Traditionally at this time of the year (the end, in case you’re wondering), people come together to celebrate what a majestic 12 months they’ve just had. Which would be more convincing if people didn’t whinge about New Year’s Eve itself, or if they didn’t spend the day professing what they’ll do differently in the next twelve months.
People don’t enjoy New Year’s Eve for a plethora of reasons- as Alex Turner once pointed out “anticipation has the habit to set you up”, and the hype certainly piles pressure on to have A Good Time. The expense is a massive turn off for many, and the intensely overfilled transport and venue turns what should be a cheery welcome to the New Year into a sweaty, cramped stressful night to forget. Surely, someone, SOMEWHERE is having a fabulous time, following the rules by kissing loved ones at midnight and singing all the correct words to Auld Lang Syne, but whoever this person is will certainly be the envy of thousands of hungover and bruised partygoers everywhere tomorrow morning.
This year, I’m working on NYE. Most people react to this news as though I’ve just confided in them a very embarrassing illness, when really, I’m quite happy to be busy. I love the people I work with, and if I’m lucky I might get a discarded dessert from the kitchen at some point. Plus I’m sidestepping all the fuss of a typical night out, and no mixed feelings of hungover shame or horror at realising how much I spent tomorrow morning. Win-win, really.
Coming up with a resolution can be difficult. Personally, I’m not a smoker, I rarely drink (and when I do, I only need about 3 units…) and I’d be at serious risk of blowing away on a windy day if I lost any weight. Last year, I opted for a “learn new skills” resolution- which has miraculously resulted in a Pass with Merit in Level One Mandarin (hen hao, I know). It feels like cheating to have the same resolution two years in a row, so where does that leave me?
The one thing glaringly absent from my 2011 is travel. Other than a weekend trip to visit some friends at the University of Edinburgh, a week spent at the best friend’s seaside town, and countless train journeys between my student home in York and maternal home in Huddersfield, I’ve been particularly stationary this year.
I spent an entire summer waitressing/cleaning/filing, and have not left the United Kingdom in well over fifteen months. “Wanderlust” doesn’t even come close. My friends who have been on gap years, casually popping to Ghana, hitchhiking or inter-railing around Europe, sunning themselves in all manner of exotic locations, and updating their Facebooks with photos of themselves cheerily scuba diving, hold nothing but my unadulterated envy. While I’m very happy for them all to have had these wonderful experiences, the exotic background of a Manchester industrial park office doesn’t compete, somehow.
Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for my experiences; I’ve never eaten as much food in my life as when I waitressed in a Chinese restaurant; and I’ve had plenty of fun discovering the wonderful city of York since I became a student here. I just quite fancy the idea of rocking up somewhere new, living off the last 10 euros from the bottom of my rucksack, eating bizarre food and not understanding a word of the language surrounding me. Just to see how I’d get on.
So I’ll be eagerly browsing easyjet offers, and comparing reviews on hostelworld.com, and investing in a lovely rucksack to take on my travels. I’ll just spin a globe and jab my finger onto a point, then pack a bag. And now I’ve made this resolution, to travel more, public- I have the added extra embarrassment of people asking me why I’m not globetrotting if I fail, to spur me on. Bring on 2012.