This is my first ever blog so here goes nothing...
The year 2012 was a fantastic one for me, without a doubt the most important and biggest of my life so far. While 2011 saw me make the huge decision to up my life and move half way around the world to be with Han, 2012 was where it all came to fruition. It meant leaving a well paying job with a company I had worked at for over 4 years and to be quite honest, actually really loved. It also involved leaving my close knit family and my amazing group of friends, but this something I've always dreamt of doing and it just felt right!
The year started off with moving into a house in West London, it was the first time I've ever lived out of home and we were moving in with another couple whom we had never met before. Thankfully they were lovely and I settled into life in the capital very quickly. Helped along by landing a job within the first 3 weeks, I was loving living in what I consider to be one of the greatest cities in the world.
Reality quickly set in when I was working 60-70 hour weeks and making around half of what I made back at home in Melbourne, Australia. However, I persevered because I knew it was an invaluable experience, plus Hannah was finishing her PGCE (Dip Ed. for those in Australia) at a University in London, this was after all the reason we were living there. The job was tough, not only was it a higher level than I had ever worked at but even more challenging was the staff were, well to put it nicely, different to anything I had experienced in my 6 years of leisure management.
Han and I decided we would move back to 'home' to Manchester in June and planned a much deserved summer trip throughout Europe. After some warm up trips to visit friends in Geneva, Switzerland and Gothenburg & Stockholm in Sweden, we were more than ready for the main event. The countries we visited included Italy, Greece, Albania, Slovakia, Montenegro, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and even a day long bike ride to the Netherlands! Our 4 months of planning paid off and we had the most amazing time!
From climbing the Eiffel Tower and the strolling along gorgeous canals of Venice to sailing a yacht through greek islands, we really were so lucky. We made new friends along the way, caught up with old ones and made many life long memories. The summer didn't end there though, after a quick reload at home back in Manchester, we headed off to Spain for La Tomatina (the worlds biggest food fight where 40.000+ people through tomatoes at each other for an hour in 35 degree heat) for a fun packed week. While Hannah had to head back to England to start her teaching career in early September, I went on a road trip through southern Spain and Portugal with some great friends from home. The 3 weeks flew by and before I knew it, I was back to the real world and working again.
I returned to the same company that I worked for in London as they had a site at the Airport here in Manchester. Whilst my heart wasn't particularly in the job, I took on a short term contract knowing the plan was to work hard until the end of the year and then have a good break over Christmas and New Years before really changing things up in the New Year and getting some serious amounts of travel in!
After a road trip to the Scottish Highlands in mid November and another great trip to Birmingham and the Cotswolds (again with some great friends) to keep things interesting whilst working. Mid December flew around and I finished up at work and we spent New Years under the burning torches of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, my favourite New Years yet and something I highly recommend.
We are without a doubt very fortunate to have had such a great 2012. Theres no doubt the coming year will be full of many more exciting adventures and life long memories.
As I finish my reflective piece, I would like to wish you all a safe and prosperous 2013.