Today is a very proud day for me as I celebrate my blog’s second birthday! Yes that’s right, two years ago to this very day I published my very first blog post on The Travelista. I remember feeling pretty terrified at the time, scared to ‘put myself out there’ to the World Wide Web for all to see. I was still getting to grips with WordPress and unsure of what people would think of my writing but finally plucked up the courage to hit ‘publish’.
I can’t believe how much my blog has grown since that day and it’s safe to say that creating this blog has, quite literally, changed my life. It has enriched so many aspects of my life both personally and professionally and it’s crazy when I think of how many incredible opportunities that this blog has created for me.
But enough of the gushing stuff. Milestones are always the perfect time for reflection and celebration, so I thought I would share 5 highlights from my second year of blogging.
1. Winning A Cosmo Blog Award – ‘Highly Commended Travel Blog’
‘If at first you don’t succeed try and try again’. This is my motto with the illustrious Cosmo Blog Awards. I was first shortlist for a Cosmo Blog Award in 2013 after just 4 months of blogging. When I found out I had made the list my jaw fell to the floor and I was in total disbelief. Quite rightly, the award was won by much more established blogger Jayney Travels (now Girl Tweets World), and rightly so. I was just so overwhelmed to even be recognised next to so many amazing bloggers and it totally inspired me to work on my blog.
I managed to get shortlisted for a second year running in 2014 and had worked my arse off to get my blog up to scratch. To hear my blog name get called out was one of the proudest moments of my life (it may even beat getting my degree, is that bad?). There are two winners from each category and the Highly Commended is like the runner up, so I still haven’t reached my goal of winning the Travel category. Will I be trying again for a third year running? You bet I will!
2. Flying to Malaysia with Malaysia Airlines
Because of my travel writing background, press trips were something I had been lucky to experience long before I started this blog. But it was so amazing when the press trips started to come in for me to travel exclusively for The Travelista. The first few I did were all European breaks, so to get invited on a long-haul trip to Malaysia airlines with other journalists and bloggers was an amazing highlight. We got to fly business class with Malaysia Airlines and stayed at the amazing Danna Langkawi and The Banajaran Hot Springs Resort in Ipoh.
3. Becoming an Interview Subject
As a journalist myself, I have interviewed tonnes of people for work. I am so used to being the interviewer that being asked to become the interviewee felt weird, but bloody fabulous. People want to actually ask me stuff? It was great to receive recognition in this way. My two favourite interviews of the year were with Mia Holt (a fabulous writer and lifestyle blogger) and Motilo (an online fashion community).
4. Visiting 16 Destinations and 8 Countries in 1 Year
In my second year of blogging I managed to travel to Tignes, Rome, Monaco, Gstaad, Ibiza, Nevis, St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, St Maarten, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Ipoh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The 8 trips were through a combination of work trips, press trips and two personal holidays, but I wouldn’t have got to travel to so many places without the success of blog. Check out my 2014 Travel Round Up Post for more info about where I went and why)
When I started my The Travelista it was to document the existing travel I was already doing. I had no idea that starting the blog would generate so many more opportunities to travel and provide so many exciting experiences. Seeing this many destinations in one year was unforgettable for me, but I am hoping to beat this in 2015!
5. Travelling to South Africa with Qatar Airways
To top it all off, I will be jetting off on my second long haul press trip to South Africa this Friday. I will be spending 6 nights in Cape Town exploring the winelands, climbing Table Mountain and visiting stunning coastal areas such as Camps Bay. The trip is with the same PR agency as my Malaysia trip, so getting a second invitation must mean I am doing something right! This is also a huge highlight for me as South Africa has been at the top of my travel bucket list for years and I am so excited to go and finally see it for myself.
Two years ago, my blog was simply a place for me to express my love of writing and story-telling. Two years later, it’s now an award-winning travel blog with an international following. It’s all still kind of crazy for me to get my head around, but two years ago I was that girl sat on her laptop in her bedroom, nervous to press ‘publish’ on her very first blog post. So if I can do it, so can you!
What did you think of my Birthday post? If you read my blog or have enjoyed this post, please scroll past the photos and say Hi in the comment box below! I’d love to hear from you x
Some more of my favourite highlights in pictures…