2015: Annis Memorabilis

In keeping with my tradition of the last two years, I’m writing this post to summarize the last twelve months, first to share with you some of what we have been up to, but also to remind myself just how fortunate I am to be living this fabulous life.

2015 was another wonderfully memorable year, but it didn’t really start out that great.

Leslie and I had once more returned to Korea, where I was to start another contract teaching English. We were excited to live back in Daegu, the city where we’d met and where we still had some good friends, and hang out in some of our old favourite haunts. We even visited our friend John in Japan, and a great time in Tokyo.

Piss Alley, Tokyo, looks kind of tempting, doesn't it?

Piss Alley, Tokyo, looks kind of tempting, doesn’t it?

 

Daegu, South Korea Twenty First Century Nomad Steven Moore Photography

The Daegu River Reflective, South Korea

However, while living in Daegu was going well, the job was an altogether different matter. Without going into detail, let’s just say that the company were useless, and though I had some lovely co-workers, it was a terrible experience, moving us from one apartment to another and treating us like shit. So rather than stay and be miserable, after six months we did what we often do when not sure which way to turn; we flew to Bali. I know, tough life, isn’t it?

A father and son enjoying the last of the dying day

A father and son enjoying the last of the dying day

After a totally relaxing month stay in Bali, where I had a great few days on the pi…I mean, having a few quiet drinks with my brother Ian, followed by a few weeks ‘house-sitting’ assignment in Singapore, where I also caught up with an old mate Mirgs, and with Leslie and I all the time working on our own writing projects, we then had a mad few weeks during which we visited Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Sri Lanka.

As we all know, traveling is great fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s always exciting. That was the case in Brunei. The Islamic sultanate was a place we knew little about, but since Air Asia was offering super-cheap return flights from Kuala Lumpur, why not go? So we did, and it was more than a little uninspiring. You can read about our dull time in Brunei HERE, but when you’re in danger of being arrested for drinking water on the street during Ramadan, (it was 38’c) and after being told to take our coffee from the coffee shop to our room for fear of the same, there isn’t a lot of good to say. It did have a beautiful mosque, though.

Twenty First Century Nomad aka © Steven Moore Photographer at Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan, The Sultanate of Brunei

The main mosque, the city’s only bright spot in a dull visit

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, was simply unbelievable. I haven’t gotten around to posting much about our amazing ten days there yet, but I did put together this video of what must be one of the world’s most spectacular train rides, from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. We visited waterfalls, tea plantations and mountainous villages, and we took an elephant safari at Udawalawe National park, which was another life highlight.

Bath time in Sri Lanka

Bath time in Sri Lanka

 

 

My beautiful wife Leslie

My beautiful wife Leslie (on the left)

After Sri Lanka, and a few more days in super-cool Kuala Lumpur, it was another return to what is probably my favourite country: Cambodia. Again, I haven’t posted about my most recent of several trips yet due to a lack of time, but with a new, fancy camera to play with, I have some of my best ever photos to share.

Angkor Wat © Steven Moore Photography

Beautiful Angkor Wat at sunrise

This beautiful and curious kid with her father on their approach into Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This beautiful and curious kid with her father on their approach into Angkor Wat, Cambodia

And the last place we visited before returning home to Mexico was another old favourite of ours, Thailand. Another ‘house-sitting’ gig in Chang Mai came first, and despite my long wait to make it up to the famed northern city, we were very underwhelmed. The city was dull, and without much time to get out and about in the mountains, we just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

But then, what came next was amazing. We got married. Yes, we went to Bangkok simply to tie the knot. It was a no fuss, no guests, registrar office type thing, where the legal formalities were all taken care of in a matter of hours, and all we needed was a passport. It doesn’t sound very romantic, I know, but it was, and we made the most of it and had a brilliant time. Besides, we’re having our ‘wedding’ here in Mexico in March, with friends and family visiting from far and wide. In Bangkok we celebrated with a night of good food and champagne at the brilliant Hemingway’s Bar, and the next day…well, Leslie worked and I went temple hopping. Like I said, romantic!

Wedding outfit? Crumpled shorts and flip flops

Wedding outfit? Crumpled shorts and flip flops. And that beard? Surprised she married me.

 

Temple hopping at Ayutthaya

Temple hopping at Ayutthaya

So after a total of nine months away, it was a much anticipated return to our new home in Mexico, the lovely Casa de Los Colibries, (House of the Humming Birds) in San Miguel de Allende. After things went pear-shaped in Korea, we thought about coming home early, but we couldn’t really return home any sooner, because we’d rented out our house to a lovely lady named Krisha Fairchild, star actress in an upcoming movie, (I’ll keep you posted, but an oscar is on the cards) and didn’t want to kick her out without due notice. (don’t worry, we’re still firm friends) But when we finally got home, it was more than worth the wait. We got right back to work, and we have both been super-productive in the four months since we got back. It’s not something either of us had said often in our lives, but we were so glad to get home.

As for my writing, well I started 2015 working on a follow up novel to last year’s debut, and it was going very well. However, after some serious consideration, I decided to leave that project alone, and start work on a new series. It’s going to be a thread of four novels, and in the genre of action and adventure. Think Indiana Jones for adults with a hint of Dan Brown, and you’ll understand the style I’m aspiring to. Thus far, in the months since getting home, the first 2 manuscripts have been completed to the first draft stage, and the third is well under way. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable process, and I can’t wait to see them out there in the world. It helps that I’m writing from many of my own personal experiences and adventures. For more info on my books and my writing career, head on over to my imaginatively titled writer blog, Steven Moore, Author

Not quite the finished covers, but the first proofs. Thanks, Jon Bowen

Not quite the finished covers, but here are the first proofs. Thanks, John Bowen

So that is more or less what we’ve been up to in 2015, and I have to say, what another incredible year, with many highlights and memories that will endure. Getting hitched to Leslie was number one, of course, and we can’t wait for the ‘wedding’ next year. But in terms of traveling, well, Sri Lanka and Cambodia topped the list for me. And 2016 is set to be, once more, the best year yet, with some amazing career developments for the both of us, and lots of exciting travels as always.

Another Annis Memorabilis, for sure.

But I can’t finish this post without a reality check.

Bad news has been dominating my thoughts throughout the last year, and it puts into perspective how fortunate I am. The refugee crisis. The bombings in Syria and Iraq, and plenty of other places. The continuing devastation of health and poverty in developing nations. Global warming. The mass shootings in a gun crazy America. The natural disasters that seem to be happening ever more frequently. The growing power of governments and the disparity between rich and poor. These things have been all over the news and on a global scale, and as well as being one of the happiest years of my life, I can’t ever remember being more saddened by the world around me.

And all the pain and suffering we see on a daily basis only serves to remind me of my life’s mantra, carpe diem, or in other words, live every day as if it’s your last, because you never know what’s around the corner. The title of my debut novel, I Have Lived Today, was taken from my favourite poem. These few lines are, in essence, the way I’ve lived my life, ever since the tragedy of my dad dying unexpectedly twenty years ago. He was only 52. I hope you find something in these words that inspire you to seize everyday like I do.

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own,
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

Be fair or foul or rain or shine,
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine,
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

                                                             Horace, from Odes, Book III

 

With that said, I’d like to end on a positive note. After my recent post asking for my followers to donate a few pounds or dollars to be used to buy books for underprivileged and poor kids here in Mexico, I’m delighted to say that many of you did, and on behalf of the kids at Ojala Niños, muchas gracias. If you haven’t yet donated but would like to, please click HERE.

And finally, a very…

Merry Christmas to you all,

and I hope you have a Fabulous 2016

From Steven & Leslie x 

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