So, November happened.

I didn’t write the novel I had planned. I’ve closed my NaNoWriMo account. From the moment I opened the account on the first of November, I didn’t write a word of it. Now that I’ve closed the account, I’ve started writing again. I am the definition of contrairy.

I need a new goal. I need a plan. So, I’m guess I’m doing DecembWriMo – my own invention, which involves writing a novel by Christmas. I’ll have a bit more spare time for the next month, which I didn’t have for the last month because I was working full-time in Galway, as well as doing all my various online jobs.

I’m a little worried about the future. My Vietnamese job ends on the 31st December, so there’ll be an eighteen-million-dong hole in my bank account every month. I panicked last week and started writing to various CELTA centres in Belfast, Belgrade and other places that don’t begin with “Bel”, trying to map the new year out and make sure I have enough money to keep the wolf from the door.

I’ve even been sneakily looking up “proper” full-time jobs. I’m not really serious when I look them up. I can feel actual mental illness descending at the thought of it. But I am worried about next year. It will be a juggling act. Should I really be buying a new car? I mean, I’ve had to extend my loan by four years, which I can’t bring myself to tell my mother. I kept up-to-date for the entire period of my PhD, and theoretically it should be done with in June 2017, but when I moved to Vietnam I started falling very far behind and now it’ll be December 2021.

So I could be busy with work in the new year. So I have to write now. If nothing else, I have to have enough of a novel that I can whore it out to publishers and agents in the new year. Because I need to be able to say “I tried”. Ditto with some of my other writing projects, but I think the novel has to be a priority, because it’s the one that excites me most.

November was also crap for my health. For pretty much all of September and October, I counted calories and lost weight at a sensible pace – a stone and a half in six weeks. But then I had a long weekend in my parents’ house and fell off the wagon. And didn’t get back on it. Now I’m up to 26 stone 6 pounds again (a fifteen-pound gain). And I can feel it.

So here we go once more. I’ve started calorie-counting again.

And after three and a half months in Longford, I’ve finally joined the gym and pool here. Or at least I’ve tried to. I went in today, trying to pretend I was just as thin as all the real gym people and gritted my teeth to sign up. The young guy at the counter was new and he didn’t know how to sign up new members and everyone else was on a break, so he told me to come back tomorrow. I will come back tomorrow. He’s lucky that there are only two gyms in Longford and that the other one is out of my price range, or else I might have joined a different gym.

And finally, to the exciting part. You’ll remember my promise to walk from Cork to Dublin. Originally, I was going to walk it in September, but I wasn’t fit enough. I have done enough walking recently that I know I’ll be fit enough by January and I started looking at the practicalities. Except it’s completely impractical. B&Bs in Ireland cost €70 a night and that’s before I think about food, and places like Skeheenarinky and Kilbehenny don’t even have B&Bs and I can’t walk on a motorway, so I’d have to walk on the old Cork-Dublin road, which would be fine on some stretches, like Fermoy to Mitchelstown or Kildare to Monasterevin, but some of the roads around New Inn and Horse and Jockey don’t even have footpaths and the roads are twisty and narrow and winter days are short and icy and I’d be sure to be killed on the road.

So I needed a cheaper and more walker-friendly option. So last night, after I got home from Galway, in a fit of self-betterment, I started googling. And I got ambitious.

I’m walking the Camino de Santiago in June. I have plenty of time to prepare. If you do about 25 km of walking a day, you can do it in 29 days (it’s 732 km in total). I am giving myself 38 days to do it.

There are super cheap hostels all the way along the route and cheap food options too, all designed for pilgrims. It’s a safe walking route, where thousands of other people are walking every day.

I’m vaguely thinking of doing the entire camino while wearing a hiking kilt, like the special flower of a Celtic Man of Iron that I am.

And this isn’t pie-in-the-sky, maybe-I-will-and-maybe-I-won’t idea. This isn’t a “I’ll lose a stone by Christmas” oath. This is real.

I’ve booked the flights. I’m flying  into Pamplona on the 22nd May, and leaving from Santiago on the 30th June. This time it’s serious. SQUEAL!

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