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2020 Manifesto


2020 manifesto. Instead of having a New Year’s resolution, the past 8 years, I’ve been living by these lists of MORE and LESS.

2019 was an adventure.

Being a freelancer has allowed me flexibility which I am truly grateful for. We spent a month in the Philippines where we learned to SCUBA with friends. We swam, snorkelled and dived with sea turtles. We island hopped and visited countless beaches and waterfalls. There, we celebrated 10 years of marriage.

When we got back, we adopted two rabbits from the SPCA. Both were found in different parts of Auckland and surrendered to the SPCA where they fell in love. Two very different personalities but super sweet in their own way. Kobe and Bento give us so much happiness. A worthwhile investment.

We spent another month in Mexico (and Cuba). We witnessed Mexico City during Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), we travelled to the culinary (and some say cultural) capital of Mexico, Oaxaca. We visited Havana and Viñales in Cuba. Havana wasn’t really for me, though I left a piece of my heart in Viñales. I celebrated my 36th birthday. We returned to Mexico, hired a car and cruised through Tulum and her neighbours, visiting cenotes, ruins and eating our weight in tacos.

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It’s hard not to spend money in Havana, but strolling along the Malecon enjoying the sea is something you can do for free. After walking to one end and back, we spotted some lights on a rooftop bar that was Malecon 663. A boutique hotel filled with art, with multi-levels of new vintage, colourful, eclectic design. It was entertaining just climbing the stairs through the building. Chill vibe, great cocktails, easy listening live band and the perfect corner table on the roof to gaze at the full moon and the tide splash up over the road. We returned the following morning for coffee, then again for lunch before shipping out. Coffees were strong, my lobster bagel and @budafist’s slow cooked pork sandwich were delicious. If your budget doesn’t allow you to stay here, at least pop in for a cocktail. #havana #lahabana #habana #cuba #cubaeats #lobster #lobstersandwich #lobsterbagel #lobsterroll #travel #instafood #instaeats #havananights #nzbloggers #reflection

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I visited the Yucatan and I fell in love with cenotes (sa-NO-tays). Our final week in Mexico we hired a car and hit up  a bunch of cenotes including Ik Kil, Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos. These natural sinkholes are created from collapsed limestone exposing extremely clear water beneath. Considered sacred by the Mayan people these water caves in the jungle were sometimes used by ancient Maya for rituals and offerings including human sacrifice. Each cenote is different to the next, some are open air, some have a small opening, others are underground, filled with stalactites and very dark. Swimming at each one made my skin feel lovely. Such a wonderful way to see the countryside. I thought I was a waterfall girl but now I’m not so sure. My favourite cenote would be Ik Kil. Lush and green at the top, quite deep underground but with a huge opening to let in light. Floating in the water, gazing up at the vine covered opening…was paradise. #cenote #mexico #yucatan #ikkil #quintanaroo #cenotes #travel #water #caves #holiday #tulum

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A chalkboard on the footpath boasting fresh seafood. A señora out front making fresh tortillas. That’s all it took for us to make a stop at La Chula in Tulum. I am a planner but one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t rely on plans. We’ve visited a few food places on my list only to find they were closed for the day, the season, or closed permanently. After driving out quite a way to a seafood shack for a late lunch only to be seated, drinks and food ordered, drinks delivered and then told the kitchen was closed. It was after 5pm and we were hangry. At @lachulatulum, @budafist let me order (once again) and I ordered guacamole plus four dishes to share. Pork belly taco with black chirmole sauce, battered shrimp taco, Kastacan (roast pork) taco, and an octopus tostada. A bucket of crispy homemade tortillas arrived with an array of salsas. Followed by a heavy stone cauldron of guacamole. Heaven. The tacos also arrived quickly and these were piled high with toppings. I would have preferred more tortillas so we could scoop each pile onto two tacos but no biggie. Service was fab, food was delicious, thoughtful plating and prices reasonable for the quality. Just a short walk from our Airbnb as well so definitely a bonus. They have a lot more on their menu and if we had more time in Tulum, I would def give a whirl. Highly recommended. #tulum #lachulatulum #tacos #taco #tacolover #porkbellytacos #mexicanfood #quintanaroo #yucatan #mexicoeats #mexicofood #instafood #instayum #eeeeeats #forkyeah #mexico #travel #foodblog #foodblogger #nzbloggers #foodphotographer
#foodporn #lunch #latelunch

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There was once a time we traveled overseas regularly. But we took a long break from travel. I didn’t own a current passport for years. But after a 7 year hiatus, we crammed a lot in the last 12 months. It’s been rad.

Even with two whole months away this year, I’ve managed to complete even more work than the previous year. To achieve this, I’ve been working 7 days a week. I had a light at the end of the tunnel. Travel. I don’t think I could work so much without the promise of time off. However, I don’t want to work THAT much. I hope to improve this in 2020. I am reclaiming my weekend. Whether it’s Saturday and Sunday or some other two days each week, I’d like to switch off more. It’s been over three years since I decided to go full time freelance and I’m happy I made that decision. Freelance life isn’t for everyone but I’ve loved making it work for me.

I’ve stepped back from blogging. Instagram seems to be more popular these days. Even for recipes.

Looking forward to 2020, there is a big change ahead. I’m scared, sure. But change is good. Pushing new boundaries, learning new things, that is how we grow.

What are you looking forward to in 2020? What are you working towards?

This entry was posted in: Thoughts


I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.

1 Comment

  1. I always enjoy reading your coming year manifesto. Have a wonderful year and keep us “posted.”
    FYI: Scout the Rabbit is doing well and is at about middle age now. He’s mellowed out as the years pass. Not so mischievous, but just mischievous to keep me on my toes.

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