Farewell 2013

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

On New Year’s Eve I tend to reflect on the last 12 months (that have flown by way too quickly). Then I make some half-hearted resolutions to welcome the New Year. My main thought last year was to make sure I kept writing this weekly blog, which I managed quite well. The exception was during my overseas travels when I didn’t have easy access to a computer. Clearly, I’m not up to date with the latest technology – and probably never will be – so it’s lucky I’m not a frontline journalist 😉

But I do get a lot of enjoyment from sharing my travel stories, even if it’s only a handful of people who take the time to read them. I love each and every comment; just knowing that my words occasionally move people or inspire them. For me, there is nothing better.

On that note, one of the nicest things that happened to me in 2013 was reading a letter that was sent to the editor of Ride On magazine. This is a membership magazine for Bicycle Victoria, a bicycle advocacy group in Australia. I’ve written several articles for them over the years, but nothing in the last 18 months so I was surprised to see my name pop up. The letter was from Irene Hill, as follows:

“In 2010 I read an article in Ride On about Karen Graham’s cycle tour along the Danube. I decided there and then it was something I had to do so I kept the article on hand for several years hoping the opportunity would arise. This year my husband and I are living in the UK on an International Teaching Fellowship (for the second time). We have just returned from our summer holiday in Europe which included the same week long Danube cycle tour from Passau to Vienna, as well as four days cycling in Friesland in Holland where my parents were born. It was a fantastic week and more than lived up to our expectations.”

Irene included a photograph of her husband sitting in a European café holding up a copy of my article, which you can read here.

I’d personally like to say a big thanks to Irene for taking the time to write this letter, as it’s not very often that freelance writers get feedback on published articles. I was so thrilled that she’d kept my article; that my writing had inspired at least two people to follow in my footsteps. As I said, there is nothing better.

2013 has been an amazing year for me. I spent time with my family. I travelled. I embraced my inner geek. I worked. I sang. I took photographs. I hiked. I became a tourist in my own town. I cycled. I ventured outside my comfort zone. I made new friends. I reacquainted with old friends. I listened to music. I watched films and plays. I laughed. I cried. I celebrated. I mourned. I had some personal struggles but, in the greater scheme of things, these were only minor pot-holes. My life is good. I hope yours is too.

Wishing all my readers a very happy New Year!

Here’s a selection of memorable photographs from my 2013. I can only hope that 2014 brings me as much fun.

Hiking in the Grand Canyon during a thunderstorm.

Challenging myself with strenuous hikes such as Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Having the chance to photograph amazing places such as Antelope Canyon.

Being completely awestruck by the variety of landscapes in the US national parks.

Driving a section of the famous Route 66 in the US.

Visiting the wild west (aka Monument Valley).

Being in the right place at the right time – San Francisco during the America’s Cup.

Venturing outside my comfort zone by getting on stage with some of the stars of Supernatural to sing karaoke in front of a few hundred people. Still can’t believe I did it 🙂

Allowing myself to be totally geeky about my favourite show Supernatural… and this was my reward. Being squished by Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins.

Hanging out with my brother in Whistler, Canada – cycling and hiking.

I can’t tell you how much I love Canada ♥

Photographing my niece’s wedding at Gibson Steps on the Great Ocean Road.

Surviving a wintery hike in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in Tasmania.

Taking an international friend to one of my favourite places, Wilsons Promontory.

And, last but not least. I was very fortunate this year to go to the premiere of two Australian films at the Melbourne International Film Festival. My cousin, Rhys Graham, directed a chapter of The Turning, which is based on the short stories by renowned Australian author Tim Winton, and that film has been doing very well ever since then. Rhys also wrote and directed his first feature film, Galore, which is due for cinematic release in 2014. Both films will have their international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

If you get the chance, go to see them in 2014. I know I will be watching them again 🙂

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