At the start of the New Year, talk in the office inevitably turns to our resolutions for the weeks and months ahead. We’re all agreed we’d like to travel to new places and the promise of these to come is a welcome boost in the chilly days of January.
I usually make a list of resolutions, and fail to stick to the majority. So this year I have made just one.
Thinking back to Cycling to the Ashes – the 14 month bike ride to Australia I completed in 2009/10 – it’s music that guards some of my most cherished memories. Monty Python’s Galaxy Song reminds me of lying on the sand and singing along while staring in awe at the Milky Way in Sudan’s Nubian Desert, while Neil Young’s Unknown Legend instantly transports me back to the long slog, travelling at 5 miles an hour into brutal headwinds, from the Northern Territory-Queensland border to the mining mecca of Mount Isa.
But for that extra bit of detail, I turn to my diary, and it brings memories flooding back. I wrote entries religiously throughout that journey, recording the highs and lows, the exciting and the mundane. The 24th April 2010, which I spent in a nowhere town in central India, reads: “Staring at fan whirring above my head. Knob of butter on ceiling of bedroom. How did it get there?”
Which brings me to my resolution for this year: to keep a diary. Nothing too ambitious, just a few lines each day to record what happens, with a focus on life at home with my wife and two little boys. I suppose the document may come in handy if I’m asked to speak at either of their weddings one day!
And here, below, are what some of the other members of The Slow Cyclist team have resolved to do in 2019:
I’ve signed up for a cold water swim at Tooting Bec Lido as part of my resolution to do one new thing each month. It’s the 8th UK Cold Water Swimming Championships, which sees over 800 swimmers in costumes and silly hats brave the waters, and I’m sure it’s made worse by the spectators looking ever so snug – and no doubt smug – in their woolly scarves and coats. Maybe I’ll choose something indoors for February.
I learnt to sew last year and was reminded how much practise is needed when I visited Ibaba, just outside Kigali, and saw the beautiful hand embroidery of the women working there.
Cycling in Rwanda during my four month stint living in Kigali in the second half of 2018 was an opportunity to try ugali made with sorgum, matoke and the infamously hot chilli sauce Akabanga, and these new textures and flavours have inspired me to be more creative in my cooking this year. So, the cookbooks are out and I’m determined to rustle up one new dish each week, starting with the moreish sounding Buttery Pilaf with Two Onions, Coconut and Green sauce from chef Simon Hopkinson.
Savannah, Brand & Community
I have a lot of resolutions. Last year I did my first triathlon and I’d like to do another one. I’d also like to travel more. Although I have welcomed hundreds of Slow Cyclist guests on cycling holidays in Romania over recent years, I had not been out of the country myself for 10 years until 2018. Austria is top of my list for 2019. Lastly, as lots of our guests know, I love reading and 2019 must be the year I take on The Banffy Trilogy, by Hungarian (Transylvanian) nobleman Miklos Banffy. It’s a classic, but I’ve never read it!
Sergiu, Guide in Transylvania
It sounds simple, but I am going to make more time to read in 2019 and as a minimum I’d like to read at least one book every month. I’m starting with Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor which is hilarious, chaotic and terrifying so far. More recommendations welcome!
My resolution is a daily one: a single chocolate fix and proper exercise come rain or shine. Plenty of walking, riding, cycling and swimming should balance out the chocolate and prepare me nicely for some slow cycling adventures this year.
Serena, Journey Designer for Zagori
I’m assembling a collection of recipes and stories of Tuscany. There will be tales of my own and those of friends and neighbours who work on farms and vineyards in our beautiful corner of the world. At the moment I’m busy with the illustrations. I can’t wait to see it as complete book – my resolution is to finish it as soon as possible!
Sophie, Journey Designer for Tuscany
What are your resolutions for 2019? We’d love to know and maybe we’ll add it to our list for next year!