Well 2012 turned out to be quite a busy year! If my maths can be trusted, in 2012 40before30.com took me to 20 cities and 13 countries, of which 7 were completely new to me. These new places racked up my count to 35 countries visited and blogged in the last 3 years. I’m 28 now so am well set on my way to completing the 40 countries before I am 30 challenge.
2012 was also the year that I quit my job to pursue freelance projects – maintaining 3 websites and a voracious appetite for travel, as well as holding down a full time job, became too much. I had to make a tough choice and eventually opted to leave my (admittedly super) job as a Content and Social Media Team Leader to see if and where I could make it on my own.
In 2012 I was featured in my favourite weekly glossy Grazia Magazine (in both the UK and Australian editions) along with some of my favourite female bloggers and I flew to Genoa to run some workshops for bloggers who want to work better with brands. 2012 was also the year my home city hosted the Olympics, and although I had predicted otherwise, the whole sporting spectacle blew my socks off!
The highlights of the year, however, are the places I saw, the food I ate and the people I met. Here’s what happened in 2012:
Then it was time to get my first taste of the super stylish Danes at Wondercool Weekend in Copenhagen, followed swiftly by more stylish times at Toronto Fashion Week. Then I got a call from Hollywood and was all set for the fame and fortune – until it went horribly wrong!
April was the month I vowed to stay in the UK and catch my breath. Except I found myself signing up to a Bollywood Bootcamp in York and spent Easter getting breathless with military exercises. Then I undid all that good work by reviewing a sumptuous afternoon tea at One Whitehall Place! (Fail)
Continuing with my vow to stay at home I went to stay in a new hotel that has opened in the town I grew up in – Windsor. We toasted the Queen who was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.
In May work sent me on a trip of a lifetime to Australia’s Northern Territory where I spent a terrifying (for me) night sleeping in the Outback. It was time for another detox in June and where better place to do it than the Caribbean island of Grenada? After Grenada was Greece , a holiday which I had booked (shock/horror) as part of a package holiday for me and my boyfriend – and we loved every minute. We returned to London just in time for the Olympics, which he dragged me to against my wishes, and proved me wrong in everyway.
In August it was time for a beach holiday with the girls. We went to Ibiza for the first ever time and I spent €1500 in just 4 days (gulp!) But was it worth it?
Luck was on my side earlier in the year and I won a trip for 2 to Iceland in a contest on twitter. Me and the boy took this trip in September and the beauty of this country literally blew my mind. I made an amateur video to try and explain it. After Iceland I warmed up in El Gouna, a chic resort on the Red Sea in Egypt. At this stage I had announced my plans to quit my job and fly solo, so the boyfriend booked us a trip to Luxembourg to celebrate. (Spoilt aren’t I?!)
The freelance career began in October and so I spent most of it eating in Italy. I spoke at a conference in Genoa, then toured the Liguria region before finally heading to Milan for a few days to sample the shopping for my new site TravellingShopaholic.com.
In November I slotted in a quick trip to the beautiful beaches of Bermuda after the World Travel Market in London. Which brings us to December. So far I have been to Belfast to visit their Christmas Market and recently celebrated my anniversary at the St Pancras Renaissance – hands down the grandest, most opulent place I have ever stayed in. But that’s not all for I shall actually finish 2012 in Australia, Melbourne to be exact, the home city of my travel-loving boyfriend. After that it is off to Malaysia and Vietnam, swiftly followed by my first ever Blogathon (more on that soon!) in Barbados and my sisters wedding in Cuba in February 2013.
What else will 2013 bring? Who knows really? I never predicted 2012 would be as crazy/exceptional as it has but I feel ludicrously lucky that it was. As travel blogging goes from being my hobby to my priority I hope to bring much more content in 2013 but I also have a couple of plans up my sleeve to bring more travel to you, the Readers, too. Look out for details of the first ever 40before30 contest and some exciting new travel chats coming soon.
I’d also like to know more about you Readers. What inspires you to travel? Do you have any travel related new years resolutions? Your own challenges to complete before 30, 40, 50? I’d love to know how much we have in common. You can get in touch via the comment section below, twitter, facebook or email me at jayneytravels(at)gmail.com
Finally I would like to say thank you. Thank you all for following the journey so far and sharing your own with me. Have a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you next year.