The Christmas Letter

In 2011 I left Melbourne, left Nowa Nowa, spent time in 15 different countries and in the process
said a lot of Hellos and Goodbyes; after many flights, bus rides, hostel beds, and adventures I am sending my Christmas greetings from wintry Scotland.
It was the year of big things, the year of flamingos and the year of too many firsts to list.
Instead I thought I would go for a recap of the year in festivals:
 
– New year was celebrated in Nowa Nowa with friends family and miscellaneous campers.
– The epicly attended ‘festival of Sandy’ was held In Kilcunda and Kongwak to observe my 30th.
– Easter saw Helen, Grant and I on a road trip that took in Nowa Nowa, Mt Beauty and Melbourne, before both Grant and I left Aussie shores for other horizons.
Helen and Grant enjoying a beer in Mt Beauty
– I celebrated the Swedish mid-summer festival in Cairo with much singing, eating, drinking and dancing around the may-pole.
– Travels in the Middle East had me a little anxious about Ramadan as I don’t do so well without regular food and drink, luckily Ayvalik, the town I was staying in in Turkey when Ramadan began, did not seem overly observant and I have been able to learn about Ramadan without being an active participant.
– I love spending Christmas with my family and uncertainty over where I would be this Christmas has been hovering for months, exacerbated by uncertainty over how long my visa trip to Canada would take. Thankfully things got sorted- which led to a very festive beer, post ski lesson in Whistler, to celebrate being given my UK visa.
– I have headed back to Scotland to celebrate Christmas, Hogmanay and beyond.
Aside from the obvious suddenly having no job and deciding to indefinitely become a backpacking bum the biggest surprises of the year have been:
 
Discovering how gross Hippos are.
 
Discovering that I can stand up on skis.
How welcoming so many people have been to this unemployed waif- many thanks to all, from Australia and beyond who have given me a bed this year.
Meeting the lovely Jon.
How much more sense Christmas carols, cards ect make once you spend the festive season in snowy climates.
That people have seemed to enjoy reading my little blog almost as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
My reading list has been a little random, mostly dictated by which books I could scavenge from hostels. My top books list has somehow ended up being almost all sci-fi:
 
– Never let me go, Kuzo Ishiguro– haunting vision of humanity gone awry.
– Making History, Stephen Fry- mr clever pants bringing history into the now and messing with it.
– Count Zero,William Gibson- not his best but he is so good that it still makes the list.
– And a non sci fi book to round it out- Jane Austen- A Life, Claire Tomalin- helped me indulge in my Austen daydreams in the English countryside.
No favourite places list, but the top adventures that come to mind just now are:
 
– Canoeing Lake Tyres with my mum, Nowa Nowa, Australia

– Boating, swimming, kayaking and fishing for Calamari in Turkey

– Night hike up Mt Sinai, Egypt
– Swimming in the dead sea in Jordan and Israel
– Walking to Beer with Pip and Fin, Devon, England
– Of course I need a Flamingo highlight, so biking to see Flamingos on Lesvos, Greece makes the cut
– Epic walking trip in the Scottish highlands
Glenfinnan Viaduct- or THE Harry Potter bridge! Scotland
The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dinner on a Felluca with Fraine and family on the Nile, Egypt.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Being ‘teacher’ in Jambiani, Zanzibar.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This year, as with last my last words are borrowed from my Grandma Ruthie; for food, for friends, for love I give thanks. Much love and best wishes for the new year, Sandy. x

4 thoughts on “The Christmas Letter

  1. oh Sandy you've made us green with envy!
    well done:-) and I'm so glad that canoeing with your Mum was right up there on your list of most memorable things. I bet it was for her too.
    A & G x

  2. Bonza Blog love! If I meet this Jon bloke, I'll chop off his ears with a spoon (coz it'll hurt more).

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