A belated Happy New Year to you all. This year marks eleven years of blogging, expat living and independent travel for little old me! I meant to write this blog post last year to mark ten years of travel and blogging, but whoops I had a bit of a blogging hiatus. So I’m writing it now. Here we go…
2017 (I can’t believe it is 2017!) marks eleven years since I first started travelling independently, living overseas and blogging about it. I can hardly believe it’s been eleven years since I graduated university, worked briefly at a boring job for an energy company, then started a life that has been filled with travel ever since.
That’s not to say I hadn’t left the country before I was 21. Quite the opposite. I was very lucky to grow up taking great vacations overseas with my family. We went to places like Hong Kong, Tunisia and the US as well as places closer to home in Europe and the British Isles. I’d even taken trips overseas with friends as a teenager. But 2006 was when travel became more than just a vacation. By living and working overseas, it basically became my life. It started me on a career path (after enjoying ESL teaching I retrained as a primary school teacher- though I’m on a break from that now) and it even resulted in me meeting my husband (on my first day in Korea in 2006!).
Eleven Years of Blogging
I first started a blog before everyone had Facebook. I wanted to keep family and friends updated on my adventures and one blog post was easier than lots of emails. Plus it was fun. Of course, I haven’t been 100 per cent consistent with blogging. I’ve had three different blogs since 2006. I wish I’d kept up the first one- how fun would it be to look back on eleven years worth of posts? Maybe I’ll post some archives here sometime. But whenever I stop blogging, I always come back to it. As I said in my last post, I’m just going to do it for fun and not put any pressure on myself to blog if I don’t have time. Here’s to hoping this blog sticks around for a while.
I’ve spent half of the last eleven years living and working overseas (Korea, Venezuela, China and the US). Getting to live in another country is such an exciting experience and quite different to just passing through. You really get to learn so much more about the country, the people, their history and all the little quirks! I’ve always learned some of the language in each place too, with varying degrees of success and confidence. But my travel hasn’t been limited to expat life. I’ve taken plenty of trips in between and spent time backpacking too. I don’t really count countries but I know I’ve been to over 30.
When I went back to live in the UK for a few years, Justin, of course, came with me and we ended up getting married in London. As he was an expat there we still spent a lot of time travelling- exploring different cities across the UK and Europe as well as making the occasional transatlantic flight. When I was looking through old photos for this post I realised we’d taken soooo many trips and travelled to so many places each year- I couldn’t believe it! I feel so lucky to have done all of that. I truly feel that I have learned so much about history, the world and politics from travelling both abroad and at home.
I’d dreamed of working overseas or travelling long term since I was young. I can’t quite remember how this started. There certainly weren’t travel blogs (or even, errr, home access to the internet) when I first got the travel bug as a little kid but, living in the UK, it was not uncommon to know someone who had worked abroad or had a gap year. Reading the book Hideous Kinky at about age 12 or so definitely had an impact on me. I’m not sure if I’d read it the same way as an adult, but living as a poor hippy in Morroco sounded so fun and adventurous as a child. My family vacations obviously helped inspire my interest in travel too.
I can explain my love of blogging a little better. At age nine I received a journal for Christmas and it would become my travel diary on a trip we took just a few days later. I kept detailed notes of things I noticed- the laundry hanging from roof tops and the smells of the market. I kept a diary until my 20s and blogging was just a natural progression as the digital age happened.
I really can’t believe I’m celebrating eleven years of blogging and independent travel. I remember every trip so clearly and so many little random moments. From stepping off the plane in Caracas and catching my first glimpse of multi-coloured barrio houses, running across a busy pedestrian crossing under neon signs in South Korea feeling like I was in my favourite film (Lost in Translation), even what we ate in a welsh village in Patagonia. And those things are from 2006-7! Little travel details like the panda blanket in a hostel in Ecuador, the cool air of a mountain in Colombia or the feeling of walking through the hutong in Beijing, stick with me.
Now we have a two month old baby but it doesn’t mean we won’t be exploring or travelling anymore. I mean we couldn’t even just take a normal, relaxing “babymoon” to Palm Springs or something. We had to go on a two week road trip from southern California up to Canada and back. We don’t have any proper plans to go anywhere this year yet, although we are hoping to book a trip back to the UK to introduce baby to my family, but we will be sure to think of something soon. I do know people who travel with babies and young kids and it definitely seems like something that will be on the cards for us some day too. For now we’ll be content to “just” explore our local area of California with her. For now…
Where do you think we should go on our first trip with baby? We haven’t actually taken her out of Orange County yet but we will have to one day…
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