January went by in a whirl, not least because I spent the first third of it gallivanting around South Africa! My year began with beaches, a wedding and tons of photos – a good way to continue, I think. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last month.
“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”
I’m grateful for
Having my close group of friends together again, after the past couple of years with some of us at odd ends of the Earth. I think I’ve mentioned them before, but as we get older together (the year of 30th birthdays, argh!) I realise more and more how important it is to surround yourself with great people, and the massive impact they’ve had on my in the many years I’ve known them.
Travelling to South Africa – a place which I might not have gotten around to visiting any time soon if it wasn’t for a friend’s wedding, but turned out to be an amazing destination. Beautiful landscapes, incredible wildlife, great wine and food, perfect weather – exactly my kind of place to explore. I will get around to posting about it eventually!
I’ve been thinking about
Trading in my DSLR for something a little less bulky. I’ve been feeling far less into photography lately, possibly because I know so many people who are exceptionally good at it. I feel like there are those out there who manage to get far better photos than me with far less full-on equipment, with the added bonus of it not being ridiculously heavy. These days a DSLR isn’t really necessary for taking photos of food, travel, and happy snaps as compact cameras have gotten so good. I feel like I should either put more effort into becoming a better photographer with my fancy gear, or trade down to something more suited to what I actually use it for. I’m keen to hear others’ thoughts, especially on good DSLR alternatives!
Learning that you can admire something whilst acknowledging that it isn’t for you – probably one of the bigger lessons I’ve learned in my (quickly fading) twenties. Things that I like but are not suited to me currently for various reasons: super minimalist interiors, large fancy houses, tiny houses, crazy small budget backpacking, crazy huge budget luxury travel, designer clothing, fashion blogging, being a full-time artist, being a martial artist, high heeled shoes, owning a cat… and a whole lot more. But that’s okay, because in the end I have to choose what is right for me as I am now, and others making different choice is not a judgement on my own. I’ve wasted energy being envious of other people in the past, but at least now I know better.
I’m excited for
Side Project magazine stuff – I wrote a post on the Side Project blog about our plans for 2015, and I’m so excited to see them come to fruition! Besides making 4 new issues of the zine, I’m going to be spending more time blogging over there as well as working on a stationery line and (hopefully) upgrading to a bigger and better format moving into 2016. This is stuff I’ve been dreaming of doing for years, and it’s only now that I’m part of a team that I have the drive to make it happen. It’s going to be awesome!
Aquaponics – I tend to get blank looks when I tell people about our new aquaponics system, so for the confused it involves fish in a tank and plants in a hydroponic grow bed, with water being pumped between the two. This process filters the water (happy fish) and brings nutrients from their waste up to the plants (happy plants). Ours is still new and it takes a while to become properly established but we’ve harvested some strawberries, basil leaves and jalapeños so far, and there are some promising looking flowers budding on the eggplant, squash and zucchini plants. There’s something very neat about this symbiotic system that feels very elegant to me, even if it is taking up most of our little courtyard. I can’t wait to eat our first home-grown veggies!
What I’ve been doing
I began the new year in South Africa, where I saw so many birds and animals, stepped in two different oceans (the Atlantic is freezing!), attended an amazing wedding, saw spectacular sunsets, climbed a mountain, drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of meat. Oh and listened to The Lion King soundtrack a lot, which is cliche and not even the right country but whatever.
Walking – sometimes to destinations, sometimes just for the pleasure of sauntering and daydreaming. I’ve faced the fact that running is just not compatible with my bad back, but I find walking so much more enjoyable anyway.
I’ve been reading
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela – seemed a logical choice to read whilst travelling in South Africa. A fascinating read, not least because Mandela is an eloquent writer.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac – still going on this classic travel story.
I think I want to start reading more books by women and people of colour – classics are all well and good, but tend to be written by white men. Reading is such a great way to see new and different perspectives, and sticking to one small subset of writers doesn’t give the whole story.
I’ve been spending my money on
Clothes – I’ve given in to the urge to buy some new clothing, although I’m making an effort to stick to ethical brands. Gorman is my current favourite, with their bright colours and bold patterns!
A backpack – as part of this year’s goal to get my bad back sorted out, I’ve traded in my cute everyday handbag for a backpack. Not a fashiony one; a hiking day pack with chest and waist strap. I often walk the ~5km home from work and have a shorter walk to and from the bus stop normally, so the switch from a side bag has made a huge difference. And you know what, I see heaps of other people doing the same thing – yay backpack buddies! Best purchase of the month for sure.
I really need to stop doing this most of the way through the month – it’s hard to remember as far back as January now! Anyway, please do check out the main Head & Heart list on helario.us, and join in the fun if you’re in the mood for sharing.