The year in review

So we’ve come to that time of year, when lists and overviews of all that was good/bad/indifferent in 2013 are collated and published.  Ah, those damn lists: useful (hello, top movies of 2013 – you can help determine my DVD intake for the summer), but also occasionally annoying (I’m looking at you, top albums of 2013 – do you have to make me feel so old?).

And so, in the spirit of late-December reflection (and on a much more personal scale), I’ve reviewed the past 12 months to see if there are any messages to take away or themes to highlight.

It’s been a strange year. The most glaring part of this review has been my lack of travel in 2013. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that I have spent 12 months in Australia without using my passport once. I think that explains much of my restless mood of late (especially coming after the glorious travel riches of 2012). Still, while there’s been little in the way of travel, there has been lots of writing.

Some observations:

This year I finally… launched a website, joined Twitter, visited MONA.

I did some odd jobs… probably the oddest was spraying the hair of Pink fans with pink hairspray in the VIP room pre-concert. Runner-up: sorting and scrutinising unwieldy Senate voting papers after the federal election.

Highlights included… lots of (paid) writing – corporate stuff, plus food and travel features; the usual round of cafe and restaurant reviews; the occasional weekend away; live gigs (the good: Of Monsters and Men, Pink, Bruce Springsteen, and the bad: (do I dare to admit?) Justin Beiber! Yes, I went. It was a free ticket. As if I’d pay.) There were plenty of food adventures, including the discovery of pop-up restaurants such as IDES and Stage is Set, and the regular appearance of hipster-magnet food trucks at the park just two minutes from my apartment.

Denmark played a big role, from my girl-crush on Birgitte Nyborg, the fictional Danish prime minister in the outstanding TV drama Borgen, to my new position on the committee of the Danish Club in Melbourne. And I got to meet Rene Redzepi (swoon).

The lowlight was undoubtedly the changes being felt at Lonely Planet, my spiritual home for more than 15 years. 2013 saw new owners, a new structure, countless redundancies and a big question mark over the work I do for the company – freelance editing, and authoring. I hope 2014 will see the future direction sorted, staff questions answered, and the company begin to thrive again…

So what of 2014? There will be travel, dammit! Lots of it. It begins in January with a few weeks exploring Sri Lanka. Finally, the passport gets an airing and the itchy feet get scratched.

It’s strangely unsettling to begin the year with a good deal of work uncertainty, but if all goes to plan, there will be lengthy stints in Iceland and Denmark for guidebook research – and if there is a god, somehow I will be in Denmark for Eurovision in early May. There is also the dream to finally reach Greenland, and to maybe hang out in Tokyo for a wee while. I’m hoping for big things, 2014. Please do all you can to deliver.



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