“No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

In 2014 I began a tradition of choosing a word I would embrace in the new year. I borrowed/stole this tradition from an excellent photographer, online mentor and friend Lola Akinmade-Åkerström. Last year I chose the word open and in reflection I would say always be careful what you wish for! I yearned for new experiences, lots of life lessons and things to occur that would take me out of my comfort zone. In that respect 2014 did deliver, though perhaps not in the way I would have liked! It turns out that sometimes the best life lessons are served on a plate of discomfort, pain and challenge.

I enter 2015 feeling a bit emotionally, and even physically battered. The sun spots on my face and the motorbike burn scar that forms a crescent across my right calf are the visible signs but travel, life, death and loss have made marks deeper than that too. This year I choose my word with care, this year requires kid-gloves. It is a year for renewing and refreshing, a year with time to be spent with those I really love and that love me, a time not to be timid but certainly a time to take stock and gather stones. It is a time to simply be.

To be does not mean to strip aside ambitions or to live a dull life. It does not mean to sit back and forget what it means to dream. What it does mean for me is time to really nurture the relationships that are important to me, to travel with intention and guts but also to take time on those travels for coffees and chat and sunsets and soppy sensibilities.

I carry many lessons forward from 2014; lessons in love, life and travel. The biggest lesson is just to sometimes let it be. Sometimes doors are closed to us and there is no good reason why. Sometimes things do not go the way we planned and that is OK. Sometimes we are left at a loss for words and actions and sometimes we simply have to shut up, relax and be.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

Just be written on sand on beach