I was lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year in Cambodia and Thailand. I experienced everything from the stunning temples of Siem Reap and the eerily tranquil, yet horrific Killing Fields of Phnom Penh; to the gorgeous beaches of Sihanoukville and the relative metropolis of Bangkok. All very different places and very different experiences. And every time I thought I was fully acclimatised and had got a handle on these beautiful countries – from the regular powercuts of Cambodia to its poor drainage system – I’d be hit with a brilliant contradiction, like finding that their public minibuses have wi-fi!
One of the best things about my trip was the truly inspiring people that I met. From the locals, working hard to provide for themselves and their families – and in some cases dreaming of affording a plane fare to enable them to sample travel in the way we take it, pretty much, for granted. To the Western expats who, for a wide variety of different reasons, have left everything behind to start a new life – and often a business – in their adopted home of Asia. All reminded me of how important it is to follow your dreams and work hard to realise your ambitions. I absolutely loved every minute of my Asian adventure and – as much as I love my hometown of London – I was very sad to come home at the weekend. I’d done a pretty good job of ‘switching off’ from my normal life. I was surprised at how easily I’d resisted any urges to stay constantly connected to the world, via social media – OK, I did go online to check and respond to emails and I did do a *few* tweets and Facebook posts, but my activity was comparatively non-existant. And it was liberating. Now that I’m back, I’ve quickly remembered what I love about social media – from the wealth of news and information at my fingertips, to the ease of connecting with friends near and far. But I’ve also quickly remembered how easily it can take over, rather than enhance, your life if you don’t manage it properly.
I realise that if I actually lived and worked in Asia, rather just being there on holiday, I’d be straight back into my usual daily social media habits. But I still want want to hold on – and share – those feelings of freedom and inspiration that I started 2013 with. For me, BALANCE will be key this year. And to achieve that, I need to remind myself of my true business and life goals – what will really make me happy? – and focus on them. So that the other stuff doesn’t bog me down along the way.
Over the next few days, I’ll upload some of the many, many, MANY pictures that I took while I was away.
In the meantime, here’s wishing us all an inspired and fulfilling 2013.