I had just broken up with my first girlfriend of the past 2 1/2 years, and I had just turned 19.
So like any sane person I spent my 19 birthday alone, getting 100% Completion on the game Bioshock (Hardest Difficulty, all achievements, all Vox tapes, all research, Brass Balls).
It was 2009, it was my Gap Year, and for the first time I travelled abroad alone. I keep this journal with me for next 7 years as I travelled to Berlin, Barcelona, Canada, Japan, China, Tibet, South Korea and America.
Yesterday, I finally filled in the last page.
For Christmas, my dad got the whole family one of these Journals. Naturally, with anything so precious, I had obsessed over the best use for it.
I declared it my travel journal, and took it with me to Berlin along with a mud-coated, broken watch in my back pocket I had found at the Leeds festival 2006. To me, that watch symbolised an idyllic summer, feeling the throng of the crowds and the beat of the music. The same free-spiritedness I wanted to feel now.
Berlin was two things: eye-opening and bloody freezing.
But I was bitten by the travel bug, and my wanderlust has never been quenched since.
I earnestly noted all my new experiences, along with the all awkwardness of my adolescence that now makes for difficult reading!
However, I noticed that the more time I spend doing things the less time I spent writing it down.
I filled the journal maybe a third during my Gap Year, with another quarter dedicated to my trip to Japan when I was 22.
So despite keeping the journal all these years, China, Hong Kong, Tibet, South Korea and California sadly take up very little space.
That, and creative ideas really should’ve been kept in one of my many other note books. There really doesn’t need to be a whole page for a trailer about Japanese gore movie involving Nuclear Zombies.
With one page left then, I decided it to make it count. I dedicated it to the Bucket List below.
Hopefully, I will complete a good number of them before I complete my next journal.
….and hopefully it’s not quite as awkward as so much of the Journal’s contents
While writing this though, sitting across the bay from San Francisco, I realised something I already knew: I do not credit myself enough for what I have already done.
I mean, I am really bad at being proud of what have accomplished, and spend way too much time obsessing over what I could be doing.
So here is my pre-Bucket List!
A list of the things I really should be more pleased with myself for having done.
Went to Japan, and nerded out on history Went to Tibet, and had my eyes opened Made it to California (the hardest thing I have done) Got into Gold League for Starcraft II (The second hardest thing I have done) Went to Seoul and attended a Starcraft II GSL Finals Learnt Kendo Had sex (16 yr old me was very keen on that happening someday) Hiked to the top of a glacier coated mountain (Blackcomb, Canada) Went to the Niagara Falls Cried when I saw the Terracotta Warriors Went extreme zip-lining Showered by jumping in a freezing river in the Rocky mountains Went to Gamescom as press Finished writing the rulebook for my roleplaying game Rulers Went to Yosemite National Park, with my awesome parents and beloved wife Was the Lord of the Dance in a go-go cage in front of enraptured Chinese crowd, who may or may not have been high Saw giant Redwood trees Went back to our old house in Den Haag Got married to someone I could spend the rest of my life with Had the best childhood a kid could have (thanks Mum & Dad)
Sometimes it feels good to say: “Go me” ^.^