As we wander into another new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2012 adventures, and to thank you, my lovely readers, for sharing my journey.
For me, 2012 was about realising dreams: my dream of travelling Europe for months and my dream of working as a travel writer. While I am filled with a giddy joy from having lived both those dreams, I am equally chuffed with the unexpected delights and lessons I gained along the way.
Apart from learning from the daily challenges and freedoms that come with months of travelling (like how to find structure and meaning without time constraints, how to feel connected to people when roaming the globe, and the importance of self identity when cultural norms change around you), 2012 has taught me how to be unapologetic, bold even, in the face of my hopes and dreams. I always knew it, but this year it clicked: no one is going to find happiness and fulfilment for me, I’ve got to back myself, realise there is nothing to fear, and just go for it! This is especially true when chasing hopes that don’t quite fit into the standard shapes and sizes ; when hopes challenge the norms that we, and others, assumed we would always follow.
I must give a hefty dose of credit to you, dear readers, for just reading, commenting and sharing, all of which helped to amplify that little voice in my head that said ‘I can’. With almost two thousand people who enjoyed my work enough to click ‘follow’, I feel more humbled and supported each time I sit down to write, more dedicated to my ideal travel lifestyle and more sure that this is what I want to be doing with my time. Also, this year I realised just how important it is to accept help and advice from people in your life. My intrepid man, Dave, and my loving family are particularly responsible for teaching me that unwavering support does exist, and is a valuable force to harness when reaching for goals and dreams.
But some days, ‘just going for it’ is much, much easier said than done. Now that I’m back within the realm of offices and bills and (almost) fixed addresses, the idea is more slippery than it was when I was in Europe. But, as I said after returning from my Middle East adventure a couple of years ago, living everyday with the same zest and inspiration that I apply to travel adventures, helps to resist the rut, enrich the journey, open my eyes to new possibilities for happiness.
I sat down this morning at the Queensland State Library in Brisbane (my favourite building), gazed across to the buzzing city, and thought about all the things I want for my life, my travels and this blog. I realised that 2013 would involve writing a lot more about my European adventures; I still have almost 60 articles partially drafted about places I’ve seen. It will also involve many Australian adventures, through regional Queensland and New South Wales in particular, which I will share with you along the way.
I plan to continue sharing my freelance work through my Facebook page, as well as travel photos, everyday delights and other travel and lifestyle inspirations. On Twitter, I will be tweeting about the things that make me smile, the lessons I am learning and the people who fill my head with happy ideas. Be sure to follow me here on WordPress, like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to receive all the updates!
My next big international travel goal is India in November 2013. India has long been on my list of top destinations and I now have the opportunity to travel with a wonderful friend who shares my passion for exploring the colour and clamour of India. Japan is also tentatively on the 2013 destination list, being a country that captures my imagination on a near-daily basis.
As I sat and scribbled my 2013 plan, I realised how much I would love to hear more about what you want to read. What do you find exciting? More food posts? Outdoor adventures? Urban explorations? Lifestyle reflections? A bit of everything? What style of post do you enjoy – informative or creative? Come on readers, give me all your ideas and I’ll do my very best to honour them!
For now though, let me entertain you with a little summary of my 2012 travel adventures, and some of the blogging milestones that you have helped to make possible.
My heartfelt gratitude and warm wishes for a wonderful new year. May you embrace the possibilities in everyday adventures!
2012 Travel Summary
You loved reading, In focus: Vigeland Park in Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway, which went kinda viral with Norwegian tourism agencies and Top 10 tips for travelling Stockholm, Sweden, which was Freshly Pressed.
In February, I roamed the vibrant streets of London, wandered the moody coast of Wales, found street art in Bristol, learnt to ski in the mountains of Bulgaria, and excitedly started my month-long Wicked Campers UK and Ireland road trip.
In March, I embraced the freedom of the road while camper-vanning through the Lake and Peaks Districts of England, past the historical Hadrian’s Wall, into the Scottish Highlands, across to picturesque Northern Ireland and Ireland, and into the natural wonders of Wales. You loved my post, Rainbow and Mist on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, which was Freshly Pressed and re-posted across the travel blogosphere.
In April, I ‘settled’ for a month in Istanbul, living the inner city apartment life, from where I spent weeks weaving through ancient streets, photographing delightful details, taking day trips and working on freelance contracts. My articles about Molla-Celebi Mosque and Istanbul by Night were published by D Travels ‘Round and republished by Lonely Planet and my post about Topkapi Palace was a Turkey favourite.
In May, I explored Barcelona in Spain, before I walked for a month along Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, learning about slowing down and the joys and challenges of walking. My articles about Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Barcelona’s La Boqueria Mercat were published by D Travels ‘Round and republished by Lonely Planet.
In June, I experienced Santiago de Compostela, San Sebastian, Granada, Ronda and other delightful Spanish towns filled with delightful Spanish food and wine. You particularly loved my post about cycling in San Sebastian, which was Freshly Pressed.
In July, I ventured into the chaotically wonderful world of Morocco, where the music of Tangier, medina of Fez, markets of Marrakech and Sahara Desert, overwhelmed my senses. Then, I fell in love with Lisbon, Portugal and experienced the provincial Italian charms of Perugia and Lucca and the Renaissance beauty of Florence. My post about Florence caught the tweeting eye of Lonely Planet and drew more attention than my other posts about Italy.
In August, I ate my way into Italian food bliss from Bologna, found myself happily lost in Venice, discovered the delights of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and went hiking, swimming and canyoning from Bled. Then, I made my way into Instria in Croatia, boated to the Croatian islands of Losinj and Pag, walked through the aquamarine lakes of Plitvice and enjoyed the hospitality of Croatian friends in Petrinja.
In September, I reacquainted with the urban wonders of Berlin, drank bubbles in the French region of Champagne and was wooed by Paris. My stories from Berlin and France are next up on the post schedule, so stayed tuned!
In October, I returned to Australia, where I flitted about the country, from Brisbane to Sydney and Wollongong, back up the East Coast on the train, via Bellingen and Palm Beach, before water skiing near Gladstone in Central Queensland, bar/cafe hopping in Melbourne, Victoria and beaching in Byron Bay, New South Wales. I have many tales to tell about my adventures in October, so keep an eye out after reading about France.
November and December saw me become more stationary than I had been all year, but I still enjoyed some Brisbane urban adventures and coastal getaways to Byron Bay and Bellingen. Posts about my local and regional adventures will be scattered between posts about Europe, and you can see photos and links on my Facebook page.
When I look back, I can honestly say 2012 has been one of my favourite years! I am looking forward to sharing more 2012 stories and writing about many more new adventures in 2013.
Thanks for reading!