This annual post is where I share my best and worst moments of the previous year. I usually write this at the end of the year but for the last month, I have had so much resistance against writing it. This post should be a round-up of my best moments of the year where I talk about all the amazing countries that I have travelled to and what made me really happy. I should be sharing my best moments and inspiring others to travel solo.
I normally love writing these end-of-year posts as they act as a reminder of each year of my life since I started my blog. But I find it hard not to wear my heart on my sleeve and as much as this post celebrates some great moments, I’m also going to be honest about what I have been going through this year.
But first, my travel in 2022…
Covid was still around at the beginning of the year so for the first 10 weeks of 2022 I was in the UK, staying with family and pet-sitting with a friend near Chichester.
In mid-March, I flew to Javea in Spain to see a friend before my 3 month long Africa and Middle East trip. From Barcelona, I flew to Kuwait to begin my Middle East adventure. From there I went to Bahrain before spending two weeks in Oman, then five nights in Sharjah (one of the United Arab Emirates) before visiting Dubai for 5 days.
I then flew to Uganda to begin my Africa travels. I spent two weeks in Uganda and then two weeks in Rwanda before cutting my trip short and flying back to Dubai for a month to test it out as a potential base.
From the end of June to mid-August I had to be back in the UK for hospital checkups. I cat-sat in London and started dreaming of creating a life for myself in Dubai.
In August I flew back to Barcelona to cat sit for a friend and ended up staying in Barcelona for 3 weeks. I then travelled up the coast to the Costa Brava which I had never been to before and spent a long weekend in Playa de Aro before taking the bus along the coast to Montpelier in France. After a quick stop there I travelled to Marseille before flying out to Crete for a week.
Then in mid-October I finally made my way back to Dubai, flying from Crete to Abu Dhabi to enter the Emirates. I spent the rest of 2022 in Dubai with a short trip to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia after my birthday.
- In total, I visited 6 new countries: Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Uganda, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia.
- I visited two new Emirates in the UAE: Fujairah and Sharjah.
- And I visited two of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura which I had been to before and Lanzarote.
- I saw two more places in France: Montpelier and Marseille and had my first visit to Crete, the largest island in Greece.
My Best Moments of 2022
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
This was never an experience that I ever had on my travel wish list but as I was travelling to Uganda I simply had to do it. Seeing gorillas up close in the wild was amazing and such a humbling experience. You can read about my gorilla trekking experience here…
Seeing Camels in Oman
Seeing a caravan of camels crossing the road behind me in Oman and stopping to stroke one. If you don’t know me by now, I absolutely love camels. They are my favourite animal and in Salalah in Oman they just roam around freely. I recommend Salalah in Oman for any camel lover. * Here’s my solo guide to Oman
Driving around Crete
Okay so this wasn’t exactly a best moment as I can’t tell you how nervous I was to hire a car after more than 7 years of not driving but the sense of achievement that came with it after being so scared was definitely empowering. If you’ve never been to Crete, hiring a car is the best way to get around but there are some sharp mountain turns and a few times I had to avoid a goat or a cat crossing the road but I managed to drive on the right-hand side!
I even picked up another solo female traveller from my resort and took her on a day trip with me! If you’ve never been to Crete, you should definitely go. There are so many gorgeous spots here but my favourite has to be Balos Beach, a stunning lagoon that has been described as one of the best beaches in the world.
Being Blown Away by Lanzarote
For some reason, the reputation of ‘Lanza-Grotty’ that Brits had given to this island had put me off visiting for years. I had little expectations (which is always the best way when you travel) and I absolutely loved it! The landscapes here are just amazing. One minute you feel as though you’re on the surface of the moon (or what I imagine it to look like), the second, you’re standing in front of a bright green lagoon. Lanzarote is now my favourite Canary Island. * Places To Visit in Lanzarote
Trying a Fitness Holiday For The First Time
Wanting a detox and some ‘me time’, I found a fitness resort in Fuerteventura. I spent a week mountain biking, doing body combat, yoga, trail running and aqua fitness all whilst enjoying healthy food, sunshine and stunning scenery. I left feeling healthier, fitter and with a tan! Going on a fitness holiday was just what I needed and I felt really comfortable there solo as I met so many friendly people. I loved this active resort. * Things To Do in Fuerteventura
Moving to Dubai!
After leaving Barcelona in December 2019, I really didn’t know where I wanted to live. I was planning to travel through France to find my next base just as the lockdown happened and any plans of relocating were put on hold. It was on my trip to the Middle East in April 2022 that I found my place. I love serendipities and a series of events led me to go to Dubai and then return again for a month to test it out as a potential base. It passed the test and in October I returned to the Emirate to make it my home! * Why I Chose To Move To Dubai
Seeing Armin van Buuren on New Year’s Eve!
Armin van Buuren is my favourite DJ. I run to his Trance music and I was lucky enough to see him in Barcelona a few years ago then fate arranged for me to see him on New Year’s Eve. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year.
Having My Best Year With My Blog
It’s been 10 years since I started my blog and there have been so many times when I have wanted to give up, especially during the Covid times. Thankfully travel came back in 2022 and I had my best year yet. I am so thankful that I stuck with my blog.
Other smaller moments were sampling fresh honey from a beekeeper in Rwanda and experiencing the kindness of strangers during my travels. I love the connections I make whether they are just a fleeting moment of sharing my mints with a stranger on a plane who returned the gesture with biscuits and chocolate to sharing hugs with local ladies that you just picked tea leaves with in Rwanda. Every interaction is special.
My Not So Great Moments of 2022
Having my last jaw surgery check-up in 2022 and being told that my bones were dissolving and that I may have to go through surgery again. After the first attempt not going to plan, I had to have it done again 10 days later. I really struggled with my recovery and spent the last few months of 2022 feeling anxious about the thought of having it done again. Eager to create a life for myself in Dubai, it would mean spending another 2.5 months back in the UK being completely reliant on others during my recovery.
Thankfully, having just had my check up, my bones haven’t moved in the last 6 months and I don’t need to have it done a third time. So I just need to return in 6 months' time for a routine check-up. But I do need day surgery to have a plate removed so I’m just waiting for a date for when I’ll be able to fly back to Dubai.
Going through depression during the summer. This year I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on that I have struggled to deal with. I struggled with immense loneliness in 2022 and I went through a period of disconnect. I lost hope in dating, in my business, in the impact I was making and in what I was doing with my life. There were times when I just wanted to give up. Having an online presence and having to consistently show up for my community when all I wanted to do was go inward was really challenging.
Being a single woman in her mid-forties (through life choices not due to lack of dating), I really struggled. My biggest value in life has always been freedom and although I am lucky enough to have created that for myself, my priorities have slowly shifted over the last year or so. Travel used to be my passion but I gradually found myself wanting to settle and longing for what everyone else seems to have. A home, a partner and a family of my own.
Biologically facing this in 2022 has been really hard and I couldn’t even look at social media without feeling immense sadness at others posting photos of themselves and their families. When you’re on the other side, you really start to question your life choices. The years go by so fast and then suddenly you realise that your window of opportunity is closing. My moto in life has always been no regrets but I know that I will regret not having a family so this is a priority for me in 2023.
Struggling with my mental health in Africa. I think that this was the beginning of my depression. My plan was to spend 2 months in Africa but after two weeks in Uganda and another two weeks in Rwanda, I was really struggling. I had to cut my Africa trip because of it so I went back to Dubai for a month. By the time I had to fly to Barcelona months later, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to cope by myself. But being there was just what I needed and I got the strength back to travel to the Canary Islands, France and Crete alone.
Going Into 2023
Although 2022 has definitely been a wobbly one, it has shown me what I want from life and what is now important to me. Even though travel isn’t much of a priority for me at the moment, it still is a large part of my life as it’s the career that I have carved out for myself. I have no trips planned but as I’m always pretty spontaneous, I am sure that there will be more travel on the cards, just on shorter trips and coming back to a proper base.
I begin 2023 with new connections in my life and more clarity on where I want to go in 2023. I attended a wellness retreat in Hatta which was amazing and I am planning more wellness and personal development retreats for this year. The previous year has been about me finding balance and finding a place where I belong.
I have my faith back that everything is going to work out even if at times it doesn’t feel that it will. And I am trying to take one day at a time and work on creating a brand new life for myself, one where Girl about the Globe comes second and I put myself first.
Here’s to a more balanced year ahead with plenty of wellness, positivity and moments of joy.
How was your 2022?