A review of my 2017 goals + Looking at 2018

2017 – A year split in half

There was the time between January to June when everything was going well with my goals. I was on track with my European Portuguese learning. I had stopped taking a photo everyday but this was fine. I had stopped recording a sound everyday but this was fine too.

I was exploring the areas around my new home. I was reading a book by a Portuguese author every month. I was spending time on my longboard and learning a few dance steps. I didn’t think I was going to go on a microadventure on it. I wasn’t going to walk the West Highland Way. And I wasn’t going to set up a new blog either but this was all fine.

I was happy with my goals. I was happy with my new life in Bristol.

But then came July and all my plans got shuffled.
I was invited by Bivouac Recordings and Humandhood Recordings to produce albums for them. This was fantastic news, one I could hardly believe. I agreed and got to work. I knew I would have less free time, but I didn’t realise just how much of it would be engulfed by this audio work. And as a result everything else came to a halt.

I lost the discipline of learning a new language. I went exploring less and paid the usual price for it (exhaustion, mental drain, physical restlessness). I stopped reading Portuguese authors (I stopped reading quite a lot actually). And I gave up completely on a longboarding microadventure. I could look at this as a failure but it isn’t. It was fantastic to explore the audio world and to interact with many more people in it. It was an opportunity too good to pass and it was a great learning experience.

I learned that I can do more than I think I can. But I also learned that two albums in six months is too much. I enjoyed the creative process but I did not enjoy the loss of outdoor time. This made my life unbalanced and found me pushed to my limits, which wasn’t a good thing. A lesson I’ll strive to remember for 2018.

2018 – A year of being rubbish

I do not normally share my goals for the year ahead this early, but I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2018 for a good month already. And most of it, I do not want to share publicly.

There is a school of thoughts that urges people to share their goals to make sure they accomplish them. The idea is that by voicing your intention publicly, you are held accountable and so more likely to reach your goals. And I tend to agree with this. But not this year, not for what I want to do.

2017 was a year of change. In 2016 I had left behind my dream job, accepting the fact that it is lost to me (for the foreseeable future). Instead I had gone cycle touring for a few months because I could. Upon coming back I tried to find a new direction in my life (and failed). But I did relocate to Bristol (which was good). Freshly moved into a new city, I began to find my feet and the life I was (and still am) seeking.

And now, a year later, I am more grounded. I can’t say I have found a new direction for me life, not entirely. But I have leads, paths I want to explore. Only they feel too personal, too tentative to be shared. I don’t know if they will be dead ends or endless networks. All I know is that I have a lot to learn, and that means being rubbish. I’m setting foot in unexplored territory, places where I have little knowledge and little experience. This is exhilarating, a blank slate all to myself.

I have to serve my apprenticeship. And this means that plans and ideas that I have now will change. All that is certain is that I have a direction, an aim for the future, and 2018 is the year I set the stepping-stones for it.

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Introducing… well… me

www.allysseriordan.info

Things have been quiet on the blog over the Summer. There are several reasons for this. One is my annual struggle with August, but another is that I’ve been busy developing new projects. One such project is a website about me.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve most likely noticed that on top of the blog, I have a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a SoundCloud account, and even a YouTube account. Put like that, it’s a lot. So why add a website to the mix?

A bit of background

Before I answer this, let me give a bit of background. I started Beste Glatisant back in January 2014. My online presence before then was confined to the world of fandoms and fanfictions, my name and avatar a presence on a multitude of forums. But in the early 2010s, I began to move away from television and into the outdoors. I discovered right of ways and the concept of microadventures. Expeditions were not confined to a screen or the pages of a book any longer. But as with anything starting was the hardest part. So I logged onto WordPress.com, created a blog, and shouted to the world that I was going to step outside of my front door.

And so this blog became a drive to get me outdoors. I would have no content to post about if I sat in front of the television all day. So I walked out, sleeping in my garden at first and taking day walks around London. And as I built my confidence outdoors, I built my confidence as a writer. I began to experiment with words, pictures, and soon afterwards sounds. I expanded onto Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, and YouTube. But at the core of it all was this blog, Beste Glatisant.

Why create a new online space?

The trouble with Beste Glatisant is that it has always been deeply intertwined with microadventures. And while this has been fine for over three years, it is now becoming a problem.

There is no denying that my outdoor life is at the core of my creativity. But my projects are outgrowing the niche I created here. I have albums coming up this year and creative writing plans for the future. So I built a website, a place where you can find all of me under one roof.

A portfolio of my work

This new website collects all of my work whether in words, sounds, or images. If you are only interested in my microadventures, the best place to follow me is still right here. But if you want to know more about what my life outdoors inspire in me, and about my work with sound, be sure to visit www.allysseriordan.info and to subscribe to my newsletter. It will contain all of my latest news and exclusive sneak peaks of upcoming projects (hint: an album trailer will land in your inbox very soon. Be sure to subscribe).

www.allysseriordan.info

So long August

I’ve never really liked August.

As a child, it was a month of ending. The holidays would come to a close, my freedom would gradually diminish, and newly formed friendships would end. As I grew older, I would work through the holidays but still August was a month apart. Friends and family would visit, setting my routine off-balance, the quieter roads would get incrementally busier as my environment prepared itself for the return of normality in September. And I would inevitably feel like a fish flapping frantically on the beach, trying to get back in the water.

This year has been no different. August came. August went.
Friends visited, family stopped over, days out were enjoyed, a new job was begun. And I enjoyed it all. But throughout the period, I felt like I was constantly catching up with time. The new job didn’t help. My commute time more than doubled and my hours changed from late evenings to early mornings. Looking back, it’s easy to understand why I was so out-of-sync last month. I was just tired from all the changes, and failing to find a new routine in a month that defies the very word.

Which is why nothing happened on the blog. I had a lot of plans, still do, but nothing got written, nothing got edited. August is gone now and this is about to change. I have a lot to share, from new projects ready to be launched and experiences waiting to be shared, the months ahead are going to be busy.

I hope August has been less of a turbulent month for you. What did you get up to?

An update on my 2017 goals

Six months have passed since I set myself goals to achieve by the end of the year. A lot has happened in those months and it’s time for an update.

  • Learn European Portuguese

    I have been learning a lot of vocabulary and I am confident enough to handle basic conversations. I understand soap operas when I have Portuguese subtitles on and I can read learners’ books. But I have not practised the language with a tutor or Portuguese person. I want to use a website called iTalki to help me improve but my work hours have made it difficult to arrange any kind of schedule. So instead I have gone on with a pattern of fuelling my vocabulary with a side of listening and reading.

    Lately I have let this goal slide. Other commitments have taken priority over learning Portuguese and I find myself struggling to maintain my daily practice. I am aware that I have overgrown simple vocabulary learning but alternatives are more time-consuming – which doesn’t help me timetable them in a busy schedule.

    But, I have began a new job with more regular hours, and this I hope, will make it easier to make time for iTalki tutors and boost my language skills.

    One thing I have completely given up on are the videos. They took me too much time for not enough return. So only one video was ever produced.

  • Take a photo every day

    At the beginning of the year, I used Splodz very helpful monthly prompts to help me focus and remember to take a photo a day. But I soon gave it up as the habit became more ingrained in me. My eyes automatically catch details and I remember to stop to take them in and capture them. I have gone through days when no photos have been taken, but most days I do and I’m happy with that.

    Follow me on Instagram if you want to see all those (almost) daily shots.

  • Record a sound every day

    This goal has been dropped back in April.
    I started this exercise to push myself to listen and use my recording equipment more. And I do. But recording every day proved too much. Instead of pushing me creatively, the process began to hamper me. I would grudgingly record a sound which resulted into a bad recording. Then I would have to spend hours at my computer to edit what I had captured instead of devoting time to other sound exercises that I found more valuable. At first I pushed through, thinking it was a hump to go over. But the feeling of time lost and wasted never stopped. So I stopped.
    I did not put my recorder and microphones away. Instead I took the time to develop a new sound specific project, one that forces me to listen and record regularly, but also one that is more meaningful and encompassing. But more on in another blog post (coming soon…).

    Follow me on SoundCloud if you never want to miss one of my recordings.

  • Other goals included

    -Setting up a new blog: this is probably not going to happen but I’m fine with it.
    -Sharing the sounds and story from my journey through Spain and Portugal: coming in September and December.
    -Going on a longboard microadventure: this is probably not going to happen.
    -Walking the West Highland Way with Zoe and Jenni: due to work issues, this is not going to happen for me but other plans are afoot.
    -Exploring the areas around my new home: this is well underway.
    Reading a book by a Portuguese author every month: this is going well although my library is running out of Portuguese authors.

Overall I’m happy with how I’m doing with my goals. There is room for improvement but setting myself targets has provided a focus I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Have you set up goals and resolutions for the new year? If yes, how are you doing with them? Are you on track?

The Cycle Touring Festival – 2017 edition

Two years I ago I attended the inaugural Cycle Touring Festival. It was an experience of wonder and excitement, a realisation that I was not alone. Someone put it much better than me and said it was like finding your tribe. And they were right.

If you look online, you know there are other cycle tourists around, whether round the world cyclists or week-end and holiday cyclists. But when you step out of your front door and start pedalling, you don’t often catch sight of them. More often than not, you meet fast bikes adorned with a lycra-clad person on top. You share a smile, a nod, both happy to be on the bike. But it is not the same thing, not quite. But there, at the festival, people understand. They don’t think you’re brave, they don’t assume you’re fit, and they don’t ask at what speed you’re going. Instead we talk about the other stories like the pure joy of seeing the world from the saddle, the hard times of dealing with your own mind, or the fun moments with strangers and their warmth. We don’t need to dig out for words we never feel are quite right because the other person understand.

And if you’re new to the scene, it’s not a problem. No question is deemed stupid, and there is an eagerness to share knowledge. We’re a small tribe, any new member is welcomed with an embrace and encouraged to find their own way. Because at the end of the day there is no right or wrong way to go cycle touring. The only prerequisite is to have a bicycle and an open mind. The rest is up to you and how you like to ride and see the world.

If you’ve missed this year’s festival, there is always next year. And in the meantime, find a cycle tourist online and ask questions. We’ll all be happy to give you a hand and assuage your fears.