I’m sure you’ll all agree with me when I say the best word to describe how I feel about 2021 is apprehensive.
Normally in my yearly round-up posts, I set out some goals for what I want to achieve in the upcoming year. And while I touched on some goals, they were general goals; not necessarily to achieve in the next few months. Because I’m sure you’ll understand as much as anyone that 2021 is not really a year for setting goals if we have no idea what we’ll be able to achieve by the end of it.
I can’t possibly set international travel goals. I feel, again, apprehensive about setting domestic travel goals. We haven’t even been allowed to leave Edinburgh since October, and it’s unlikely we’ll be able to leave in the next month or so, either.
But I’ll tell you what. I’ve been so frigging down in the dumps for the first 10 days of 2021 (something to do with repercussions of leaving a beneficial union, witnessing an attempted fascist coup, and still being in this never-ending pandemic), and I think setting some challenges for 2021 will help me get my focus back and maybe even help me feel better about things if I feel like there’s something – just anything – that I can control.
So here are a few ideas I have in mind:
Climb the Three Peaks
No, I do not mean the Three Peak Challenge. I’ll be happy with one mountain within 24 hours, thank you very much, let alone three.
But at some point this year, I would like to climb all three separately – that is, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales. I was hoping that I’d have Ben Nevis under my belt by now, but with a lack of motivation and the addition of constant travel restrictions, it just didn’t happen in 2020. I am way too unfit to even attempt any of them right now.
Which brings me onto:
Do at least one 2-week fitness challenge
…and try to carry on afterwards, too.
Yes, I want to become one of those incessant losers that starts exercising in January and has given up before we even get to February. Except, 10 days into January, I haven’t even started, so who’s the real loser now, huh?
In order to be able to climb three mountains (and in reality, I’m aiming for a few more than that!), I really need to get my fitness levels up. There are a few nice walks to do around here, but I’m heading more into home gym territory. Guys, I even bought yoga leggings a couple of days ago – I’m serious about this! (Shame our treadmill is currently in Orkney!)
I’ve been checking out a few YouTubers – if you have any recommendations, do let me know! I’ve noticed a lot of 2-week challenges, and I’m determined to throw myself in and complete one of them, and hopefully get myself into a routine whereby I actually exercise for more than two weeks.
It’s not just about fitness – I have undoubtedly put on weight, given that I am increasingly having to breathe in to fit into my clothes. Problem is, and I’m not being funny – I really can’t afford a new wedding dress.
So my third challenge is:
Make sure I can fit into my wedding dress
I haven’t actually tried my wedding dress on since March last year, but I still need another fitting for the hem, so I actually need to make sure I can fit into it before June.
Which makes my exercising regime slightly more urgent, I guess.
Travel to two countries
Wow, guys, I’m really pushing the boat out with this one. I was scared to set any international goals, but I’m feeling hopeful that over the upcoming months, things will get better. After all, people did manage to travel for a couple of months last year, and I don’t just mean pre-pandemic.
Obviously I won’t beat myself up if I can’t do this one, but I thought two would be manageable even if they’re right at the end of the year once everyone’s vaccinated (then again, that timeline is based on our government, and we all know their track record on keeping promises, Mr Oven-Ready Brexit Deal, Everything Will Be Back To Normal By Christmas).
Visit five islands in Scotland
You may remember from my last post that one of my lifetime goals is to visit every visitable island in Scotland.
Well, I’ve decided visiting five of them this year would be an achievable goal.
We’ll most likely get out to some local islands like the Isle Of May in the summer, and Inchcolm Island which houses an abbey. The boat to Inchcolm literally goes from South Queensferry, so if we don’t tick that one off the list this year, we will have gone wrong somewhere!
So that only leaves three, and good lord if I don’t get up to Orkney this year, I might go mad. I haven’t been up there since April 2019! Plus I am determined to get back to Skye this year, especially as Ash still hasn’t been there.
Other contenders are the Isle Of Arran, and the Isle Of Lewis & Harris. There are a couple of other easy ones we could get to, like Bute or Lismore. So actually, I think five is definitely doable.
And let’s not forget – last year we visited four islands in a weekend, so anything is possible!
Tick ten walks off my WalkHighlands list
I got very bored in our last lockdown and ended up adding, err, 63 walks to my wishlist on the brilliant WalkHighlands, a free resource for walking trails in Scotland.
I have added many, many more since.
Total achieved in 2020? Four. Oh, well only 60 to go then!
Some of these are really easy, which is why I’ve gone for ten, but some of the walks I’m determined to do are Conic Hill, Ben A’an, and if we have time, the Pap Of Glencoe. Also one of them is Ben Nevis, so would it be cheating if I did that plus nine others?
Cut down on plastic use
This is actually probably my main goal of 2021. I’ve been very aware of our plastic use for a long time, and although I’ve cut down on things here and there, I don’t feel like I’ve made much of a dent.
I truly believe it’s extremely difficult (maybe even impossible?) to live a completely plastic-free lifestyle, but I want to focus on single-use plastics and also buy non-plastic alternatives where I can.
Here are some examples of what I’ve been doing:
Buying non-plastic homeware – having moved into our new house, I’ve been determined to buy metal or glass instead of plastic where possible. For example, our toilet roll holder is metal, where we could have bought a plastic one, and we’ve bought glass, metal or ceramic jars for everything in the kitchen.
Beeswax food wraps – this is a relatively new concept to me, but I’m so glad I’ve discovered them! Beeswax food wraps are the perfect alternative to cling film – something I’ve hated using for a long time – and are great for wrapping up things like half an onion or an open block of cheese, and also sandwiches etc. This means they’re not only an alternative to cling film, but also tupperware. Plus – they’re so pretty! I went for the ocean range from Bee Bee Wraps, which includes puffins and whales!!
Buying loose fruit & veg where possible – we actually find this quite hard for certain foods, as supermarkets wrap virtually everything in plastic now. I find it infuriating. I found loose mushrooms recently which I could put in a paper bag, and I kid you not, it’s the first time I’ve been able to do that in years. We really need to start going to markets and farm shops, but typically there’s a farm shop only a few miles down the road from us – but it’s in a different council area, so while we’re in lockdown, we’re not allowed to go. When buying loose fruit & veg, I also never use plastic bags for them – always a reusable fabric one, or a paper bag if available.
Ecobricking – I’m very new to ecobricking, and I’m not even sure if I’m doing it correctly. I still need to find somewhere local that’s collecting them, but in the meantime, it’s compacting our non-recyclable plastic waste into small bottle-sized areas. If you haven’t heard of ecobricking, it’s a fantastic initiative whereby you put all your plastic into bottles until it’s completely full, at which point it can be used as a building brick. It’s genius, but there are a few things you need to know before you start. You can find out more about it here.
There are plenty of other things we do, like obviously reusing carrier bags as much as possible, and using more fabric and canvas bags instead. We wear fabric masks (honestly, the amount of disposable masks I’ve seen blowing across roads and parks is unbelievable), I can’t remember the last time I used a plastic straw, I take flasks instead of disposable coffee cups, and we go for cardboard packaging over plastic packaging where possible. I’ve got a subscription for laundry tablets which are eco-friendly and come in recyclable cardboard packaging (click the link for a free trial – P.S. it’s a referral link).
That said, there’s still loads we could do. I’d like to start taking tupperware to the shops to buy meat, rather than buying a bunch of chicken breasts in a single-use plastic tub each week, move to plastic-free toiletries where possible, and we might even start making our own bread once we can justify buying a bread making machine.
I don’t have a quantifiable goal for this, but I just want to try and get our plastic usage down as much as possible.
I’ve never really set proper blogging goals as I don’t do this for money, but I feel like I should this year. After all, being that this is a travel blog, I’ve been feeling pretty demotivated, and even so, I wrote a lot last year! Yet now I’m feeling more demotivated than ever, so here are a few goals –
- Write at least 3 posts per month (I’d like to aim for weekly but I’ve already lost on that front!)
- Reach 5000 followers on Twitter
- Reach 1000 followers on Instagram (maybe I should actually post some photos on there?)
- Get more posts ranked on Google
I did actually have a goal for last year to get all my pins and internal links up to date, and I’ve mostly done this, but I’ve got a few of my oldest Asia posts that I still haven’t got round to updating. Maybe I’ll get those done soon!
Anyway – I think that’ll do for a year where we have literally no idea what’s going to happen! I meant to set some financial goals, but we’ve been spending money like water recently what with moving into our new house, so I haven’t even had a chance to think about that.