New Year’s Eve is looming, and all over the internet I’m being met with news articles, blog posts and think pieces about 2016 goals, resolutions and new beginnings. As much as I love the idea of rebirths and the chance to start over, I’m struggling to buy into it this year – the calendar may flip over but it’s not going to wipe my slate clean.
At last year’s New Year’s Eve party, shortly after midnight, I drunkenly declared to one of my close friends that 2015 was going to be an amazing year. “I can feel it in my bones”, I said. A month later to the day, something happened that blew that statement clean out of the water. It turned 2015 into the hardest year of my life, and I can’t say I’m sorry to say goodbye to it.
But it would be misleading to claim that this year has been all bad. A lot of good things have happened to me too; I’ve started this blog, been on some great holidays, got involved in the exciting world of blogging events, went to my first festival, found a new relationship, and learned a lot along the way. So before I consign 2015 to the history books, it seems only right to take a look back at some of the year’s highlights.
In March I went to Budapest for 4 nights with one of my friends who turned out to be a fantastic travel buddy – after this we also went to Croatia together in August and are already planning another adventure for 2016! I fell completely in love with Budapest; the sights, the food and the achingly cool ruin pubs are all things I was itching to go back to as soon as I’d left.
April: TBEX Europe
This was my first of two work trips this year; I and a colleague were sent to the Costa Brava to attend one of the world’s largest travel blogger conferences, TBEX. We spent a mad day running around Barcelona collecting photo and video content for the company website, then had 4 days of meeting bloggers, attending lectures…and going to the odd boat and/or beach party. Hard life I know.
This was my annual jaunt to visit some lovely friends I met while travelling in Australia, who I still keep in touch with. Two of them are a couple who bought their own house this year, where I stayed with our other friend, and instead of going into Dublin we went walking in the countryside and kayaked on a lake. In 2016 I’ll be attending the wedding of aforementioned couple, and I couldn’t be more excited.
August: Blog at the Beach
Inspired by TBEX, my workmate and I were tasked with organising a blogger event for our company. With a small budget and limited resources the early days were a bit stressful, but we put together a fantastic day with speakers, cocktails, and a pop-up beach! We got a 100% attendance rate and some amazing feedback from the bloggers who came – this was one of my professional highlights of the year, not to mention a lot of fun.
Somehow I reached the age of 24 without ever going on a girls’ holiday with my high school besties; this year four of us finally managed it! We rented an apartment in the beautiful old town of Zadar and had a heavenly week of sunbathing, drinking and exploring. We went on a speedboat tour of the Kornati Islands, and my personal highlight was ticking Plitvice Lakes National Park off my bucket list. Photos do not do that place justice – the colours are beyond description.
September: End of the Road Festival
Another first for me this year was going to a festival – in September I went to the magical End of the Road Festival on a free press ticket from one of my best friends. The bands were amazing and the festival has an incredible setting in a forest in Dorset, but one of the best parts of the weekend was just getting to hang out with one of my favourite people, who I’d barely seen that year.
October: Ibiza & Majorca
On my second work trip of the year, I got to spend 3 days in Ibiza and 3 days in Majorca, travelling around the island armed with a camera and GoPro seeking out the best beaches and things to do. It was a pretty exhausting week and I missed Leeds Rhinos winning the Super League Grand Final, but how many other people’s jobs allow them to swap desk chairs for beach loungers every now and again? It’s a pretty sweet perk.
In November my boyfriend and I decided to take the plunge and test our travel compatibility with a long weekend in Edinburgh. Admittedly that may be better described as ‘dipping a toe in the water’ than ‘taking the plunge’, but I’m still counting it. We went to lovely restaurants, climbed Arthur’s Seat, and he let me do most of the organising, which though I won’t always admit it is the way I like to travel.
What were the highlights of your year? Good luck to you all for 2016!