Happy New Year!

midnight-new-year2Once again the time has come to wear funny hats, use silly party kazoos, drink champagne and celebrate the coming of a new year with the ones you love. It’s New Year’s Eve!

As the day elapses and we anticipate the clock striking twelve, I find myself in disbelief that yet another year has passed so quickly. But oh my, what a year it’s been.

I’m having a really hard time trying to formulate a well thought out sentence to describe 2013. There’s been ups and downs, then more ups and downs, plus a couple of badass trips in between. This is my final year of being a “twenty-something”, and that thought alone is freaking me out.

The only thing I have to say to 2013 is this: thank goodness you’re coming to an end. I’m not being a Bitter Betty by saying this either — quite the opposite. I’m looking forward to 2014 as a year to better myself, to gain some perspective, to cross off some items from my bucket list, and to simply be happy.

I picked up this fridge magnet on my most recent trip to New York City. I’ve decided it’s going to be my motto for 2014:


Damn straight.

There are some things that have happened in 2013 that I’m thankful for, and I’m not in the least bit surprised to realize that they’re all travel related.

This year I was lucky enough to travel to two of my favourite cities not once, but twice. I played leap-frog between Vancouver, Toronto and NYC from February to December. I became so comfortable in these cities that I no longer feel like a tourist when I’m in them, and the two bi-coastal metropolis’ both feel like alternate homes to me now. After my one day trip to Manhattan on December 22, I realized it’s time to move on from these destinations and to start discovering new places. However, I find comfort in knowing that if I ever feel the need to move to either of these cities, or to visit them again, I can do so with confidence and a well-oiled internal compass.

2013 also saw me submit my first piece of writing to be considered for publication. Not only was it accepted, but I’ve also received great support from the gals putting together the book (a collection of short stories written by solo female travellers). I’m particularly proud of this achievement, and the confidence I’ve gained from this one event will help propel me into 2014 (I’ll also use it as a pick-me-up whenever I need to be reminded of how happy I can feel).

And of course, 2013 saw my first full calendar year of Meandering Mac. This is quite the personal accomplishment for me. I have the tendency to jump head first into new endeavours, doing everything I need to prepare and plan, then letting the enthusiasm die after a week or two. I have drawn up so many game plans, checklists and schedules of various degrees for various projects that I’d be a jack of all trades by now if I actually completed them. But alas, I’m not. However, I have kept up with this blog. It’s the only thing in my life that’s become a constant; the one project that I’ve stuck with and continue to add to. When I’m excited about a trip, I write about it; when I find out about anything amazing that’s travel-related, I share it with you all; when I’m upset (and possibly intoxicated), I use the blog platform as a sort of personal diary and save the drafts. I’ll admit I’ve accumulated a few of these, but I see it as a healthy way of doing away with bad juju through the act of writing. You’ll never read them, though.

Outside of the world of Meandering Mac — i.e. in the personal life of Ashley Mac — I think the biggest thing that 2013 has taught me is that I have wickedly amazing friends and an iron-clad support system surrounding me. If it weren’t for the good people in my life, I’d be a crazy wreck by now. You guys know who you are. Thank you. I love each and every one of you to bits.

I know I said this in a previous post, but my father once told me that if you want something from the universe, you have to write it down. So, I’m making my New Year’s resolutions known:

  1. I want to be the Cheryl Strayed of the Camino de Santiago. I know that my two-week stint on the Camino will be nothing in comparison to her journey along the PCT, as documented in Wild (spoiler alert: I’ll be covering her book for next week’s Travel Lit Tuesday), but I feel like the opportunity is there. Every travel memoir I’ve read about hiking the Camino has been written by a middle-aged man. This is going to be my journey of a lifetime, and I feel like I have enough baggage and shit to deal with to make it my book of a lifetime as well. My one goal in life is to be a published author; to see my name in print on a book I wrote by myself. This is my chance and I’ll be damned if I don’t try my hardest to make it happen.
  2. I need to learn to love me. I’m going to be a geek right now and admit that I’m a huge fan of Kelly Osbourne. I once read one of her magazine interviews in which she stated something along the lines of “I had to learn to love myself”. This hit me like a punch to the stomach when I read it, and that was over a year ago. Despite this quote nagging at the back of my brain, I’ve ignored it. However, I refuse to continue to shelf this idea. I put everyone before myself. I realize this. I love to spoil those in my life and making them happy is something I strive for. But now that I’m nearing thirty, I have no flipping idea who I am as an individual. I need to find myself. I need to realize that in the broad scheme of things I will never become the Ashley I dream of becoming unless I put a little effort into disengaging from the life I’ve become comfortable in and start to focus on the life I dream of living. My friend Dominique has said to me (on more than one occasion), “You love love. You’re one of the most passionate people I know.” Well, that passion doesn’t do me any good if I don’t know where it is that I belong, or what it is that I should be doing, or who it is that I want to be. I’m going to start focussing on me so I can learn what self-love is really like. I’ve only had a slight tasting of this in the past, but I want to be so proud of myself that I’m bursting at the seams. I promise not to get too cocky if things go well. I take pride in knowing that being humble is the way to go about in life. Mind my tongue, but I strongly believe that swinging your dick around is no way to make friends, nor does it prove your worth.

That’s all I’m going to write down for now. I do have one more resolution (read: goal) for 2014, but when the time is right I’ll share that one in further detail.

So as the minutes pass and midnight approaches I’d like to raise a glass to all of you and wish everyone a Happy New Year. May you all find your own paths in life, enjoy the love provided to you by those you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by, and please, please, travel. Travel to your little heart’s content. There’s so much more to see outside the little bubble of our daily lives. You will never know the beauty of this world unless you leave your usual comforts to go discover it. Throw off the bowlines. Live with no regrets.

Happy New Year and lots of love and joy for 2014.


Ashley Mac



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