This post recaps five of my proudest accomplishments of 2017. Let’s get straight into it.

1. Finally Starting To Feel Confident In The Water

“It’ll be fine, we’ll snorkel for 30 minutes, and see how you get on.”

That’s what my friend said as we entered the water. Two hours later we returned as the sun was setting over Pulau Weh, the island on the northern tip of Sumatra. I was exhausted.

If I wasn’t trying to impress my friend I would’ve quit earlier. She had no idea I literally couldn’t swim (gotta act cool and downplay the facts right?). The flippers helped propel me forward, slowly. The struggle was real. Every time I stopped kicking, I’d start sinking with my lack of understanding how to stay buoyant. Just keep kicking was the motto.

As my speed got faster on the next two trips, this was the moment I started to think I could potentially swim one day.

That all came to a halt a couple weeks later at Lake Toba as I wouldn’t let go of the jetty. The fear of choppy water and not being able to touch the bottom got me. Without flippers, nothing else was there to keep me afloat, except me. Zero confidence in that.

Those two occasions were enough motivation to finally buy Total Immersion Swimming, a book I’d wanted to read for years. After leaving Sumatra I spent time learning the basics of swimming at my friend’s pool in Kuala Lumpur and the following week on Kapas Island. Before each trip into the water, I’d read and reread the steps in the book.

By the time we left Kapas Island, I was at a point where it was possible for me to float unassisted for 10 minutes. Returning back to the pool in KL I could even swim a couple widths. Without dying!

Since leaving Southeast Asia in May, I haven’t taken many opportunities to swim in Europe. The couple times I have been in the water though I’ve been able to float and swim a bit. I’ll need to read the book again at some point to go over the principles, but this has been a game life changer.


2. Finally Getting Around To Bungy Jumping

It’s almost a rite of passage for kiwi’s to go bungy jumping! How hadn’t I been before 2017?

I finally ticked this one off the list. IN NEPAL!

I’ve got no idea how many bungy jumps there are in the world, but this is one of 10 highest in the world. 160 metres high, you jump from a bridge crossing a deep gorge. Surrounded by greenery, the river below looks like a small stream.

I’d be lying if I wasn’t nervous, but there was no way I was backing out. If anything, I was more nervous about looking like a muppet on the video (gotta keep that image up).

Nek minnet, I was tumbling towards the ground. I remember wanting to tuck my head in as we were falling. It reminds me of being at the bottom of a ruck in rugby. Considering we left at sunrise and returned at sunset, it is a very long day for two minutes of action!

Tick. Fuck yea!


3. Volunteering At A Golf Tournament

I wrote down some goals at the start of the year, one being to volunteer for 200 hours (I totally was gonna be the best human of the year). I figured there’d be a time where I used WorkAway for a month which would get me closer to completing the goal.

I figured wrong. For the 948th time in 2017.

In mid-late October I was in Albania without no plans when I decided to look up the European Tour schedule. The Turkish Airlines Open was a couple weeks away, and I noticed on the website the volunteer tab.

One completed application form later, I woke up the next day with an invite to come on down to the tournament to help out. BOOM!

Best idea ever. I got to:

  • watch quality golf, the sport I played the most as a teenager and still follow to this day
  • help the tournament run smoothly, surrounded by like-minded volunteers
  • rack up around 20 hours (10% of the goal) during the tournament
  • Wooo. Would love to volunteer at more sports events next year. So while I failed miserably at the goal, I still managed to find out ways I can enjoy volunteering in the future (a bit of selfishness).


    4. Running My First Full Marathon

    A marathon was something I always knew I could do, it was just a matter of actually putting in some time and effort (that ego again). The recommended three months of preparation doesn’t work for me at the moment, as I struggle to commit to plans that far in advance (best excuse ever).

    After volunteering at the golf, I decided to stay in Antalya for the rest of November as I’d committed to running the Mersin Marathon (December 3rd) thanks to a Facebook group.

    I didn’t have much of a plan for training other than to increase the distance I was running having started at 6km in Antalya. I figured out a couple goals closer to the time, but until the day before wasn’t even sure if I’d registered as there was never a confirmation email.

    The run was 4 hours 27 minutes 02 seconds of the toughest hours I’ve existed for.

    Well the last hour anyway, but it’s not like I had much to do in Merson after the race so I focused on one foot in front of the other. KISS FTW.

    Its cliche, but it worked and I got there. If I have one piece of advice for your first marathon, pick a destination in your native language. Being one of the few foreigners in the field made me feel like an outsider (sigh). At least bring a friend with you as people often rave about the camaraderie of marathons.


    5. Meditating For 30 Days In A Row

    I’ve been an on/off meditator for a few years now. Up until this year, I used to meditate for 5 minutes. That seems like a small amount of time, but I tell you what they weren’t easy to commit to. In late 2016 my meditation routine started faltering big time. I’m not sure exactly why but it was down to 1-2x a week until about August.

    Since then I’ve got back into a meditation routine and even managed to meditate for 30 days straight. That’s definitely my best effort ever.

    I am still yet to achieve the magical complete calendar month which I will knock off in 2018.

    The key to getting back into a routine was by upping the meditation time to 10 minutes. A small difference but it was enough of a change so my mindset wasn’t like oh I’ll find a quick 5 minutes at some point in the day. Now it’s like, shit 10 minutes, I’ll do that now in case I don’t have time later.

    Next year, I’d love to get to the point where I do it as soon as I wake up EVERY DAY.

    There ya go, five of the epic accomplishments I’ll never forget from 2017.

    Tell me about one of the epic accomplished this year in the comments below or message me on Facebook.