year’s list, and I made some progress but didn’t get it launched. This time round I have a co-host locked in – my very own son! – plus in-principle support from his school to provide some kids to record from time to time, plus I have a much better idea about what I want to do with it. I applied for some funding through Google for it during the year and although I was apparently very close to getting it, I didn’t, but the process taught me a lot. It is coming soon – February, in fact, is the goal!
3. Do some big walks around Perth
Last year we had a great day out in the hills of Perth with my friend Eva who was visiting from Germany (well, she was visiting from Morocco, but she’s from Germany …!). My son and I both enjoyed it and I realised he is totally old enough to do more of this.
4. Read 12 great travel books
When you see number 9 on this list, you’ll note that this is even more important. I love great travel narratives but probably only read half a dozen a year usually (and that’s nearly always podcast guests who send me their books). This is great but I want to read more, so I have set up a Thoughtful Travellers Book Club to keep me on track with this!
5. Have friends round to play board games
My son and I had so much fun playing games like Cluedo this year but there are plenty of board games where you need three or more people, or adults. (I got Cards Against Humanity for Christmas – definitely not a game I can play with a nine-year-old!).
6. Stay overnight on Rottnest Island
Astute readers will note this is the third consecutive year I’ve put this on my list. Why is it so hard? Maybe because I can practically fly and stay in south-east Asia for a week for the same price as taking the ferry over and spending a couple of nights at the island I can see from the beach near my house?! But despite that, my poor son has only ever day-tripped there, and it’s a fabulous place which I love, so 2020 is the year we will get there!
7. Learn lyrics of 20 German pop songs
There are a couple of tasks on this list to keep up my German skills – languages are definitely a “use it or lose it” skill. I often listen to German songs on Spotify and there are heaps of songs I know/understand parts of the lyrics to, but if I actually take the time to look up the lyrics I can revise a lot of grammar and vocab in the process! Um yeah, I guess I’m kind of geeky like that but I’m looking forward to it!
8. Write a proposal for my thoughtful travel book
A couple of years back I started toying with the idea of a non-fiction book that will continue my work in thoughtful travel, and this is the year when I’m going to really take this seriously. I have a writing retreat planned in September and it has to be far enough advanced that this is worthwhile!
9. Have a solo, “should-less” day monthly
I am terrible at having days off. I love my work too much! And my time is set up in such a way that I’m flexible enough to be there for school drop off and pick up nearly every day, plus I have time alone on weekends so … I find myself doing some work every day. And I know it’s good to sometimes not do that.
10. Get Google-certified in digital marketing
It doesn’t particularly bother me that I’m not university-qualified in social media (obviously, that was NOT on the cards when I first left school and got my maths degree!) but I would like a bit of paper of some sort, and I like Google’s courses.
11. Revitalise herb garden and add native flowers
Over the years I’ve had some great veg and herb patches in my garden, but lately time has not been my friend and I have some parsley happening now and that’s about it. And I want more flowers, for the bees!
12. Attend one great work conference
Over the years, every time I’ve made the effort to travel for a work-related conference – ProBlogger, TBEX, ASTW convention – it has proven invaluable. Of course, it helps that they are also incredibly enjoyable! It’s hard to make good connections from here in Perth without actually having face-to-face time with people from other states and countries.
13. Make a vision board
I’ve just never done this, but I would like to. I think there’s a lot to be said for a visual representation of what you want to achieve.
14. Plan a Christmas trip to Europe
My “poor” son complained that he has never experienced proper snow. But I would also like to encourage his German skills, since when we met up with his German relatives in Thailand in May, I was impressed by how much he could understand when they spoke to him in German.
15. Make a photo book from Denmark trip
I’m not very consistent about this from our trips but I want to be and this is the most recent big trip so it’s fresh(er) in my mind. The books I have completed are treasures which we regularly look through.
16. Turn backyard into a fun place to hang out
We have a large patio area but it’s more a storage area than anything else at the moment, and I actually also want to have a bit of a nook where I can take my laptop to do some work when I get sick of being at my desk.
17. Find another really funny podcast to listen to
My all-time favourite podcast, My Dad Wrote A Porno, makes me laugh SO hard every time I re-listen. Yes, re-listen, I have probably been through all its seasons three times now! I want to find something else that makes me laugh just as much.
18. Plan a monthly weekend outing with my son
We are great at travelling and doing interesting things in other states and countries, but we are couch potatoes when it comes to Western Australia, and I’d like to change that.
19. Listen to 25 episodes of German podcasts
If my son’s going to be improving his German for our European trip then I need to do the same, right? I’m also curious about what I can learn from the podcasts of other countries – there might be techniques or ideas that we don’t use.
20. Visit friends in Bunbury and Busselton
I am the WORST friend when it comes to local, West Aussie friends. I’m great at flying across the world to meet up with friends but terrible at actually getting in the car and driving a few hours. I have dear friends in both Bunbury and Busselton who I’m often promising to visit but I want to make good on these promises.