Well, where to start? So many things have changed for the travel industry and for me personally that I barely know where to begin.
Since I last wrote, I moved to Portugal and got a base for the first time in six or seven years, so I’m no longer nomadic (though travel will always be a large part of my life). That said, I haven’t been travelling much because of COVID-19, and because I’ve really enjoyed nesting in my new home, exploring my new hometown, Setúbal, and getting to know Portugal a little better.
Lots of material here for a travel writer & blogger, so why the radio silence from me across my blog and social media channels?
Last year, 2019, was my fifth
year as a nomad – time flies! But it was a bit of a strange year, personally
and professionally, for several reasons.
I struggled with finances. I
didn’t plan properly after a super-successful year (goddamn those payments on
account!) and I waited for my new website to launch before marketing for new
clients (doh!) – and in the end we were three months behind schedule. Plus, the
extreme uncertainty caused by Brexit had a very negative effect on me
throughout last year, not least because I couldn’t plan too far ahead.
I remain deeply grateful to house sitting. Not only is it a wonderful way to see the world, but I hardly paid for any accommodation all year and I had some truly wonderful experiences (along with a couple of challenging ones!). I chose my locations based on where decent sits came up, rather than choosing new destinations. But while I didn’t visit any new countries, most of the towns and cities I stayed in were new to me, so I had plenty to explore.
I started last year with really
good intentions when it came to my blog, but things didn’t quite pan out as
2018 was my fourth year on the road, travelling slowly around Europe while running my business. And it was an excellent year, both in terms of travel and my freelance travel writing business. I had a handful of new clients and several fantastic travel copywriting jobs. Add in a fair bit of housesitting, and financially my year was incredible – I completely sorted out my finances and treated myself to a new camera and phone. Finally.
Aside from the odd affiliate
I’m not making much money from this blog yet, though it serves as a portfolio
for my writing, so I had to concentrate my focus where the money was. My big
jobs involved writing lots of content, and when I finished writing I wanted to
be out exploring the new places I was travelling and living in. And
housesitting isn’t a free ride; there was a lot of dog walking, dog and cat
grooming and playing, and gardening and housework to maintain.
All of which meant my blog took
a back seat for the year. I was stressed about it for a while, but I had to let
go. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to do everything – a lesson I have
difficultly accepting at times – and sometimes that’s OK.
I think there’s also an element
of struggling a bit with the blogging side of things. Working out what I want
this blog to be, who I’m writing for, what my special sauce is. Plus I’m a
massively private person, so finding that balance between writing about what
I’m doing while maintaining my privacy can be tricky. So I’m still trying to
figure a few things out and find my blogging mojo.
Last year was bloody brilliant
in many ways. Here’s my travel review of 2018.
Today, I have a first for The Road to Wanderland – a guest post from fellow travel blogger, digital nomad, and history lover, Stephanie Craig, who I met at TBEX Jerusalem earlier this year. Steph’s coming to visit me here in my little island home on Gozo next week. In this post, she talks about her previous visit to Gozo, the loss of the Azure Window, and the art of travel by intuition.
Take it away, Steph…
I learned about it on Twitter.
I was still lying in bed, my nine-pound dog standing on my back making chattering noises at me, telling me it was unacceptable to be in bed so late in the day. She wanted breakfast.
I wanted to sleep, but I made my first move to oblige her by picking up my cell phone and, with one eye open a peak, checking each of my accounts one by one: email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Until I got to Twitter. That’s where I saw the news that Malta’s Azure Window had collapsed into the sea that morning. I continued to blink at my phone, wondering if the single eye I had allowed open was adjusting to the light properly. Maybe it was playing a trick on me?
But it wasn’t. The headline was there, and the window was gone. I burst into tears.
The tears surprised me. I was one of the lucky ones. I’d gotten to see the Azure Window in person a few years earlier. Shouldn’t I feel relieved I’d made it before it was gone?