Hello, and welcome to the first expat update of 2017. I was so excited to write this update because it feels like the first time in a while that I have nothing to complain about!
The internet is sorted. Pay cheques have started to roll in. Jet lag is GONE. After four months, it feels like life has finally settled in Leeds.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean things are perfect – I mean, I’m still on the job hunt and in the past few weeks I’ve seen more grey skies than blue but, I’m choosing to focus on the positives because overall, life is pretty damn great right now.
Travel took a backseat to adulting the first few months we were in Leeds as we tried to get settled. At the time, it seemed a little bit more important to ensure we had electricity, hot water and internet than visiting every nook and cranny of Yorkshire that we could reach in an hour, however fun that would have been.
But now thanks to a few months of discipline we’re settled and we’re ready to pack up and hit the road for a city break or two.
Another factor in our renewed wanderlust is that we’ve finally figured out ways to overcome the price of travel throughout England. This was one additional reason we didn’t travel too much in that fourth quarter – we just couldn’t justify the cost of some of those day trips. I thought it was a joke when a colleague told me that the trains here are the most expensive in Europe, but after a bit of research, I learned that this was no myth.
Thankfully, a couple of colleagues highly recommended that we invest in the Two Together rail pass – a card Dave and I can use whenever we travel together to get a discount. We did a bit of research and after calculating we’d be saving at least 1/3 off EVERY trip, we ran down to the station and bought one before we could change our minds (or before laziness took over and we spent the day binge-watching Homeland instead).
It was a £30 upfront investment, but has been totally worth it so far – we’ve only used it twice and have already gotten back our investment three times over! The savings were the key factor in our booking our upcoming city break to Edinburgh, and for taking a day trip to hike the Ilkley Moor. Because really, travel is so much more fun when you can save a third or more!
Thanks to the card and a few amazing Boxing Day sales, the world seems within our reach (and budget). We’re more than ready to get up and out, and explore as much of England and Europe as we can – one weekend at a time!
One of my goals for 2017 was to live a healthier lifestyle. I wasn’t hoping for a complete and total overhaul, but just to incorporate a few things, like drinking more water and going to the gym, into my routine. Really, these aren’t hard or big changes, but they are two things that I know have a big impact on how I look, feel and think.
With the first few days of 2017 being a whirlwind of jet lag and naps, I thought I was doomed. I was ready to call time of death on these resolutions before the year had even started. But, thankfully, I didn’t.
Mid-way through my jet lag struggle I was desperate to sleep that I started going to the gym. I figured that if both my brain and body were tired surely I would be able to sleep. And, if it didn’t help me sleep (which it didn’t) at least I would look good as I descended into a life of zombie-ism.
Thankfully, over time, the jet lag passed, but my desire to go to the gym didn’t.
Since we arrived back in Leeds, I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to make it to the gym at least three times each week! I’ve mostly been doing cardio with a little rowing spliced in, and hope to start a little weight training here and there in the next few days.
I’ve also been religiously drinking water and taking my vitamins, which isn’t really something to write home about, but when it comes to resolutions I’ll take the wins where I can get’em!
I know it’s still very early days in 2017, but so far I’m very happy with my progress and my efforts – and I’ve already started to notice little differences (clearer skin, better sleep), which is a huge motivator to keep it up!
It would have been so easy to throw in the towel when jet lag took me down, but I’m so glad I persevered and kept up with my resolutions. If the rest of the year is anything like January, I can’t wait!
How are you doing with your resolutions after this first month?
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