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

Sunset in Stockholm

A Whistlestop Tour of Stockholm

The waiter indicated to a spare table on the outdoor terrace at Fotografiska. I slipped into the chair, feet gently throbbing, and tucked the soft blanket around my legs – it may be summer in Stockholm, but as the sun fell below the horizon there was a definite nip in the air.

Sipping my cool glass of wine, I reflected on my jaunt around the city. Since beginning life as a digital nomad, I’ve tried to stay in places for a minimum of a month, preferably longer, to give myself time to really get to know a place and its people. Finances, not helped by the freefalling GBP following the disastrous Brexit vote, meant I only had a short time to spend in this notoriously pricey city when I was lured here by the TBEX travel blogging conference. But armed with a free Stockholm VIP pass courtesy of TBEX Stockholm and Visit Stockholm, plus a 72-hour transport pass, I’d spent the past 48 hours on a whistlestop tour of some of the main things to do in Stockholm.

Here are my highlights.

Read moreA Whistlestop Tour of Stockholm

Stockholm

TBEX Stockholm: Key Takeaways from my First TBEX

Mid-July, I took a deep breath and headed to Stockholm for TBEX, widely regarded as the travel blogging conference.

I’ll admit to slight nerves, mainly because my blog is fairly new and I wasn’t sure if I should be better established before mingling with the travel-blogging elite.

(Also, ahem, because it followed the Worldwide Festival in Sète – one of my highlights of the year – a seven-day music festival that finished at 4am on Monday morning, with the official opening party for TBEX Stockholm taking place that Thursday evening. Ouch!)

So was I glad I attended and what did I learn from the experience?

Read moreTBEX Stockholm: Key Takeaways from my First TBEX