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My 2019 New Year’s Resolutions, Travel Plans and Life Goals

 

 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely festive break and overindulged on all the turkey and mince pies? I’ll be disappointed if you didn’t! 😉 As we welcome January (I am SO glad to see the back of 2018) I’m kick-starting my year with some traditional new year’s resolutions. Ok ok, I know they’re overrated and we’re all sick of the ‘new year, new me’ Facebook statuses, but I actually LOVE this time of year and always relish taking time to make plans for a new year, and a new start. If you read my 2018 end of year round up you’ll know that I pretty much aced my resolutions from last year, if I must say so myself, and I’m now ready to take on a new challenge and to make some new life/travel plans. So without further ado, here are my goals and resolutions for this year, and what I want to gain from 2019…

 

Go Veggie for the whole of January

 

 

This is gonna be a HUGE challenge for me and something which I’m not sure I’m going to be able to but I want to push myself and I’m going to give it a real good go!! I’ve been thinking about trying to be vegetarian for a little while now, and a few friends at work have convinced me that it would be great for my health, so I thought January would be a good a time as any to trial it for a month and give it a go! It’s been four days already so far and I’m not missing meat at all. I’ve been quite creative with my cooking (well, my mum has also helped cos I get home from work late!) and I’m enjoying trying new foods and flavours. I haven’t eaten out yet this month but I have a few meals planned over the coming weeks so I’ll see if I can resist allll the burgers and steaks that will try to tempt me… but so far, so good!

 

Read 2-3 books a month

 

 

I was good at this last year despite not making it a resolution, so I thought I would try it again this year and give myself a goal of reading 2-3 books a month. I absolutely LOVE to read and it’s the only time of the day I allow myself to indulge and just sit in bed and turn the pages. I love escaping the real world for a bit in order to immerse myself in a story, and last year I managed to read 15 books so thought I’d try to beat that this year. I’ve already read The Light Between Oceans so far and I have The Tattooist of Auschwitz next on my list, plus plenty of others downloaded and ready to go in my Kindle, so I’m fairly set for the next few months and can’t wait to read more throughout the year.

 

Visit 7 countries

 

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Don't mind me, just posing in front of expensive boats like it's the most normal thing in the world 🙋 I'm currently writing up my #travel guide to #Kotor and can't wait to share it with you all! This pretty city is fast becoming the new go-to place for a European break in 2018, and with cute cobbled streets, an ancient old town and a glamorous waterfront like this, it's not hard to see why! 😍 I LOVED my time in #Montenegro when I visited as part of my recent #cruise and am already planning a return trip to explore more of this gorgeous country 🌍 Have you ever been to Kotor before? On this miserable windy day in England, I know where I'd rather be rn ✈️ #TBT #VisitKotor #VisitMontenegro #MarellaCruises #GoMontenegro #Insta_Montenegro #MontenegroWildBeauty #KotorMontenegro #KotorBay #CruiseLife #Europe #TravelGuide #TUI #ThrowbackThursday

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Last year I set myself a goal of visiting at least 5 countries and I actually managed to visit NINE! I went inter-railing and then on a multi-stop cruise so it was fairly easy for me to visit lots of countries in just a couple of trips, but I might find this year a little harder as I think I’ll be travelling a little differently. So far my confirmed trips are a week in Spain in May visiting Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, a few nights in Scotland visiting Fort William and Glencoe as I climb Ben Nevis (!!), and a week in Italy in June visiting Verona, Lake Garda and Trentino. I’ve got a huge trip lined up before that but I can’t say what it is yet… watch this space for more news on that though! And later on in the year I’m hoping to do a trip around the Baltics and take in Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius and Helsinki all in one go, as well as do my first ever European Christmas Markets break, but we shall see what my bank account looks like after the summer! I don’t think 7 countries is unrealistic given that I already have a few trips lined up, and another inter-railing trip which means I can tick off lots in one go. Last year was the first year in two years I didn’t travel as much as I would have liked to, and yet I still ended up visiting a whopping nine countries so I am confident I can tick off at least 7 this year and am sooo excited for all my upcoming travel plans!

 

Take a leap of faith

 

 

So I know this is kinda vague and can apply to anything within life, but this year I really want to push myself out my comfort zone and do things that scare me. It might not be as drastic as jumping out a plane or booking a one way ticked to anywhere, but as I turn 26 I’m starting to realise that I want a couple more selfish years before I start to think about meeting someone and settling down with a house and kids. Don’t get me wrong, this is all I have ever wanted from life, but at the same time I have relished spending my 20s being selfish and putting myself first, as well as travelling to 25 countries and pushing myself to my limits. This year I already know what my leap of faith will be, even though I can’t share it with you guys yet, and I’m more than ready to ensure that 2019 becomes one of my best ever chapters. I promise to share my news with you soon, but after playing it fairly safe in 2017 and 2018, I think this will be the year that I truly ‘find myself’ and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it! I promise to share news with you as soon as I can!

 

Reach 10,000 social media followers

 

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#2018bestnine There's a brand new post on the blog today and it's all about my 2018 End of Year Review 🌟 This post sums up my highlights, lowlights and everything in between that has happened over the past 12 months. There's been ups and downs and what's ifs and maybes. There's been good times and bad times. There's been times when I've been so low I've not known what to do and there's been times when I've felt truly happy. 💖 2018 brought us the World Cup, a heatwave, 2 Royal Weddings & it marked 100 years since the Armistice, but it's also brought us GDPR, the Gatwick Drone and turmoil over Brexit. 😩 On a personal level, I experienced loss and grief when my dog and my grandad passed away. I've been told my job was being made redundant and I've ended up in hospital twice. I've watched my nan, dad and best friend battle serious health conditions and at times I've struggled with my own illness. 💔 But despite all of this, I've still continued to push myself and be the best person I can be. I've visited 9 countries on 4 different holidays, I've climbed Mount Snowdon and helped to raise over £25,000 for charity, my blog had its own stand at the biggest travel conference in the world, I've knuckled down and saved £10,000 in the bank so that I can try and buy a house soon, I've made countless memories with people I love and I feel blessed every time I wake up ✨ So whatever has happened in 2018, I hope you've had an enjoyable year. I'm completely ready for a new chapter in my life and am already putting plans in place to make next year my best year yet! 🌟 2019 I'm ready for youuu 💃

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You might remember that I set myself the same challenge this time last year, but unfortunately I was unsuccessful so I am giving it another go in 2019! 10,000 followers is an ENORMOUS number, and was probably a bit ambitious last year, but I’m on over 8600 in total across all platforms now, so I don’t think it’s unrealistic to gain another few thousand over the next 12 months! I’ve kind of fallen out of love with Instagram now to be honest so I’m not going to be wasting much of my time growing my followers on there, but I definitely want to focus on Facebook and Twitter as I get a lot of engagement and traffic from these two. It’s really interesting to know where your traffic is coming from, so that you can focus your energies on growing platforms that benefit you and your blog, so this is something I am going to pay close attention to throughout 2019!

 

Make time to meditate

 

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*NEW BLOG POST* ((Link in bio)) I feel like every single person right now is leaving their jobs to become full time content creators/bloggers/freelancers. It's been just over 2 years since I made that same decision to quit my job & work full time as a freelance travel blogger. I had an amazing year working for myself with plenty of ups including flexible working hours, no annual leave restrictions, press trips and new clients/collaboration projects but there were inevitably lots of downs & it just didn't make me happy. I was incredibly lonely, I missed working in an office alongside colleagues, and I struggled with the inconsistent workload and lack of constant wages coming in. After a year I ended up at a new 9-5 job (this time in the travel industry to satisfy my wanderlust) which I needed in order to bring some routine back into my life. In this new blog post I'll be showing the good, the bad and the ugly sides of freelance life and that there's much more to it than just press trips and Instagram posts! If you've ever considered going freelance, or if you are currently working for yourself and wondering how our experiences might compare, then this post is for you! ✨#wordpress #newpost #bloglife #freelancer #bloggers

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I tried doing this last year and I did enjoy it but I sometimes found I didn’t have enough time to sit down and meditate properly so I got a bit bored and just gave up. My sister is really good at this though so I’m going to try and take a leaf out of her book and make time to meditate, even if it’s only once a week. The last app I tried was Headspace but I found it a bit repetitive, so I may give Calm a go this year and see how I feel. The main reason for wanting to meditate is mainly just to give myself time to switch off before bed – I am the worst person for falling asleep with my phone in my hand or scrolling on Facebook just before I go to bed, so I am going to make a conscious effort to minimise my screen time during the evenings and I think meditation will really help me with this.

I’m trying not to set myself too many goals this year as I don’t want to overwhelm myself and set challenges that aren’t realistic, but I think these resolutions are all achievable and will all enhance my life during 2019. I think the hardest one to complete will be going Veggie for a month as I’ve eaten meat all my life, but I want to do it for health reasons and to see how I get on. 2019 will mark 5 years since Journeys with Jessica was launched, so I’m definitely going to have a celebration by the time the anniversary rolls around in May and I can’t wait to share with you all the fab new content I have planned for my blog this year. As well as the travel plans I have mentioned above, I’m also making a conscious effort to explore more of the UK this year and to take more day trips. Plus I’ve already booked tickets to loads of concerts including Westlife, Robbie Williams and the Spice Girls – I am SUCH a 90s kid!! – so will be having plenty of UK day trips too. What are your travel plans for 2019? Do you make resolutions and stick to them? I’d love to hear how you plan to spend your 2019.

Happy New Year everyone!

Love Jess x

 

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January Newsletter!

Hello and welcome to my first newsletter of 2016!

I have soooo much news to share with you all, so this jam packed edition of my monthly newsletter will give a round up of my oh-so-busy January! It’s been a crazy month and it seems like its dragged on FOREVER but I’ve squeezed an awful lot in to the past five weeks! Without further ado here it is, are you ready?…

I MADE MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!

I kick-started my 2016 with a positively inspiring challenge which is the motivation that’s going to see me through these dull winter months! I’ve tasked myself with visiting 25 countries before I’ve reached the ripe old age of 25! Find out how I’m going to achieve it here

I’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR MY FIRST EVER AWARDS COMPETITION!

So on 4th January I entered my little blog into its first EVER awards competition, UK Blog Awards 2016, and I’m delighted to announce that, after over 70,000 votes across 18 different categories, I’ve been shortlisted as a FINALIST in the travel category!! You can read more about my big announcement here… I’m still so thrilled and can’t quite believe it, a big THANK YOU to all who took the time to vote for me, it means everything! <3

I CELEBRATED MY BIRTHDAY!

#birthday #lastnight #vip #oxford #nightout 👯🎉🍸🎊

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I turned 23 on the 16th and spent the day with family followed by an evening of celebrations with my closest friends in my home city of Oxford! We headed to the fantastic Varsity Club for cocktails and then onto one of the city’s biggest clubs for a VIP experience in a private booth! A fantastic night was had by all and we rolled in at 5am so our heads were a little sore the next morning day/night/week! A big THANK YOU to everyone who celebrated with me. <3

I WORKED ON MY FIRST SPONSORED POST!

This month I was given the opportunity to review a fantastic new guidebook for Disneyland California and I relished working on my first ever sponsored post! Read my write up on this fantastic guidebook here – thanks go to Amazon and Independent Guides!

I GOT PAID FOR MY FIRST EVER FREELANCING JOBS!

I’ve recently started writing for US based company www.abnsave.com and recently received my FIRST paycheck for my FIRST lot of freelance work! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing for ABN over the past few months and can’t wait to expand my portfolio. Here’s to many more paychecks!

I WATCHED LES MISERABLES IN LONDON’S WEST END!

What a show! Literally had goosebumps the WHOLE way through! Incredible. 😱🇬🇧🎭👏

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I had an AMAZING time watching the fantastic Les Miserables musical in London recently – it was definitely an experience to tick off the bucket list! The show, which is now in its 30th anniversary celebrations, was incredible from start to finish- everything from the lighting to the music to the cast was out of this world! I could watch Les Mis over and over again I never tire of its fantastic score and mesmerising scenes – I was left feeling very emotional that’s for sure!

So that completes my January round up- told you I’ve been busy! Stay tuned for some big news coming up in February… I’ll reveal all soon I promise!

Love Jess x

New Years Resolutions! 25:25

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Hi everyone,

So I’m a bit late to the party with this but I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about what I want from 2016, and my travel plans are well and truly underway which fills me with lots of excitement!! I recently had a meeting with a fantastic consultant at STA Travel who really helped me understand what it is I want from my upcoming career break/gap year/I-need-to-escape year! And so, I’ve set myself an almighty challenge…

*NEWSFLASH!* I’ve decided that I want to have visited 25 countries before my 25th birthday… big statement I know! That’s where the 25:25 plan comes in and now, at the turn of the year, seems like the perfect opportunity to put things into practice! I’ve always said that 2016 was going to be my year and I’m determined to make it more amazing than ever!

To more experienced travellers I guess this doesn’t really seem like a massive deal, I bet you’ve all travelled across plenty of countries, and continents, exploring hundreds of cities and ticking off numerous famous landmarks! To me, however, this personal goal is huge and is somewhat of a life changing moment in my short 22 years on this beautiful planet! I’ve worked since the age of 16, been in full time employment since the age of 18, and never really had the chance to fully explore and take exotic vacations like other travellers.

At school and growing up we went on family holidays to Cornwall and different places around the UK and, if we were lucky, we also got the chance to enjoy package holidays to the nearby Spanish islands! My childhood has been amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing, but I feel like now is the time to start altering certain aspects of my life- and travel plays a HUGE part in that!

 

Now is the time for change though, and I’m fully embracing it! I’ve decided to focus on Europe; I’d like to inter-rail across the continent and trek across 10 countries in the hope that I can see as many cities as possible. If you’re an avid reader of this blog you’ll know by now that European city breaks are my FAVOURITE type of vacation! I’m looking at hitting France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria to name but a few. I’m also hoping to end up in Sweden to attend the fantastic TBEX conference in Stockholm with lots of fellow bloggers! But my plans are always changing, so we’ll see about that…

At the other end of the spectrum I’m also hoping to take on a road trip across the East Coast of the USA… I’ve never been to America before and there’s so much to see and do that I’m just dying to explore!

I will of course keep you updated with my travel plans once everything is firmed up… where’s the most exciting place you’re travelling to in 2016? I’d love to hear your itineraries!

Love Jess x

PS. Don’t forget to VOTE for me in the UK Blog Awards 2016 under the TRAVEL section! You can keep voting until 25th Jan yay!

UKblogawardsvotenow

 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Top 15 InstaTravel Moments of 2015!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

I hope you all had fun partying last night.. I know I did! I thought I’d kick-start the day/year/month with a round up of my Top 15 InstaTravel Moments of 2015! This has been my first EVER year of using Instagram and it has fast become my favourite social media platform! So here are my top moments of the past 12 months…

JANUARY

Spending my birthday in London with an epic walking tour across the city with one of my best friends! We walked from Kensington to Tower Bridge and took in all the major landmarks- what a way to start the year!

FEBRUARY/MARCH

Taking in the beautiful sights of Prague by climbing to the top of the Old Astronomy Tower! This was my first city break of the year with my sister and what a trip we had!

APRIL

Myself and my sisters purchased season tickets for our family to the beautiful Blenheim Palace which is just down the road from us! We’ve had so many lovely days out at this place!

MAY

For my nans 80th birthday celebrations we headed for a family weekend away in the nearby Cotswolds. We had a wonderful weekend and the weather was just perfect!

JUNE

I had a fantastic day out to Royal Ascot this month along with my sisters, cousin, mum and aunty. We got all dressed up, bet on lots of horses and even saw the Queen!

I also headed to London at the end of June for a fantastic day out at Hyde Park’s annual British Summertime Festival. Myself and my close friend had great fun watching Kylie in concert who was incredible live!

We have had the besstttt dayyy!! Roll on next year wooo 😁🎉🐴👑 #ascot #races #family #love #girls #dayout #weloveascot #wesawqueenie

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JULY

This month brought our annual family holiday and we headed down to Cornwall to spend a week in our own holiday cottage right in the heart of lively St Ives. The weather was fantastic ALL WEEK and we had the best time with each other making lots of memories and revisiting places from our childhood!

AUGUST

August Bank Holiday weekend brought a fantastic day out filled with music, fun and laughter! I took my sisters to their first ever festival, Fusion Festival near Birmingham, and we had a brilliant day out seeing lots of top artists perform- the highlight was McBusted who were amazing!

SEPTEMBER

This month it was time for my second city break of the year so my sister and I flew to Budapest for a long weekend of sightseeing. We both fell in love with the city; it was beautiful and we had the best time away!

OCTOBER

This month was super busy for me but my highlight was a personal achievement which saw me run a 5k charity fun run for The Pituitary Foundation. I raised over £300 on my Just Giving page and beat my personal best! I had a fantastic day and was so proud of myself. A big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to this fantastic charity who have supported my since my prolactinoma diagnosis in 2011.

NOVEMBER

I had a jam-packed November but my highlight was getting my first EVER paid job as a freelance travel writer! I was absolutely over the moon and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet- hopefully I’ll take on more roles which will allow me to become a freelance writer full time!

DECEMBER

The last month of the year was kick-started with a magical trip to the beautiful Disneyland Paris! I went with two of my closest friends for a pre-Christmas treat and we had the most amazing time, it really was beautiful and certainly got us in the festive mood!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my whistle-stop recap of my InstaTravel highlights from 2015! I’d love to hear what your favourite was? I just can’t pick one!

Wishing you every happiness for 2016!

Love Jess x

December Newsletter – End of year round up!

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Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year again! I can’t believe we are now at the end of 2015… IT IS CRAAZYY! I have had a fantastic year and been to some beautiful places so am excited to start planning my 2016 over the next few months! I’ll be combining this newsletter with my end of year review but I’ll start with December and it’s been a cracker of a month.. here’s what I got up to…

I went to DISNEYLAND!

I had the most MAGICAL time at my favourite place on earth a couple of weeks ago. Me and two of my best friends booked a last minute, Christmassy trip to our happy place and we never wanted to leave! Read my trip highlights for photos, reviews and tips a plenty.. I dare you not to be filled with Disney wanderlust!

I finished my content writing internship!

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If you saw last month’s newsletter you’ll know that I recently took part in a month long internship for Freedom2Explore. I’ve now finished the internship and got a great LinkedIn Recommendation from my point of contact over at the company. I’m hoping the invaluable experience I gained whilst carrying out the internship will open other doors for me and will enable me to take my first steps into the world of travel/content writing when the time comes. A HUGE thank you to Becky & Jonathan for having me!

I had my works Christmas do!

Works Christmas parttyyyy 🎄🎅🎉👯

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For my annual works Xmas do we dressed up and headed to the beautiful Eynsham Hall for a casino night. We were treated to a slap up three course meal, disco and casino experience and danced the night away! I’ve been to Eynsham Hall many times over the years and it’s such a gorgeous place- I even had my two school proms there! Here’s me glammed up not looking like my usual, plain-Jane self at alllll!

I published my first post for ShopperLottie.com

My first post for the fantastic Shopper Lottie magazine went live a few weeks ago and I was sooo proud to have ANOTHER piece of published work! My first post was all about London at Christmas, and it’s so beautiful you just HAVE to visit! Read on for some serious city inspo

ITS CHRIIIISSTTMMASSS!

This Christmas I spent some super quality time with my nearest and dearest, and I was able to really relax and enjoy myself at home with my family. We had such a lovely day playing games, exchanging presents and eating lots of yummy food! My family mean everything to me and have been there for me every step of the way, so I was thrilled to be able to share this special time of year with those who mean most to me! Ok that’s enough soppiness now… 😉

We're the three best friends that anybody could have…Merry Christmas everybodyyyy! 💖🎄🎅👯💖 #sisters #girls #love #christmas

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Overall I’ve had a fantastic 2015, filled with lots of fun and adventure, but also some personal health traumas and heartache along the way! If you’re an avid follower of my blog (I love you, thank you! If not, why aren’t you subscribed yet?) you’ll know that I recently hit a bit of a brick wall and have been struggling to feel content with my current situation so have decided to make this year the time for change!

I’m yet to decide what to do, I’m torn between interailing round Europe or road tripping across America for a few months… HELP! What do I do?! Your response to my recent Mid Life Crisis article was AMAZING! I was so overwhelmed with all your lovely comments, some from people I know in the travel blogging world, and some from complete strangers! THANK YOU!

I’m now looking forward to 2016 and the life changes I’m going to make to ensure I see as much of this world as I possibly can and I want to meet lots of shiny new people along the way! As ever, I’ll be posting regularly and will keep you all updated. I’ve also got some new blog features planned which I’ll be sharing with you into the new year and I want to say a massive THANK YOU again to each and everyone of you who have subscribed to this blog, liked me on Facebook or followed me on Twitter.. it means the absolute world and I can’t wait to reach out to even more of you in the coming months!

All that’s left for me to say now is… HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE! Wishing you love and happiness and the very best for 2016! Now where’s my glitzy party dress?!…

Love Jess x

#oxford #itsstillchristmas 👯🎄🎉🍸

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