Even though I made an effort to slow down in 2016, the year still seemed to pass at an alarming rate. I’m sure feeling that way is a sign of old age but at 42 I can’t shy away from the fact that I’m most likely past the half way mark.
No wonder I feel tired all the time.
Not only were things slow in my life but slow on the blog. Instead of writing about my travels I published a handful of articles designed to help those who are planning to visit the places I love.
I like writing guides and road trip itineraries and as these are the most popular articles on the blog I think I’ll continue in that direction. Any objections?
In 2016 I found my way around six different countries. I spent time in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Switzerland, Singapore and six months in Australia. So that’s not exactly nothing but compared to previous years I feel like I missed out somehow. It’s easy to hop over to another country when living in Europe but spending time in Australia put a dampener on my travels.
The other reason for the lack of blog posts is I’ve been working on other projects. I’ve been giving away some of my travel photos and sharing cheap flight alerts. But mostly I’ve been researching my upcoming food tours which I’ll share more about soon.
Also, on the off chance you happened to notice blog comments were turned off, they are now back on. 🙂
I’m not going to do a typical ‘all the fabulous places I visited’ round up of 2016 but I would like to share a few things.
On Instagram in 2016
I gave Snapchat a fair shot but it’s not for me. Instagram held on to remain my favourite social media platform. I once again wasn’t as active there as I would like to be but I am loving the Stories now that they’ve added stickers. Beware if you follow me that a good portion of my Stories are food related.
Favourite Apps of 2016
I’m not going to lie, I’m on my phone more than ever. I mostly use Instagram, Tweetbot for Twitter and VSCO for photo editing. But I have some other favourites you might find useful. If you have any iPhone app recommendations, please share.
Headspace – I reluctantly took up meditation six months ago but I have to admit I’ve found it to be brilliant. It helps me to start the day with a clear mind and remain focused throughout the day. I initially started with 10 minutes per day but switching to 20 minute sessions made a big difference.
Trello – I’m an organisation freak. I like to have everything in lists with priorities and notes and of course to be able to check stuff off once I’m done. And yes, I’m the kind of person who’ll add something to my to do list just so I can check it off. Trello is great for this obsession.
Habit List – This is another great excuse for ticking things off but in this case Habit List is a daily reminder to create positive habits, ditch unwanted habits and reach my goals. It’s simple but it works.
Focus Keeper – I’m all about productivity apps and Focus Keeper has been one of the most beneficial. It’s a simple timer for the well known pomodoro technique. It’s not fancy but it helps keep me hyper focused. I use it to complete the most important tasks of the day, with a minimum of 8 pomodoros per day.
Pocket Casts – I only listen to one Podcast, Tim Ferriss. With the Pocket Cast app I like that you can trim silence and speed up the podcast to save time. To be honest I’m not sure this is better than other podcasting apps but I like it and use it weekly.
Swarm/Foursquare – I’ll never understand why they split this app into two but I’ve recently gotten back into being a regular user of Foursquare. I especially love it for finding places to eat when visiting somewhere new.
Best Books of 2016
Looking back on my Goodreads reading challenge, I surpassed my goal of reading 24 books in 2016 by reading 38. I put this down to adding ‘reading’ to the Habit List app mentioned above. I read a variety of books but mostly those in the travel, business and biography genres.
Five books I gave 5 stars in 2016:
Reckoning, A Memoir – Magda Szubanski
If you’re not Australian you might not know of Magda but she’s one of the country’s most hilarious comedians and a surprisingly beautiful writer. For me the most interesting stories are from her travels in Poland during the Cold War.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
An incredible story of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy during WWII. Their parallel stories in France and the eastern front eventually converge in Saint-Malo. Brilliant and sad.
Elon Musk – Inventing the Future
I knew little of Elon Musk and Tesla / SpaceX before reading his biography. The guy is a genius if not a little (lot) crazy. I immediately ordered a Tesla after reading this.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding – Kristin Newman
An interesting take on the life of someone who didn’t follow the finish school, go to uni, get a job, get married, buy a home then die type life.
Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs was a brutal genius. By all accounts not someone you’d want to spend much time with but he achieved incredible things. It’s not surprising Apple has lost some of its charm since his death.
Giving Back in 2017
Of all the things I’ve learnt while travelling, the recurring lesson is how privileged I am to be able to travel as often as I do and to places others only dream about. To give back in a small way I would like to do some kind of volunteering this year although I’m unsure where or how to go about it. More research is needed. Until then I have donated to a few charities and if you’re able I hope you will too.
Upcoming Plans and Travels
I left Budapest last September after a difficult time adjusting to life under a fascist government. Since then I’ve spent time in Vienna and Perth. I crossed the Nullarbor into South Australia and I’m now (temporarily) living and working in Melbourne.
Being indecisive seems to be a recurring theme around here but I’m sure I’ll eventually make a decision on where to live. Current thinking is Melbourne, Sydney, Buenos Aires (?) or maybe a move to the country to become self-sufficient and off the grid.
My travel plans will most likely be closer to home. I will be visiting Sydney soon and road tripping around New South Wales. I’ll be back in Western Australia at some point, will hopefully make one or two trips to Asia and then fingers crossed for a return to Europe later in the year. I won’t be writing about my non-Euro travels but you can follow on Instagram if you’re interested in that.
Over to you. Any big changes in your life? Travel plans for 2017?
Happy New Year and thanks for reading.