2016 In Review | One Year – 10 Countries, 19 Cities + A Full-Time Job!

Venice - San Marco Square - Grand Canal - San Marks Square- Gondola - Tower-14
Here we are again! Another year in review. It feels like 2016 has come and gone too fast. We are in that weird and scary part of the year where it feels as if iconic figures are dropping off like flies as fate cherry picks those that won’t make it into the new year. Celebrity deaths of 2016; from the shocking death of Carrie Fisher from a heart attack, then her mother Debbie Reynolds the day after. Also, the death of Wham legend George Michael, then the likes of David Bowie, Ricky Harris, Prince, Gene Wilder. It’s always sad when you lose people that you have grown up listening to and watching from a young age. It’s also a lesson that we must all live the lives we were intended to live, not living according to anyone else’s forced dreams or expectations of us. Live a life that is fearless, where we take charge of our own happiness. Both in our professional and personal lives. “So many people make that mistake and allow others fears and insecurities to change the trajectory of their lives.” If you need inspiration for pursuing your dreams and living a life without fear check out an interview with Natasha Rock on her move to live and teach in Saudi Arabia.

So how has 2016 treated you? For me, it feels weird that I haven’t really taken the time to really reflect on how things have gone. I have been travelling so much for both work and leisure that it feels like I have been coasting through the months without really looking back. I had a conversation with my new career advisor in my last week at work before the Christmas holidays, who reminded me just how important it is to take stock of things very regularly. I am now planning on looking through my goals for 2017 every quarter and assessing if they are on track and looking to re-adjust them continuously through the year. We all have goals, whether personal or professional and I think sometimes fear gets in the way rather than an inability to actually achieve the goal. What if we do succeed. What will people think, how will they treat you, and all kinds of questions pop up, not as important, mind you! The fact of the matter is that we are usually the ones in the way of our own success. If you need a dose of inspiration for 2017, get a dose of Lisa Nichols. I have had her book for a long time now but hadn’t actually read it. I then came across a YouTube video of her, let’s just say that book is wide open now.
This year has actually been filled with many adventures that I am still stunned at how much travel I have had this year. Even though its 2 countries down from 2015. In 2015 I managed to travel to 12 countries and 21 cities. This year, I have travelled to 10 countries and 19 cities. In recent years I have enjoyed planning and taking on road trips as you saw in last years road trips through Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. This year has seen road trips in Iceland, Norway and Australia. Most of which I have yet to document but bear with me, they will publish soon.
Part of my yearly reviews is also to make sure that my travels are true to me as well as showcasing them in the hope to inspire you to get out there and see the world. Also, ensuring I am not travelling for likes, not travelling just to showcase to the Instagram world. It feels like the world has shifted down that path. People now posting uninspired shots because they saw someone else do it or because it draws in likes from the masses. Stop that! The yearly reviews also act as a way for me to review where I have been and what I have learned about myself through my travels. I love social media and the aspects of showcasing what is out there and inspire people to see the world. I travel according to my budget, my needs, my interests. This is one of the reasons why I always find it difficult when bloggers are somewhat asked to put themselves into a niche category. We are complicated people with many facets to us. There are times that I want to travel even though the balance it’s acting against me, so you will find some budget trips posted on the blog. There are times I feel adventurous and catch a case of wonder woman where I want to scale mountain tops and camp out, or those times when I want to treat myself to a luxury hotel with killer views. Yes, I can do all that because this blog is about showcasing the possibilities out there if cast out fears for what people will think. All of the sudden people are wondering which little box or niche you fit in, whether you are a budget, luxury, adventure blogger. I could easily fit in any of those boxes I am not jumping into any of those boxes! I am a travel blogger end of. I love adventure, I love luxury and those budget and cheap travels too. My blog is proof that one does not need to quit their job to travel, nor do you have to bee rich. Exploring just has to be a priority among your interests in life. So without further a’do. Travels from 2016…

Banteay Kdei Temple - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Temples (19 of 51)
Ushering in 2016 in true style in Siem Reap’s famous Pub Street. I got a lot more than I expected from Cambodia. I would go back in a heartbeat. Mainly for the super cheap but all-so-amazing massages. At $5-6 dollars you soon become addicted to them and want them every day. Sometimes twice a day. If you have not been to Cambodia. Go! You will not be disappointed. From beautiful(sometimes crowded) to the very quiet and serene temples that make you wonder just how amazing some of the temples looked in their heydey, considering most are in ruins today.

Bayon Temple In Cambodia Siem Reap (21 of 45)

A city that one can never get enough of. I spent a couple of beautiful weekends in the city of lights with my fiancé. Each visit is different and nothing like the previous. I always seem to discover something new. The last visit had us stay on one of the avenues on Champs Elysees with an amazing view of the Arc de Triomphe as well as a view of the Eiffel Tower. There are a couple of posts on the blog to inspire your wonder when visiting Paris.

Paris Is Always A Good Idea - Weekend - Eiffel Tower (97 of 123)

Paris - Effiel Tower - Paris is a good - hotels and hostels with view of the Eiffiel tower (8)
A Weekend In Warsaw - Poland-0853

I have been wanting to visit Poland’s colourful cities for far too long now. I have seen so many beautiful pictures of Gdansk, Wroclaw, Krakow. I stumbled on some great flights to Warsaw via RyanAir and was soon booking our stay in the city and planning what to see and do in Warsaw. If you haven’t seen it I made a travel video from our explorations of Warsaw

A Weekend In Warsaw - Poland-0846

Always up for a little tropical weather and Malaysia doesn’t disappoint. Although this year’s visit of Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur was short. You can check out some blog post on Kuala Lumpur right here on the blog with many more posts and videos to come.

Mandarin Fan - Mandarin Hotel Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia (38 of 78)

Malaysia -  Petronas Towers  - Kuala Lumpur-6
Bondi Beach - Australia - Sydney (16 of 66)
Australia much like the USA has been on a weird travel ban list for me. I have issues with Australia’s treatment of refugees on the island of Nauru or USA’s denial in acknowledging there is a problem when it comes to the justice system towards black people. Refusing to acknowledge a problem doesn’t make it go away.  As I have friends and family means that live in these countries means I still travel to these countries. I can only hope that 2017 see better years for both causes to a more just resolution. My visit to Australia saw me exploring Sydney, Melbourne and taking on road trips on the Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and seeing many of Melbourne’s beautiful and less touristy beaches.

Bondi Beach - Australia - Sydney (58 of 66)

Oh, what can one say one this little island? I  have so many more adventures to write about from our explorations of Iceland. This was one of the highlights of the year for me, including Norway. I wasn’t sure what to expect from sleeping and travelling in a camper van. All I know is that I want more and more of that type of travel. In fact, as I write this today I was actually meant to be travelling to Scotland to embark on a similar trip, exploring Scotland’s Outer Hebrides by campervan but cancelled with the hope of rescheduling some time in Spring of 2017. If you are thinking of visiting Iceland, just do it! Your eyes will be in disbelief of what will be before them BUT they will thank you! From ice lagoons, amazing waterfalls, glaciers, beautiful mountain peaks and depending on when you go, from midnight sunsets to northern lights. Iceland is truly magical! Lets we forget the Blue Lagoon?!
Trolltung Hiking Norway - Camping in Trolltunga - Odda-9

In my introduction, I stated that I am not keen about being put to be put in a “niche” box. I love an adventure as much as I love a city escape. I love hiking and love mountain views and the fact that half the time it forces you to let go of your attachment gadgets, social media, partly because there is no reception so you forced to experience what is before you without sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. It’s for your eyes only  –  or your camera too if you can’t resist. The fiancé and I embarked on another road trip that saw us explore Bergen before road tripping to Odda before heading to take on a 22km hiking and camping in the mountains to set our sights on Trolltunga. O.M.G the views!!! Posts to come soon, I promise!

Trolltung Hiking Norway - Camping in Trolltunga - Odda-75

I have a somewhat rocky relationship with Israel, partly because of the Israel-Palestinian conflicts over there. Some of you may know from previous trips and posts that my fiancé is Israeli so we discuss what is going on in Israel a lot! Every day! He has family over there so this means that there will be plenty more trips to Israel. I also hope in my lifetime I get to see a two-state solution come to fruition. Like John Kerry said, “the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” I truly believe that. Anyway leaving politics behind. We were back in Israel this year because Igal’s mother was hospitalised, so it wasn’t a leisurely trip. It was a fairly short trip, which had me visit for a couple of days, leaving Igal behind as I had to get back to work again. We managed to squeeze in a trip to Jerusalem as well as exploring a few parts of Tel Aviv that I hadn’t seen much of the last trip to Tel Aviv. So more posts to come on Israel. I may even let Igal to a guest post from a local’s perspective.

Tel Aviv - Yafo - Old Jaffa - Old Port - Israel-48
Tel Aviv - Yafo - Old Jaffa - Old Port - Israel-40

Another repeat trip in Germany. I have shared a couple of posts my visits in Germany. This time I went back to combine a weekend getaway with wedding celebrations in Dusseldorf. My friend was tying the knot in November and went to bear witness of their love and wish them well on this beautiful adventure of a lifetime.

Dusseldorf Tower City Break

Oh, Venice! The last time I was there was with my younger sister. Two excited explorers in the heat of the summer of 2011. A totally different experience to visiting with a lover. Experiencing Venice when it’s wrapped in a fog, adds a sense of mystery to an already charming and magical city. Hearing the gondoliers singing before appearing from out of the thick fog. Waking up from slumber from your very own apartment(well it was ours for the weekend!). I was amazed at how I was still able to explore some of the alleyways from memory of my Venice visit in 2011. Let’s just my lover and I will be putting Venice on repeat for 2017. Before that, I will be sharing pictures from our explorations as soon as I finish editing them.

Venice - San Marco Square - Grand Canal - San Marks Square- Gondola - Tower-84

Venice - San Marco Square - Grand Canal - San Marks Square- Gondola - Tower1
Exploring and Visiting The UK

Travelling doesn’t just mean seeing international cities. Travel can and should include your backyard. So, that means more explorations of London. This year’s backyard explorations included Liverpool for one my friend’s 30th birthdays. Exploring Swindon and Oxford because of work. We also ventured out to Durdle Doord for a little hiking and camping. You have to add Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to your travel list for 2017, it is absolutely stunning! I shared a couple of pictures earlier this year, with a few more to come.

Not Giving Up On A Work-Life Balance
Even though it may seem like I travel a lot, it’s always hard to maintain a great work live balance when work involves staying in a hotel four out of 5 work days a week. Yes, on the outset it may seem lovely and exciting but it is actually tiresome, lonely and boring being away from friends, family and partners. It takes work coordinating diaries so you are both in the same place at the same time as both Igal and I have jobs that involve a lot of travel away from home. It’s funny, but we now have to coordinate the one day in the week we work from home. I am trying not to give up on having some balance. Aside from that, I am currently on an exciting project. I can blab about it because its publicly known that the company I work for is working in partnership with Williams F1.

Working at on the Williams F1 project, I have rekindled my love for F1 racing, which I used to watch when I was younger but somehow stopped. I still kept the love for fast cars well intact, though. You may have seen some of my posts in recent months. I have had the pleasure of meeting Bottas, Massa on the open days Williams F1 had,  as well as learning all about what goes into these races. If you are an F1 fan, Williams has an amazing museum with all their cars throughout the years of their racing history. Nothing gets your heart racing than the sound of roaring engine. If you haven’t of the amazing projects that Williams has been a part of….dare I mention Bond: Spectre??…Go check them out!

Williams F1 Open Day – Spit Stop Challenge! Change the tyre in under 60-seconds!

Starting A New Chapter – I said YES!!
After four years of practising forever. We have decided to take the plunge…He asked and I said yes! We have yet to set a date yet. All I know is that the knot will be tied sometime next year. More on that in the future.

Here’s To A Prosperous and Fearless 2017!

Like I said above. I plan on reviewing my goals quarterly and tracking progress so I can recalibrate if necessary. There is a lot that I would love to do this year if we can work so together on some of these please feel free to get in touch. I would love to use more of my photography skills, so if you need a photographer for a project then please get in touch. I would love to publish some of my travel articles in a magazine so 2017 will be the year that will happen! Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2017 for all.

So, how was 2016 for you? What are you looking forward to most or want to achieve in 2017? #SpeakYourSuccessIntoExistence

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  1. December 30, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Wow! What a year and I love the pictures 🙂
    I´ve been to Poland as well this year. And it was my highlight, I just love the country.

  2. January 25, 2017 / 2:07 am

    I loved your post and congratulations on your engagement!

    I've been reading your blog for some time and I thoroughly enjoyed your review and pictures.

    Have a happy and prosperous new year :

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