So, I never quite made the time to compose a Christmas letter. This will have to do as some sort of missive for me to sum up the year & wish you all happy holidays. 2011 was separated into distinct thirds for me. The first of those was the end of my year living & working in the Canadian Rockies. That spur of the moment decision to go & bike & ski in the mountains for twelve months still rates as one of the best of my life - I had a great time with fantastic friends; the snow was good too & my skiing could do nothing but improve with all those consecutive weekends on the hill.
The middle of the year - the end of a long winter & the first of summer - saw the completion of a long held dream. That was, a roadtrip around the West (USA) with a bike in the trunk/boot visiting many of the famous riding spots & national parks. My aunt, Valerie, joined me from Australia & we managed 22000 km (almost 14000 miles), 13 states & 2 provinces and an awful lot of quality mountain-biking (for me). Scenically, the highlights were Bryce Canyon & Crater Lake National Parks. As always when I visit the States, spending time with old friends & making new ones stays on top of the many memories.
Naturally, it was tough to leave close friends & the beauty of the Bow Valley; the last part of the year sees me finally starting to get around to what I left home for two and a half years ago. That is, to get a job & settle in the UK for a while and take full advantage of the proximity to Europe. I'm back process engineering for the first time in four years at a small rubber factory on the edge of the New Forest (not far from Southampton at the south of England). Mum's been over here for the last three months at university, so it's been great to see her every so often. The hospitality of extended family (some of whom I'm still only meeting now) helps to lessen the distance from home - as does Skype & 1p/min phone calls.
That's this year - 2012 will not be nearly as well planned out or active for that matter. I'm down to have surgery sometime on my shoulder (to tighten it all up - two dislocations this year), so that will curtail the biking & skiing a lot. That will just mean I have more free time to explore this part of the world. I've finally got an invite to a wedding (first since leaving), so I'll be back in NZ for a couple of weeks near the start of September for what will be a flurry of visiting much-missed family & friends.
Best wishes for the new year.
10 hours ago