The final hours of the year reduced to single digits and it only just sank in, to write my yearly review: accomplishments, fuckups and the usual general moaning.
Last year, I talked about material pursuits - purchasing properties, diving equipment add-ons and splurging on a camera (in hindsight, very short-sighted and superficial!!). It is one of those rare moments where I can say, yep, all checked. Well, almost. I've finally locked in a terrace corner lot in Penang, and am now in the final processes of securing a loan etc. It is going to be a huge commitment but I've thought it through and decided to pursue this dream anyway - to finally own a property. La maison a SuYin should be completed in 2016, fingers and toes crossed.
Just after Chinese New Year, I bought a pre-loved 5D Mark II. I felt like a hypocrite: I've always been strongly against buying a DSLR because of its bulk, various never-ending accessories and technical complexities. But look at me now, lugging it through my travels and slaving to its batteries and cleaning. It's all worth it - loved the resulting photos. I've also learnt that the complexities aren't very hard to grasp.
I don't blame you if you'd rolled your eyes and thought all of the above sounded like a brag disguised as a casual blog post, but no, don't get me wrong. The camera I purchased is second-hand, complete with scratches (cosmetic), but it works fairly well. The house I am getting is probably one of the cheapest landed properties in Penang and is way out of prime area - in Balik Pulau. Isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This blog is dying, posts have become more scarce, as a result of work and traveling during my time off. I usually try to avoid getting glued to another computer screen when off work. Still, one post a month is hardly anything to complain about, right? ;) Besides, I realised that I've started to cherry-pick which and what posts to write. It's also heartening to know that my ranting posts have reduced to a large degree and now largely focused on traveling and eating.
Compared to the almost nomadic lifestyle the previous year, the brakes were definitely applied in the wanderlust department. The highlight will be a 2-weeklong adventure in Namibia, my first time ever on the African continent. Seeing wildlife - unrestrained and uncaged in front of my eyes - was a whole new unforgettable experience.
Also had the chance to bring Mum & Dad on holiday - to Hanoi. Mum has always wanted to go, whereas I haven't been even though I've been working in Vietnam for a while now. I really enjoyed Hanoi, have even started to plan to go back next year with Vinnie.
Hong Kong was added to the list just a couple of months ago. I'm usually not keen to visit large cities for holiday (very generic, shopping malls, traffic and chaos), but Hong Kong has got a certain character that sets it apart. Loved it, even spent a day in Disneyland and all. Work has brought me to Australia, have visited Melbourne (which reminds me to finish that post), a very pleasant city to explore.
Diving has been awfully lacking this year, only dived a few times when I spent 3 weeks in Havelock. Completed the Search & Rescue course with the inimitable Vinnie (who tried to drown me a few times during the course, very sexy). This will very likely change (the diving, not me drowning), with me finally making the big move to the wee island. Two complete ends of a spectrum - moving from the fast-paced and kiasu Singapore to the laid-back Havelock island of India, the country so well-known for its labyrinth of bureaucracy.
Still, I much look forward to 2015 and eventually, the Year of the Goat. I'm not big on resolutions, but I'll just re-enforce certain key lifestyles I've always strived for. Well-being, humility, keeping myself grounded and probably the hardest of them all - learning to be content with myself.
Happy New Year, folks!