What. A. Year.
2016 has been phenomenally tumultuous. The world has done a double take and realised just how whacky things can get. This year saw Trump, Brexit, the decline in the Middle East, and truck loads more weird/awful/wtf events. The internet seems to be wanting 2016 to be over ASAP.
Although on a global and personal level 2016 has been a challenge, it was a year teeming with lessons and things to reflect upon. So here’s Travel Textbook‘s 2016 Review.
September 2016 saw the launch of Travel Textbook and a total rebranding from Backpacker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Despite the indescribably difficult task of redesigning a website, organising domains and reestablishing brand relationships, it was a refreshing change.
The launch of the new site saw me reflect upon myself and the message I want to send to others. It gave me the opportunity to look introspectively and refine my online identity. The blog has begun to take a turn towards being more personal and this has been a healthy way to get my thoughts out.
Travel Textbook’s Instagram hit 10,000 followers in October and this was a monumental achievement. Views on the website are increasing daily and this is satisfying to see.
I can’t wait to see what 2017 offers for Travel Textbook. As I delve into new adventures, an easier blog interface, and some more spare time on my hands (yay for second year being done), I think the future’s looking bright. Developing deeper brand relationships and better advertising the blog are goals for me in 2017. A look into merchandise and adding a ‘Travel Shop’ are also things I will be investigating.
14 countries. 42 destinations. 53 flights. Infinite trains, boats and tuk tuks. 1 suspected case of Dengue. Hundreds of new people. Approximately 3 tonnes of caffeine consumed.
2016 was a crazy year of travel. Bringing in the New Year at the Full Moon Party in Thailand was exhilarating albeit absolutely nuts. Spending the first month of the year in Asia was challenging but cathartic. Starting a new year with Cambodian island relaxation, seeing Angkor Wat and exploring Myanmar is probably the best way to begin a year.
Mid-year meant it was time to go to Hawaii with the family. Lush tropical rainforests, ancient volcanoes, infinite waterfalls, and welcoming island culture made it the perfect mid-university retreat. Discovering pokē (a.k.a. the best food ever) was an added bonus. Hawaii was truly so much more than I had imagined.
Once exams were finally over in November it was a quick journey back to Tasmania for a few weeks before heading to a European winter. It all started with 3 weeks of exploring Switzerland and enjoying the impossibly beautiful landscapes. There was cheese on everything and chocolate to die for. I overcame my anxieties and ventured to Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the U.K. There were hundreds of Christmas markets and the wintery weather was mild but way better than I had expected! Christmas in the U.K. was great – Christmas seems to make so much more sense in the Northern hemisphere (I could wear Christmas sweaters non-ironically!).
And then, I came home. Seeing my family again restored a sense of calm in my life and 2017 was brought in at Falls Festival Marion Bay with old friends.
Second year of medicine was really tough but much more enjoyable than first year. The focus was much more clinical and less biochemical which made it much easier to imagine life as a doctor. Academically it wasn’t my strongest year but considering how much else was going on, I am proud of my results. I felt a great sense of accomplishment successfully completing the pre-clinical years of my degree.
In 2017 it is the first hospital year for clinical training, so I’ll be commuting to Melbourne’s outer suburbs each morning. Hopefully there is tonnes to learn and I get to see some interesting stuff!
Staying on campus at college was absolutely hectic but so rewarding. I helped to put on some incredible events during the year, drank a questionable amount of low-grade wine, ate too much fried chicken, and made friendships that will last a long time. Moving out next year will create a lot of free time and it will probably help me health-wise not having 2-4 nights a week of partying, but I sure will miss college.
Relationships really took a hit in 2016. As I kept adding more and more things to my plate I forgot to keep maintaining connections with a lot of people that I care about. During the year I spent not enough time at home, and it was hard to be away from my family and friends for so long. As life continued to get more crowded and stressful, it was hard to keep in touch with all the people in my life. I really want to work on this in 2017, so if you get a spontaneous message from me – don’t be surprised! In 2017 I plan to spend more time in Tasmania enjoying my beautiful island home.
In August my long-term relationship ended which was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to deal with. It has taken a lot of adjustment to learn to live, travel and blog so differently to what I had experienced for four and a half years. But, as they say, time heals all wounds.
2016 was a year of travel and I want 2017 to be a year of relationships (with travel included, of course). It would be great to restore a lot of the connections with family and friends that were a bit neglected in 2016 and spend time with those I love. I want to focus on having positive people around me and rebuilding a network, not only with old friends but also focusing on meeting new ones.
It will be great to move into the clinical years of university study even if it does mean fewer holidays in the year (eek!). It is refreshing to be moving onto a new stage of the degree and know that I’m 40% a doctor now woohoo!
In terms of travel in 2017, I want to do lots of smaller trips rather than big ones. It would be cool to go to places that challenge me more and open up my eyes. At the moment I am tossing up ideas to do with Central America, the Silk Road or Tanzania. But really, anything is possible!
2016 was a tough year for me in basically every way. I will be glad to see it gone but am thankful for the lessons it has brought. When I think back to this time last year I never would’ve imagined where I am right now; everything is totally different to what I expected. Whether I take this as a positive or negative, who knows. All I know is that it is different. But the future looks bright for 2017 and I am excited to get started (except on my resolution to run more, I don’t want to do that).