I think we can all agree that 2016 has been quite a crap year. Think of all the famous people that have passed away this year – David Bowie, Prince, and Alan Rickman to name but a few. And then think about the war in Syria and the refugee crisis in Europe, ISIS destroying important cultural sites like the ancient city of Palmyra.
Then there’s the Brexit. And let’s not mention Donald Trump. No, I won’t give this clown a single line more than necessarily. And while I am writing this, trucks are crashing into Christmas markets in an attempt to radicalise everybody around us, to spread fear and change the way we see the world.
2016, you have been naughty. No dinner for you tonight, young lady, now go up to your room!
When I finished my blogging year last year, I did it on a high note. In “Oh, the Places you’ll go” I raved about my 2015 travel year, the many places I had visited, the exciting people I had met. I also laid out my plans for 2016. My goal was ambitious, unapologetic and naive. With Happiness and Things I wanted to become owner of one of the top travel blogs in Australia.
So how did it measure up? Well… despite all my efforts, Happiness and Things is still just one of many blogs out there, limping behind the great superstars of the scene. Even though I am blogging with an earnestness and a dedication that is needed to establish yourself in the scene my blog is not as well known as I would like it to be. I wouldn’t dare to say my blog is perfect but I would have loved for it to become more popular than it is right now.
Truth be told, I wasn’t able to achieve my incredibly ambitious goal in 2016. In fact, I have come to realise that it’s a very competitive world out there, and that there are many awesome and talented bloggers, photographers and writers who are all fighting to stay on top of the game. I guess my idea was that if you work hard enough and are passionate enough you will eventually prevail. But this year has proved to me that the road is in fact rockier than I thought.
The mehs and the yays in 2016
I am blessed and cursed in the sense that I am madly in love with what I am doing for this blog. Writing, photography and web editing is such an important part of me that I couldn’t picture my life without it. If it wasn’t for this ridiculous passion I would have given up by now. Readers very often don’t realise what a lonely and frustrating job travel blogging can be. For me it’s a bit like yelling into the forest with only the faintest of echoes coming back to me. Considering what I put into my blog, the lack of growth, feedback, encouragement, praise, money and support is deeply discouraging. Most of the time I am blindly trying to find my way in a space that is devoid of feedback.
But don’t worry. Not all is bleak. I have had again a wonderful travel year, and I feel blessed that I have been able to collect all of these wonderful memories. If you define success by the experiences that you get to collect over the course of a year, then 2016 has been a very successful year indeed.
I have visited New Zealand, Hamilton Island, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, England, Scotland, the Great Ocean Road, Cairns, and Indonesia.
This year I have worked on famils with two tourism boards: Visit Great Ocean Road and Wonderful Indonesia, and I have followed invitations by many local and international operators and hotels.
And here’s a snapshot of my random experiences this year
I have taken a tour of Sydney in a sidecar, got lost in the Scottish Highlands, flown in a wind tunnel, learned how to cook chilli basil noodles, ridden on a horse in the sand dunes near the Great Ocean Road, seen an illusive echidna in the wild, spoke about Germany in a primary school in West Papua, thrown a boomerang so it didn’t return, explored a volcano in a jeep and driven through a rainforest in a WWII Army duck, climbed razor sharp coral islands for the most amazing views of Pianemo, participated in a ghost tour, climbed up a donkey trail in blistering heat, shared bread and cheese with the locals in Turkey, sampled olive oils on a market in Crete, and met the resident pelican in Mykonos.
¡Hasta la vista! – Our big news for 2017
So what is my goal for 2017? Well, I have big news to share…
In the Australian winter we will be relocating the family to Andalusia, Spain.
There is no particular reason for it. We just needed a seachange and we thought it would be a good idea to try a new base.
Europe is such a fantastic place and we find it really fascinating that you can so easily switch languages, histories and cuisines within an hour or two. We want to use our new location to explore more of what Europe has to offer, from Portugal to Germany and from England to the Faroe Islands – anything is game. Expect lots of Europe based content for next year.
Why Spain? As a child I spent many summers in this beautiful country and I have come to love its people, food, and lifestyle.
I daresay our plans are pretty exciting. I am sure it won’t be all smooth sailing. With two kids to consider we have to be careful with how we are organising this 16,000km move. But we feel that this is exactly what we need at this stage in our lives.
But there is of course another goal: I want to write more stories. I want to write stories that you will love and that will teach you something new. My focus shall be on inspiring you to go out and explore more. I will ignore the stats and will continue to give my very best each and every time.
And now over to you, dear reader
Wherever you are, whether you stumbled on this post by accident or are a regular reader, I am grateful that you have come by and have given me a minute of your attention. Please do feel free to get in touch. Follow the blog on one of my social media channels or become a newsletter subscriber. Don’t refrain from sending me feedback, good or bad. Because in the end it’s for you that I write, and I hope that my writing will entertain you for a little while.
Have a wonderful start into the new year – here’s to a happy and more peaceful 2017! See you again next year 🙂