Sunday, 31 December 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017



It's that time again where we all get a bit reflective as the year draws to a close, and rightly so! What better time to look back at your achievements to see how far you've come, and your "not so great" moments so you can learn from them and then lock them away in a box in your mind marked DO NOT TOUCH!

For me, I can happily say that 2017 has been my best year yet. Hands down. No competition. 



Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017


WHY 2017 WAS GREAT

I WENT BACKPACKING AROUND NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTHEAST ASIA 


You are right in thinking that going backpacking was why 2017 was so special for me. Packing your belongings into a backpack and jetting off halfway around the world when you've never travelled further than Europe before is definitely an experience hard to beat. 

It's pretty scary, knowing you are leaving everything you are familiar and comfortable with behind to step on a plane taking you to a completely new (and very far away) country. 

It's really hard to put down into words how amazing this trip really was. 

From hiking around mountains in New Zealand to facing my fear of water and learning to snorkel, and from riding around on the back of a moped in Vietnam to walking with elephants in Thailand, each day was filled with new experiences and people that have turned into wonderful memories.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to travel to these awe-inspiring countries and experience new cultures and religions and could honestly spend hours and hours writing about every single amazing thing that happened. Even it takes me a good few years to get through all the posts and videos I want to create about this trip, I promise you will hear everything. 

I STRENGTHENED NEW FRIENDSHIPS AND REKINDLED OLD ONES


Even though I've lost some people I was really close to over the past few years (more on that a little later), 2017 has been the year of gaining new friendships. There have been some acquaintances that I've known for a while that I can now call close friends, that I may have never gotten close to if it hadn't have been for losing old friendships. 

I also rekindled some old friendships with people I thought I would never speak to again! This was something I definitely didn't see coming, but it came just when I needed it. 

While I feel like I've lost some friends this year, I also feel like I've gained a handful in return, and ending 2017 I know I have a group of wonderful, genuine, loyal group around me.

I GOT MOTIVATED WITH THIS BLOG AND WORKED WITH AMAZING BRANDS


After taking a 5-month sabbatical while travelling, I came back home ready to get back into blogging. It definitely took me a while, but this past month especially I've been creating content I'm super proud of with some amazing brands. 

I've been receiving products from brands that I thought would never work with me in a million years, but I can now proudly say I've worked with the likes of Kat Von D, Next, Bioderma and (very soon) Too Faced! 

I was also given my first press tickets to a West End show, which was an absolute dream come true for me! Keep an eye out for my little write-up of Five Guys Named Moe coming next week...

I WAS NEXT'S BLOGGER OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER


When I received the email congratulating me on becoming Next's Blogger of the Month a couple of weeks ago, I was left speechless for a good couple of minutes. To think that Next, a brand I have loved for a long time, thought that my content was good enough to be their blogger of the month was something I couldn't wrap my head around!




Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

WHAT I LEARNT IN 2017

TRAVELLING FOR A LONG TIME TEACHES YOU SO MUCH


I never thought that when I returned home from backpacking that I would have learnt as much as I did. Here are a couple of things that stood out to me.

Even though I was travelling as part of a couple, I was also very alone in the fact that I had to grow up a lot and learn to become completely independent. I had to make sure we were both healthy, fed and safe for 5 months. We obviously had a huge support network at home that was a phone call away when things did go wrong, but they were all thousands of miles away. We had to learn to handle things in the moment on our own, make decisions and think more with our heads than our hearts. 

I also became more confident in my mind and body. I let a lot of inhibitions melt away, and any nagging anxieties practically disappeared to the point where I could go to breakfast by myself, talk to strangers, make new friends, and make decisions all while sporting a bikini or elephant pants with no makeup on. 

I let go of a lot of things that had been holding me back, as I knew that 99% of the people I would meet, I would never see again. Having this always in the back of my mind definitely allowed me to do and experience more than if I'd been self-conscious.  

I learnt to be kind and compassionate to others. Not everyone that we met on our travels was always nice, but I soon learnt that even politely declining someone trying to sell you something on the street instead of yelling at them to go away meant a lot. Some of the people we met relied on tourism to keep their families fed, and a couple of pounds that you spent buying something from them would feed their family for a week. 

I became more respectful of this beautiful world, and how we can so easily destroy it if we're not careful. Visiting animal sanctuaries and national parks really opened our eyes to how humans can both help and hinder species and habitats, and how some places are exploiting nature to make money off of tourism while other places are actually making a difference in wildlife conservation.

DON'T TAKE TECHNOLOGY ANYWHERE NEAR WATER


This isn't a joke, I'm sorry to say.

After drowning both my cameras in the first week of being in New Zealand, you can imagine I was pretty distraught! I don't come from a wealthy family so these two cameras were items I had saved and saved for a long time and had been so careful with over the years. 

You can imagine how gutted I was when they became completely unusable within the space of a second. If you want to hear more about what happened, feel free to take a little watch of this video from our first week in NZ.

After getting my replacement cameras I have been so careful with them, keeping them in their cases at all times, but that hasn't stopped me from dropping my phone down the toilet. 

Again, I wish this was a joke. 

The moral of the story is: don't keep your phone in your back pocket and forget about it. Also keep any tech at least 3 metres away from any liquids.

SOME FRIENDSHIPS WON'T LAST FOREVER


They say that some friends will come and go, and this has really resonated with me this year. After experiencing something similar with my childhood best friend last year, I was almost numb to the fact that it started happening again with someone else. 

Luckily, this time I noticed it as soon as it started happening. I have succeeded in making sure I don't get walked on or used by people like I used to, and so when this person started to be rude, distant and throwing accusations my way, I wasn't having any of it. 

I was, however, confused. It came really out of the blue, and for a while, I thought, like before, it was just aimed at me. As soon as I heard she was doing it to another of my friends, I made a decision- give her a chance, and then if it continues to be a one-sided friendship, stop trying. 

That's exactly what I did and after talking things through we tried to make it work. But after reaching out and not hearing anything back for a good couple of months, I've decided to stop trying to please.

I feel great about it. I am sad that this person is no longer in my life, but I know as I said before that I have a great group of friends who are loyal and supportive unconditionally. 

I also lost another friend while I was away, and this quick severance really hurt as I was not even in the same country to face it head-on. After ugly and untrue accusations were made and then swiftly deleted on social media about my family and loved ones, they went on to block and delete as many people as they could. 

Even though their hatred had not been targetted directly at me, and as much as I wanted answers as to why they had said the things they had said about my own family, I returned the favour. I unfollowed. 

Even though I know and have learnt that some people will grow out of friendships gradually, it hurts just as much when someone cut the ties of friendship so severely that you're still asking "...why?" many months later. 


Reflecting on 2017



BAG - NEXT* (similar)




Pictures by Lauren

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I really hope 2017 has been an amazing year for you all, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has ever read my blog, liked an Instagram post or watched my Youtube. Your support means more than you all know, big or small, and I look forward to sharing more content with you all in the New Year!

Happy New Year!



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4 comments

  1. One never stops wondering 'why' but bring on 2018! Love u! Rxx

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  2. Sounds like 2017 was such an incredible year for you, backpacking sounds particularly amazing! x

    Han | lifewithhan.blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It really was. Hope 2017 was fab for you too x

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