This January why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about things that happen. Then, on New Year’s Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year!
Below is my jar 😊
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams”
And another year has gone by…
2014 has whizzed quickly. Gone in a blink of an eye.
Am I the only one who feels that time is going faster and faster?
It’s now time to look back, but only briefly, before moving onto the future and the adventures awaiting :-).
2014: the year of travels, the year of change. Early in the year I quit my permanent job and went travelling to Vietnam and Lao for several weeks. And I started this blog!
Upon returning home, I got a new – fixed term – job and kept the travel bug at bay by doing several short trips (Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Morocco).
As of tomorrow I will be unemployed again. I see this as an opportunity, rather than cause of despair. I have chosen to seize the opportunity. It’s time to think and consider options, and decide what is next.
How many of us use the start of a new year as the best time to reassess our direction in life? I bet there’s a few!
So let’s celebrate the new year ahead: may it bring happiness, self-fulfilment, and lots of travels to all!
I will leave you with this: a few years ago I spent New Year’s Eve on a Lufthansa flight to South Africa. When midnight struck, the pilot – after counting down from 10 to 1 – wished Happy New Year to all from the cockpit and then the plane went quiet. Not a glass of alcohol, not a hand shake between passengers, not a cheer. Nothing.
We fell asleep shortly after that. A few hours later we woke up as the plane landed in Johannesburg.
And now why don’t you share your story from a travel-related New Year’s Eve?
I knew that Lao New Year was going to be wet.
But I didn’t expect it SO wet.
And I am not talking about rain. I am talking about people throwing buckets of water at each other in the streets for hours each day. Water fights. Streets as battlefields.
Organised “posses” of locals driving around town in vans and trucks to deliver their attacks. Tourists fighting back with waterguns. Water everywhere. If you don’t want to get wet do not go outside. For at least three days. Because it’s “no mercy” out there!
Lao New Year (or Pii Mai Lao) is celebrated around mid-April each year. In 2014 the key dates are 14-15-16 April, although in Luang Prabang the celebrations last over one week. There is a long program of activities during the week but the main theme seems to be “water”. Water is a means of wishing long life and peace and good luck so when someone throws water at you they mean well!
Since I was completely soaked in water for 6 hours a day for 2 days I am expecting to have the luckiest year of my life. Or – given the not-so-clean water from the Mekong river used – I am more likely to get ill….
Apart from getting soaked, which gets annoying after a while despite the relief provided from the 40C degrees heat, Luang Prabang had: an elephant parade, an incredibly busy morning market on 14 April (which was the main day of the festival), a very interesting performance of Lao ballet theatre, a Miss Lao New Year beauty contest, and the purification of Buddha images and statues in the temples.
But the most interesting one for me was the parade/procession from Wat Thadnoy to Wat Xieng Thong (the two main temples). Monks, ethnic minorities, performance arts groups, university students, and lots of locals, mostly wearing traditional costumes, paraded for hours in the unforgiving sun. Amazing show!
Enough words for now, let’s get the images to do the rest of the talking.