WOW can you believe its the end of 2017? I can’t. My last two years have flown by – they say that time flies when you’re having fun and so I must have been having a BLAST! Because I’ve definitely let things slide a bit here on The Girl With the Map Tattoo, I wanted to jump back in full speed ahead with a Year in Review post.
Those of you have been loyal readers for a long time (thank you!) know I’m pretty nomadic. Let’s be honest, how many of you thought my foray on a farm would last this long?! It’s been one hell of a year, from Wellington, New Zealand to Farm Country, USA and a lot of places in between. From Las Vegas to Miami, Boston to Chicago, I made my way around the US as I tackled my new venture head on.
my year in review
My year in review has to start with ringing in the New Year 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. As you may remember, Windy Welly is where I began my New Zealand adventure. When I was making my way north on my final road trip, it seemed the perfect place to celebrate the wild year that was my year+. I got the chance to see most of my old friends, venture down to my old haunts, and say a not quite goodbye to one of my favourite cities. (Not quite because I know I’ll go back!)
After road tripping north across the North Island and finally exploring Auckland’s Waiheke Islands, I said a teary goodbye to New Zealand in search of new adventures. I found them – in droves – in Australia.
Did you miss my 2016 year in review? Check it out here!
I criss crossed Aussie, from Melbourne to Cairns to Sydney and back. To Perth, or just another end of the road. I drove thousands of kilometres there too. In Melbourne I met up with old friends and made some new ones. I went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and flew over the Whitsundays. I touched the Sydney Opera House with my bare hands and swam in mermaid pools along the Sapphire Coast. Perth gave me more old friends and their new baby, plus new friends and random “we know the same people” moments.
And once again, I left in search of new adventures. Indonesia brought them to me on a silver platter. Salsa dancing til two am, running through the rain, listening to the calming sounds of Hindu prayer, feeling the wind in my hair as I rode on a scooter for the first time. Singapore too brought new experiences, like tasting the real Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel and dancing the night away at the famous Marina Bay Sands Ce La Vie bar. In Malaysia I sought out UNESCO World Heritage street art in Georgetown, Penang. And in Nepal I took the local bus to Bahktapur, a World Heritage Site. The chaos of Kathmandu was a far cry from the other places I’d been – and where I’d go – but I loved it. A week wasn’t enough.
I spent a few days in Dubai, mainly staying indoors as much as possible! A week later, I – finally – visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and explored the narrow winding streets of Prague.
My trip, my year+, finally ended in Keflavik, Iceland but my year was far from over. Somewhere along the way, I can’t remember where I was, I signed the official paperwork to be a mentee with my new host agency, Largay Travel. Believe me, signing on that dotted line was both exciting and scary.
On my last night abroad, in May 2017, I walked the quiet, cold streets of Keflavik. It was snowing, barely, and the sun was still visible behind the grey clouds despite the late hour. I had no destination in mind, just walking, reflecting on my time away. After nearly 19 months abroad, returning home was terrifying. Things picked up speed while I was away, with the presidential election taking centre stage in world news. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t looked for ways to stay out of the US. But I was also tired of being on the move so much.
a new slate
Upon my return, I moved into an old farmhouse. I set up a desk, arranged my knickknacks from travel around my new space. While I shared the space with family at times, it was also quiet and at times boring. Especially compared with my old life, living in a remote place seemed the best place to kickstart my new business. And I threw myself in head first. The mentee program took the majority of my time, and I relished it all.
Selling travel, any exciting adventure I am passionate about, seemed to me to be the best career. In Las Vegas, over my birthday week, I met with hundreds of my new supplier partners and new “colleagues.” During a week-long professional training course in Sunny Isles, Florida, I connected with fifteen other fearless females who are new to my industry. And I made the most of being in the US, jetting to old and new friends from Boston to Chicago. Of course, I made sure to meet with hotel partners in those cities, and as such as confirm that I know all the best places to stay in both cities!
looking ahead to 2018
It’s already January 2018, and so obviously this post took me quite some time to write. I have a long list of things to accomplish this year. First and foremost, of course, is my business. My goal is to build my business client base. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, please do. As the sole travel advisor and owner of Paper, Ink, & Passports Travel, I create one of a kind itineraries in remote destinations. I am (this should be no surprise!) a New Zealand Gold Specialist and a Scotland Travel Specialist. If you know of anyone interested in a trip, send them my information!
My second goal for this year is to finish my New Zealand magazine. While it’s a compilation of my blog posts from the 14 months I spent there, I’m also hoping to write some fresh content. Once it’s published, I’ll let you know how to get a copy!
Finally, personally, my goal is to get back into my yoga practise. Along with other members of my host agency, we have been goal setting for this year. By writing these down, I hope to hold myself accountable!
So, this is my 2017 in review. Cheers to everyone who was a part of it, whether you were with me at 12:01 on the first day of the year or ringing in 2018 with me just the other day. Two years ago, someone told me it wasn’t about the journey but about the people I met along the way. Thanks for being part of my journey this year and I hope to see you in 2018!
xo, The Girl With the Map Tattoo