“If you can dream it, you can do it”
It’s a cool Friday evening in Thailand where I have been living in the last 17 months. I can hear cars driving up and down on the busy road just outside my window and I wonder by myself where is everyone going? Tonight I prefer a night in the comfort of my own home with my own company and just light instrumental music in the background. Usually, on a Friday night, I am at a spinning class at the gym but that spinning class can wait till next week..:) I wanted to write and didn’t want to postpone this article as if I write it at a later stage maybe it won’t be so relevant because after all its about new years and a reflection of last year.
I feel a slight cool breeze coming through an open window and I can smell the calm essence of vanilla, I love that smell so I figured its definitely a good idea to pen down and just to reflect on the year that has gone by. A couple of days ago I’ve greeted 2019 with open arms and I am so excited but let me first share with you a few things of what has happened in 2018.
I had a short break last year just before Christmas and while everything around Christmas time is special and festive it’s actually perfect timing to reflect, to think and just to get a break from your everyday routine. 2018 has actually been a big year and I am extremely grateful for everything that has happened, the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, the unforgettable experiences, celebrations, and also I had to say goodbye to a few things which is all part of the journey I guess ect.
So my year 2017 going into 2018 started off in Phuket, Thailand where I went with 2 friends to celebrate it on one of the main beaches, it was a bit crowded but I saw some really beautiful and colorful fireworks, there was live music and I’ve made a wish that night and that was that I wish that I can move to a new town and that wish came true.
Here are a few highlights of last year:
- One of my best friends, Gloria came to visit me in Trang, Thailand. She is working on the cruise ships so I don’t see her very often, that was really special.
- I went to see a sunrise at a local rice field based in Trang, Southern Thailand.
- A trip to Ayutthaya, an amazing historical city not too far from Bangkok.
- My gorgeous cousin, Beate got married in my favorite part of South-Africa which is Midlands – that was such a magical day.
- I’ve worked on one safari event just outside of Pretoria, South-Africa with my sister, Celia and the bonus was I got to spend a whole day at a spa with her after the event.
- I ran my first 10 km marathon (fun race)
- I moved to a new town so my wish did come true
- I’ve made new friends and the one I’ve met him at yoga, he is Thai and I see him as one of my best friends here, that was definitely a highlight.
- I took myself on a weekend away alone for my birthday and I got a surprise from the hotel I’ve stayed at, they made me a cake – that was really special.
- I’ve started learning French, also something I wanted to do for a very long time
- I went on a 3 day yoga retreat in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
- I’ve experienced a whole 5 days of Christmas celebration at my workplace, something I’ve never experienced before or felt that festive as I’ve been working most years.
- I went to my first Thai wedding in Eastern Thailand, what a great experience.
- I went to the red lotus lake, Udon Thani Province, Thailand – something I always wanted to see.
- My mom came to visit me in Thailand, that was an unforgettable trip.
- My brother got engaged only about a month ago
Well, there were actually a lot more but that was just a couple of highlights or magical moments.
A picture says a thousand words so here are a few of my favorite moments of 2018:
And sum it up in a few phrases/thoughts:
The best news I’ve received in 2018:
Well there were a few occasions actually:
- When my mom told me she booked her ticket to come and visit me
- When my brother got engaged about 1 month ago
- When I got a job to move to a new town
A favorite place I’ve visited in 2018:
- Red lotus lake, Udon Thani Province, Thailand
The best gift I’ve received:
- Spa day that my sister booked for me and her and the most arty place in Cullinan, South-Africa.
- Ferrero Rocher chocolates from a parent at school and if you know me you know I love chocolate.
The best celebration I went to 2018
- Wedding of my cousin, Beate in South-Africa
- My first Thai wedding in Udon Thani, Thailand
Something that made me cry:
- When I went to the funeral in April.
- Saying goodbye to Trang and to my best neighbor and friend I’ve ever had, Mariam. Trang will always have a special place in my heart.
- Saying goodbye to my family after a 5 week holiday in South-Africa and had to get back on that plane to Thailand which became my second home.
- Saying goodbye to my mom after a short holiday I’ve spent with her at the train station
- The end of the movie called “Me before you”, still a good story though
- Oh and this almost made me cry, my laptop that I had for 7 -8 years decided its time for a new one, lost a couple of photos but lesson learned, always back up everything and time to let go 🙂
Something that I did that I’ve never done before:
- My first 10 km marathon
A compliment that someone gave you:
A parent said to me “You have a beautiful smile” and a grade 1 student told me you are more beautiful than my unicorn doll – that was just adorable, how can you forget a comment like that?
If I can describe 2018 in 3 words it would be:
Adventurous, challenging, transforming.
One valuable lesson I’ve learned is:
To completely let go and learn to say no. I’ve struggled in the past to let go of my past and to learn to say no. I mean you can make your own decisions who you want to spend time with and what you are doing with your time but I feel I’ve overcome that so I feel freer and in control so I think you just have to be you and let it be.
Lots of people make new years resolutions and sometimes it don’t last for reasons and I’ve never really made any new years resolutions but a new year feels like its a time for a new chapter and possibilities so this year I decided to make a list but I thought I would call it a wish list of things I want to experience that I tempted to make it a reality and I know its possible:
- Travel more and see the world
- Go to one place alone that I’ve never been before
- Take more pictures
- Meet new people
- Give more compliments to others
- See my family.
- Visit a local temple
- Grow spiritual
- Meditate daily & start the day with one inspirational quote
- Yoga – once a week
- Gym – 3 x times a week
- Run another 10 km (fun race) for a good cause
- Compliment others more often
- Donate blood
- Read and write more often
- Learn a new language (in progress), want to finish my French course and learn more Thai as living in Thailand and it’s possible.
- Attend a wedding
- Experience one festival
- Go camping and look at the stars
And here is to an incredible year that is ahead of us, I am ready for all the adventures, the celebrations, the challenges, I am ready to make some memories, meet some new people and live life on my terms.
Today is a brand new day and the beginning of a new year and its a time for second chances to do more, to give more, to love more, to forgive more and do better than last year.
Have a great year everyone and thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you have enjoyed it and if you have any goals/dreams you want to share that you want to achieve this year please feel free to do so.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep moving forward” – Albert Einstein
Hi there! My name is Ané du Preez and I am from South-Africa but currently teach and live in Thailand. I am a writer and a solo traveler. I love learning about other cultures and traditions. My interest started when I was only a child and my grandparents shared their travel stories through pictures, stories, and writing. This blog is to share my wonderful adventures with all of you. I’ve been discovering the gems of mother nature and its amazing people. Join me as we venture into the beauty and inspiration that is all around us. I am an advocate for all to live their life to the fullest. To travel is to live!