New Year’s resolutions are tricky. We strive to change our behaviours without changing our environment. It may seem easy looking to others in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane. If they can eat 100% local and live zero waste while keeping fit, surely it can’t be that hard.
However, those others might live closer to fresh food markets or to running tracks or have a work schedule that supports their gym routine. Our environment informs our behaviours whether we want to change or not.
So, want to change your behaviours? Change your environment! Here are 4 New Year’s resolutions that you can make a reality in Dili, Timor Leste, in 2019.
1. 2019 is the year I get fit!
Ah, the resolution that activewear stores love! If I had a side hustle it would be a yoga mat store that is only open in the first week of January.
Whether your goal to get fit involves hitting the gym or hitting the outdoors, you’ll be able to find a routine to suit you in Dili. As the city is quite small, you are never more than 15-20 minutes from a gym or a running track. You are also never too far from a friend to run, walk, or Zumba beside you. There are a few gyms dotted around the city with varying membership fees and casual rates. If you believe classes are your thing, you can try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Zumba, or yoga.
If you want to get addicted to exercising in the fresh air, get a group together to walk the Hera loop to finish with brunch on the beach at Areia Branca. Active events are everywhere to keep you motivated. The Dili Marathon, Tour de Timor, First lady Cup, and the Dili Colour Run are opportunities to connect with other fitness addicts. The social element to working out in Dili is the key to making a lasting change. Such workouts can also make a lasting change to the broader community. Dance events, like Zumba at Cristo Rei in support of eliminating violence against women, or beach cleanups will let you combine your passion for social justice with your drive to get fit.
2. 2019 is the year I go zero waste!
Plastic Free July hit Dili in a big way in 2018 and while living plastic free in remote parts of Timor can be a challenge (if water supply is inconsistent you’ll need to buy bottled water) you will find many people in Dili to support your efforts to reduce waste in 2019.
Grab a woven bag from any market in Dili and you will be set for the year. You can shop for fresh food at the markets around the city (Comoro market is my favourite but it is also one of the smallest) and pick up some bargains at the second-hand clothes markets, though be aware there are limited size options in Dili.
If you are a coffee lover, you can bring your Keep Cup to one of many delicious, local coffee roasters in the capital. Letefoho is centrally located on Beach Road. Agora Food Studio has switched to bamboo straws and is working to reduce plastic.
3. 2019 is the year I go minimal!
Think Palms is going to pay for all that extra luggage? Think again! Challenge yourself to live one year out of one suitcase.
This is easier than you think as the weather doesn’t change too much in Dili. Yes, you’ll need some gumboots for the wet season, but you won’t need winter gear unless you plan to travel to the mountains. Even then, pick up a jacket at the market before you go. If you are an avid camper you may want to pack some camping gear. However, be aware that you will need permission before camping in some areas (Remember, if you’re camping, you’re not supporting a local guesthouse).
Not only will you be starting out with a fraction of your wardrobe and your creature comforts, but you will also have limited finances and few opportunities to splurge. If you want a spending detox, a year or two on a Palms assignment may be just what you needed to break the commercial habit and realise just how little stuff you need.
4. 2019 is the year I start eating healthy
Tofu costs $1 for 5 blocks. Need I say more? [editor’s note: yes, you do]
There are incredible social enterprises in Dili promoting local, organic produce. I’ve mentioned Agora Food Studio above. You must also try lunch at ETDA and Dilicious. I’m not going to promise you will be spoiled for choice, and if your goal is to embrace veganism you may find yourself a little bored after a few months. However, there are dozens of options around Dili for both cooking and eating out for anyone looking to healthy food choices in 2019.
Needless to say, if you want to completely reset your lifestyle and get fit, eat healthier, and reduce waste, Dili might just be the place for you. Check out our current opportunities to discover how you can change your life in 2019.