Me in Madeira

2018: What the Hell Happened to The Road to Wanderland?

A.k.a. My Year in Review

I started last year with really good intentions when it came to my blog, but things didn’t quite pan out as planned.

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.

Anyway.

Last year was bloody brilliant in many ways. Here’s my travel review of 2018.

Read more2018: What the Hell Happened to The Road to Wanderland?

Jo at St Hilarion Castle, North Cyprus, 2016

2016: My Year in Review

Phew! Sometimes it felt as though 2016 would never end. With a stream of celebrity deaths and some seismic shocks in both political and geographic landscapes, there’s a danger of remembering last year for all the wrong reasons.

Personally I struggled a little last year too, mostly in the latter half of the year as I fought to understand my government’s determination to rob me of my rights as a European citizen thanks to a busload of lies and misinformation. This had a knock-on effect on my finances, where the drop in value of the GBP meant my rent and everyday living expenses increased dramatically. And it coincided with me trying to reshape my business, which meant a drop in income as I tried to build up my reputation in a different area. Messy!

In her annual workbook, Unravel Your Year, Susannah Conway asks the question ‘what you would call your year if it were a book or album?’ The difficult second album syndrome immediately popped into my head!

However while I found some areas of my life a challenge, I had another fantastic year of travel. 2016 was my fourth year in business and my second year as a digital nomad. I slept in twenty beds in fifteen cities, visited nine different countries (including the UK), three of which were new for me. I took ten flights, four train journeys (I’ve only counted long train journeys, not short trips to and from airports), and two ferry trips.

My highlights included finding a place to call home in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for five and a half months, returning to the Worldwide Festival in Sète for another memorable week of dancing in the sunshine to my favourite bands and DJs, getting my travel blogging head on in Stockholm, discovering the wine and wildlife of Slovenia, now one of my favourite countries, and connecting with my inner Lara Croft exploring the archaeological sites of Cyprus.

Here’s my review of 2016.

Read more2016: My Year in Review

Jo skydiving in Berlin, 2015

2015: My Year in Review

I intended to start this blog a year ago when I set off as a nomad, but life and work got in the way, so I’m starting on my year’s anniversary (or thereabouts). And what better way to begin than with a look back to my first year on the road. I realise it’s a little silly to post a review of 2015 at the start of February. But what the hell… I started my nomad journey on 27 January 2015, so it covers my first year on the road.

2015 was my third year in business and my first year as a digital nomad, and it was all about me learning how to run a successful business while travelling. I choose to stay in Europe, dividing my time between six countries (plus the UK). I had visited most of the countries before, with the exception of Croatia – a place I’ll definitely be returning to – although most of the cities I lived in were new to me.

In numbers, I slept in 24 different beds in 16 cities across 7 countries, and I took 13 flights and 5 train rides. That’s fairly modest by many people’s standards, but I learned that I prefer to spend at least a month in each location, partly because it makes things cheaper on Airbnb, my preferred method of accommodation, and partly because I was working full-time. By the end of the year, I realised that a month was too little because I didn’t really spend much time growing my business or working on this blog, something I plan to change this year.

Highlights of my year include celebrating Fallas in Valencia, dancing on the beach and in the magical Théâtre de la Mer at the Worldwide Festival in Sète, skydiving in Berlin, attending DNX Global with my tribe – 450 digital nomads – also in Berlin, and the magnificent view from my loft apartment in Split.

There were also some tough times. An ill-advised fling turned into a stalker and left me feeling very vulnerable in my first few days in Seville, and I didn’t research my accommodation in Catania, Sicily, properly, which left me living in the middle of a rundown mafia district where I was repeatedly warned by locals not to wander around unaccompanied. Thankfully, neither situation had a serious outcome, but I learned a couple of valuable lessons there!

OK, here we go …

Read more2015: My Year in Review