We’re on the brink of the New Year and all this festive down-time is enough to make a gal reflect on the year just past. 2016 has been an unforgettable year for me both on a personal and professional level (I recently published my Top 10 Travel Moments of 2016 to round up my travels). But this post is a little more personal, as I’ve decided to share 12 things I’ve learned about myself this year. Some are good and some are bad, but I hope all points help you to get to know me better. Here goes…
That I love being my own boss
2016 was the year that I finally made the big leap to run the blog full time. Up until July I was still working 3 days a week at a London agency. Although the security of guaranteed income was great, I had such itchy feet and was dying to dedicate all my time to the blog. I’ve realised that I work really well independently and am very self-motivated. I love deciding my own working hours and LOVE being my own boss.
That I can’t handle hostel dorm rooms
My 6 week backpacking trip through Vietnam and The Philippines was without a doubt the highlight of my year, but it definitely made me learn lots of things about myself. Overall I am an easy going traveller and can happily stay in basic accommodation as well as luxury hotels. But at the ripe-old age of 26, I am definitely over sharing a dorm room! My boyfriend and I shared a dorm with about 8 others in Vietnam and the coughing, snoring and strange midnight noises were too much for me.
That I don’t like routine
I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like routine, but I can’t work out if this is a good thing or a bad thing (opinions welcome). I have a creative mind and I feel at my most stimulated when I am doing something completely new or in a new environment. If a day brings a new experience, it’s a great day. Having an extreme routine makes me feel down and trapped, so I guess that’s why I am so much happier now than I was at the beginning of 2016. I know that having a routine is an important part of reality and daily life, but I love to mix mine up. My sister and I laugh because she is the complete opposite, and couldn’t live without her precise daily routine.
That I have a strong immune system
I’m very proud of the fact that in all my 15 trips of 2016, I didn’t get ill once. I tried adventurous food, brushed my teeth with the local water and YES I ate the salad leaves. This may be sheer luck, but I am putting it down to the fact that I have one hell of a stomach and immune system. This is a virtual thank you to my gut.
That I didn’t want to live in London anymore
At the beginning of 2016 I made the big decision to move out of London. After moving there aged 21, I got to call London my home for 4 whole years. I made the most of every day, but I always knew I didn’t want to be there forever. My boyfriend and I decided to relocate to Leeds to be closer to our families and have a cheaper cost of living. We are so happy now and are looking forward to buying a house together. I still come to London regularly for meetings and events – I’m only a 2 hour train ride away.
That I am rubbish at eating spicy food
If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I LOVE food, but 2016 is the year that I finally admitted that I can’t handle spicy food. I often try a curry and think it tastes delicious, but the burning mouth and nose running hinders me from enjoying it. I get the Lemon and Herb dressing at Nandos and even that is a struggle. Fajita’s set my mouth ablaze. I wish this wasn’t the reality, but sadly it is, and I’ve come to accept it.
That I have great bartering skills
If there is one skill I am immensely proud of, it’s my ability to barter. Whether I’m in Camden Market or in a hilltop Hmong village in Vietnam, I drive a hard bargain and I know exactly how to get it. Of course, it’s important for vendors to make a profit from what they’re selling, but no rip-off prices get past me.
That I can’t wait to have ‘grown up’ things
Until this year, I was quite happy in my London flatshare, taking public transport everywhere (or an Uber if I was feeling flush). However, now I really can’t wait to OWN things. I want to own my own house, and drive around in my own car. They’re two such basic things, but they’re two of my top priorities now.
That I know which friends I am going to have for life
People always say that as you get older, you realise friendships are about quality not quantity. Well, those people are totally right. My two best friends live far away from me, but we speak every day and make the effort to see each other. I know that we will be friends for life and I can’t wait to be a bridesmaid for one of them next year in The Lake District.
That I am a social media addict
I suppose it’s understandable being a professional blogger, but I am genuinely addicted to social media. Most of the time I’m not even posting anything, I am just aimlessly scrolling and consuming irrelevant content. I am working really hard on my social media engagement, which takes up so much time, but I know I need to switch off and step away from my phone more. It’s a New Years Resolution of mine!
That I shouldn’t compare myself to others
In such a digital world, it’s easy to feel defined by the number of likes, followers and comments we receive. I feel the pressure of this myself, but I often remind myself that numbers aren’t everything. I realised this year that I shouldn’t compare myself to others, because there will always be someone more successful, more established and more dynamic than me (at least that’s how it might look from the outside). This type of intense comparison is punishing and will never make anyone feel good about themselves. Instead of comparing myself to other bloggers, writers and professionals that I admire, I now take inspiration from them and try to channel their amazing creativity in to my own work. Also, if they’re doing a great job, I’m going to tell them!
That I am proud of what I have achieved
I have realised that I am immensely proud of everything that I have achieved in 2016 and of the risks I have taken. So far everything has paid off and I couldn’t be happier in the direction my life is heading. Whilst there may be millions of blogs on the internet, each one is unique and tells its own story. So why compare yours to another? I am feeling more focused than ever and can’t wait to hit the ground running in 2017.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed, read and supported my blog in 2016. I create all of my content with you in mind, and without you my leap of faith this year wouldn’t have been possible. Happy New Year and here’s to an amazing 2017.
What did you think of the 12 things I’ve learned about myself in 2016? Is there anything you can relate to? I’d love to hear from you x