A Little Life Update: My Half Year Review
It's #flashbackfriday and I'm kinda wishing I could be back gazing at this pretty harbour in #Menorca right about now… This was my first visit to #Ciutadella since I was a tiny seven year old, and it was even more magical as an adult than it was when I was a child. The fish swimming in the harbour below were so big, and the turquoise waters were so clear, that I could see those fishies swishing their fins all the way up from this view point! 🌊🐠🐟 #MustSeeMenorca #turismomenorca #spain #visitspain #visitmenorca #igersmenorca #jetmeback 📸 – @thetraveltester 💖
We are now over six months into 2017… OVER SIX MONTHS?! How the bloody hell did that happen?! It feels as though January to June came and went in the blink of an eye. I have done so much, traveled so far, and experienced so many new things, but it’s not until I take a step back and look at my diary, or my Instagram page, that I realise just how much has happened these past six months.
Let’s rewind back to 1st January 2017; the first day, week and month of a brand new year. A chance to focus on new things, make new memories and set new goals. I did all of those things at the start of the year. I spent the post Christmas/New Year period down in Cornwall with my family, taking long dog walks on the beach, eating ice cream sat on the harbour walls, going out for dinner in nice restaurants and waking up to sea views every morning. Just after I got back from Cornwall I made myself some New Years Resolutions. Given that we are now past the midway point of 2017 I thought I’d do a little life update and reflect on the things that have happened in the past six months, to see whether or not I’m on track and if I’m achieving/failing my goals set by my 2017 Resolutions post… Here goes!
I want to travel to 10 new countries
This was my biggest and most challenging resolution – definitely the one I was most scared about tackling, but I’m so pleased to say that I’ve been smashing it!! So far this year I have taken seven trips and have been everywhere from Copenhagen and Bratislava to Menorca and Tenerife. I’ve been to five new countries, five new cities and made countless new memories. All of my trips have been totally amazing, but highlights have included my first ever group press trip to Menorca, a last minute city break to Sofia, and a girly holiday with my sisters to Tenerife. In the next two weeks I’ll also be ticking two new countries off my list as I’m heading to Switzerland tomorrow and Germany the week after! Both are group press trips with other bloggers and we’ll be working with the respective tourist boards when we are out there. I’m so excited for my future travels and feel I’m in good stead to complete this challenge as I’ll have done 7/10 by August – not bad going if I do say so myself 😉
I want to stop buying scratch cards
Amazingly, I’ve actually not done too badly at this one! So I’m not saying I’ve stopped buying them completely – cheeky ones still fall into my shopping basket every now and again – but I have made a conscious effort to try and avoid them wherever possible and I now only use the self service check out at the supermarket to minimize the temptation at the kiosk! I’ve started a little savings pot too and am collecting 50p’s and £2 coins, so whenever I do get the urge to buy one I plonk my change in there and watch it build up – WAY more fun than losing money every week!
I want to grow my blog as much as possible
This was probably the single most important resolution for me, and I’m proud to say I think I’m halfway there. I’ve still got a long way to go before I can become a full time travel blogger, but before this year I had never been on a press trip and by the end of August I will have been on THREE in the space of just a few months! For me, a real turning point came when I visited #Traverse17. If you read my post you’ll know that I had an amazing time at the three day travel blogging event down in London, but what I didn’t expect from it was the sheer amount of opportunities I would be opened up to after attending. Just a few weeks after the conference I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Must See Menorca press trip in April, along with the Spanish Tourist Board and Traverse themselves. And then I was asked to pop over to Hamburg for the weekend with the Visit Hamburg team. I’ve also grown in confidence and have started reaching out to pr companies, tourist boards and local attractions to create new opportunities for myself. So what if there’s no press trip advertised? Make yourself known and start creating things that you might otherwise miss out on!
*NEW BLOG POST* ((Link in bio)) Happy blogiversary to me – what I've learnt from 3 years of blogging! Back then I could never have imagined how my life would turn out, what I would have been doing if I hadn't started blogging, or if I hadn't taken that step and built up that courage to follow my dreams. Three years on I'm the happiest I've ever been, and it's all down to this blog. Thankyou so much to everyone who's ever supported me in what I do. Here's to an exciting future for me, and for Journeys with Jessica, and I hope I can continue to make you all proud 💖
I now really enjoy the networking side of things and rarely get nervous. At Traverse everyone was pitching themselves to the tourist boards for trips, I could hear fellow bloggers practising what they were going to say in their speech and it made me feel a little nervous – I certainly wasn’t professional enough to start pitching!! When it came to meeting the brands and speaking to the tourist boards though I actually felt really confident and was completely myself. I didn’t ‘pitch’, I didn’t start reeling off numbers of followers, my monthly page views or my audience demographics, but instead I started talking about the brands and asking questions. I told Visit Spain that I have been to their beautiful country 14 times, and that I have the most amazing childhood memories of beach holidays and tapas and paella. I told Visit Hamburg that I genuinely have always wanted to go to Hamburg because I want to start exploring some of the smaller cities across Europe and promote them to new audiences, rather just writing about capitals like Berlin and Barcelona. I was 100% myself when I was talking to these brands and I think this just might have been why I was lucky enough to be picked to attend these brilliant press trips.
I want to spend more time with family and friends
I like to think I was pretty good at this one anyway, but I do think I have really started to spent more quality time with the people that mean the most to me, and I’m so grateful to have the most amazing support network. I still live at home so I’m really close with my parents and my sisters (probably too close, we argue constantly, but we always work things out). I live near to all my friends so I go out for dinner and drinks with them every few days and am always making plans to catch up whenever I have the time. Sadly the rest of my family are split between Liverpool and Essex, so I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like to, but we communicate daily and they’re only a phone call away. Every single person in my life right now knows how much they mean to me, so thank you <3
I want to spend less time on social media
Yea this one hasn’t gone quite the way I’d have liked it to. I’m a social media obsessive; it’s my job, my hobby, my whole life, what can I say?! I’m actually quite sad I haven’t nailed this one as I know that the amount of time I am spending on the net is damaging and I really want to cut it down. I just find it difficult to switch off and feel like I constantly have to know what’s going on in the world. I recently read a brilliant article by the lovely Emily Luxton who described how Instagram is ruining her life. I really resonated with a lot of the aspects in Emily’s post, although my blog isn’t as big as hers, so it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who has an unhealthy relationship with social media. I know it’s not good at all though, so I’m gonna work really hard to cut down my usage over the next few months… Wish me luck and please send any tips my way. PS thanks Emily for the refreshing, very honest and personal post! <3
I want to stop looking for love
Lol this one is easy. I’ve done it, I’m not going to find anyone, so I’ve given up looking. Ok that’s not strictly true, I was seeing someone off and on for a couple of months, but he found his way to me, I didn’t go looking for him. And we’ve known each other YEARS, so it wasn’t a new thing. Or a Tinder match – that’s deleted, thank God. I’ve finally stopped looking because I genuinely have no desire to be with anyone at the moment. I know that’s quite sad and at times I would love to have someone to share my life with, and I do want that for my future, but right now it’s the last thing on my mind. I don’t have TIME for a boyfriend, I’m travelling too much to want to settle and I’m so spontaneous and carefree that I just don’t want the hassle of a relationship, despite the good things that I know will (one day) come with it. I don’t feel unhappy though, for the first time in months I feel really great about being single and am just getting my confidence up before I decide when/if I want to start dating again. There’s no rush though, I’m still only 24 – sorry mum, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to be a nanny 😉
I want to focus on myself
After that last paragraph, I think this goes without saying, but I have focused on myself so much since January that I’m actually starting to feel a bit selfish! Is that a bad thing?! I guess it kind of is, but I’m just looking after number one because one day I won’t be able to do that! So I’m saying YES to new opportunities, YES to hanging out with new friends and YES to doing whatever the hell I want. I’ve been really enjoying every aspect of 2017 so far, and hope that will continue for the remainder of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I still get my down days, and there are (very few) times when I really struggle to be happy, but I’m much better at picking myself up, dusting myself down and painting a big smile on my face.
So there we go, I don’t think I’ve done too badly?! It’s quite nice to look back at all the things I’ve done since January and it gives me the confidence to carry on as I have been doing so that I can make the most of the rest of 2017. For now I’m looking forward to heading to Switzerland tomorrow – don’t forget you can follow my journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! What new years resolutions have you been sticking to this year? I’d love to know if you have been achieving your goals, so leave me a comment below!
Love Jess x