As 2013 comes to a close, I am left to reflect on what’s been an excellent year. I’ve met lots of new people, seen some amazing places and realised plenty of goals; I can now understand a fair bit of Spanish, run my own successful business and have grown a not-too-shabby moustache. What’s more, I spend every day with a wonderful girl, who’ll soon be my wife. Someone who tonight, encouraged me to buy some beers, likes AND understands football, hates the concept of paid slavery as much as I do and most importantly, got me a radio-controlled helicopter for Christmas. Slightly intoxicated and conscious of the fact I’ve not provided an update for a while, I decided to knock together a quick update on what’s been happening with me in MMXIII.

  • 5 countries visited: Panama, Colombia (ok, it was only Bogota airport), Peru, Uruguay and Argentina

  • 1 bird shit stained pair of shorts

  • 1 moustache grown

  • Marriage proposals: 1

  • Proposals accepted: 1

  • 20+ internet streams of Leicester matches that infuriatingly buffer at inopportune moments

  • Argentinians offended: 0 (surprisingly)

  • French nationals offended: 10. All of whom were sat round the same table in a restaurant which fell deafly silent at the precise moment I drunkenly expressed my disgust at their country’s lack of gratitude for our help during both world wars. That and their food snobbery

  • 1 successful football match where Peru’s 1970 world cup goalkeeper wanted to sign me up, not realising I was approaching 30

  • Times serenaded: 1

  • Chirimoya, blanquillo, mamey, granadilla – 4 of the new fruits I’ve tried and can remember

  • 1,345,784,828,032 occasions where I have pretended to understand what someone is talking about

  • 3 earthquakes

  • 5 condors, 3 scorpions and a talking parrot

  • Counterfeit goods bought: no comment

  • Dodgy guts: too many to mention

  • And a partridge in a pair tree

All in all, I’ve enjoyed my travels and experiences thus far immensely. Peru, my adopted home, is a beautiful country and one I’d love to spend a lot more time exploring. Trujillo, Mancora, La Merced, Kuelap and Iquitos are just a few of the places I’d still like to see. That’s on top of the places I’ve already been to – Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and the Colca Canyon. While there have been a number of times that I’ve longed for the security and comparative organisation of my homeland, knowing that I’ll be back here many more times eating ceviche and drinking pisco is a very good feeling indeed. When the UK inevitably slides into the abyss, it’s nice to know I have somewhere like this to flee to.

A trip to the beach beckons early in the morning so it’s time to log off and wish you all “Feliz Año Nuevo”.