To put last year into a single word: “Quick”. No doubt you can tell that from the lack of updates, for which I’m terribly sorry for. I can’t say that this year will be any different, but at least it hasn’t been all the same. On to the more detailed version.
Although it didn’t feel like I travelled as much as I had in previous years, looking back at my calendar, it surprised me just how much I had done. I started the year off mainly in London as I commuted back and forth between Cambridge.
My first “trip” was out to Oxford where I was presenting at a work conference. The whole ash cloud occurred, stranding many of the International presenters and participants and got me a bit worried for my next overseas trip.
This trip, my first big trip saw me head back home to Australia for the first time in several years. Like I had on many previous trips, I stopped over in a country, this time in Thailand, Bangkok where I enjoyed the hot and humid environment. Despite slopping on plenty of sunscreen, my paltry pale skinned, primed by the (lack of) British sun lead to me sunburn by the time I got back to Australia where I spent some time in Brisbane, the Gold Coast before heading to a week of work in Melbourne. The main reason for going back was actually Marc and Amanda’s wedding and it was great to see the lovely couple I’ve known since University finally tie the knot.
Although time wise, three and a bit years seems like a long time, I’m still comforted by how familiar all of Australia is. I think I enjoyed Melbourne the best, lifestyle wise and should I return to Australia permanently, that’d be one place I’d first consider moving.
Dually affected by someone’s kidney bursting on the plane and the second eruption of ash, my return journey took a detour to Dubai where I got to see how fast things had changed in just five years since I first visited.
Just after getting back I was soon off to Trondheim to spend a lovely 24 hours of sunlight in summer with plenty of Norwegians at XP2010 and kick back for a weekend to relax. Thanks to another conference invite, I found myself in Paris in June where the extreme heat took some getting used to whilst being clothed in much more formal attire (these French people take conferences quite seriously!)
July saw me head to Liverpool where I needed to change my visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (i.e. permanent residency) in the UK. I hadn’t planned much other travel until after that because I didn’t want any complications if I had troubles with the application. Fortunately it went through with no problems.
August saw a celebratory last-minute trip organised to Cologne as well as returning to Marlow for a long country walk with Kath before she departed the UK. I returned to Copenhagen in September when my sister managed to finally get a reservation with the World’s Number 1 Restaurant according to San Pellegrino, Noma before my parents arrived in London. I took another short trip to Amsterdam whilst they visited Paris and then met up with them in Rome. I visited Manchester for a gig in October before another unplanned trip with a friend to Paris.
November saw me return to Copenhagen where my real destination was Malmo for Oredev although I spent another weekend in Copenhagen to hit a few more of their fine-dining venues. The year rounded off with a trip to New York for Christmas and New Year.
My rate of seeing bands seemed to slightly decrease, and this year I ended up seeing Canadian band, The Japandroids, Ben Harper & Pearl Jam at Hyde Park Calling, Aussie band Eskimo Joe, chilled out singer, Jack Johnson and Interpol towards the end of the year.
Most of my work this year centred on being in London and it meant that I could take care of myself just that little bit better. I kept pretty well to my resolution to eat two full days vegetarian. In fact, I started an almost monthly vegetarian outing with a number of friends to explore the vegetarian delights of London (of which there are many).
I spent about the same amount of the time in the gym this year, but my newest activity for the year was running. Most people will know I have very flat feet. In fact, I still remember a Brisbane podiatrist’s comment about my feet along the lines of, “You’ve got the flattest feet I’ve ever seen.” Flattering! Remembering Suzanne’s advice about building up running, I started trying to build it up during the much warmer summer months and even kept a simple paper log of each of those runs.
In 2009 we had some very nice green parklands in Copenhagen to run around and unfortunately Clerkenwell doesn’t have easy access to a green park long enough to run around. My regular running route is therefore, literally pounding the pavement, along the Thames. I attempted running mostly in the mornings to watch the run gloriously rise around the famous London landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye however I think most of my runs ended up being evening ones because of the timing with work. Nevertheless, I’m pretty happy with where I got to regularly running 16k per run several times a week. My running log from July tracks me running approximately 600km for the year!
This helped me also lose a fair amount of weight (some of which all the fine dining in New York has reversed) and I’ve been the lightest I’ve ever been. I feel better for it too.
Although I believe I ate out less this year, this was certainly the year of fine dining eating out. Mostly out of opportunity than seeking it, I dined at the following San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world (numbers following according to their 2010 list). #1 Noma (Copenhagen), #26 Momofuku Ssam (New York), #45 WD-50 (New York), and #49 Hibiscus (London) out of San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world. In addition to these, I ate at many other Michelin-starred restaurants including Era Ora (Copenhagen), Tom Aikens (London) twice, Gramercy Tavern (New York), Midsummer House (Cambridge), Chez Bruce (London) and the Hand and Flowers (Marlow).
I found myself cooking more, going to buy groceries from the market and supporting local and British producers of food.
Work kept me much closer to London this year which I was very grateful for. Most long travel centred around conferences which I’m more than happy to do as it’s a great place to share and take on new ideas, both feeling energised and drained by new ideas and through refining existing ones. I’ll post more of this in greater detail when I do my working anniversary blog in April.