It’s time for something that has become an annual tradition at the end of the year here on Splodz Blogz – a roundup style end of series special of some of my highlights, my favourite experiences of the last 12 months.
On Mam Tor for one of my favourite day hikes of the year.
I’ve said before that I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking back. Some people tell me that we should keep our eyes front and look ahead, only thinking about what comes next and never dwelling on the past. But I personally believe that stopping, standing still, and taking a few minutes to turn around and look behind is a very healthy and good thing to do. Memories are hugely important, and while I agree that we shouldn’t move backwards as a general rule, taking time to reflect is very good for us. I could go as far as arguing that there is no point doing anything if we aren’t going to use the experience to help us in future, or tell our story to help and inspire others, or sit and think about it all when we’re old and grey. But I won’t push the point here 🙂
So with that in mind, here is my annual roundup of a few of my favourite experiences of the last 12 months. This post is probably just an excuse to point you in the direction of a few of my favourite experiences, and therefore blog posts, from the year gone by. So please forgive me if you really don’t like these compilation type articles, but how could I pass on this opportunity to share? Consider this my end-of-season special… just a few of my best bits I wanted to share with you.
Sitting and enjoying an outdoors moment in the autumn sunshine.
That Big Road Trip
I will start with the thing that has dominated my 2016 somewhat… Back on Sunday 1 May this year, LincsGeek and I boarded a plane and headed to Vancouver, Canada, for the start of our North America road trip. We collected our motorbikes from Air Cargo the following morning and spent the next 10-11 weeks riding nearly 11,000 miles, exploring some of the best bits of the west of the USA and Canada.
Our bikes and the VLA, New Mexico.
There was the Pacific ocean, snow-capped mountains, world class natural wonders, a sand storm, dirt roads, bears, carbonated mud, and views I will never forget. The whole thing was one big highlight of my year, of my life to date, and I ticked off quite a few bucket list items before we flew back home in July.
The view from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park.
We called the trip “Zartusacan”, and you can read all the associated posts by heading over here. There are still more posts to come, life has got in the way of me finishing the blogging part of the project recently, and the videos are nearly ready to start sharing, but if you get yourself caught up I promise to have some new words and pictures ready very soon.
Bucket List Experiences
While the Zartusacan adventure took up most of our time (and money) this year, I have been very fortunate to have some other wonderful experiences this year.
If there was ever an example of “ you never know unless you ask”, my visit to SEALIFE Blackpool is one to remember. I received an email inviting me to the opening of a new exhibit over on the west coast of the UK, and something made me reply with “yea, I’m free that day, any chance I can get in the tank?!”. The guys at SEALIFE were awesome and set me up with some time on my own in the shark tank; just an amazing experience. I know that these are caged animals, and I am torn about that versus the conservation and education work places like this do, but I can’t deny how awesome the experience was – a few minutes being in my own little world, swimming with the fishes. It was definitely one for the memory banks.
Swimming with sharks. Sorry, that photo should probably come with a warning.
I also went for a casual stroll over the top of the O2 arena in London. Up at the O2 was like a little hill walk on a trampoline, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see London from a slightly different point of view.
On top of the O2, London. Complete with the shoes they made me wear!
(I am always looking for new things to add to my ever expanding beast of a bucket list… you can read the whole thing if you like, or just bung anything you reckon I should add in the comments below.)
Hiking and Getting Outdoors
It wouldn’t be a year in my life without a few hiking experiences, and in 2016 these included a trip to walk up Mam Tor and along the Great Ridge, some incredibly wet miles in Dovedale, a teary hike of the Yorkshire Three Peaks with some friends who reminded me that you can have adventure however tired you are feeling, and an awesome day hike up Snowdon with Climb Snowdon and the Outdoor Bloggers network. The Outdoor Bloggers weekend was definitely one of my biggest highlights of the latter six months of the year; camping, hiking, kayaking and generally getting to know a great bunch of people who decided to join Jenni and I for our annual blogger weekend. We have big plans for the group in 2017 and I can’t wait to share these with you in the New Year.
Slightly less energy was needed for sunflower hunting at Vine House Farm in Lincolnshire and chasing bumble bees at Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey; both provided some super colourful photos for my album. And of course my annual visit to Donna Nook over on the Lincolnshire coast to see the Grey Seal colony that pups there every winter, just an amazing sight, I already can’t wait until next November when they return to repeat the cycle.
Bee on a sunflower at Vine House Farm.
During November I ran my One Hour Outside campaign and challenge, in an attempt to get myself and my blog readers out and about more on the darker days of Autumn and Winter. It seemed a popular idea, I loved how some of you felt inspired by the suggestion and used #OneHourOutside over on twitter and instagram to share how you were beating the temptation to stay inside all day by spending at least one hour outside every day. Thanks for joining in, and for agreeing with me that a little time outside can do wonders for body, mind and soul. I’ll be repeating the challenge sometime in 2017, so watch out, get ready, and keep reading Splodz Blogz to join in with me soon!
Walking through woodland in Lincolnshire.
I think – I know – it’s been a pretty good year, and these edited highlights are just some of the wonderful experiences that I’ve been able to have over the last 12 months. As with all years there have been a handful of less wonderful moments (quite a few if you read the News), but it’s so important to think about the good times. I am so pleased I started blogging as it’s such a good way to look back and remember what went on.
What have been your highlights from the last 12 months? Your favourite experiences? I hope you’ve had some great experiences too. Do tell me, and if you have blog posts or vlogs attached feel free to link in the comments below so I can go and take a look.