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A Little Life Update: Why I Took a Break from Blogging

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all keeping safe and well in these strange and uncertain times. I started writing this blog post back in mid-March, but never got round to finishing it. It’s been a while since I last posted, and a lot in my life/the world has changed since then. I took an unintentional break from blogging at the start of the year, with my last blog post being published back in January, when I talked about my 2020 New Years Resolutions and travel plans for the year ahead. That seems like a lifetime ago now, and I can’t believe how much has happened in the past few months.

I took a break from blogging because, if I’m honest, I felt as though I had lost my way a little bit. After my last trip to Riga in December I hadn’t made any firm travel plans for 2020 apart from a weekend to Scotland in May to attempt to climb Ben Nevis (again!) and an overseas hen do for one of my best friends in June. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to travel, and how much I thrive off planning trips, booking weekends away and maximising my annual leave, but this year I felt really different. Even before Coronavirus became a global pandemic and started impacting the world, I wasn’t excited about travel this year, and I have no idea why. Last year was my biggest year of travel yet; I spent 6 weeks in Australia, visited Italy three times, spent a week in both Spain and Portugal and took weekend breaks to Scotland and Latvia. I had some of the best travel experiences of my life in 2019, yet when it came to planning my 2020 travels, I just couldn’t seem to get excited about booking any trips. I did get invited on a last minute press trip to Montenegro, which I was super excited about, but this understandably got cancelled due to Coronavirus and so my excitement was short lived!

 

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🚨 CORONAVIRUS 1 – my travel plans 0 🚨 Feeling very sad today guys… I was soooo excited to let you all know that, a few weeks ago, I got invited on my first press trip of 2020 which was amazing news at the time, but is now sadly not 😭 I was due to go to beautiful #Montenegro at the end of April with their amazing tourism board for 5 days of mountain hiking, cave walking and lake swimming around Perast, Budva, Kotor & Podgorica with a group of other bloggers, but unfortunately the trip has been delayed until further notice given the current global crisis we are all facing for the foreseeable future 🌎 In what is sad and scary times for all of us right now I'm trying to be positive and look forward to planning future trips when all of this is finally over, whether that be in 2020 or 2021 ✨ Luckily the trip has been postponed and not cancelled – a great way to help protect all of us in the travel industry at the moment – so I know I'll be in Montenegro sometime soon, I just have no idea when 😩 For now, here's a sunny picture of me exploring #Kotor on my last visit to this beautiful country back in 2018 🇲🇪 Stay safe everyone, let's get through this horrible time together ❤️ #wanderlustwednesday #visitmontenegro #montenegrowildbeauty #gomontenegro #imisstravelling

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I guess without any major travel plans to look forward to, and no other trips to write about, I didn’t really have anything to say on my little corner of the internet, so I took a blogging break which I thought would only last a few weeks, but instead has lasted nearly four months. This is mainly due to me still not having any travel related content to write about, but also of course due to Coronavirus itself. One of the main reasons I haven’t continued to write blog posts is because it doesn’t feel like the right time to be sharing travel content at the moment. How am I supposed to inspire my readers to get excited about travel when we can’t even leave the country?! I feel it would be insensitive for me to write about/encourage travel whilst we are in lockdown but, having said that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing old photos/posts and allowing people to day dream about future trips or reminisce about old ones. I’ve not done that myself yet as I’m still not even thinking about travel, but at some stage I may do.

At a time where Covid-19 is spreading across the world, killing thousands of people, dominating the news headlines and ruling almost every part of people’s lives, I knew it would eventually end up affecting my life too, but I didn’t realise just how much. For my day job, I work at a luxury travel firm in Oxfordshire and Coronavirus first had an impact on my daily life when we were asked to start working from home on 18th March. Adjusting to my new daily work from home life involved walking downstairs instead of driving for my morning commute, wearing a tracksuit instead of office wear and having daily lunchtime walks with my dog instead of with my colleagues!

 

 

On 1st April though I was officially furloughed from work and unable to continue my role at the company, a job which I love so much. I was initially quite sad, but after lots of support from HR, my wonderful manager and my fellow colleagues who had also been furloughed, I started to think differently. I am extremely lucky to be in a position to be furloughed; I will receive 80% of my wages despite not carrying out any work for the company at all, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to return to my role when all of this is over.

A couple of weeks down the line and I’m slowly adjusting to furlough life and everything that comes with it. I’ve read three books, started baking cakes, enjoyed my daily dog walks, started doing gym workouts from home 4 times a week and am trying to fill my days so I keep busy. I’m extremely thankful to have a lovely garden at home which I can enjoy every day, and I’m grateful for this lovely sunny weather we’ve been blessed with recently too! Mentally though I am finding things quite hard. Some days I’m totally fine and can keep busy, but other days I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not sleeping very well, I cry at everything (even more so than usual!), I’m really snappy and short tempered and am finding some days hard to keep positive. I guess it’s natural to feel this way with so much uncertainty in the world, I’m just scared that Covid-19 will affect me or my family physically, and I think that’s what I’m feeling anxious about.

 

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I hope you've had a lovely Easter weekend staying at home 🏡 Every time I walk past this gorgeous cottage I want to live there! Haven't been to this little village in #Oxfordshire since we went into lockdown 3 weeks ago, and I can't wait for the day when we are able to drive 10 mins to the next village/town to enjoy a long walk or a pub lunch rather than being confined to our back gardens for the foreseeable future ✨ This easter has been a little different – last year I had just got back from being in Australia – but when all of this is over, I'll look back and be so grateful that I have my family, my health, a lovely home & 2 pretty gardens to enjoy in the sunshine ☀️ Whatever happens over the next few weeks, we must continue to #stayhome ❤️ The world will be waiting for you to visit when we are able to, and the #Cotswolds certainly isn't going anywhere 🌎 . . . #happyeaster #uklockdown #minsterlovell #littleminster #lovethecotswolds #cotswoldstyle #thecotswolds #loveoxfordshire #weloveengland #visitbritain #instatravel #lovegreatbritain #capturingbritain #photosofbritain #loveengland #photosofengland #visitengland #thisisengland #igersengland #igersuk #igersoxfordshire #cotswoldslife #oxford #experienceoxfordshire #oxfordshire #countryside #oxfordshirelife #travelblogger

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I am trying to fill my days though and have things to do so that I can constantly keep busy during the daytime. Last week I enrolled on a course to get my TEFL certificate which will allow me to teach English as a foreign language online to children living abroad, something I can start doing once I’m qualified, and I can fit it around my job when I eventually go back to work too. I’ve always loved English and had been thinking about it for a while, but now I’ve finally got the course it’s given me something to focus on and I actually feel like I have some structure to my day now. I’ve also signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder, which I’m really excited about starting next week. I’m hoping to deliver shopping and prescriptions to people who are self isolating and to offer a friendly telephone service to those who are feeling a bit lonely and who want someone to chat to. I was recently in the Daily Mail after a whopping 750,000 people signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder too, and I’m proud to be a part of this wonderful community who are ready to help others during these difficult times.

I guess you could say that I’m feeling a bit more positive now. I haven’t really got my travel motivation back, and I don’t think I will until all of this is over and we are able to travel freely again. I think this will take at least 6 months or possibly even longer as I really can’t see us being able to travel again until autumn at the earliest. Eventually I will look forward to planning new trips but, honestly, the first thing I want to do when the UK lockdown ends is spend time exploring my own country. I want to go to Suffolk to visit my nan and cousins, aunties and uncles who I haven’t seen in ages. I want to go to Liverpool to see my cousin Amy who was supposed to get married in May and I want to go and spend time with my nan, grandad, other cousins, aunties and uncles up there too.

 

 

I want to go to Cornwall, the place I have holidayed almost every year since I was born, so that I can be by the sea. I want to go to York to see my friend Rachel who I was supposed to stay with in Scarborough during the May bank holiday. I want to go to Brighton to see my best friend Emily who I was supposed to be seeing this weekend. I also want to just be able to pop into Oxford and go shopping or eat dinner with my friends from home. I miss all of those things, and all of those people, so very much. So before I can even think about leaving the country and planning things abroad, I want to stay right here first!

I’m hopeful that, when all of this is over, I’ll look back and say I didn’t spend 3 months off work moping about and not achieving anything. I’d like to complete my TEFL course, do lots of volunteering for the NHS, continue my new exercise regime and stay healthy. I guess the reason I am writing this blog post now is to have a sort of diary entry to look back on in a few weeks/months time. None of us know what the future holds, but I’m going to try and be grateful for each day and to remember how fortunate I am to be in this position.

So, why am I writing a blog post now I hear you ask? After all this time? Well, the date has something to do with it too. This time last year I had just flown back from Australia, where I had the biggest and best adventure of my life so far. Fast forward 12 months and, not only has my life changed significantly, the world around me has too. That’s a lot to take in, and a lot to think about, so my way of dealing with it is to reflect and look back at all the amazing things I have done, and tp start looking forward to future, happier times too, when all of this is over.

Look after yourselves, and remember, we WILL meet again.

Love Jess x

 

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January Newsletter

 

So the first month of 2017 is officially OVER! Is it just me or did January seem to be a really longggggg month?! I’m not complaining, I love it when the month seems long, five weeks is quite a long time and I hate it when time goes too quick. January is one of my favourite months of the year, not just because a new year brings new beginnings, but also because it’s my birthday month too and I love any excuse for a celebration! Here’s what I got up to in January…

 

I started 2017 off the right way by being on holiday in Cornwall

 

First day of 2017 spent at the beach with my sisters 💖 #family #love #Cornwall #stives #happynewyear

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Starting as I mean to go on… spending the first day of 2017 on the beach was amazing and I think it’s a good omen of things to come this year! Hopefully the next time I’m at the beach it won’t be quite as cold as the one down in Cornwall, but I loved being by the ocean and feeling the wind in my hair. We had such a brilliant time celebrating new years eve down in Cornwall and spending the first couple of days of 2017 there was really special too.

 

I popped to London for a little day trip

 

 

A couple of days after I got back from Cornwall I hopped on the coach to London for the day for a bit of post Christmas shopping. I was meeting my lovely friend Amy who was over from Australia, I met her on my Contiki tour last summer and we have remained firm friends ever since! We had a lovely day shopping, lunching and sightseeing and London was looking beautiful in the cold, frosty weather – I already can’t wait to go back in a couple of months!

 

I got myself a part time job

 

So if you read my New Years Resolutions post you’ll know that one of my aims for this year was to get a part time job and, guess what, I got it in the first week of Jan! It’s only a few hours a week at a local retail store, but I have the option to take on overtime and they’re really flexible so I can work as little or as much as I want as well as running it alongside my freelance business! I’m really pleased to have got the opportunity to start earning a bit of extra cash as well as making new friends and gaining new skills.

I celebrated my 24th birthday

 

 

I love having my birthday in January as it gives me something to look forward to just after Christmas! I always make a big deal out of celebrating my birthday every single year, no matter how old I am, and this year was no exception. A few days before my birthday I had gone out for drinks in town and I went out to Oxford a few days afterwards as well to celebrate properly. On the day itself I had a wonderful day spending time with two of my closest friends, I had lunch with Kath and cake with Tiff (and cuddles with baby Esmee!) before having dinner and quiz night with two of my other besties, Steph and Kirsty. Thanks girls for making my day so amazing <3

 

I ran a Twitter poll to let YOU decide my next adventure!

And we have a winner! See you soon Copenhagen 🌎✈️ #travel #twitterpoll #citybreak #nextdestination

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So this is something I had never done before and was a little nervous about but, when I couldn’t decide where to travel to for my next winter city break destination, I decided to run a Twitter poll and let my followers choose my next holiday! I’d narrowed it down to Copenhagen, Riga, Vienna and Tallinn and had been thinking it over for days but couldn’t decide between them all, so that’s where you lot came in! My poll proved quite popular and got lots of people talking and, in the end, Copenhagen came out on top so that’s where I’m off to next! Thank you to everyone who voted and made me decision for me, can’t wait to share my trip with you!

I firmed up some of my upcoming travel plans

 

 

After Copenhagen was chosen by you as my next city break destination I thought I ought to get booking and firm up my trip before I missed out on all the deals. January seems to be a really good month for booking travel plans, especially if you’re looking for cheap flights, and I snapped up a bargain with return flights from London Luton to Copenhagen for just £50pp. I also booked a holiday to Tenerife with my sisters and will be staying in Playa de las Americas for a whole week at the end of May – I am SO excited for some sun and a proper beach as this will be my first beach holiday in three years! These are the only two trips I have confirmed as of yet for this year, but we are still only in January and I have plenty more adventures lined up so watch this space…

I was really poorly

 

 

Sadly it hasn’t all been fun and games for me this month after I spent all of last week suffering from a horrible virus. I was sent home early from my shift at my part time job as had been feeling really dizzy all day; I had a bad headache, was experiencing terrible back pain and could barely stand up! I went straight to sleep for a few hours when I got home only to wake up feeling boiling hot and then subsequently started vomiting for 5 hours straight! I HATE being sick so this was my worst nightmare and it really took it out of me. My temperature was hitting over 38.5 degrees, I had a raging throat and I was waking up with horrendous night sweats. I didn’t leave my bed or eat anything for days and it took me ages to get over it but on day 6 I finally started to feel a little better and I’m now back to my normal self.

 

I spent the weekend in Liverpool celebrating my sisters 18th birthday

 

Because family is everything 💖 Happy 18th Soph! 💖 #Liverpool #family #birthday #love

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On a better note I have just returned from spending the weekend in Liverpool with my amazing family celebrating my sisters birthday – I can’t believe she’s 18! We had the best time seeing lots of family and enjoying each other’s company before having a big sit down meal at the Stanley Restaurant on the Albert Dock, part of the Titanic hotel complex. Liverpool is one of my favourite cities and I always love spending time there, particularly because I get to see all of my family too!

 

So that’s how my month went, and now I’m looking forward to February and my first European adventure of 2017 which will take me to Copenhagen! How did your January turn out? Let me know what you’ve been up to!

Love Jess x

 

Birthday night out #2 🎉💃 #oxford #Saturdaynight #letsgooooo

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