The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance – Alan W. Watts.
It’s the obligatory end of year reflection on all blogs, including my own. The final day of the year. The last crucial moment of 2017 that will be almost forgotten in years to come. I have to say, I cannot wait for 2017 to be over. The past couple of months have been some of the hardest of my life; that being said, I’ve come out of it alive and kicking, ready to change my mindset for the better in 2018. It will be the year I focus on me, myself and I again, rather than putting other people first. Although I can’t wait to see the back of it, I have some amazing, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime memories that I will forever cherish; like I said, it hasn’t all been bad. Today, New Years Eve, I’ll be focusing on all of these moments, and thinking of all the personal lessons I’ve learned this year, because every bad moment is a lesson learned.
SURPRISING FAMILY IN FRIENDS IN MARCH
The faces of my parents and best friends will forever be etched on some part of my brain. Luckily, I also have a record of some of them too. Thinking back to that weekend, I have a huge smile on my face because it was definitely the happiest moment of the year. There were a lot of tears, a lot of swinging around, an immense amount of smiles and laughter. I also know how to keep a very good secret; that one I kept for five months!
FAMILY HOLIDAY TO WITNESS A CYPRIOT WEDDING
The Smith family had been anticipating this holiday for a long time and for it to finally come around was amazing. It was one of the best holidays of my life because of the people who were there. We got to relax, spend quality time together without killing each other, top up our tans and witness my second cousin (one of a lot) get married to the love of her life, who is Cypriot. Cue the most incredible wedding I have ever been to with traditions and food to top English weddings.
SPONTANEOUSLY TRAVELLING BALI FOR A MONTH
I always forget that this was a big last minute trip for me. I had come home for three weeks and decided to join my friends in Bali rather than return to Melbourne. It was the best decision I could have made. Then began a month of sunbathing, eating healthy food, exploring, climbing, biking, creating some of the most noteworthy Instagram posts on my grid and generally having the time of my life. Oh, and having a near-death experience which I am still physically scarred from.
BEING A SOLO TRAVELLER IN A GROUP TOUR IN WA
I had to get the west coast of Australia in; there was no way I couldn’t see it, especially as I (stupidly) didn’t do my farm work. The west coast is much more beautiful than the east. This side of Australia is for the adventurers; climbing gorges, swimming in rock pools and waterfalls, hiking up hill and down dale. Not only were the views and places incredible, but the group of people I got to experience it all with was fantastic. It was the most travel-inspired group I have ever met and they gave me some of the best memories I could ever hope for.
ROAD-TRIPPING THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
One thing that I wanted to do ever since I began thinking about my big trip Down Under was to rent a car and get on the road. And I did it. Me and two friends rented a car to celebrate the end of our Melbourne era. I drove us to some of the most breath-taking places in Australia, where the ocean was bluer than blue and the trees and kangaroos roamed freely. The music blasted and the random roads were open wide; it was incredible. Read why you should road trip the Great Ocean Road here.
DRIVING SOLO FROM ADELAIDE TO MELBOURNE
It was the most nerve-wracking but liberating moment of my travels this year. I was so nervous about driving from Adelaide to Melbourne over two days (around 13-14 hours driving time) that I hardly slept the night before. The hostel in Adelaide didn’t help either. When I was driving with nothing but the radio to keep me company, however, I felt so free. Free of everything. If I could have just kept driving to different parts of Australia, I would have. I drove through southern wineries, past the ocean, through immense woodland and really had one of the best two days of my entire trip, alone, but not lonely.
RETURNING TO RETAIL FOR CHRISTMAS
It was always going to happen. In fact, it was planned before I left for Australia a year and a half ago. I was reunited with some of my best friends, earned extra money and it made me come to a decision about quitting my permanent job. So, it was a learning curve. I really loved being back in retail, although at times, my face probably said the opposite. I love helping (the nice) people and spreading Christmas cheer. Once it is all done on Christmas Eve, there is a magic because we retailers get to enjoy our Christmas too.
FINDING A NEW LOCAL RESTAURANT FOR PROSECCO & TAPAS
I almost don’t want to share it because I love going there so much that I want to keep it a secret, but Cabovino in New Brighton is my new favourite place to go for food and wine, and prosecco. It depends on whether my best friend and I are celebrating or drowning our sorrows as to the type of alcohol we have… My mum and I also went for our yearly mum-daughter night out. The tapas in there really is incredible and the prosecco always goes down splendidly. Plus, the staff are so welcoming! It’s a perfect place for good food and a catch up.
MEETING LOTS OF BLOGGERS INCLUDING VICTORIA FROM IN THE FROW & JESS, THE TRAVELISTA
2017 was a great year for blogging! I met so many of my lovely Liv Bloggers at the BSC and even more at #BlogAtTheBeach, including two of my absolute FAVES – within one weekend too! I won a competition (which I never thought I would win) to have dinner with Victoria (InTheFrow) and nine other babes in Central London – there was a fashion meltdown and an extended stay in London but it was worth it! The next day, I travelled straight to Leeds (losing train fare money left, right and centre) to attend the Ice Lolly #BlogAtTheBeach where I finally met Jess aka The Travelista who has been a huge travel inspiration to me for years. That was a pretty incredible weekend.
When I returned from travelling, it was an uphill struggle and so, I decided to spend money I didn’t exactly have and overhaul this very blog. I’m so glad I did. Just looking at it myself gives me so much daily inspiration. This is my creative space, and I absolutely love it. Go check out PipDig for more layouts like mine!
CATCHING UP WITH LONG DISTANCE FRIENDS AT LIMF IN SUMMER
I had never been to LIMF in Sefton Park until this year, and I’m so glad I went because I got to catch up with my favourite chicas who I met during my third year abroad in Spain. We hardly ever see each other but we’re always there, lingering in the background, making it our mission to catch up at least once a year, and it’s usually filled with lots of gossip, laughter and drink.
SPENDING NEW YEAR’S DAY SMASHED IN A FIELD WITH FRIENDS
Let’s just say I will not be doing the same thing tomorrow. It’ll be the opposite, spent reading, eating, chilling, watching films. 364 days ago, I was at Field Day with some of my favourite travel people in the world, filled with goon and vodka, wandering around a huge field and dancing like a crazy person. The night ended sober and at maccies so it was a win-win all day.
YOU’RE WORTH A LOT MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE
Something that (probably) every single person struggles with.
SOME THINGS JUST DON’T WORK, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TRY
This is something I learned this year which caused a lot of heartache. It doesn’t matter how much you try, if it is broken, it’s broken and it can’t be fixed. It is best to let go and focus on other things that make you happy.
A GOOD BOOK GOES A LONG WAY
Sometimes, all we need is a mini escape and, unfortunately, we can’t all jump on a plane for a quick weekend away. A book gives us fresh understanding of situations, both our own and others’.
BEING NICE ISN’T ALWAYS BEING KIND
Being honest goes a long, long way in kindness, as does lifting your head from the sand.
HAVING LESS MATERIAL ITEMS GIVES YOU SO MUCH MORE
I was far happier travelling with only my backpack as my life. Even then, I still had too much stuff. Since returning home, I have gotten rid of bags of clothes and boxes of books as well as thrown away old paper, receipts and even old birthday cards. It cleanses the soul.
HAVING A DAILY ADVENTURE IS MUCH BETTER THAN WAITING FOR SOMETHING BIG TO HAPPEN
Every day is a new adventure waiting to happen.
LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE RATHER THAN WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE
This is a big one: a positive mind helps in determining the difference between wanting something and having something. Instead of focusing on the fact I don’t have a relationship any more, I’m focusing on all the amazing friendships I have as well as my family; I also have a roof over my head and a shelf full of books to last me the year and longer.
SOMETIMES, SAYING SORRY JUST ISN’T ENOUGH
Sorry doesn’t change the situation; only actions do.
IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY, CHANGE SOMETHING
I wasn’t happy for a very long time this year. Then I was, and then I wasn’t again, but I’m getting there. It all started with talking to my friends more, reading more, changing my entire bedroom, and booking a couple of holidays for 2018.
TREAT EVERYONE WITH THE SAME KINDNESS AS YOU WOULD YOUR BEST FRIEND, EVEN YOURSELF
I love my best friends. I would do literally anything for them. And they would do the same for me. We would never tell our friends (in a serious manner) “God, you look disgusting” when they’ve made their best effort. And so, why should we spread that kind of negativity to others and even ourselves?
JEALOUSY AND INSECURITY ARE MONSTERS THAT DO NOT DESERVE TO BE IN YOUR LIFE
It is harder to let go of all our own insecurities. They are the demons that keep us awake at night. The best thing is to let them all go. Forever.
LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE.
Mine and my cousin’s mantra. Live life to the fullest. Laugh until you cry and love as if you’ve never been heartbroken. Fully.
2017 was full of ups and downs, highs and lows. It was both my best and worst year. Some of the better times seem so long ago that I forget they did actually happen this year, whereas the latter lows seem in the foreground of my mind. It’s something I’m working on, but I know that not everything was shit this year, just the majority of the end of it. Here’s to 2018! The year of living life to the full once more and making it the best one yet.
What have you learned over the past year? What were your best times? It’s a funny thing to reflect but it is something we all do on a day to day basis.
Love, Faye xo