Sunday, 26 January 2020

Onwards Ever Onwards

Dublin, Ireland

Been cruising through life from an early age.

2019 was a strange one. There's been so much change and now we're at the end I feel equal parts appreciation and exhaustion. Last year I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in a way that resembles the slow burn of holding a stretch without brute force. Each push to explore has ignited or fueled a desire or habit I am now more grateful for.

An unexpected influence on how the year has shaped out is the teachings I've come across in college, more specifically notions of representation and media cultivation. The likes of Stuart Hall's Theory of Representation and Herman & Chomsky's Propaganda Model deeply affected my perception of the world. At times pondering these topics, I felt out of sync with the rythm of my immediate society. Now I use it to realign my priorities and fight off doubts or desires not rooted in my own principles. 

The topic of family is one I hold deep emotional wounds and issues around and exploring the concept of family has lessened some of those hurts. Similarly with friendship and perhaps most strikingly for this year, loneliness, as in spending time alone. This is my first year being single in my adulthood and at least in the last 6ish years. It's been a huge change. I've become more aware of how I spend my time, the people and activities I choose to spend it on and generally feel like I am getting to know myself more as a friend than I've ever done. 

Along with the self-exploration, I undertook a few activities that will be highlights for the rest of my life. 

Things I Did This Year

I Went Skydiving



When I was in 4th Year (age 16) I came up with 'Things to Do Before I Die' list which I seemed to lose immediately after penning. Regardless, skydiving was one of those things I put on the list. I didn't actually think I would do it but it was the scariest thing I could think of at the time of writing. 

Doing it however.... was waaayy scarier. There was three seconds of pure terror where my body tried to register the feeling of falling out of a plane 10,000ft, analysing everything that could possibly go wrong. After accepting that were the parachute and backup parachute to fail it would be a great way to go, I was able to enjoy the rest of the free fall and descent. 

Skydiving in Kilkenny Ireland is definitely not on par with skydiving in the likes of Portugal where the scenery is likely to be more beautiful but looking down at the green lush pastures and glimmering quarry still felt as exciting as ever.

I Went to Australia

Trying to get everyone into this picture proved too difficult. But here's a few of those present. 

I have two uncles, an aunt and 10 cousins  living in Australia. Until this year I had never met any of my cousins and hadn't seen my uncles and aunt in more than 17 years. 

Like I said above, family is a strange topic for me so this trip was kind of a big deal. I feel most people find their roots and identities through their families. Growing up in Ghana I spent about 25% of my day in my own home and the rest between the homes of my cousins and friends. Then I came to Ireland and having such widely dispersed family I didn't have the ability to go by my aunt's house after school or meet up with cousins even if it was just at Christmas or for 21st birthday parties like most of my peers. And if I didn't want to have that it probably would've been easier. 

So needless to say, I was really looking forward to this trip. There were strong elements of this trip that made it so spectacular. 

First, my cousin was getting married so naturally there would be a gathering of family for extended periods of time. My grandmother who lives in Ghana was going to be there, my aunt from Canada and an Uncle from England. It was set to the hottest wedding party of the year and boy it was. We arrived of the Thursday, the wedding was on the Sunday and each day in between to the day after the wedding, I was surrounded by family and everyone was in a good mood. I was in Heaven.


The wedding itself was.... indescribable. To use the word in its correct manner. I also got to meet my cousins through marriage and now have a new travel buddy who lives just across the pond in England. 



Throughout our stay, all the cousins really spent time together talking and trying to suss out where our interest, personalities, and opinions etc. lie and align. I personally think I've some pretty dope cousins. It just seems like my family are just great? I mean, maybe it's just me and the joy of being around them was getting to my head. 

This trip was so refreshing to my soul and I felt like there was a part of my identity awakened and reflected by being around all the family. I'll be visiting next year and look forward to forging stronger bonds with them now that we've made first contact.

Pancakes and smiles all round

Redbull Cliff Diving Final

 The legend that is Rhiannon Iffland and the equally awesome Gary Hunt.

Before flying off down under, I had the wonderful opportunity to go watch the Redbull Cliff Diving Final 2019 Series Final in Bilbao, Spain. I caught the competition while they were in Dublin watching across the Dun Laoighre harbour. However, when your travel companions know the athletes, the adventure is elevated 1000%. Not only did I get to meet and share dinner with the athletes I'd been watching and fangirling over for months, but Redbull also throws a wicked closing party which I got to attend.  All I can say is, I am definitely looking forward to celebrating another season with the fabulous athletes. 

Photo Diary



I've been doing a photo diary which I wrote about back in June so you can check that out here. Now that the year is out, I'm so happy with the results that I've decided to continue it into the new year. 

Motorcycle Lessons


This year I did my motorcycle lessons (I technically have like three hours left). Again, like the skydiving, it was something I said I'd do that I wasn't entirely sure myself I'd stick to. I love cycling and generally feel better and more in control on two wheels than four. I like the immediate exposure to my surroundings and the elements. Last year I knew there were activities I'd want to undertake in 2020 that'd take me to opposite sides of Dublin and public transport just won't suffice. As a result, I thought, why not get myself a motorcycle? The plan now is to actually put it to use.

New Job 

Back in April 2019 I quit my job rolling burritos and started waiting tables. The change was not something I enjoyed. I'd come from a very open and loud place to one that felt reserved. The staff demographic between the two jobs are complete opposites of each other. It took me a solid six months to begin to feel somewhat settled. I wanted to quit my first two weeks there. Things did get better and I have to enjoy the job a lot more and the people too.

Leaving my old job, I was exhausted and planned on taking a month's break before properly dedicating myself to looking for a job. However, after interviewing for this current job, I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass on. I can't say I regret that decision but I am definitely learning a lot from it and my time here.  I'm also leaving that job very soon for a travel adventure. Keep reading if you want to know what I am talking about.

Onwards Ever Onwards

Travel

 Bilbao, Spain

Still looking for two more people, a couch and some umbrellas.

Well first on the list is travel. I've booked my flights for about 4 months of travel. It'll be the longest time I've ever travelled and I am equal parts excited and terrified! I took out my first ever loan to buy all the flights as cheap as possible. I plan to have it paid off before I go so I don't have it hanging over me and also build a good credit score. 

In terms of locations, it's fairly diverse. The plan is to go from Dublin to New Zealand, up through Tasmania, Melbourne & Sydney, Jeju Island, South Korea, swing by Tokyo for the Olympics and back to Europe where I'll do a small bit of traveling. I'd love some suggestions for any of these destinations in terms of activities and cheap locations. 

Health



I want to be stronger by the end of this year. I've no purpose for the strength, just a desire I have to improve my bouldering abilities. I'll be targeting my upper body and core strength while upping my contortionist abilities with regular stretching for flexibility.

Relationships


I want to fortify my relationships with my family and friends this year. Fertilise them when time, attention and care.





I haven't set any rigid goals per se but just something to keep in the back of my mind for the year that will hopefully become lifelong benefits. 

This all sounds fine and dandy but let me just balance it out by highlighting that the  Bad Things happened too. We lost family, some friendships were lost or let go, witnessed other people's hardships and wished to be able to change it. But you take the good with the bad and sure it'll all be grand in the end. 

Saying 2020 will be great, as if there's no other time after seems a little short sighted so I'll just say, I'm looking forward to the times to come. And I hope you are too. Also maybe the times will see me posting more on here. 

Till Next Time
xxx



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