Happy New Year everyone! Following on from my 2009 Yearly Wrapup, here’s my version for 2010. It’s been a pretty busy year of travel which saw me zigzagging across the globe early in the year to do some volunteering before settling down in Rwanda and doing some travel around the region. I visited a bunch of new countries but for shorter amounts of time than I’m used to. I’ve had a great taste of what Africa (at least East Africa) has to offer and I’m hooked!
- Indonesia (January to March)
- Scotland and London (2 weeks in March)
- Haiti (March to May)
- Canada (a week in May)
- South Africa (June)
- Tanzania (2 weeks in July)
- Rwanda (July to now)
- DR Congo (weekend in August)
- Kenya (10 days in September)
- Uganda (2 weeks in November)
- Ethiopia (3 weeks in December)
- Burundi (over New Years)
- Doing some earthquake relief volunteering in a small village in Sumatra, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
- Starting and finishing my international volunteering ebook.
- Heading back to Haiti (although the circumstances were terrible), seeing old friends and meeting new ones while doing some seriously tough work clearing rubble.
- Playing the Sri Lankan UN troops in a game of cricket and not getting completely annihilated.
- Getting to work on All Hands’ first school build from the start almost to the finish and learning some new skills along the way.
- Spending a whirlwind week back at home in Canada which included a live TV interview about my ebook.
- Catching up with two friends in South Africa who I rarely see because they, very rudely, live in Australia.
- Sandboarding in Jeffreys Bay and surviving.
- Riding an Ostrich.
- Going to a few World Cup games and enjoying the atmosphere (although I still argue that the Olympics are a better event…)
- Going on my first safari and seeing lots of cool stuff.
- Couchsurfing with an amazing family in Tanzania.
- Finding what feels like home in Kigali, Rwanda, meeting some great people and enjoying having a place to unpack my bags for the foreseeable future.
- Hopping over the border to Goma, in the DR Congo to be surprised by an NGO/UN-dominated party atmosphere. Strange (but fun) city with a sad history.
- Catching up with my American friend who lives in Pakistan and his Mexican friend who lives in Afghanistan and doing nothing on the beach in Kenya.
- Being surprised by how good the Mutzig Beerfest in Kigali was. If you’re in the area in October – go!
- Clearing $5000 in earnings for the first time which sort of legitimizes this crazy career (if you can call it that) of mine.
- Scoring a free tour around Uganda including gorilla and chimp tracking which were both amazing.
- Finally taking a course on permaculture in Ethiopia.
Things I Learned in 2010
I think my travel bug might be dying. In 2009 I learned that I don’t really like travel for the sake of travel and 2010 has completely confirmed this. I’m not to interested in going to a place just to check it out. I feel like, these days, I need some other reason whether it be to volunteer, see friends, take a course… whatever. Although I could just be getting old and lazy.
I think I should also accept that Haiti has some sort of strange control over me. I love it here in Rwanda but I feel a huge pull to head back to Haiti in 2011. Most of me wants to settle down for awhile in Kigali but a part of me needs to go back to Haiti. Maybe I’m trying to get it out of my system? Not sure. But for the third time, it’s looking like Haiti will cause me to fly to the other side of the world.
Where in 2009 I seemed to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t as committed to my work as I once was, this year I’m fully into it… possibly a bit too into it because it seems like I work too much! Seeing my earnings increase so drastically is a huge motivator to do more work. The confusing thing is that I’m not really so motivated by money… I think I just like to see what is possible. Or maybe I am greedy deep down inside and just don’t know it yet. But it would be nice to put some more money in the bank for piece of mind. Or maybe save some cash to eventually put towards some property somewhere… or to squander during a crazy drug and alcohol-fueled weekend in Vegas. Either way.
I’ve also discovered the wonderful world of outsourcing in a big way. I love it! No more writing boring articles. No more tinkering for hours with things I don’t understand. If I can afford to get someone else to do a job for me, I will. I know my limitations and it doesn’t make sense for me to try to figure out and tinker with WordPress, forums and plugins to get them exactly how I want if I can have someone who knows what they’re doing do it about 100 days quicker than I’d be able to. Same with writing and graphic design and I think 2011 will see my outsourcing a lot of these sorts of things. I’ll come up with the ideas and look to people who know their stuff better than I do to execute them.
2011 Travel Plans
Going against my no-planning ways, early 2011 is pretty much all lined up.:
- Spend the first three months of the year in Kigali, Rwanda hanging out with friends, enjoying the city, working on my living in Kigali site, and keeping on top of other work.
- Visit a friend in Zambia by taking a two day boat trip from Burundi down the west coast of Tanzania.
- Back to Haiti from late April until July, maybe longer, maybe shorter. It depends how much I’m liking Haiti and how much I want to go back to Kigali. This will be a prime case of wishing I could be in two places at once.
- On a break from Haiti the plan is to head out to Vancouver with my parents, visit a friend out there and go to TBEX 2011 (maybe… Vancouver is just so damned out of the way!)
- The rest of the year will probably be a tossup between continuing on in Haiti or heading back to Kigali. On one hand, I love volunteering and I love Haiti and my friends there, on the other hand I love Kigali and the friends I have there and want to explore more of the area and work on my Africa site. I guess ask me in June/July.
- Probably head home for Xmas for the first time in way too long.
Goals for 2011
I’m getting into work a lot more these days. Last year I succeeded in getting my volunteering ebook out but failed in launching my Africa travel site. This year, that’s the top priority.
- Africa Site - Because I spent too much time tinkering around with things to try to make them perfect, and never being happy, I haven’t been able to get this project off the ground. It’ll be my main project in the New Year and I’ll be putting a lot of time and money into it. I have a vision of how I want it to be and I know the site will be a success if I can pull it off… I just need to figure how to get from Point A to Point B. Outsourcing!
- Living in Kigali – I’ll be in Kigali for the first three months of 2011 and I really want to get the site filled with some great content. I’ve been working hard on the back end stuff for the past couple of weeks and almost have a forum and ratings system ready to go, which are two of the main components of the site. Once those are done I’m hoping my partner in this will be motivated to put what’s in her head onto the website. I really think we can make a fantastic resource and my goal is to have every expat in Kigali knowing about the site before I leave in April. When I get back at the end of the year we’ll hopefully be in a good position to start monetising it.
- Learn French – Speaking only one language is lame. I seem to be surrounded by people at the moment who speak three or more languages and it’s time to start catching up. I’ll be spending most of the year between Haiti and Rwanda which is good because there will be opportunities to practice. No more excuses.
Last year was a busy one for travel and I’m really excited about being in Africa. I really like it here a lot and can see myself spending a lot of time here in the future. I’m going to start doing some serious thinking about where I might want to buy land and if that’s a realistic idea or totally crazy. I’m starting to feel the need for a home base somewhere.
Also, 2010 was a huge leap forward for me in earnings and has made me see that it really is possible to make big money with some hard work and a bit of luck and I’m hoping things keep improving in 2011.
How was your 2010? Everything you hoped? What are your plans for the New Year? I’m off to that prime New Years destination of Burundi tomorrow. So… Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and I look to seeing what everyone gets up to in 2011.