So, we’re finally all settled here in Saigon. I’m sat writing this post at our dining table in our cozy living room in our cozy apartment, which is located on a quiet street in District 1. Usually I’d be in some random café, typing furiously while having to battle against loud 90s music and a crappy internet connection, so it’s nice to have a comfortable workspace to type from for a change.
Those of you who have been following the blog will know that we’re here for three months to catch up on some work. Being on the road for almost six months has been great, and it has made us realise that we’d like this trip to continue for as long as possible. But in order to do that, we need money, and in order to get money, we need to work!
We’ve quickly settled into a routine of way too much coffee, way too much work (and way too much bickering over who’s going to wash the dishes). Each day before we start, we sit and plan our day so that we’re accountable for what we’re doing. So we each make a list and get started, and at the end of the day we sit and quickly discuss everything we’ve managed to do. These little…meetings (I hate that m word!) are really helping with our productivity, and we realised just how much our work has fallen to the wayside since our journey started (our bank balances also tell us a similar story).
While we were on the topic of goals the other day (we’ve set goals of what we’d like to achieve work wise for the next three months – yes, terribly corporate of us), we decided we wanted to set ourselves a few for the year. Not in a New Year’s resolution kind of way (let’s face it, those never bloody work), but in the ‘let’s get some shit done’ kind of way. These goals are both work and travel related, and there are also some personal ones thrown in there.
We thought we’d share them with you all so that in 12 months time you can abuse us if we haven’t accomplished most of them!
Eat mostly vegetarian food
Most people won’t know that I’ve been vegetarian twice in my life, but for whatever reasons I’ve gone back to eating meat again. While I won’t describe myself as vegetarian now, I eat very little meat and I like it that way. Don’t ask me why, but I’m kind of going off meat again, so I’m aiming to only eat it once to twice a week in 2015.
Write the first draft of my book
I’m not going to say much on this because I’ve been saying I want to book for most of my adult life, so I’m starting to feel a bit ridiculous whenever I mention it. What have I written so far? Hmmm, not much. Hence I’ll just say that this is the year when I’m finally going to put something together. It’s about time.
Lose weight and exercise more
I’ve gained weight. It’s not the “I need a whole new wardrobe” type of weight, but nevertheless I feel very unhealthy at the moment. I’m putting it down to way too much ras malai in India (as well as way too much pad see ew (less ew and more yum!) in Thailand, fish amok in Cambodia, souvlakia in Cyprus…see a pattern?).
Truth is, both Ankit and I love to eat, and we find it’s possibly the number one thing we enjoy in any new country that we’re in. I want to sample everything on offer. So while I know that I can somewhat control what I’m eating for the three months that we’re settled here in Saigon, once we’re on the road again I’ll have to learn to control my portions a bit. And I definitely need to make exercise part of my daily routine, wherever I am.
I love to read, and one of the great things about being on the road is that I have so much extra time to lose myself in books (it’s amazing how many pages you can get through when you’re at the airport waiting for a flight, on a red eye, on a night bus – you catch my drift). I believe you can never read enough, so I’m aiming to read even more this year. I want to get through at least three books a month.
Spend less time on social media
I’m a bit social media obsessed. Unfortunately, I’m one of those types who checks her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts the minute she wakes up. Sigh.
While I think social media has many, many plus points, I don’t wish to be slave to it. So I’m making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time I’m on my accounts throughout the day.
Write some articles for international publications
I’m proud of all the work I’ve done to date. I’ve written for some pretty cool publications along the way, including international ones that are based in Dubai. But I’m now looking to add more to my CV. I really want to see some of my work in publications like Psychologies and Travel + Leisure, so for the next few months I’ll be pitching to them and hoping for the best!
Meet more locals while we travel
I’m very introverted; so much so I can get by with very little social interactions throughout the day (hence why a writing career is perfectly suited to me!). However, I’m no recluse, and I enjoy meeting new people and being sociable. Since I met Ankit, I’ve noticed that I take the back seat a lot when we’re out meeting people, as he’s naturally very outgoing and chatty. So he does most the talking, while I sit back and enjoy observing everything. While this is all well in good, I’ve realised that a) it’s not fair on him and b) I’m missing out on getting to know people better. In 2015, I want to make more of an effort to meet people, especially locals that we encounter during our travels. I feel this will also give me a better picture of the places that we visit (and potentially even better blog posts!).
Generate a stable source of income
I’ve been doing websites for people on an on and off basis. Sometimes I feel I should concentrate more on photography and try and get money from doing that and then sometimes I feel I should just stick to making websites. This year, I’m going to not get distracted, and I’m aiming to generate a fairly stable source of income through web development and design.
Get more efficient in using my work time
I’ve always been very easily distracted. When I was in school and university, I couldn’t sit in a place and study for more than 45 minutes. When I got into work, I couldn’t sit at the desk for more than 30 minutes. Thankfully, my job in Dubai was sales-based and I had to be running around almost all the time. Now, I have very limited time to sit and work, and I find it hard to sit in one place. This is what I want to become better at.
I’ve always been a spendthrift. I’ve always put my hands onto expensive things that dig deep holes in my pocket. This year, I want to become better at being on a budget and not splashing around the little money I have.
Get back to fitness
I used to be really fit. I would work out regularly and eat sensibly. Nowadays, I eat till my stomach hurts and I rarely exercise. I’ve now developed a fitness routine that I can do without having access to the gym and I want to focus on that and get back to where I was fitness wise.
Learn and remember more
I tend to miss out on a lot of things, mostly because I’m busy taking photographs and also because of how I can be very easily distracted. I tend to not take a moment and appreciate the wonder that I’m witnessing through my camera’s viewfinder. I want to take a step back and enjoy the moment and make it worth remembering.
Focus on a few things and do them right
I’ve always felt (and a lot of my friends have mentioned to me over the years) that I want to be able to do everything. This ends up adding a lot of pressure on my head and I tend to become a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ example. Starting this year, I want to set my priorities right and focus on doing a few things but doing them well.
Joint goals – blog
Write our first e-book for Scribble, Snap, Travel
We’ve been talking about putting together a free e-book for a while now. We really want it to be useful to our readers, so we won’t start work on it until we have a really good idea, but it’s definitely on the agenda for this year. Expect something tip-based with great photos and advice (well, we hope!).
Introduce guest writers
We’ve been toying with the idea of a guest series, and now that the blog is a bit more established we think it’s time that we do that! We already have the concept figured out, we just need to put it into action. So look forward to more voices on the blog very soon!
Joint goals – other
Set up the website for our business
We’ve set up a website building and copywriting business. We know what services we’re going to offer and whom we’re going to target. Now it’s time to put together a website, build a social media presence and let the world know about it!