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Oh hey, what’s that over there – is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying pig because would you believe it here I am updating this thing after what feels like a Millennium.
This isn’t going to be one of those Goodbye 2017, see you in 2018 messages I’ve seen floating about because, let’s be real, I’m not signing off the internet anytime soon. I’ll be sat here tomorrow, just like any other day, absent-mindedly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, caring way too much about the lives of strangers on the internet. The only difference is I’ll be drowning in tins of Quality Street, nestled right in between my new pair of headphones and an egg cup (the only two things on my very grown-up Christmas list this year) as opposed to lolling around in bed pretending I don’t have anything else to do.
The social media addiction is real over here, guys.
There are approximately 17,302,293 photos I want to share from my recent(ish) trip to India. There are exactly 4 half-finished draft posts about said trip, and at least 5 other ideas for posts floating around my head. There is also a very funny GIF thing of me almost falling off a cliff which, if I ever work out how to post photos as GIFs and not still photos, I will be sending to my whole entire mailing list.
But for now, with it being the season of love and giving and gratefulness and all, I just wanted to share a few things (and people) that I’ve become overwhelmingly grateful for this past year.
That she was here, albeit for too short a time. For the lessons she taught and the memories she left. For teaching me that Orange smarties use actual orange chocolate and subsequently changing my life, as well as the hundreds of people I’ve gone on to share that wisdom with (you’re welcome). For teaching me how to bake a cake without weighing the ingredients, and for just being the best person who ever lived.
To be thankful for a whole country is a bit over-the-top, yeah, BUT hear me out. Firstly, it has the greatest food on the planet. No contest there. Secondly, my biggest freelance client is based in India and has contributed probably around 80% of my freelance income this year. Thank you for funding my life, India. Thirdly, it’s just a really bloody beautifully bizarre country. And finally, it gave me my best friend. Someone who will happily spend the day trawling the shops of whatever state we’re in, bleeding their Tiger Balm supply dry, and who doesn’t bat an eyelid at unsolicited 3am wake-up calls because who cares about time differences?!
It looks like Frobscottle but without the consequences, tastes like sunshine and rainbows, and is undoubtedly the drink of the deities. Think apple Tango but without the weird aftertaste and double, maybe even triple, the sweetness. It’s the most delicious thing on Earth and finding out that Tesco stocked it about three weeks before Tesco stopped stocking it was possibly one of the saddest things to happen to me all year.
…the freedom to travel
This whole blue-red passport palava has made me truly appreciate how lucky I am to have such an insane level of freedom when it comes to travel. Of the thirty-seven countries I’ve visited so far, a visa was only required for two (India and Sri Lanka), both of which were incredibly simple and fast processes. Everywhere else I’ve just sort of turned up at the border or airport and been all “Hey, can I come in?” My western privilege doesn’t escape me here, and the thought that a huge majority of my friends will never be afforded the same free reign in this world as I does make me sad, and a little bit sick if I’m honest. But despite it all I am grateful that I have such ease of access to the rest of this beautiful planet.
…friends and family
For the old school friends who welcome me back time and time again after months overseas, and it’s as if no time has passed. For the one who forgave me for being an absolute $%@# in the past and was happy to start over. For the small handful of IRL buds who read this blog and continuously support my adventures and dreams, no matter where they take me or how crazy they seem. And of course for my family, who are all very strange but equally fantastic.
…the online community
It was around this time last year, maybe a month or two earlier, that I really got into this whole blogging thing, reached out and made connections with people. I don’t know why it took me so long because Internet people are quite possibly the best kind of people. I’ve made so many friends near and far who, one day I hope to meet in real life. I’ve cried happy tears over weddings and babies being born to people whose surnames and birthdays I don’t even know. It’s so strange, and so lovely.
Then there are the people who I haven’t made personal connections with – the ones who read this blog, follow my Instagram and other social media accounts and support what I do that way. This time last year I had maybe 1200 Instagram followers, 20 on Twitter and I don’t think I even knew what Pinterest was. Now Wales to Wherever has a combined following of over 11,000 across different social media channels, and that blows my mind. If you’re one of those thousands of people, all I can say is thank you.