As another year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the last 12 months and reflect on my 2017 journey.
Rewind 12 months from now and I couldn’t have had a different mindset. I was back in England. I had just left South America and a bad relationship and had no idea what my future held or where I was going to live. All I could think about was what I didn’t have (a home, a boyfriend, a baby), instead of what I did have (friends, family, freedom).
As I turned 41, I forgot that I had worked so hard to not fit into society and I slipped back into what I should have had at that age, instead of what I did have. As I wrote before when I was approaching 40, I had no idea where I would be at this age.
Being on the other side of 40 has been a strange journey. I was so caught up in finding the right person to share my life with, with my clock ticking hanging over me like a constant rain cloud, when in reality it will happen when it is meant to happen. I am fit, healthy and know that I am able to have a family yet I allowed these thoughts to dominate most of my 2017. I wasn’t allowing myself to live in the moment and feel as though I wasted so many months, dating people and becoming disappointed when things weren’t happening.
Then in October, something happened to make me realise that I needed to change things. I realised that I was being too desperate to be with someone. I finally let go of the outcome and got a grip on my reality. I was single for a reason. So… I booked a flight and then another flight. I was finally ready to get back on the road and get some confidence back.
I had allowed my age to define me and now that I have turned 42 I have let go of what is expected of me (again). I’m planning more travel and more adventure, and just because I don’t have somewhere permanent to live, or a nice car doesn’t mean that I am any less. It just means that I am in a more fortunate position to be able to travel and to be Girl about the Globe and hopefully inspire others to not worry about what society thinks of them.
Solo travel has always taught me what I am truly capable of and my mission is to get as many girls on the road as possible.
So, here are my best (and worst) bits from 2017.
My Best Bits of 2017
1. Travelling to 6 countries (7 if you count Transnistria)
This year I have only travelled to 6 countries and most of them in Europe. In the last 12 months I have been to Spain, Lebanon, Andorra, Luxembourg, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine. (I wasn’t solo for all of these).
2. Visiting Cheynobol
This has to be one of my highlights in 2017. Just being in the spot of the world’s worst nuclear disaster was the most haunting, and moving experience. I remember as a 10 year old girl watching the news and not really understanding what was happening at the time. So much seemed to have been covered up at the time and I can’t wait to share my knowledge about this trip.
3. Drinking wine in the largest underground wine city in the world
I have been to a few wineries over the years but taking a tram inside a maze of tunnels to taste wine at Cricova is definitely my favourite winery experience.
4. Learning more about the refugee situation in Lebanon
I feel so honoured to have been able to visit a refugee camp in Lebanon. I am passionate about helping children affected by war and I wanted to learn more about their situation.
5. Seeing a Russian Orthodox church
After seeing so many countries I had never seen Russian architecture so I was so excited to see my first Russian Orthodox church in Moldova with its opulent gold domes.
6. Arriving in Barcelona and making it my home
After leaving Colombia in July last year, I honestly didn’t think that I would find somewhere else to call home. If I haven’t had committed to the Barcelona marathon in March I probably would have jumped on a flight straight back to Colombia but luckily I didn’t. I am meant to be in Barcelona and am so blessed that I have found somewhere else that I love.
7. Meeting entrepreneurs and digital nomads
Making close friends within such a small amount of time. Being a traveller I think we slip into that mindset of making friends easily and what I love about this city is that I have met my tribe. Working online can be so isolating so co-working has been such a lifeline for me. Being in the company of inspiring entrepreneurs has been amazing and I feel very lucky.
8. Being interviewed!
This year I’ve had two radio interviews and 3 written interviews. It still never fails to amaze me why people even want to interview me!
My Worst Bits of 2017
1. Experiencing a bit of culture shock after leaving England and arriving in Spain. Crazy I know!
2. Wanting to give up in the summer and making a decision on whether I could keep Girl about the Globe running. Luckily I had so much support from friends and my GatG community that I was able to keep going. This was such a wobbly time but I think sometimes we have to have these moments to get the drive to decide what we really want.
3. Moving around constantly in Barcelona whilst looking for the perfect place to live. I have lost count of the amount of places I have stayed within this city. Thinking I had found the perfect place then it not feeling right. But this is definitely now a positive as I am able to travel in-between. Finding somewhere permanent is definitely a priority for 2018.
Plans for 2018
So what are the plans for 2018? More solo travel (of course!) and more adventure.
I’m planning a trip to Kosovo, and Gibraltar, and have also lined up a surfing trip in Fuerteventura. Surfing has never been high on my list and being scared of the waves, it isn’t really something that I have ever wanted to try but I’m going to push my comfort zone and give it a go.
For Girl about the Globe I am going to try more video. This year I made my first pre-sale video (you can watch it here). This year I was so focused on travel guides that I have let everything else slip so I will be adding more destination guides and more useful content to the site as well as growing our Girls about the Globe community. I’m also in talks about travel apps so watch this space.
I have also taken on a charity challenge. In November I’ll be trekking across the Sahara Desert to raise money for War Child. If you want to sponsor me here is the link 🙂
For the foreseeable future I’ll still be based in Barcelona. On my bucket list this year is Ethiopia, and the Northern Lights, and my dream of exploring more of Spain, France and Portugal on the back of a motorbike (just need to find a driver first!) My 2018 will look something like this:
- February / March – Kosovo, Gibraltar
- May – A surfing camp in Fuerteventura (complimentary)
- Summer – Possibly a trip back to Ukraine and also to Georgia with the World’s Most Travelled person.
- Autumn – a few nights in a luxury villa in Santorini (complimentary). Visiting a refugee camp in Greece before spending some time in Cyprus.
- November – Morocco to trek the Sahara Desert for War Child, and hopefully Tunisia.
- December – Norway to see the Northern Lights (fingers crossed!)
And hopefully a few more!
I’m also in the process of taking a Humanitarian course. With my vision of creating a Girl about the Globe Foundation to help vulnerable girls about the globe, learning more about humanitarian work will help me to achieve this goal and allow me to go into the field and write about what I experience.
And of course, inspiring more girls to travel solo 🙂
So… are you going to join me for 2018? What are your travel plans?