Taken over 3 years ago at Oktoberfest, this photo represents so much more than a girl on a mission to get as drunk as possible. It shows me, happy, and on a road to discovery when I realised that travelling as much as possible was what would make me happy. I wrote extensively for the last couple of years about the trips I've taken across Eastern Europe, the Baltic, the Arctic, as well as short trips across the rest of Europe, but 2015 was a massive lull for me.
After I returned from my epic- mostly- overland- journey- home from Lapland, life took a few twists and turns. I came home in a new relationship, all of which in the end was long distance. I took on a part time job, with intentions of writing more, but ending up writing less as my boyfriend was in Manchester whilst I was in Dorset so I spent a lot of time on trains and buses visiting him. I'd intended on leaving the UK in some form or another by April 2015, and yet here I am, sat on a bed still in my parents home. I don't want- and I'm sure Sean doesn't, either- my relationship status played out across the internet, but as I'm sure you realise. It didn't last. I'm not ready to write about it on my personal facebook account never mind a public blog, there's still a lot of hurt involved.
All I can do is look forward...
And slightly backward, to that girl full of hope eating the world's hugest Pretzel at Oktoberfest. There are still festivals I haven't been to, bits of Europe I haven't seen (tho' I really hope Russia and Turkey sort their shit out, because my plans for Europe wide domination will be blown to smithereens if they start bombing each other). If not tho', I have other big ideas for 2016; including returning to a part of the world that stole my heart. I hope that travel will remind me of who I was, a year ago, in Riga enjoying a night out in a folk restaurant with more food and beer than I ever could imagine.
I will write about the journeys I took through 2015, and the ones I plan on taking this year, too. I wanted to write, but I had a love/ hate relationship with blogging (I don't want to be one of those blogger's who writes an entire post about how hard our lives are as bloggers, so bare with me for a sentence or two) which saw me taking time away from it. Truthfully I really love writing, and I have made some truly great friends through the blogosphere (travel blogging and previously on my personal blog). I just needed to take time away from it so I could come back and see it through new eyes.
I still haven't told you about my return to Lapland in the summer, visiting Tromso (possibly the coolest city in the North, after, maybe, Reykjavik). I haven't really told you how I survived living in a tent on a farm for 2 months with no indoor space and cold showers most mornings-- or how you survive Worthy Farm when another 200,000 folk join you for the weekend! Or about how I ocean kayaked on the Dorset coast through Durdle Door. Not forgetting spending Hallowe'en in Transylvania, and sort of destroying a village or two in the process... Plus I got to spend a few days in Budapest with one of my best friends, too!
|That'll be me dressed as Wednesday Addams for Hallowe'en|
I moaned a lot in 2015 (and anyone who knows me in real life will agree with that). Tho I'm talking about how I didn't get to many countries, with a count of just 10 (4 less than 2014), and only 5 of those were new countries. I feel like I lost the year, I wasn't entirely true to myself, I lost time. I ended the year the exact way I told myself in 2014 I would not. This is the year that will change. I will travel. I will take my count up to 16 countries (tho' counting countries isn't what matters, that's not really my goal). I will work out how to do the things I want to, and be who I want to be. I put my heart into something else last year, something that wasn't travelling, and whilst I have no regrets at all about my choices (if I could turn the clock back by 8 weeks, I would), I missed travelling. I miss being on the move. I miss exploring. I missed being entirely independent.
2016 is a new year, a new start. The best way to start a-fresh? With a new country! It's only 26 days until my next trip, I am excited to be visiting my first NEW country by end of the month. I've weekends away planned as well as returning to another old favourite-- the first place I travelled to solo!
I can't wait for the amazing trips I will take this, year, oh the places I'll go...