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Goodbye 2018!

I was going to start this joke off with a tweet about having not showered since 2018, but it seems I started last year’s send off in that exact same manner. And also it’s a few days into 2019, so you better hope I’ve showered since 2018. Let’s recap another 365 days on the planet shall we. Typing ‘365’ with some confidence as I’m pretty sure 2018 wasn’t a leap year, don’t really know though.

January. I started this year off having freshly moved back North after living in London for a bit. I started to work as a freelancer for the Charity I’d been working for full-time in London as well as looking for whatever the next step would be. And I eBayed like 40,000 things. It got a bit out of hand actually, I was going to the post office four times a week and also constantly stuck in a rut as to whether leaving London to sort my head out and travel was a good idea or the worst one I’d ever had. At this point in the year I was struggling adjust to life at home and really missed my friends and life in the capital. Looking back, I didn’t really do much in January, it was very much a ‘what the fuck is happening in my life month’, I’m glad it’s long gone. Did make a boss mood board though.

February. February comes around, I’m still freelancing and unsuccessfully looking for more clients, after I was promised a job which mysteriously turned from ‘part-time paid writer’ to ‘£50 a month’ to nothing at all, actually. The site that promised me this later shut down completely, hard to see why isn’t it? I really quite enjoyed freelancing, the freedom it gave me and the fact I got to wear joggers all day was fantastic, can’t beat that. Otherwise, this month I got a bit obsessed with learning about family members who had passed when I was a child. I got into some Twitter beef with someone over dead family members, even typing that sounds dumb as all hell. It was, but it left me feeling quite sore and missing those who I’ve grown up without, so I spent a while finding out more and more about the people I never had a true chance to learn about. I also had my first visit back home to London after leaving, whilst I missed it then and still miss it dearly now, I left realising that I’ve not really left it at all. Also hiked up a few Welsh mountains in the snow, that was fun, rangers turned us around before the snow got too deep, but nothing beats watching your mate eat shit into ditch hidden by 6ft of snow. I then caught up with some old friends in Nottingham, had some drinks, went to some galleries, all the shit I live to do.

March. It rolled around and I began to realise that it’s somehow fucking March and I’d moved home from London to travel and take career risks and I didn’t feel like I was on the path to really doing either, in fact I began to take a backseat on blog and wasn’t really sure when or where I was going to travel and who with. I really enjoyed March though, the UK saw some freak snowfall which didn’t affect me as I now worked from home! Winner! But it did affect my friends Fae and Angelo coming to visit Liverpool from London. I had such a truly wonderful time showing them the city I grew up in and talked about non-stop when we all lived in the same place. I took them to all of my favourite bars, coffee spots, tourist attractions and views of the city, honestly I should make that tour a tour group for people to book onto, because it was absolutely boss.

April. April was a great month for gigs, I already had tickets for Dua Lipa and Bastille’s fantastic ReOrchestrated tours, but ended up seeing them both twice by a friend having a spare ticket for Dua Lipa in a different city, and with being asked to review Bastille last minute in Manchester. I decided that April would be the month I get back into playing the piano, and accidentally knocked the stand when setting it up and broke my little finger. So that didn’t happen. It was a fun month, I spent a lot of time hanging out in my favourite parts of my favourite cities- Liverpool, London and Manchester, went to a lot of gigs for fun and work, hung out with a lot of friends

 

May. May was when shit got real, I finished one freelance gig and swiftly picked up a few others, with one being a full-time writing gig that paid enough for me to be briefly financially stable! This month I decided to take the leap and actually get my travelling shit together. I last minute booked onto a friend’s trip to Verona as they had space in their Airbnb, so I switched my out of office on and went, then I came back, unpacked my bag, repacked another and headed to spend a few days in Edinburgh the next morning. Then I came home for approximately 8 days, headed to BBC’s Biggest Weekend in Swansea, then took two (long) coaches to Bristol via Cardiff, flew to Malaga and arrived in Nerja for my sister’s wedding! These few days were some of the most fun I’ve had in my whole life, relaxing and drinking in the sun with my nearest and dearest and then seeing my sister have the day of her dreams. Plus I gave not one, but two amazing speeches on the day. And was also dropped on the dancefloor whilst Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ played.

June. From Malaga I flew to Lisbon to meet a few friends for a couple of days of sightseeing, coffee drinking and pastel de nata eating. And also sunburn getting. I flew home after a manic few weeks, but it was just beginning. I was asked to review Parklife Festival and spent two days watching some of my favourite artists, all whilst incredibly hungover from my sister’s second wedding party at home, a true British experience if you ask me. I also got addicted to an app in which you stack blocks and ended up ranking 35th worldwide. After Parklife I had 5 day to get my shit together before flying off to Peru to travel around the country and climb Machu Picchu over the course of three weeks. For the first time in my life I was hit by travel anxiety, sure I’ve had some anxious feelings before, especially when jetting off to spend a month in Japan when I was 20 during a stressful time at uni, but I considered myself an experienced traveller and yet I couldn’t sleep for days as I felt like this trip was a mistake. And I don’t know why. I debated cancelling the whole thing during this sleepless bouts, I hated everything. But then got to Stansted, I had a good coffee and an AMAZING cookie and suddenly felt reinvigorated and excited to tackle this trip. After we landed in Lima I fell asleep in a taxi immediately and woke up at my hostel. From there we travelled all over the country with some amazing people, I turned 23 and drank so much pisco sours that I vomited near some llamas, I had travel sickness, altitude sickness AND a hangover all at once. Honestly, I had the most ridiculously amazing time of my life climbing mountains, exploring ruins, meeting alpacas, staying with a kind family in the middle of a mountain range and camping under the stars as wild dogs barked near us and pissed on my tent. We hiked through knee deep snow, through rivers and under the blistering sun. Not to be that nobhead who says travel broadens the mind, but it was truly a valuable experience. I have so many stories that I won’t go on about here, but experiencing freefall in a plane, watching someone nearly fall to their death off an icy mountain path and watching the World Cup alongside people from all over the world are a few of my weirdest memories from that trip. I’ll get around to blogposts on it eventually.

July. This month I wound down a little bit, I did classic British things like drinking in the sun and going to music festivals. Despite catching the flu in Peru, I forced myself down to London as I had an unused train ticket and thus I almost died watching Sophie Ellis Bextor at London Pride, as the flu, Trafalgar Square and intense heat don’t go well together. I mainly healed my ill ass self and worked hard during July, I had to get my funds together ready for the next adventure I’d booked, a month in America starting in late August.

August. And so August hits! I’ve had the time of my life travelling for an almost solid two months, I’ve been to festivals around the country and I still have a flexible job, so what to do but book another trip and work hard to pay it off before it begins? Well, the project you’re working on reaches completion ahead of the expected time, because you and some other eager freelancers all wanna make that money and managed to get all the content written up and finalised. This then meant my financial forecast went out the window and my last paycheck was approaching FAST. Thankfully I was lucky enough to pick up a bit of paid blog work and thus began my great job hunt, would I move back to London or stay in Liverpool? I had no idea, it’s a difficult question to answer now and will be for the rest of my life, both of these cities are home for me. However, these things take time, I didn’t walk into a job that would allow me to jet off to America for a month a few days after starting, and despite having some really cool interviews, most places don’t want to hire you when you’re just about to fuck off to Los Angeles. And so I go! After nearly pooing my pants in the airport, a story for another day, off to Los Angeles I flew. I hopped off the plane at LAX with my dreams and a cardigan, hopped into a Lyft and met Amy and Aled at the weird motel we booked rather last minute. I fell in love with LA, there’s many blogposts to come, but I had such a great time eating In’n’Out, relaxing on the beach, hiking through hills and drinking boujee coffee with two of my best mates.

September. This month began with a trip to San Francisco, after a flight in which I watched ‘A Quiet Place’. Really not a flight movie that one. San Francisco quickly became one of my favourite cities ever, especially after meeting a nice dog called Benito. From San Fran we flew to Las Vegas, enjoyed a few days of debauchery, gambling and booze. In truth, I gambled $15 and made $65 back and only drank 4 drinks total in the time we were there. We took a trip into Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon and had a whale of a time exploring the Neon Boneyard. We left Las Vegas for Portland and spent a few days drinking locally brewed beers, reading books and exploring forests. From Portland we headed to Seattle, our final stop, where I indulged in far, far too much coffee. I had two Skype interviews when in Seattle, and despite one being at 6am for me, I got the job! The day after I arrived home, I headed to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour to explore all the Harry Potter goodness whilst jet-lagged to high heaven, as my lovely buddies Richard and Claire were briefly back from New Zealand. The rest of the month was spent prepping to go back into full time work after a long 10 months of working for myself from home.

October. October began with a new job, back to working in the charity sector full time in communications, with a flair for written work. Right up my street. October was rather quiet, I spent the month enjoying being back in the centre of Liverpool everyday and gearing up for Halloween, for which I went as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. That really is about all I can see that I did, according to the photos in my phone.

November. November was BUSY. I was working between Liverpool and Manchester a lot and had a brief trip down to London for a Childish Gambino gig which was (sadly) rescheduled for this year. Did get my first bottomless brunch though, and almost fully died and went to heaven from all the prosecco. Bonfire Night at Ally Pally was nice, albeit totally overpriced as all fun London events are. Some friends and I got together to complete Movember and raise money for both the Movember Foundation and Mind, we ended up raising around £550, a total much higher than what we thought we’d realistically be able to! I wrote a post about how much it means to me, and I think I’ll be doing it again next year. We completed a rather gruelling 10k as a part of it, but I earned my fastest 10km time ever and due to a system error, I was commended as the fifth fastest woman. Then I had another trip to London, all to see the wonderful Florence and the Machine, they’ve been one of my favourite bands for years, so I take every opportunity to see them do their thing live.

December. December came and the year came to a close! I no longer had a moustache, though I kinda miss it now it’s gone. I got obsessed with The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, got really, really into everyone’s end of year Spotify stats and visited my London home two more times. I say that like I have a second home in London, I don’t, I just consider London my home still. Great wording here. Of course I ended up at more gigs, with a little jaunt in a club with Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus and a fantastic charity gig in support of one of my favourite charities, Streets of London. And I got really fucking ill again and binged Dark Tourist, please read in a Kiwi accent. The year finished with a really lovely holiday season surrounded by friends and family, it all made me realise that I am damn fucking lucky to have been born into the life I have and I really need to appreciate it more.

And now we’re in 2019, another year begins! I really have no idea what this year holds, I don’t mean that in a weird philosophical way but I mean that in the way that I’m 23 and have no idea what life and travel decisions I’m going to make this year, but I know I’ll have to make some!

But for now, I’ll leave you with a few of my New Year’s Resolutions

  • Cut out meat and go completely vegetarian.
  • Train and complete a half marathon
  • Continue to travel
  • Work harder on writing and blogging
  • Extend my creative skills and platforms
  • Be more present in my own life

Happy 2019 to you all!

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