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?
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.
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!