2018: My Year of Travel

It’s been a funny sort of year when it comes to travel. From 2015 to 2017, I travelled an average of 140 days per year. In 2018 I was abroad for around half that amount – 75 days. I knew I had travelled less but I didn’t realise just how much less until I added it all up. It feels … weird. But the truth is, that’s probably still not a bad number, and when you look at it in terms of distance – c. 39,000km – I still travelled a distance nearly equal to the circumference of our lovely little planet.

So what changed? Work changed. Around September time last year, I took on a new project that meant I didn’t need to board planes even remotely as frequently as I had the years prior. As a self-proclaimed travel junkie and, y’know, someone who owns a travel blog, I’d forgive you for thinking that I was less than happy about that. But here’s my guilty little secret: I needed the break. Being sent to far-off lands, all expenses paid, is an absolute privilege but business travel is a very different beast to globetrotting for the fun of it. It means travelling alone, often being too exhausted to explore the city you’re in after a day’s work and feeling guilty for not doing so, missing friends’ birthdays and other important occasions, never being around long enough to make a second date happen…

But this isn’t a post lamenting the downsides to business travel; this is a post about all the wonderful adventures 2018 brought with it. The year was certainly a change of pace for me. I can only liken it to sitting in a forest after spending a long time breathing in traffic, and taking a deep, deep inhalation, feeling the air run through my body, all the way down to the soles of my feet. It felt good. Real good.

Some highlights of my 2018:

  • Dance – I performed more this year that I probably have over the last 2 or 3 years combined. Not only did I dance more but I finally performed solo a number of times. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but have been too scared and too critical of myself to do it but I finally bit the bullet and … guess what? … I didn’t die. Yay!
Photo credit: Ferdia Mooney
  • Improv – I started 2018 by taking a course in improvised theatre and found out that I absolutely fucking love it. I got caught up in the madness of it and signed myself up to 4 days of improv at a lodge in the country with 100 other strangers (Camp Improv Utopia Ireland). It was scary and wonderful and such an opportunity for growth. Over the course of the year, I have taken two more courses, been to a number of shows, performed a couple of times … and signed up for next year’s camp, of course.
  • Therapy – I found a therapist and committed to seeing him once a week for a year. It’s something I have thought about here and there over the years but never felt quite ready to do. Having free time and energy finally put me in a good enough place to face some of my old demons with his help, and the good this has done me is immeasurable. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, the first few months of the year saw me fall into a slight depression, but I’ve worked my way through it and feel like a much more balanced person for it.
  • Relationships – Therapy gave me a safe space to take down some of my walls and allow myself to be vulnerable. In turn I learned to open up to the people around me. I’m still new to this but I have really felt myself become closer to my family and friends. And I fell in love. I didn’t expect it and I don’t think I was quite ready for it (are we ever ready for it?) but here I am and I couldn’t be happier.
  • Travel – Well of course travel was a highlight of my 2018, silly! Sure, I wasn’t away as frequently as I have been but I still went on some pretty cool adventures….
I took a taxidermy class in London
Frolicked around in the English countryside
Roadtripped round Northern Ireland with my parents
Explored Bratislava…
…and Vienna (twice!)
Did sunny things in Munich and Nuremberg
Explored some beautiful parts of my home, Ireland
Went to China
You can read more about that here and here
Returned to the place I called home for the first 7 years of my life (Exmouth, Devon)
Showed a friend my other home, Malta
And rounded off the year with a trip to Helsinki…
… and St Petersburg (more to come on this one!)

Reading through last year’s round-up blog, I remembered that I set myself a challenge to make it to a total of 40 countries visited. Well, I made it to … 42!

I have some pretty adventurous travel plans for 2019 which include a 6-week overland trip along the silk road (eek!) and my next challenge is to make it to 50 countries by the end of the year. I dare say I’ll be a lot more active on the blog this year!

And to wrap this all up, I’d like to share a little thing I did throughout the year: my 1 second everyday video. Every day throughout 2018, I took a short video, and compiled it at the end. It’s actually pretty awesome to watch it through and brings back memories I may have forgotten otherwise. It’s been a great way to appreciate not just the extraordinary moments but also the commonplace ones, which are just as wonderful sometimes. Thank you to everyone who made my 2018 such a wonderful one and here’s to a magical 2019!

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