Happy New Years Eve to all of you, wherever in the world you may currently be.
I am currently in Paris laying down because I ate too much escargot and I can’t stop eating everything in sight. I regret nothing though.
2018 was an incredible year for me. I won’t go through ALL the crazy shit necessarily because who really has time to read all of that today? Definitely not me and definitely not you nice people who probably have parties to get ready for or exes to reconcile with. (If you’re ONLY here for pictures - just click the links then, damn)
I began this busy year with my best friend Sherry and I welcoming 2018 in Abu Dhabi, amidst a 40-hr trek home from the Maldives. I’m one of those people that believe in how you start your new year will be how the rest of your year will go - so traveling? Yes. That was exactly how 2018 went for me.
The highlight of the year was actually not the crazy amount of traveling I did, it was that on February 26th, 2018: I finally got a permanent position at my workplace. I had been working on contract and up to that point there was really no definitive future for me and I was unsure what I would do after the contract was finished. But I got very lucky and I guess I must have done a good job because I was BLESSED with a permanent full-time position with ALL them benefits and ALL those yearly vacation days. I finally got stability and that really gave me a green light to pursue more travel than I had initially anticipated in 2018.
In April I finally got my return to Jamaica. I hadn’t been there since 2010 and being able to go back eight years after for carnival with my two best friends also there was amazing. Carnival in Jamaica was a good way to fill some of the tabanca I had from Cropover 2017. The main picture I used for this piece was actually taken on a yacht in Kingston, Jamaica while there for carnival. The flex was necessary.
At the end of May I surprisingly had put out what ended up being one of the most popular pieces ever on my blog. A breakdown of all the food festivals for summer 2018 in Toronto was put up on May 22nd and by like May 25th over 5,000 people had read it. I had never seen such traffic for my site. There was definitely some pieces that had been popular over time, but instantly? No. I hadn’t experienced such a frenzy before and I am truly grateful for it. Not only did it bring more readers to my page, it also contributed to others planning dates and potentially getting fatter as well. Great success on this end.
During June a group of friends and I made the trip out to Philadelphia for Roots Picnic. This would not be the only road trip for the year for me into America, because a month later my boyfriend Mark and I trekked over to Detroit to watch Liverpool vs. Manchester United play at the Big House. Both were amazing trips, with amazing people and they involved lots of naps.
For Labour Day weekend Mark and I went to Cancun on a quick little baecation. It was really nice to finally travel with him somewhere outside of America/Canada and take in a brand new country for both of us. Also, this ended up being country #30 for me so it was a momentous occasion all around.
An awesome non-travel-related thing did happen in September as well. I got to see my favourite soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic score his 500th career goal vs TFC in Toronto. He’s so damn fine. Hmph.
The following holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) in October my best friend Lorren and I went to see Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. This fulfilled one of my personal goals as I wanted to surpass the # of countries vs my age since I never got to 30 by 30, at least now I had gotten to 32 by 32!
Shortly after returning from this trip Sherry’s sister got married and I got to go to a super fun wedding. The reason THIS wedding was especially fun was that after it ended …. we crashed the wedding party next door to it so we could keep dancing. I officially became a fucking wedding crasher. BOOYAH.
I laid low for most of October and November because I had this gargantuan trip coming up that I’m currently on. At one point I worked six weeks straight Monday to Sunday so nothing of particular excitement happened except for sleep deprivation and money making.
There was some amazing milestones during this time that happened for my blog though. First I had posted this free downloadable Excel spreadsheet to help people plan their finances for savings or for travel. I created the spreadsheet a while ago and this was how I planned all my trips so I figured other people would have use of it as well. I sure was right because that ended up being another super busy couple of days on my site. Furthermore, I dropped this GEM on my site for those people planning group travel. It was a checklist (partially joke/partially completely true) for them to go through before considering traveling with someone they knew OR didn’t know so well. Now THIS piece? That took off like me when I hear ‘dinner is served’ at a party. Everyone could relate to this blog post because it didn’t matter which country you were from, how old you were etc. You knew the exact types of people I talked about in it. Finally, all of these posts contributed to a momentous moment for the blog - the day I hit $1000 worth of earnings via advertising. That was a huge success for me because I had just begun monetizing earlier in the year and earning that much in the first year was insane to me. Some days I would earn $0.50 but then there was days where it was suddenly $77.00 as well.
I will forever be grateful to all of you who read, RT’d, passed along or recommended the blog in some way. Without you there’s no way I would have made a cent off of this in 2018.
On the topic of being grateful, I turned 32 on December 16th. My best friends Sherry, Lorren and Jummy threw me an awesome party in a hotel room which was followed by another awesome party in a night club. Oh, and the day after? I got to go to a Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions game for free, in a limo, because my blog followers are amazing. You can read about that crazy ass weekend here.
This brings us to the trip I am on currently. Back in April of 2018 I had this idea to try and do eight countries in twelve days for under $2000. Why eight? Well I’m greedy. I knew I would hit 32 countries by the time I was in Colombia so why not try for 40? As I sit here in France I am at 35 and in the next six days I will be in five other countries that will get me to 40. Crazy right?
There will obviously be individual recaps of all these places I visited during these crazy 12 days but I just wanted to tell you all quickly about an incident during this trip that definitely ended my 2018 on a super high note. During a gondola ride in Switzerland I got into chatting with a family from North Carolina about their trip and they had asked about mine. As I went to mention I had a blog and why I was doing this trip, the mother in the family stopped me and said, ‘You’re the impatient tourist! I’ve been to your blog.’ Holy shit. This really happened. I’m there, on one of the bajilion gondola rides in Switzerland, with a family from frigging North Carolina and this woman had been to my blog. I can’t describe how I felt at the moment because it’s something I never saw coming. I debate regularly if I should call myself a travel blogger because I’m not famous nor am I successful, I’m a person who blogs about travel…. not a travel blogger. But in THAT moment? I felt pretty damn amazing. So if you’re reading this FAMILY FROM NORTH CAROLINA - you made my year. You really did.
I could see how 2018 seemed to be filled with ALL good things from how I wrote all of this above, but there were down times. Those are sadly unavoidable. My best friend lost her father this year and I wanted to hug her forever to try and make the sadness from that go away. Also, some bitterness and anger I had from bullshit in 2017 really still lingered in my feelings. You’re not supposed to bring the resentment and anger from one year into another, but I had. I actually had brought it from 2017 all the way to December 2018. It took me a full year to realize some conversations were never going to happen and that I have to do a better job at letting shit go. So I did. I will not be entering 2019 with nonsense from 2017, and I can truly say I only have otherwise amazing things from 2018 to take into 2019 with me - HAPPILY.
I hope all of you have a safe and super fun new years eve. I hope that whatever you wanted to accomplish in 2018 got done and if it didn’t, so what? Keep working hard and it could happen in 2019.
Thank you for reading the blog. i will try to continue and put out inappropriate content that sometimes makes no sense amidst some kick ass itineraries. Also, I will be back to doing personalized itineraries on January 7th when I’m back from this vacation.
I’m going to go take a nap before partying it up in the center of Paris tonight. I am wishing all of you the super duperest of happy new years!