Looking Back on 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017

Þingvellir National Park
At Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

Last New Year’s Eve was spent in Geneva, Switzerland and today I will be celebrating in Reykjavik, Iceland!

I’ve had another year of great travel, big changes and opportunities at work and seeing friends and family get engaged, married and have babies. As much as this year has been tough and politically the world has had some shocks, 2016 has had some great points for me. There have been big challenges but I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned this year. I feel in a better position and I’m looking forward to what 2017 holds.

Work

As pressured and uncertain as some of this year has felt, I’ve been supported by a great team. We have worked well to hit our targets and to solve problems together. Our work of international student recruitment and admissions has not been easy and I think there will be more challenges to come but I’m glad I face them with a good team. I will try to remain positive and committed to this work in 2017 as well as being there for others.

I was given a fantastic opportunity of managing three regions as an International Officer this year. My recruitment areas are Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. This has helped me to grow and develop massively. Looking back, I can see the learning curve I have gone through. At first, I was quite worried and would double check a lot to make sure I was doing a good job. I had brilliant mentors along the way who had faith in my ability. This was one of the nicest lessons of 2016. The feeling of other people’s belief in you. I am a worrier and don’t always believe in myself but this year my team have believed in me. It’s been a big confidence boost.

I look forward to a couple of work trips in 2017 and facing whatever challenges it holds. I’m ready for it!

Travel

Yosemite, Giant Sequoia, USA

Giant Sequoia Tree in Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite National Park

I have been so fortunate to be able to travel in the UK and internationally quite a lot in 2016.

I started the year in Switzerland, followed by Rotterdam, Montenegro, Slovenia, the USA, Dubai for business and finally now I’m in Iceland. My UK travel has been quite extensive with trips to London, Liverpool, Scarborough, Leeds, Inverness, Northumberland, the Lake District and the North York Dales. I’m amazed I had the time, money or energy for all of that but somehow I fit it into 12 months.

I will slow down and enjoy a bit more in 2017. I have a wedding in Scotland and one big trip in the diary but I’m in no rush to have a hectic year. I want to stop rushing around and feeling like I have to do and see everything. I want to remember the small things next year and appreciate my home region and the places I see on this incredible planet.

Blogging

I still love doing this and will be reaching three years of blogging in the first half of 2017. It’s hard to believe that I’ve kept it going and remain happy doing it. I’ve worked with a lot of brands this year and had some amazing opportunities. I’ve visited places that weren’t on my radar and really loved the experiences. I did almost burn myself out though.

Blogging will still be a big part of my life in 2017 but I will do less sponsored trips and be an ambassador for the few I support. I’m still very passionate about travel and writing and I want to do even better. My stats and ranking aren’t something I obsess over too much anymore. This used to make me feel pressure and I didn’t want to constantly compare myself or my blog to others. What I have done this year is compare myself as a traveller and writer to how I have been before and try to do better. I also look back at my blog and how far it has come and what I’ve achieved.

My stats are increasing year on year and I have thousands of returning visitors which is lovely. My posts have been read in 99 countries this year and I have had comments from around the world. My YouTube account has also had hundreds of views and I’m working on improving my videos.

Blog audience in 99 countries!

A couple of highlights this year have been getting #PTTravel to reach over 1 million accounts on Twitter per month. I’ve enjoyed every chat I’ve been part of and feel privileged to have created this community. My most recent and most surprising highlight has been my nomination for UK Blog Award – Travel. From regional award last year to national nomination this year. I’m still bowled over at the huge leaps in progress and acknowledgement I get with my blog. I have no idea what to say except thank you to everyone who follows me and keeps me going.

My best post of 2016 was actually about last New Year’s Eve and has been ranking high in Google searches (number 3!)

New Year's Eve Fireworks on Lake Geneva

New Year’s Eve Fireworks on Lake Geneva

My top ten best posts this year have been:

  1. New Year’s Eve in Geneva, Switzerland
  2. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
  3. What is #PTTravel?
  4. The Journey to Everest
  5. Has Full Time Travel Put Me Behind?
  6. How Far Could a #VirginTrains Adventure Take You?
  7. The City That Throws Serious Shapes #LoveRotterdam
  8. Travel Massive Day Out with Northumberland National Park
  9. The Beautiful Bay of Kotor #Love Montenegro
  10. London Hotel Review – Hub by Premier Inn

What Does 2017 Hold?

Good question!

I have a work trip to the regions overseas that I am managing, in less than two weeks! So my few trip (other than now for NYE) will be to Hong Kong and Singapore for business. I’ve never been before to either place and I haven’t done a work trip of this length before so more learning. I’m excited to get started.

I have also committed to a big trip in the autumn. Another place I’ve wanted to visit for years – Canada. I will go to New York for 5 days then onto Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in Canada. The flights will be booked in the first couple of months of next year. This won’t be a sponsored trip but I do have a couple of experiences in NYC that I spoke to a brand about at WTM.

After seeing the Northern Lights last night, which was a big bucketlist item for me, I’ve decided to not plan or expect too much. This might sound strange but I realised a lot of what has happened has been luck. You cannot guarantee seeing the aurora borealis even in winter in Iceland. I joined a tour group of people who were on their second and third attempt at viewing the lights. They hadn’t necessarily enjoyed much of their time up to that point. I don’t want to end up travelling like that. I sometimes forget to just enjoy the moments.

So my only real resolution for next year is to enjoy the great experiences I have and to face the challenges as well as I can. I want to be more present and continue to do the things I love.

I would like to say thank you once again for supporting my blog. I wish you all of the best for 2017.

Kate x