New Year, New You

2013 is now in full swing. Christmas decorations are now back in the loft and New Year’s Resolutions have been made.

Christmas for me meant a free pitch for the caravan. It was parked on my parent’s drive while I enjoyed the festive season with my family.

New Year’s Eve was a joy. En route to Scotland I stopped off at a CL in Lancashire and met up with three other sets of caravanning friends. As evening approached on the last day of 2012, the incessant rain finally stopped. We could have all trooped up to the local pub to see in 2013, but my friend and inspiration John had a far better idea. By 7pm there was a roaring fire blazing in Nigel’s fire basket, which he’d made himself out of an old washing machine drum. We took our places huddled around the campfire, supped our drinks, and talked and laughed into the night. At around 10pm Geri shared garlic bread and other treats, hot from the caravan oven. Still the fire roared. Still we talked. Still we laughed.

Nobody really knows exactly when midnight struck. This wasn’t an occasion for precision timing; it didn’t really matter. Fireworks crackling overhead gave us a clue that 2013 had finally arrived, and with that the champagne cork popped and greetings were exchanged. A toast to the New Year, and then back to the important business of warming ourselves around the campfire.

For eight hours we sat outside that cold winter evening. John is old enough to know better. He’s well into his seventies, yet he outlasted me sitting out there into the wee hours.

This has to go down as one of the simplest, cheapest, yet by far the most enjoyable way ever to see in a New Year.

Our wonderful soiree goes to show just how little we really need to make experiences special. No stressing over fancy food or what to wear, just concentrating on the important business of reminiscing and laughing with dear friends. The concept of such utter simplicity is a great one to adopt for the year ahead. Life doesn’t need to be stressful because of self-imposed standards or unrealistic expectations. Getting away in the caravan helps reinforce the attraction of how wonderful a simple life can be.  I’m convinced that for many of us, it is our deep-rooted yearning for simplicity that attracts us to the pleasures of caravanning.

New Year’s Resolutions are normally associated with denial or penance. Losing weight, going to the gym, drinking less, packing up smoking, and so on. There’s no denying that a healthy lifestyle is a good thing, and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

But if you’re reading this munching on a ‘forbidden’ bar of your favourite chocolate, or supping a cheeky wee dram on a weeknight when you promised you’d only drink at weekends, take heart and embrace my New Year Resolution.

It’s really simple. I took it from a greetings card I bought whilst touring the Hebridean island of Mull last year. It’s a quote from Thoreau. No, I don’t know who he is either:

‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined’

Simple, isn’t it?