Welcome to the New Year

I fell flat at the end of 2018, likely because as my good friend Chrissy suggested, I’d had such an epic and intense year full of travel, work and adventure.

It was my Year of the Nomad, a good excuse to take a one-year pre-retirement vacation and visit as many people across the globe as I could. I learned a lot from this year. Mainly that everyone does this life thing differently. There’s no real right or wrong to it, no formula to happiness or books that will lead you down the right path. Stay true to who you are and who you want to be, fulfil your potential and be kind to others. That’s what I know about happiness, in addition to surrounding yourself with good people, pushing your boundaries, living simply, and leaving a little space for love in-between.

I spent the last three months of this year working in the Middle East to pay off the travel I’d done and save for a little this year. It was the first time in 3.5 years I’d worked back in the fast paced freelance world of international events, and it took me a full two weeks to convince myself I could still do it. I suffered one of the largest struggles with self-confidence I remember having since 2006, when I was 23 and about to get on a plane to the Philippines to plan the Asian Games Torch Relay’s first leg in the city of Manila. It was a huge responsibility for me back then, and I remember bursting into tears in the office bathroom one evening when the stress of the project got the better of me.

I had no choice but to face up to the challenge then, and I had no choice in the matter more recently either. I would have thought after 35 years with everything I’ve done and all the experience behind me I’d be oozing with confidence. But this is not the case; in fact it sometimes works against me. I could hear that little voice inside my head whispering, ‘But what if I can’t do it this time with all these expectations on me?’

I tried an online mobile therapy app called Talkspace at the end of last year, and although it helped put some of my self-confidence issues into perspective and prevent me from falling victim to my own negativity, it didn’t quite match sitting face-to-face with someone in a room to air out my dirty laundry. My ‘To Do’ list for 2019 includes finishing my book, buying a van, and finding a decent therapist. I’m hoping to rediscover my self-confidence, find my own space and rhythm in this world, and let my heart run free. I spent so much of last year observing the lives of others, this year I need to get back to building a life around me.

The ongoing question is always where, and because Canada ticks so many boxes except the fact I hate the cold and suffer the darkness of winter, all arrows seem to be pointing me back there. Prior to my departure from Australia however, I’m going to take my first ever surfing lessons in Sydney and go hiking around Tasmania with Tom who I met in New Zealand. I was tossing up between heading straight back to Vancouver or taking another job in the Middle East, but surfing and hiking are much more enticing options, and were two of the choices that pulled me right out of my end-of-year funk during the last week. Adventure always equals happiness for me.

So as you enter this brand new year, whether it’s with trepidation, expectation, fear, anxiety or glee, remember there are no hard and fast rules to follow. Create your own way of life that makes you and those around you happy. Push your boundaries, try something new, and most of all enjoy the journey. We’re just so lucky to be here.

Happy 2019!

20 thoughts on “Welcome to the New Year”

  1. Thanks Muk Muk for the reminder to “stay true to who you are and who you want to be”. Sometimes it’s hard to take the road that’s not only the one less traveled, but seemingly on a different planet than friends, family and co-workers. Happy New Year!

  2. It was an absolute delight to see you here last week – only sorry that our cricketers couldn’t have put on a better show for you! We wish you peace, love and joy for all that 2019 holds for you wherever it may lead.

    1. Thanks Ross! It was an absolute highlight staying with you guys! Thanks for the splendid hospitality and despite the poor performance from the Australian team, it was a glorious evening. Hope to catch up with you both again soon and happy 2019!!

  3. Just so happens beside a SUP, I’ve got a neat little board for the surf up here. A loving transition from 1018 to 2019 with family and some adventures in the pipeline seem to spell another fulfilling year, especially with the book completion in sight.

  4. Dear Muk Muk…seems that we humans struggle like I hear you writing your heart here in this “sharing” with all of us… I am turning 85 on January 21. and I am seriously looking for a new space to live “inside my heart” and letting my mind rest easy by letting what I know about living drop into my heart. It is knowing some but certainly not all that I need to really accept. I know I am loved but struggle love myself enough that was told so many times as a young that all the bad things that happened to me were my fault, a mother who left my sister and me, abusers who said I was the one who caused it, etc. All the years of damage and abuse tries to rule my being. I see and feel the desperation of my “child inside” trying to act out to be loved. I tell her that I know and I am trying to comfort and heal her. This adult of who I am hears many telling her that they love me and I know and struggle to let that truth drop to my deepest being so the “little one” safe now and can accept herself and accept love from others. It is a lifelong ugliness that has haunted me. Searching now more than ever to live inside my being by loving and being kind and being forgiving, just, not judging others for being where they and who they are and doing the same for myself. It is like being two selves, both want to believe.
    Happiness is fleeting, but peace is the way I know I need to be…

  5. When I came to understand that I am gay, it was a shock. I gave up the Christianity that had so deeply made rules that I couldn’t follow and the guilt that felt. I now know that the Jesus, a Jew and charismatic peasant man (a man of history that may or may not have been a living person) loved his peasant Jewish people, taught forgiveness, love, to be a person of Justice, being kind and holy (wholesome is the translation of holy) was what he taught. His caring and stand for justice for all people was a incredible threat to religious leaders who demanded complete obedience. For that, he was murdered. I want to be that kind of person and so I now am a follower of that way of being. That struggle to be that for myself is the challenge for me right now. But I find that easier than ever before and search more and more to be that kind of soul.

  6. Your struggle is so wonderful. You are not one to see the need to be more and more of who you really are. I will say, without a doubt, that you have emulated that Jesus man’s way of showing a wonderful way to be shows up in you and your being. That is not being religious. There many other great men and women who have much to say to help us see that we are incredible beings here on this lovely planet and there is a way to be that can bring peace into our minds and hearts. You are beautiful, my darling….I am so thankful for your honest heart and mind. You are on an adventure. Keep on keeping on. It may last a lifetime, but the journey is worth it. I love you dearly….

  7. ….back to surfing….DON’T use a small board to learn to surf. Use a big board first and learn to surf..Then when you conquer that riding the waves, the little board can be the next challenge..I know this because I have seen it done over and over again…The little board means you have to take off on steeper faces of the wave, while the bigger board means you can paddle and catch the wave without falling straight down that steep face…use a lease, never let the board get parallel to the waves or it can flip on hit you as the white water is coming at you. Someone is teaching you, I am certain….But, this surfer girl who surfed for 32 years is just giving you a few helpful hints…smiling….love from your old friend in San Diego, Ca….Batbie

    1. If this is any indication of what your book will be like I cannot wait to read it! Thank you for sharing your truth, knowledge and experience. You have lived such a full and adventurous life and continue to challenge yourself in your writing. Know that I am cheering you on every step of the way! Thank you for the surfing tips too! I am starting lessons as a beginner and am sure they’ll give me one of the biggest boards you can get! Much love to you dear Barbie! 💗

  8. I know its your home, but have you ever traveled around Australia? It seems to be such an amazing country! But maybe a tad bloody hot! Its a thought, Muk Muk’s big surfing adventure down under! Now that would make a great adventure, and think of all the YouTube videos! Hahaha, I hear they don’t wear much down there?? Love you and miss your adventures, hope you write or video about surfing and hiking. Have a blessed 2019 and enjoy all that the world gives you friend!

    Humbley your friend Wolf

    1. Ah Wolfman I love hearing from you!! Have a wonderful year my dear friend, I hope 2019 will bring me to your part of the world once again! 🤗

  9. Hi darling
    How wonderful it was that you were here with Christmas and shared, with your whole family, drifting into the New Year watching the fantastic fire works display on the side of the lake. Your plans for 2019 are sounding good. Adventure, freedom, nature and all things more . Don’t forget the main part, You.
    This last year you have been busy with work, travel and visiting friends and loved ones which makes you happy but can be tiring too. 2019 can be a year for You and time for finishing your book. You have already your freedom, so my butterfly , fly into the direction you want. Love you, mutti xx 😘

    1. Thank you Mutti! As usual your wise words are spot on! Thank you for always allowing me my freedom and for your continued blessings to spread my wings and fly! Love you 💗 xoxo

  10. Hey Muk! Happy New Year! I hope that this year you find what you are looking for. Whatever the heck that really is. Miss you. God Bless! Pak Man

    1. Haha thanks Pac Man!!! Me too! Hope you have a fantastic year and the house is almost done and ready to enjoy! Hope to catch you around somewhere again soon!! Muk 🙂

  11. Dear Muk—

    I am told that in Chile there is a saying…

    No hay receta para la weá.

    “Weá” is apparently a locally understood word not easily translated that means something like “this life”.

    There is no recipe for this life.

    The idea is that it is folly to believe there is a single formula for “Weá”, one solution to all life’s mysteries.
    Rather, the formula may simply be that there is no formula.

    How liberating! What news!
    Climb on! Take it for a spin! Catch the wave! Keep hiking The Trail!

    You are doing it. You are doing YOU!
    Bless you for giving the rest of us a glimpse of your Weá.
    Thank you for sharing you.

    Blessings always,


    1. Thank you fuller! I love this saying! I hope you are enjoying your travels south, practising your Spanish and enjoying time with Joel. You have proven this saying time and time again in your own life, and continue to live without rules or formulas governing your direction or decisions! Happy Trails my friend and wishing you a joyful 2019!

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