For the irritable lefties amongst us, those not fans of bombs or anyone who'd rather not think about thousands of people drowning off the coasts of their favourite holiday destinations in pursuit of a better life, 2016 hasn't exactly been the new page of peace and opportunity we'd been hoping for. Maybe every year is the same if you mull upon it in the right way for long enough, but somehow this one doesn't feel like anything I can round up in a listicle.
Personally, for a hopeful travel writer, I haven't actually strayed further afield than Scotland or the French border. All enthusiastic plans for a European van dwelling adventure ended in Calais and despite Dan's extremely generous gift of a fancy new camera for my birthday in July, I have taken less photos than ever before. I've scrapped all my tick boxes, forgotten about the country-counting lists I started in my teens and am trying to reevaluate the majority of my somewhat self-centred life goals. Like an increasing number of people, I've been trying to work out how I can exist on this Earth in the least detrimental way possible.
As it turns out that is rarely easy to prioritise and almost impossible to implement.
There have been some improvements- I haven't bought a single new item of clothing this year, have been vegetarian since June and obviously the volunteering. On the other hand, all the same reasons apply to being vegan as vegetarian and I still eat a phenomenal amount of cheese, there are so many companies and ingredients we should be boycotting, it seems like the only safe thing to do is live off your own garden if you have one, we've been blasting out van fumes into the atmosphere and over five months in Calais, I barely even roused myself into recycling.
Where are we supposed to go from here? To me it seems unlikely that things are only going to get better in 2017. The scariest products of last year (trumptrumptrumptrump... trumptrumptrumptrump...) haven't even sprung into action yet. Cling onto your morals, don't let the sand block your ears and remember, nothing has ever been changed by people sitting on their sofas grunting. Throughout history, the vast majority of any given population, has sat back in disapproval as atrocities have happened under their noses. Look around you- is everything fine or have we lost our way?