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2013 Recap

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2013 Recap

Penny Younger

2013 started in South Africa, then it lead me to Bali, it took me home to Australia, to Europe and now I am finishing it in South Africa again.

I’ve experienced many moments between January 1st and today, New Year’s Eve. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve been uncomfortable, I’ve been challenged, I’ve felt overwhelmed, I had my heart broken and I also had my heart so full I thought it might burst.

Life for me in 2013 was about growth. It was about understanding the world better and my place in it. It was about welcoming new friends, letting go of some old ones and nurturing those who have constantly walked next to me.

I visited new places, made new memories and amoungst all this, I redefined my purpose. It went from knowing I was going to organise high profile events, to realising that that is an interest, not my purpose.

My purpose is to teach people how to love, to encourage them to look a little deeper within themselves and to give them permission to rise up – as I myself rise up.

I made beautiful new friendships in South Africa, saw animals in real life that I used to read about in story books and realised I have a healthy fear of frogs.

I went to Bali with my best friend, where we watched an entire season of Revenge in one night together and walked around naked in our villa all day, whilst trying to avoid Dengue Fever. We saw waterfalls, drank cocktails and came across too many Australians.

I then came back home; I had been away for a year at the time, and to hear an Australian accent and see Bundy Rum for sale at Duty Free gave me this beautiful sense of – “I’m Home.”

I watched my cousin marry her high school sweetheart and I was asked by another cousin to be her bridesmaid. Both instances made me cry.

I hiked a mountain that turned out to be an almost vertical free climb; I celebrated my one year anniversary with my love and introduced him to my family.

Then, around mid-May, a yacht got involved and Fredl (my love) and I packed our bags for an undetermined time abroad, with 24 hours’ notice.

It can be done.

I started meditating daily, began my love affair with green juice and continued my globe-trotting journey, in search of life, adventure and good stories.

I spent 5 months working on a yacht, where most days I was really uncomfortable.

I was forced to actively seek the positives in each moment – and I found that with real dedicated practice – things to be grateful for, can be found everywhere.

Because it starts with you, and the choice you make to see the sun, even amoungst a storm.

Throughout 2013, I’ve had some amazing moments, which I tend to reflect on more than my achievements.

I skinny dipped in the Mediterranean Sea on my lunch break, had my 25th birthday in Corsica and fed bread to a wild donkey on a silver platter, on the beach. Yes, this actually happened.

I jumped off the yacht with my crew in Capri and swam, while watching a full moon.

I held my first meditation and yoga class, watched many sunrises and sunsets, and was reminded how to forgive.

I sat on many airport floors, waited for a lot of flights, embraced more than one curve ball and was broke a few times.

I cried to my mum on Skype whilst sitting on the floor of a laundry, ate way too much Nutella, and recently adopted two horses as pets on the farm I’m living on.

I’ve slept on yachts, in trains, planes, cars, beaches, tents and couches.

I’ve packed and repacked my backpack more times than I care to count and I’ve called many places home.

I’ve heard many different accents, not all I understood, and I got new stamps in my passport.

I did a boarder hop from South Africa to Mozambique over a weekend to avoid overstaying a visa, and to receive a new one.

Whilst in Mozambique, Fredl and I feared for our lives, being the only tourists in some fairly rural towns. We camped, ate seafood straight from the sea, took tequila shots and almost kicked a chicken. But that is another story.

I’ve practised four-wheel-driving and handed in a visa application to bring a South African home for good. I got lost driving on a French mountain as it was getting dark, having no map, no phone signal and no clue, in a car that had the petrol light on.

I played dress up for birthday parties on the yacht I worked on, learnt to open a champagne bottle and ironed a lot of clothes.

I ate at local pizzerias in Italy, had tapas and sangria in Spain and worked at the Monaco Grand Prix.

I went to many BBQ’s on marina docks, took out a lot of rubbish and danced whilst vacuuming when I was certain no one was watching.

And the most famous story of 2013 for me, was getting lost on a 125cc scooter in Italy with Fredl and ending up on a motorway, going 60km, with trucks passing us at 120km an hour.

I obviously cried.

In all these moments, there was meaning.

In 2013, I was seeking life, I wanted adventure and I wanted good stories to tell.

When I briefly reflect on the year, without much thought, all I can see is a yacht that I hated working on and I think “what did I even do this year?” – But when I break the year down into moments, I feel full; full of gratitude, contentment and experiences.

Not all of these brought me joy, in lots of them I was very uncomfortable and in some cases, lost.

But that’s the thing about New Year’s Eve, you reflect back and realise how far you’ve come.

And it’s now that I realise, in these moments, I indeed found what I was looking for; life, adventure – and a damn good story.