2016 is almost over. Done, finito, adios.
I wasn’t going to do one of these things, partly because I don’t want to seem like I’m all “MY LIFE IS AWESOME LOOK AT ALL THE COOL SHIZ I DID THIS YEAR” and partly because I don’t actually remember a lot of it. Just call me Dory, okay?
But anyway, I saw how a few other bloggers did theirs, splitting it into months and kind of liked the idea so here we are!
This was such an uneventful month that to be honest I can’t remember a thing. The chances are I went to the cinema a few times, ate way too much Indian food and maybe bought a few books. According to my WordPress archives I published this post about that time I went to Angel Falls, which I’ll be the first to admit is incredibly random as it would have been 2 and a half years after I actually went there. Oh, my sister also smashed her iPhone screen on her birthday, a mere 4 weeks after getting it for Christmas.
In the interest of conformity between months I will now link to an Instagram picture. However, be warned that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with January.
Again, what did I do? I don’t know! Probably the same as January, to be honest. Back then my days were filled with 6:30am wake up calls and 1am bedtimes. Oh, the joys of working 2 jobs.
I quit my job, sold my possessions, packed everything into a little red handkerchief and set off into the sunset humming a merry tune. Sounds a lot more poetic and picturesque than what actually happened – I quit one job, put the other on hold, didn’t sell a thing because I don’t own anything, packed a few things into a 60L Quechua Forclaz backpack and hopped aboard the National Express to Heathrow.
Whichever way you put it, it was the start of what would become an epic (if I do say so myself) 8 month adventure around the world so definitely makes the top of the “awesome things that happened in 2016” list.
With the first week spent in Sri Lanka and the latter 3 in India, April was the month I realised that the occasional 25º peak summer temperature we get in Wales is not hot. Let me tell you, SE Asia is like a furnace, even when it’s raining. It’s crazy! Also, Indian hospitality is insane. “Can I stay with you for 3 days?” “Of course, why not make that 3 weeks?!”
Despite having already visited for 2 and a half weeks in 2012, I’d honestly say this was my first real taste of India. With the assistance of my buddies and their familia I was able to get around a lot of Kerala, and even sit on a pavilion for 3 hours with my fellow foreigners to watch a bunch of men with umbrellas sit on elephants in costume (otherwise known as Thrissur Pooram – Google it!).
I was dumped on Copacabana Beach. Okay so that’s not really a fully factual statement as I was actually half-dumped 2 months prior by text in the comfort of my own bed, but any and all remaining strings were cut forever on Copacabana Beach with the following exchange:
Me: Yeah, I’d make an awful doctor’s wife anyway. (100% true – I’ve watched enough Holby City and Casualty to know that as fact) Doctors should go out/marry doctors.
Him: Well, about that…
*Enter new Doctor girlfriend*
I did write a post a while back explaining why this was actually one of the best things that has happened to me in my 24 years of living on this earth, but it was basically 3000-odd words of me bitterly complaining about how his mother never liked me. As soon as my new-found freedom enabled me to remember that I AM THE BEST PERSON ON THIS WHOLE PLANET the post disappeared into the abyss alongside all of my insecurities and resentment.
So just take my word on it, it was a bloody marvellous thing!
May also saw me take in a little bit more of Brazil than just Copacabana Beach – the streets of Sao Paulo, the crazy huge Iguazu Falls and, of course, Christ the Redeemer. And oddly enough, despite never really being bothered about going to Brazil before, my 3 weeks or so in the country ended up being one of the highlights of my trip.
June was a whirlwind of adventures and excitement in Chile and Bolivia, followed by my triumphant return to where it all began – Peru! “It” being my addiction to travel, not my whole life. To go back and visit many of the places I did in 2011 and again in 2013, was extremely enjoyable, and in some parts emotional too. Other than doing the usual while there, I was also able to venture further up north to Trujillo – a part of the country I’d never been before but have always wanted to visit. Given the amount of time I’ve spent in Peru over the years, I really haven’t done it justice on this blog!
Another return to an old favourite came about in July, with a short but sweet 10 days in Colombia! Other than a few days in Bogota I didn’t go anywhere new this time around, instead choosing to stick to what I know in Medellin and Cartagena. Although I stuck to the same cities, I made sure to do and see different things to my 2013 visit, one of which was the Medellin Pablo Escobar tour. It was highly informative, educational, eye-opening and also quite sickening in a way, but something I will definitely get around to writing about in further detail soon.
Aside from Colombia, the majority of July was spent in Ecuador which, like Brazil, was not somewhere that ever enticed me to visit. However, I had an absolute blast!
I like to think that one day far, far in the future (I hope!) I’ll be sat on a rocking chair somewhere with one of my sisters/cousins/friends reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and I will hand on heart say that August 2016 was THE BEST MONTH OF MY LIFE. Forget any future nippers who may find their way into my arms via my womb and/or adoption papers, forget my wedding day whenever that may be, forget the day I win the lottery (any day now)…because nothing will ever come close to August 2016. I went to Disneyland, wandered around Springfield and Hogsmeade on the very same day, finally went to In’n’Out Burger (FYI the burgers are not inside out), successfully made it in and out of China without getting arrested, and in visiting both Chichen Itza and the Great Wall managed to complete my lifetime goal of visiting all 7 of the New Seven Wonders of the World. August was magnificent.
During the first week of September (which FYI was spent basking in the Sri Lankan sun) I
think I had an early life crisis made a few “big” decisions. The first was to finally invest in an actual self-hosted site and not rely on WordPress anymore and the second was to really give this whole freelance/location independent life a good go. I don’t want to be sucked back into a life of working 6:30am until midnight, not being able to actually enjoy the money I earn and sometimes being too tired to even remember my own name. So for me September was a month of realisations.
September was also the month I made it to Rajasthan, a state in India which has been on my bucket list for a very very long time. It was exactly as I imagined it, and though I didn’t get to spend that much time there, I know I’ll be back one day to dig a little deeper.
Oh, and my sister had a baby which is pretty darn cool.
This was the first time since February that I spent the WHOLE month in one single country – that country being India, one of my top faves. It was a little strange celebrating my birthday away from all my friends and family, but in equal parts it was great being able to spend it with my new friends and family, the people who’d made India feel like a second home for me.
This was a bittersweet month. I finally came home after eight long months of gallivanting around the globe (the sweet) but of course that meant saying goodbye to everyone in India (the bitter).
A short but snappy trip to Latvia reminded me that travel isn’t a race. It also opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t need to fly all the way to the other side of the world to see the world because a lot of it is right on my doorstep. How cheese is that?! But seriously, Europe is full of hidden gems and when you think about it is actually right on my doorstep! So with crazy cheap flights and a new found fascination with the mainland…watch this space in 2017!
So that’s it for my little round-up.
People keep saying that 2016 has been a pretty crappy year what with Syria, Yemen, Trump, Brexit, all the celebrity deaths, etc etc and as a whole I see where y’all are coming from. For me personally, though? 2016 has been pretty alright!