What I Want From 2011

It’s too late for resolutions. That’s fine, because aside from wanting to lose a few pounds so I look good in my wedding photos, I don’t really have any anyway. I just have ambitions, things that I want to achieve before the end of the year, all of which I think will push my life in the right direction and help me along the road to where I eventually, some time in the distant future, want to be. I can try for these things, but no matter how hard I work, some of them may not happen. Others are almost certain to happen. For that reason they’re not so much ambitions, but what I want from the coming year, condensed to a top five. We’ll see how I do come December…

The wedding… Okay, it’s obvious, but the first thing I want is for the wedding to be everything we want it to be. Things are heavily into the planning stages – we have venue sorted, reception lined up, photographer booked, and we’re in the process of registering, sorting hire cars and having our invites put together. Sometimes the organization’s pretty manic, and the financial cost is pretty much destroying our ability to do anything all that exciting for the time being. It’s worth it, obviously. I’m nervous, partly about what the lads might do to me on the stag, and partly about having to give a speech and (probably worst of all) the first dance. Though it’s probably a very good sign that those are the things that make me nervous. Shame I’ve just drawn attention to them. Damn. Overall, though, it’s going to be one of the best days of my life, and I’m excited already, so I’ll no doubt be bouncing of the walls come the big day.

Writing… 2010’s really been a bumper year, and I genuinely feel like I’m gaining a solid and growing reputation in Ireland, and to some extent internationally (Korea, a few places in the US and the UK). There are still a lot of steps to be taken before I can see it as a proper career, though. I’d like to interview a few more really huge names. I’d like to grab myself a few more cover stories, and ideally to get a regular slot on either music or travel with a fairly reputable newspaper. I’d also like to have something else in print in proper book form. The Museyon Guide To Music I contributed to has done pretty well, but these chances are hard to come by. It’s just a case of keeping at it, producing the best articles I can and hoping I get a few more breaks I guess. I think the signs are good, but I might be just a touch biased. It’s a long road.

To see more of Ireland… I’m about to throw together a list of things I’d really like to see in Ireland before I no longer live here. Get out of Dublin and this really is a stunning country, and it’d be a shame not to see a good portion of it before I head off, although obviously I’m going to be back again numerous times over the years. I’d like to do as much of it as possible on bike. A bit more of the west coast. Kerry, Donegal and a bike trip across the width of the country are all missions I have my eye on. That and a few things in Dublin, such as the Book of Kells and Kilmainham Gaol that have somehow passed me by over the years.

To see more of Europe… There are a few places that are really grabbing me at the moment. Iceland’s one, a real long-term must see. Every picture I’ve ever seen of the place is stunning, I love their music (Sigur Ros, Amiina, Bjork…) and the culture seems so alien by all accounts. I’ve also got an eye on Croatia and Plitvice National Park (type that into Google Images and tell me you’re not blown away), and perhaps a major bike trip somewhere as well. There’s a bus that leaves Dublin for Romania that seems to call my name (can’t be any worse than those epic journeys in India a few years back), and Chernobyl’s now open as a tourist destination (and apparently no more dangerous than taking a flight in terms of radiation levels). For some reason that really pushes my buttons as a possibly stop off, too. If I’m going to be off in the medium term (see below), these are things that need to be done before I’m in another continent. Equally, I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze them all in. Honeymoon definitely comes first. We’ll be booking that in the next few weeks.

To leave Ireland… After doing as much of the above as possible, obviously. It’s not that I don’t like Ireland – actually I’ve grown to really love Dublin in the most part, and I’ve had a lot of fun here. It’s just that after a while the place gets a bit boring, and it’s too similar to the UK, as much as plenty of Irish folks would love to tell you it isn’t. I left the UK in the first place for a reason: I never really liked living there. For the same reason, I’ve very nearly had my fill of Ireland. After the wedding, and almost certainly after the summer and into the autumn, too, we’ll be looking to move on and live somewhere a bit more culturally out there and inspiring. Hopefully it’ll allow me to make a career out of writing with a bit of teaching on the side (rather than the opposite, which is very definitely the case now), and allow Helena to develop her career, too, which is very internationally focused. We’re really not sure where we’ll head yet, though South America and parts of Africa are emerging as lead contenders. Exciting to say the least.

Nothing like aiming high, hey?

J x

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