If you look at the internet memes, it appears that 2016 has been far from the best year and it should hurry up and be over before any other catastrophic event makes itself known. On a personal level though, 2016 has been a pretty sweet one for me. I’ve achieved quite a personal goals, and some professional ones too. I’ve moved to a new country (again) and finally made inroads on learning a new language. I got engaged (gulp), and of course I’ve travelled.
In 2015 I went to a grand total of ZERO new countries. Although I did some awesome things in Australia where I spent most of my time, like driving from Perth to the Gold Coast and learning to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. 2016 wasn’t another box ticking year either, but more one for slow travel and exploring places more deeply, and making a new home for myself in Spain.
So what were the destinations of 2016? Here goes:
I rang in the New Year in Edinburgh, Scotland, at one of the biggest New Years Eve celebrations in the world. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a huge street party and concert, not to mention all the events in the days before and after.
But my time in Edinburgh was just a stopover on the way to moving it Spain. It wasn’t until this summer that I finally got to indulge myself by spending a decent length of time in one of my favourite cities in the world. It wasn’t exactly a restful summer though! Between trips to Sweden, Spain and Montenegro I reminded myself of all the things Edinburgh has to offer, and threw myself into festival mode during August.
Posts from Scotland:
If you’d asked me a couple of years ago if I could see myself living in Spain in the future I would have said “sure, why not?”, but I wouldn’t have really thought it would happen. It definitely wasn’t amongst the places I thought I’d be headed! But sometimes, opportunities seem to fall into place and we have to grab them with both hands. Moving to Spain this year gave me the chance to be back in Europe where I wanted to be, teach English which I had always wanted to try, and learn another language, which I’d been attempting alone for years but always being distracted from actually doing.
Spain has been both more challenging and far better than I could have hoped. After moving abroad several times before I knew about the highs and lows of expat life, but I forgot how extreme they can be. Spain definitely threw me for a loop at first, mostly due to the language barrier. I am FAR from fluent in Spanish now, but Spain really does feel like a slice of home.
Posts from Spain
I’d been to Sweden once before and I usually like to explore new places as much as possible, but after starting my blog in 2015 I really wanted to go to a blogging conference this year. TBEX fit since it was during the summer, and attending was once of the best things I’ve done! All work related conferences should be this fun. As part of TBEX I ended up being able to take a tour to a place in the far north of Sweden called Luleå. I’ll let the posts speak for themselves…
Posts From Sweden
At the end of my Swedish summer trip I made a brief trip to Copenhagen. I’m seriously terrible at only going to one place per trip! It was enough of a taste to entice me to keep it on the list of places to visit again soon. Although it is most definitely not cheap!
Posts from Denmark
For no reason whatsoever I have this burning desire to explore more of the Balkans. After visiting Croatia two years ago I just knew there was so much more I wanted to see. So when EB and I were planning a summer trip guess where I convinced him we should go…
Montenegro was actually even better than I had hoped though. I won’t be surprised one bit if it really explodes on the tourism level over the next few years. It seems I only wrote one post at the time, but there are definitely more in the works!
Posts from Montenegro
Like most places, it was far cheaper for us to fly from Edinburgh to Dubrovnik in Croatia then directly to Montenegro. There are private shuttles or buses between Dubrovnik and Kotor, and many of the other beachside places so it’s well worth checking it out as a cheaper way to get to Montenegro! It also meant we had a little time to see Dubrovnik too. (Did I mention I can never just go to one place?)
Posts from Croatia
And as a surprise end to the year, I’m writing this from Portugal! You can find out the full reason why in the Stories Behind the Instagram Photos, but basically I thought I’d be in Scotland at the moment, and I’m not. Instead I’m on a last minute trip seeing Lagos, Lisbon and Porto. So far I have to say Portugal is pretty awesome, and I’m excited to see how Lisbon does New Year’s Eve tomorrow night. After that I’ll have some posts on the way about my 40th country! Suffice to say, you should come here.
That my friends, is a wrap on 2016. For me, it’s been a great one. If this year hasn’t been the best for you then I hope that you can look back and find something to redeem it, or look forward to the next year on a positive note.
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one”
P.S. Check out the Travel Tales section for less destination based stuff from this year!
How was your year? Did you visit any new places?