Dreams, plans and goals for 2018

At the finish line of my first ever half marathon in Marakesh - another goal achieved.
At the finish line of my first ever half marathon in Marakesh - another goal achieved.

How is it the end of January already? We’re one twelfth of the way through 2018. Time is flying by, but Jay has coined a phrase for while we are at home, ‘the days are long, but the years are short’. I guess the days seem longer because our friends are all at work and we aren’t? In bad weather we do try to find things to do other than sit around staring at the TV or internet, but I can’t help hoping something will happen somewhere in the world so that my BBC news feed will refresh!

Rather than let our jelly beans drip away (if you haven’t already seen the short video below, I thoroughly recommend watching it), we sat down the other day and started to write ourselves some goals for this year. I know most people make their New Years resolutions to start on the 1st January, but as we are often feeling partied out after seeing in the New Year, I don’t find that to be the best day to start anything. That said, I did manage to haul my hung-over self out for a 5k run, albeit a very slow one.

In our pre-OurTour lives we never set goals. Like everyone else, we had dreams of what we wanted to do with our lives, but they stayed as dreams as we never got around to setting goals to make them happen. Once we did finally set ourselves a goal to pay off our mortgage, and achieved it, we began to realise how powerful this goal-setting thing is.  In our first year of travels we were fortunate to bump into Captain Goal Setter extraordinaire, Chris Williams, who used to teach high flyers how to do it for a living, and we picked up loads of tips from him.

Most of our goal setting is done in a pub beer garden on a sunny day, however as it’s January there wasn’t much chance of that, so we sat at our dining table with a piece of flip-chart paper, some marker pens and went for it. First of all we wrote down where we are at the moment – age, fitness, financial status etc. Then we started to think about where we want to be in 12 months time and voila we have some simple goals for the year. We only focused on short-term goals and we know we need to sit down and work out some bigger life / long term goals at some point to go alongside an ever growing bucket list, but for now we are just happy to have a bit of direction for this year.

Most of our goals are around fitness as this is an area of our lives that is not as good as we would like it to be. Jay has signed up to run the Zermatt Half Marathon in July which is pretty much uphill and has the highest altitude finish line of any half marathon in Europe. While my goal is to run our local running club’s 5k in under 30 minutes and I hope to do another half marathon (somewhere a bit flatter than Jay’s) in the year too.

At the finish line of my first ever half marathon in Marakesh - another goal achieved.
At the finish line of my first ever half marathon in Marakesh – another goal achieved.

We’re both also spending a few hours a week trying to learn Spanish using a free Open University course on the internet. Writing a goal of being able to speak Spanish seems like a huge thing to do, but studying for an hour a day each weekday, we’ll have done over a hundred hours by the end of the year, which should have us able to at least order something other than a beer! We’ve got a few fun things on our goal list too such as doing Europe’s longest zip wire, which is in Wales, going to a festival in Zagan, and spending some more time abroad in him.

The big piece of paper with all these goals written on is pinned up and visible from our sofa. So, if I find myself sitting and waiting for the BBC news page to update, I can just look up at the list and find something to do that will take me closer to achieving one of my goals for the year.

Do you set yourself goals? If you do, please feel free to share them below as we’re always looking for ideas.

As I mentioned earlier, in addition to our goals, we also have an ever growing bucket list. One of the things I ticked off my bucket list in 2017 was appearing in a music video. I was an extra in Phil Grafton’s video for his latest song Rats – you’ll see a flash of my red cardigan around 54 seconds in (just after the cymbal), blink and you’ll miss me, but in true extra’s style I was there for around five hours, including being fed and watered, while they filmed it.


Ju x


  1. Definitely a full four seconds of you in profile. Fame at last! Nice song too. We dashed to the Algarve through snow and rain in north Portugal and seem to have stuck here enjoying the sun -18°, bit of breeze. Current plan is to go up the Med coast of Spain then back to Burgundy for a bit in March. UK for spring and early summer this year because there are plenty of places there we have never been. I see from your map you have never been to Ireland (in the van). Is there a reason for that or just chance? We plan to go in May or June – hoping to see some interesting early history – standing stones etc. Maybe at midsummer! In fact pre-history may become our guide for future travels. Orkney! Sorry – I’m wittering on now. Good luck planning and watching Four in a Bed. Robina

  2. Dear Ju/Ja,
    we think very different , but have a lot in common.
    As in a very safe good financial position for the rest of my life, I(*1948) asked me at the beginning of 2018: WHAT else do I really want to see from the rest of the the world?” I came to the conclusion , that it would be the RED CENTRE of Australia.So I’m organizing it.
    But the main question is there behind: WHAT do you really want ?Although you are a lot younger- the question stays the same.
    If you feel bored at your home—travellin’ can be an escape & a pushing of your real personal problems.What makes you happy & content for the coming 30?years?
    You should think about it. It’s not only making plans for 2018, but a decision, what you really want for the rest (short-long___ you ‘ll never know__ ) of your life. I’m not a psychologist/philosopher, but still nosy to get to know the world & aware of a possible sudden end of my journey plans.
    As my best English friends live in ILKESTON, I know your living area quite well.
    best regards Heide from Herne, Germany

    • Hi Heide, you’re quite correct! If we’re lucky enough to live another 30 years, that’s a long time to fill. We have been considering that for a long time, and continue to ponder it. The question is, for us, too big to answer in one go. We’ll need to resolve it time and again I think. Cheers, Jay

  3. Hi Jay & Ju. Greetings from the South. We’re still playing at this travelling lark. Hopefully getting the best of both worlds, quality time with friends & family and a good social life when we’re home, and the freedom and adventure when we’re away. I think I’ve decided 6-8 weeks away works best for us. Last year we did Germany in the camper & 6 weeks travelling in Vietnam & Cambodia. Amazing place. This year we are planning a trip to Greece. Leaving April, back in June. Any advice, especially on route? Planning to catch the ferry from Italy to get there, but not sure on which way home. Hope you are both well, and as the French say, ‘feel good in your skin’. Love Claire, Niall & Daisy the boxer (How’s Charlie?)

    • Hi guys! Charlie’s great, thanks. Hmmm, we traveled to Greece from Bari, and came back via Bulgaria and Romania. That took quite a while, although the roads through Eastern Europe were much better than we expected. We’ve since meet a couple who drive a Winnebago through Croatia, Montenegro and Albania, so that could be a faster option, and would include the beautiful coastline. Depends on what’s important to you guys I guess, what green cards you can get etc? Cheers, have fun, Jay

  4. Wow loved you little moment of fame Ju…good for you and the music is so lovely. Like you I want to get a lot fitter and therefore have also started running. I am loving my early retirement and have many travel plans including visiting Peru in June…a big tick off my wish list. But a change of plans is always on the cards…after all ” life is what happens when you are busy making plans” . I look forward to continue following your journey in 2018…have a great year😄

  5. Hi,
    Thanks so much for your informative blog. I have now signed up for the Open University Italian basic course as we are going there in our m/h in April. Yes the winter days are long when you are waiting to get back touring.

  6. I get the point of the Jelly Bean video but don’t forget that you go to the Loo, sleep, shop, care for people..even on good days.

    I find a better way to focus my mind is using “Health Span”. Most people use “lifespan” as part of their “Let’s do it now” motivation but really you should use Health Span. You may live until you are 115 but that’s no good if you spend the last 30 years drooling and playing Bingo in an old-folks home.

    I think you’re doing it right. Learn new things, keep fit & mobile. Most importantly …free yourself from stress and boredom (a form of stress).

    I’mm 55 and a keen cyclist. Touch wood that nothing unexpected happens I’m using 85 as my Health Span motivation (because I’ve seen several relatives decline rapidly at this age). 30 years and any more is a bonus. Hopefully we’ll start our journey this year (after life through us a serious set-back in 2017).

    I have a chat with HR at work this afternoon… and several more to follow in Spring I’ll wager.

    Life’s too short, there’s so much to see…oh yes…never tell God your plans* or he’ll just laugh.

    *I’m an atheist but you get the point.

    Lee at Go Humberto! http://www.gohumberto.com

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