This year was my first full year back in the UK after four long years of travelling awesomeness. Anyone who has travelled for a long period of time knows how difficult it can be to adjust, but I vowed to myself that when I did come back, regardless of location, I’d keep up that mentality of trying to enjoy and experience as much as possible. I hope I’ve achieved that over the course of 2013.
I joke about how much I want to leave, and how much I dislike living at home, and to an extent, both are true. I know I’ve probably driven people mad with my complaints about living in England, but it is important that people know that I really have enjoyed being back and that it has been so much fun spending time with my friends and family again after so much time apart.
So what have I done with 2013?
1. Restored some near antique Cinema Chairs to their former glory.
In an attempt to keep hold of a piece of a building that meant the world to me, I purchased some of the old seats from the Regal Cinema Northwich. Over the course of a few months, and with the help of my step brother on the iron work, I was able to completely restore these seats from the disgusting run-down condition they were in. I had to teach myself how to do everything from scratch, but the end result was totally worth it.
2. Trained for a 10k Run.
I signed up for the Manchester 10k, which involved getting my lazy ass in a good enough shape.
3. Ran the Bupa Manchester 10k.
Along with James Kennedy, Toby Burkill and a few thousand other people, I ran the Bupa Manchester Great North Run for Macmillan Cancer Support. Out of around 40,000 runners I managed to place 3013th with a finishing time of 47:52. I’m incredibly proud of that result and was so happy to receive my first ever sporting medal. A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me, I really appreciate it.
4. Began a Vinyl Collection,
I appreciate vinyl, not because of the huge difference in sound quality, but purely because the action of listening to a record in it’s entirety is a much more fulfilling experience than skipping through all your favourite songs in mp3 format on your phone. Listening to a record means appreciating an album in full, in it’s intended order, taking the bad with the good and with no ability to skip tracks. When you listen to an album on vinyl, you’re really listening to the alum – which is why I’m only ever buying my favourite albums in this format.
5. Went Camping.
A trip to Conwy with some good friends, good times, cold weather and Bingo. It doesn’t really get much better than that.
6. Mastered Beer Pong.
Throughout the year, at several parties, on several occasions I have proven “skillz that pay the billz” when it comes to Beer Pong. Yes, I’m awesome, but I’m also incredibly humble about it.
7. Started Sketching/Drawing again.
I used to love art. I used to love drawing, sketching, sculpting and painting – until one day I just stopped doing it, I’m not sure why, I just never made the time. I was never all that good, but I’ve missed it, so on occasion this year I have done a little drawing and digital painting with hopes of doing more. I’ve also created a deviantart account which you can find here: http://ryansweeney85.deviantart.com/
8. Got my Second Tattoo.
Although it’s a crime to waste her artistic talents, my friend and extremely talented tattoo artist Bex Lowe over at Royal Owl Tattoo was good enough to do this text based piece I’ve been wanting for a long time.
For the more observant person reading this post, you will notice that it is the name of my website/blog – however please note – I did NOT get my website name tattooed on my leg (as some people have thought), for the less cultured amongst you, it is a line from my favourite poem, by Robert Frost:
9. Saw a Movie at the Oldest Working Cinema in the UK.
The Electric Cinema in Birmingham. The place was amazing, the company was excellent and we even paid a little extra and had service to our sofa seating… it’s just a shame we had to watch Elysium.
10. Went Deep Sea Fishing.
My first ever boat based fishing trip. My grandad always tried to teach me to fish, I never saw the appeal. I think at the time I was too young and couldn’t sit still for long enough, but as I’ve matured (the very little that I have matured) I’ve learnt the value of sitting quietly and letting the world pass you by. However, Deep Sea Fishing is nothing like that – but with good people it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I’m just glad I don’t get sea sick (unlike some of my shipmates).
11. Visited Amsterdam.
When Scott asked me to go to Amsterdam for his birthday I jumped at the chance. Four of us went and we’d all say the same thing; You have never experienced Amsterdam until you’ve stayed on a houseboat. It was only a weekend away, but it was awesome. We were having so much fun on the boat that we barely had any time for prostitutes and drugs. Typical.
12. Attended Awesome Gigs.
Whilst in Amsterdam, I saw one of my favourite artists Dallas Green (City and Colour) at a venue called Melkweg. Without a doubt one of my favourite live artists, so It’s been a good year for me and live music. This year I’ve seen: City and Colour, We Are Scientists, Andrew McMahon, Everclear, Sigur Rós and Jimmy Eat World.
13. Celebrated St. Patricks Day in Liverpool.
I don’t remember much of this day except for knocking over an entire table full of drinks – I get the feeling alcohol was involved somehow.
14. Went on a Road Trip through Scotland.
Found myself watching a brawl in Glasgow, went hunting for the monster at Loch Ness and watched a show at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. It really doesn’t get much more Scottish than that.
15. Visited Berlin.
Yet another trip away for a friends 30th; this time to Berlin with Ben and Laura. Berlin is such a culturally rich city with a lot of history and no end of sights to see, but I have to say, one of my highlights was finding a place that does the best pizza I have ever tasted (I’d go back to Berlin just for another slice). We had a great time with some very cool nights out.
16. Went to a Bulls Game in Chicago.
17. Went to a Wedding in Wisconsin.
I was invited to the wedding of Jess and Chris Ward, an awesome couple of friends I met whilst travelling in New Zealand. I was so happy they invited me and even happier that I was able to attend. Easily one of the coolest weddings I have had the pleasure of attending and worth every mile I travelled to get there.
18. Had a New Zealand Family Reunion.
I lived with a lot of awesome people in New Zealand, in room 201 of the Fat Camel Hostel. Over time we bonded and I made some great friends as a result. We all got together again this year when two of them got married. It was so good to see these people again. Time and distance should have no effect on friendships.
19. Family Holiday in Florida!
Sunshine, Friends, Family, Private Villa with Pool, Relaxation, Rollercoaster’s, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Halloween Horror Nights, Weddings, Busch Gardens… the list goes on. It was a lot to squeeze into two weeks.
20. Went to a Wedding at Disneyland.
My stepbrother and his wife were married in Disneyland! With Mickey and Minnie mouse on hand to help cut the cake – ‘nuff said.
21. Sang Karaoke.
Some friends and I, on a spontaneous night out, decided to all pitch in and hire out a private Karaoke room in Manchester city centre. As the video and photographic evidence will testify; we are born superstars. Did you know that Karaoke is Japanese for ‘empty orchestra’. Isn’t that hauntingly beautiful?
22. Partied like it was 1999. 2013.
This year I attended a lot of parties, and my liver might need 2014 in order to recover. Our annual boxing day family party was a good one – it only cost us four wine glasses, a pane of glass, a light fixture and a bed. Shortly followed by crazy New Years antics at Dale, Mark and Becky’s house.
I’ve done my best to make the most of this year, and there are plenty of things I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include in this list. I’ve pretty much given up on making specific New Years Resolutions, but if I had one for 2013 it would be this: Continue having a blast in 2014, enjoy life as much as possible and keep being awesome alongside awesome people.