My End of Year Review: 16 Highlights from 2016!
It gave us Brexit, Trump and Honey G. It gave us the crisis in Aleppo, multiple terror attacks in Europe, and it gave us one of the most tumultuous years in history. We also lost an awful lot of famous, truly inspiring people in 2016; David Bowie, Terry Wogan, George Michael, Alan Rickman and Prince to name but a few.
For me, on a personal level, 2016 actually turned out to be one of the best years of my life. I’ve crammed a ridiculous amount in to the past 12 months; I road tripped across America, inter-railed around Italy, rocked out at V Fest, got dressed up to go to Ascot Races, enjoyed two amazing family/best friends weddings, visited London and Liverpool more times than I can even remember, celebrated my mum and dad’s 25th wedding anniversary and went to the theatre numerous times.
Oh aaaaand I quit my office job to become a full time freelancer – no biggie! My blog also went from strength to strength; I was nominated for an award, attended my first ever blogger conferences, received local press coverage, went on my first press trip and underwent a total rebrand.
Time has gone super quick, although January seems like AGES ago and I still can’t believe the amount I packed in to this year! I’m so grateful for the amazing places I have travelled to, and I’m pleased to announce that planning for my 2017 European Adventure is well underway! But let’s take a step back first, run through the year between January and December, and see why 2016 was so great for me. Here are my highlights…
I watched Les Mis in London’s West End (January)
I announced my new life decision to the world (March)
There's a HUGE announcement on the blog tonight… get yourself over there and have a read.. I've done something CRAZY!! 😱😝 #travel #bloggers #travelblogger #wanderlust #worlderlust #travelphotography #traveladdict #instago #instatravel #travelgram #inspo #instadaily #picoftheday #twitpic #passportready #instaphoto #instapassport #photoready #photooftheday #inspire #tourism #darlingescapes #wordpress #blog #post #newpost #wanderlustwednesday #natgeo #contiki #USA
I was shortlisted for best travel blog at UK Blog Awards (April)
So I wasn't a winner last night but, you know what, I had the best time ever and am sooo happy to have been a finalist at such an amazing awards do! I may not have won but to even be in the top ten shortlist of travel bloggers across the WHOLE of the UK makes me super proud! Thankyou for all the lovely messages, happy Saturday everyone! 💖💖 #UKBA16 @ukblogawards
I celebrated my sister’s 21st birthday (May)
I went to two amazing weddings in two days (June)
I flew to LA by myself to start my American adventure (June)
This is it!!! The day has finally come for me to spread my wings and embark on my first solo travel adventure to the US of A!! I am so so excited for my trip and cannot wait to have the adventure of a lifetime. I'm also soooo happy to be going all on my OWN, with no one to hold me back or bring me down! Thank you for all the lovely messages and well wishes and thank you to my amazing family and friends who have supported me in making the biggest decision of my life! Nearly time to board the plane eeeekk LA here I come! ✈️🇺🇸✈️🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel #contiki #noregrets
I helicoptered across the Grand Canyon (June)
I parasailed on Daytona Beach (June)
I ran around Walt Disney World for the first time (June)
Been waiting for this moment my whole life…. Today my dreams finally came true and I went to the happiest place on earth!! I spent 15 hours at Disneyworld being a child running around the parks, looking for characters, going on rides and watching the parades, shows and fireworks! Can't describe the emotion I felt when I was there I was totally overwhelmed it was everything I had hoped for and more!! Disney you'll always have a special place in my heart 💖🌟 #Disney #orlando #florida #waltdisney #disneyworld #magickingdom @waltdisneyworld
I celebrated Independence Day in New York City (July)
Sooooo I'm loving my time in America too much to come home and I've decided to stay and celebrate 4th July in #NYC with my #contiki family! So far today we've been in #Washington & #Philadelphia and we're now on a rooftop bar overlooking the Empire State Building in #NewYork ready for tonight's fireworks!! Travel really is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer 🎉🇺🇸 #noregrets
I celebrated my mum and dads 25th Wedding Anniversary (July)
Happy Silver Wedding Anniversary to my amazing mum and dad!! Can't believe 25 years ago today you joined each other in marriage and you're still going strong after all this time. Your love for each other grows day after day and it shines through when you look at each other. If I'm ever blessed enough to find someone who looks like me the way my dad looks at my mum I'd be one lucky girl! Here's to a lifetime of happiness mum and dad, lets celebrate tonight! I love you always 2️⃣5️⃣🎉👰💖
I inter-railed around Italy (September)
I explored the Collosseum in Rome (September)
I started my freelance business full-time (October)
This is how I feel right now. Today I calculated that I've earnt *almost* as much each month as I was earning in my old 9-5 job! I knew I could do it!!! I've started with nothing and built up my little business all by myself. At times I felt like giving up, like I wasn't good enough, and like I had no right to make a career for myself, but today I've felt so inspired and so pleased that my hard work seems to be paying off. Any doubts that may have been in my mind have now been dismissed and I am SO excited to continue my journey in my new career and see where this takes me! Here's to future success and many more adventures 📝💻✈️🌍 #MondayMotivation #freelancer #bloglife #virtualassistant
I went on my first ever press trip as a blogger (October)
I celebrated Christmas at home with my wonderful family (December)
So there we have it, my top highlights of 2016! It was sooo hard to narrow it down, especially as so much has happened this year, but these highlights gave me some of my happiest memories that I will cherish forever. I’m now looking ahead to the new year and am super excited to see where 2017 will take me… Happy New Year everyone, see you on the other side!
Love Jess x
Wowzers, 2016 was definitely your year – you rocked it! So many awesome adventures, and I can only see 2017 being even MORE exciting for you 😀
Thankyou so much!! 2016 was a pretty amazing year for me and am hoping to top it in 2017 with even more travel adventures! Happy new year! 🌎✈️ Jess X
Oh wow, it looks like you’ve had a truly incredible year!
Thankyou Alice!! I did have a pretty good 2016- I hope you did too! Happy belated new year! Jess X