16 destinations, 8 trips, 1 year
Tignes, Rome, Monaco, Gstaad, Ibiza, St Nevis, St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, St Maarten, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Ipoh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
I write this blog post to you on Boxing Day 2014. A day where the madness of the Christmas period begins to die down and we start to reflect on the year that has just gone by. This got me thinking about the many adventures I have been on and the milestones of this year that have meant so much to me, such as my blog winning a Cosmo Blog Award back in October.
This post is even more significant as it is the 100th Blog Post on The Travelista, which is certainly a milestone worth celebrating! I have been so blessed to have had such a variety of colouful travel experiences that I wanted to summarise my year of travel into one blog post.
I also thought this would be a great way to explain to my readers exactly how I get to travel so often and what each trip is for. As a travel blogger, I am lucky to be sent many press trip invitations, but there many reasons I travel other than for a press trip. I have blogged about all of my trips separately over the year, so if you fancy reading more about one particular trip, simply click on the links at the end of each paragraph. Enjoy!
Skiing in Tignes – January – Holiday
My travels for 2014 kicked off in the first week of January with a Skiing trip to Tignes. I was in between jobs at the time and just about to move down to London, so my family kindly invited me on the family trip as a last minute addition. Having been on 3 skiing holidays before, it all came back to me and I found myself growing in confidence on the slopes thanks to a fantastic instructor and great runs. Of course, being in Tignes, I made sure I visited the infamous alpine club La Folie Douce, which resulted in a few interesting skis home! Read more about my Tignes Skiing Holiday here
Easter in Rome – April – Press Trip
Rome was my first press trip of 2014 which I was invited on by KTA PR, who had partnered with Jumeirah and Luxury Link to host this journalist press trip. I was sent on the trip to complete a hotel review on behalf of The Player Bookazine, one of the titles I freelance for. There is no better time to visit Rome than during Easter. The city comes alive and is buzzing from the many religious celebrations and the highlight of the trip was exploring the city in a vintage Fiat 500 tour. Read more about my Rome press trip here.
The Monaco Grand Prix – May – Working Trip
This trip was probably the randomest and most spontaneous one of the year, as I had a few days notice before I was hopping on a private jet to Monaco. One of my contacts randomly asked me if I could host a private jet going to Monaco for The Grand Prix. I had done a few hospitality jobs before, but never at this level! However, I never refuse an opportunity to travel or see a new part of the world, so I just went for it! The whole adventure was complete in just 24 hours. It was a real experience and an honour to be able to attend such an iconic international sporting event. Read more about my whirlwind trip to The Monaco Grand Prix here.
A Spa Detox in Gstaad – June – Press Trip
Next up came my spa weekend in Gstaad. I only had a couple of weeks notice for this trip too, which conveniently cropped up during my pre-Ibiza health kick. This was a press trip to The 5* Alpina Gstaad, which I completed for the main luxury publication that I work for. The angle of the trip was a detoxing, purifying and relaxing weekend away in the Swiss Alps. In all fairness, there was an exquisite menu of super clean and super green foods, but all in all I wasn’t as virtuous as I planned! Read about my Alpina Gstaad Spa Weekend Detox here.
Partying in Ibzia – July – Holiday
I visited Ibiza for a holiday with 12 of my best friends from Newcastle Uni. We hired a 12 man villa in the hills and got in the thick of the Ibiza club scene. Seeing as most people had visited the white Isle, I figured it didn’t need much in-depth coverage. Instead, I took a different angle on the trip and took on ‘The Anti-Blogger Challenge’, and asked myself “Can Travel Bloggers still go on holiday?” During this holiday I tested the theory to see if I could still switch off from social media, emails and the various ways to document my trip. Find out what the outcome was in my Anti-Blogger Challenge blog post here.
A Caribbean Beach Break to Nevis – September – Press Trip
My trip to The Caribbean was most definitely my most luxurious and indulgent adventure of 2014. I was invited on an individual press trip to The Four Seasons Nevis to complete a hotel review for my main luxury title again. The press trip consisted of a 4 night stay, but me and my +1 decided to make the most of it and pay for an additional 3 nights. So just as the British summer was over, I was lucky enough to enjoy a week of sun in The Caribbean. The Four Seasons Nevis put together an amazing itinerary for me during my stay, which included hiking to the top of Nevis Peak and scuba diving to catch the famous Caribbean spiny lobster! I also got upgraded to Upper Class there AND back courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, which made the trip even more indulgent. I didn’t want to get off the plane! I wrote about my first class experience with Virgin here. Find the video of my scuba dive below and read the story of my Caribbean adventure here.
Winter Sun in Malaysia – October – Press Trip
Malaysia was another unexpected trip this year and a bit of a milestone for The Travelista. I was invited to join a group of other bloggers and travel journalists on a press trip courtesy of Malaysia Airlines. The invitation landed in my inbox a few days after I got back from The Caribbean, so I only had a few weeks notice again before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur. During the trip we visited the lush tropical island of Langkawi and also went inland to stay at The Banjaran Hot Springs Resort in Ipoh. I made some amazing friends on this trip and was completely blown away by Malaysia. It’s a place I cant wait to return to. Choose from my many Malaysia blog posts here.
A Launch in Dubai – November – Working Trip
Last but by no means least was my crazy 2 weeks in Dubai. This was a working trip to help my magazine launch our new title out in Dubai. I was assisting my Dubai-based colleagues with a big launch party and a week of events to mark the opening of the title. The launch generated so much momentum that I was asked to extended my trip for another week, and willingly I obliged! Staying out an extra week meant that I also got to go to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which was out of this world! It was a full on trip that consisted of working hard and playing hard and I certainly felt as if I got a true taste of Dubai after my fortnight out there. Dubai is like no other place on earth and the opulence, luxury and level of service absolutely blew me away. It’s not for everyone but I absolutely loved every minute I was there and will be returning in 2015 to review The Four Seasons Dubai.
2014 has genuinely been the best year of my life so far, both professionally and personally. I have visited 6 new countries and had some significantly enriching experiences as a result. People say travel broadens the mind, and every time I return from a trip I believe I come back more open minded, humble and motivated than before I left. I am so blessed to have so many opportunities to travel in 2014 but I don’t want it to look like these trips have been handed to me on a plate – far from it. They are a result of hard work, persevearance and never giving up on my dream to travel for a living. So if this is your dream, you can do it too! Did you enjoy my travel round up blog post? Are you interested in one of my trips in particular? If you enjoyed reading this or have any questions about the places I have been, please leave me a comment in the box below. I love hearing from you! x Follow my adventures on Instagram @thetravelista and Twitter @travelistajess
Anna Roberts says
Wow! What a year! I’d say I’m mega jealous but you can tell you’ve worked hard. Looking forward to seeing your 2015 trips xx
Emily Ray (@emilyraylondon) says
Wow, what an incredible year – and so good that you’ve experienced countries that are so varied in everything from weather to culture! Looking forward to following your adventures in 2015 🙂
What a great year. Inspiring trips to inspiring destinations. Keep it up next year!
Thanks Graham! It’s been a great year. Please keep reading and commenting 🙂
You’re so incredibly lucky to have a job that allows you to travel so much as well as being offered other press trips. Looks like you’ve had the most amazing year. I look forward to hearing your 2015 adventures!
Hi Rachel! Thanks so much for your comment. I am very lucky but none of it has fallen into my lap which is what I wanted to stress in this post. It’s more of a lifestyle i have created for myself, but I do have to pinch myself now and again 🙂 Wishing you a great 2015 and I look forward to reading your blog! I will be following 🙂 xxx
I bet, you must have worked damn hard to get where you are so good on ya! I wouldn’t even know where to start getting myself to where you are. Baby steps! x
Amazing post jess you’ve certainly had one hell of a year! So pleased for you that you’ve been able to travel to so many places and achieve your dreams, all the best for 2015! Love Jess xx
Thanks so much for your lovely comment Jessica. It certainly has been a super year – one I will need forget! Wishing you all the best for 2015 and Happy Travels 🙂 xxx