How the haystones is the year finished?! Maybe I’m dating myself here, but it feels like the older I get, the quicker time flies. Anyone else with me on this? Well, here we are, and it’s time for the 2019 year in review!
2019 was a great year filled with lots of ups and downs, lessons learned, and progress made. I started 2019 by writing and publishing a list of travel hopes and wishes that, to be honest, I didn’t spend much time on. Lists are my jam and I always have the travel bug, but in terms of intention setting, it was loosey-goosey. You know those goals that float in the back of your head and you repeat them but no longer actually think about them? That was the state of things when I wrote the post on my travel goals for 2019.
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How Did I Do?
- Read 12 Books – I’m happy to say I finished this goal in October and surpassed it by the end of the year. Send any favourite reads my way for 2020! Here are the books I read this year:
- The Joys of Travel by Thomas Swick
- Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
- The Hedonism Handbook by Michael Flocker
- Rising Strong by Brené Brown
- Stuffocation by James Wallman
- Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- The Gospel According to Blindboy by Dave Chambers
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
- The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion
- Ten Years a Nomad by Matt Kepnes
- Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll
- Away by Jane Urquhart
- Live Clean – Oh man, I might be the most excited about this one. It’s been a team effort as D and I are on the same page about being more conscientious consumers. It’s amazing to see the discussions happening around such an important global topic. For the most part, our transition to a greener lifestyle has been an easy one. There are only two of us making decisions, we already choose experiences over the newest consumer trends, and we both love cooking and eating delicious, healthy food. Our schedule supports sharing 1 vehicle and we also try to walk whenever possible.
One thing I’m not yet keen on is using a shampoo bar, but it could be the particular one I used or the fact that our water is hard. If you’ve got any suggestions, toss them my way please! Additionally, buying responsibly has proven, at times, to be costlier or prohibitive because items we need aren’t available plastic-free. Luckily, many companies are taking notice of the shift in consumer values and making changes to provide sustainable, responsibly made and packaged items.
I am PUMPED to see what else we can modify. I would absolutely love to hear the tough and triumphant parts of your own journeys to help keep our planet safe.
Some of the changes we’ve made include:
- using Dr. Bronner’s for our laundry and the floors (though it comes in plastic bottles),
- household cleaning with good ol’ fashioned vinegar and water (goodbye toxic cleaning materials!),
- drastically reducing the amount of plastic-packaged items we buy,
- using cloth produce bags and paper bags (game changer),
- finishing items we already have before purchasing new ones,
- purchasing all dry goods, spices, and baking needs from Bulk Barn (massive reduction in spending AND more environmentally friendly!), and
- reusing all of the plastic containers from cottage cheese or Greek yogurt instead of buying Tupperware.
- Move Daily – 2019 saw spurts of consistency and dedication, mostly through the warmer months, with the “move daily” mantra. I was super excited to find a running buddy in Lindsay, a fellow blogger. We made it to our goal of 5k, increased our pacing, and started to even enjoy our runs – bonus! Time for some new running goals, methinks. In addition to running, I completed home workouts, a 2-week gym trial, yoga classes, and made a conscious effort to walk instead of drive when possible. I’m looking forward to building more on this in the new year.
- Learn a New Skill – This year I improved my skills in Photoshop, website building, cooking & baking, travel hacking, and playing chess! My talented partner is always sharing his photography and videography tips and tricks with me. He loves chess and also roped me in to learning. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, but even moreso at what a fantastic conversation starter it is when you play in public! In the kitchen I’ve been honing my skills with a few favourite curry dishes, perfecting smoothie texture, and baking homemade Reese’s Pieces.
- Spanish-Speaking Country – I almost crossed this one off with a trip to Colombia in November, however life calls and sometimes plans change. On the bright side, the friend I was going to travel with will still be there in 2020. Hopefully we can reschedule and I can cross this off in the new year.
- Ireland – I didn’t do much to set this goal in motion, despite writing it down. I like to believe this is an example of stars aligning. D surprised me with concert tickets to one of our favourite artists, who happens to be from Northern Ireland and was playing a gig on my birthday on the Emerald Isle! Let’s just say I was a liiiiittle bit more than ecstatic receiving such a thoughtful gift. To top it off, D was able to visit Ireland for his first time.
- Road Trip – I didn’t do a trip centered around road travel this year, though I rented car in Ireland, drove around Jeju Island, and drove to Québec and back. I have a few ideas in the works for 2020 that include mini road trips, and we just splurged on $10 bus ticket to NYC (!), so stay tuned for updates.
- Work & Live in 2 Countries – I didn’t make it to Argentina to live and work this year, however I’m sure that will happen at some point. One of the ways I reduce trip costs is by working while abroad. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it works really well for me and my style and pace of travel. This year I worked while in Ireland, Italy, and South Korea. I’m going to half-tick this box despite not living in these countries.
- Family Travel – This summer I was so excited to be in Canada. A large reason why I was delighted to be home is that I was able to attend an annual family cottage weekend for the first time in 20 years. The weather was perfect and the time together was priceless, plus nothing beats swimming in fresh water. The second family trip of 2019 was with my mother to Italy on one of her MP Tours small group food and wine tours. We explored the Puglia region, and I was blown away by the history, architecture, food, and wine. Though I’ve been to Italy several times, I’d never visited Puglia. I may be the biased daughter, but the itinerary sparked my desire to return and delve more into this stunning region. It goes without saying that spending time with Mom was also wonderful. You really can’t beat moments spent with family.
- Spontaneous Travel – Europe and Asia were both somewhat spontaneous trips this year as they seemed to seek me out instead of the other way around. While I didn’t show up at an airport with a credit card and randomly choose a destination to fly to, they were both surprises and felt just as impromptu.
- Solo Travel – “This year I’d like to push (solo travel) to a week or two, including limiting my use of technology to communicate with friends and family while away.” I’m thrilled to report that I travelled alone a lot this year. Over 4 separate trips (Europe, Boston, Halifax, and Asia) I travelled by myself. It was freaking fantastic! Previously, I always wanted to travel with someone to be able to share travel stories with someone who “gets it”. From experience, it can be quite difficult to partake in conversation about past trips with people who weren’t there. Since travel is a huge part of my life, this has been frustrating and isolating at times. Well…let me tell you, having canon-balled in to the solo travel experience, it’s now one of my favourite ways to travel. This is a massive shift for me and I’m really looking forward to planning trips with and without companions in the future.
- Consistently Create Content – I wrote and released more than double the posts I did in 2018. Right now the number of posts written are few, but I’m all about baby steps and celebrating the small wins. Additionally, I tried 1 Instagram Live and posted several Instagram Stories. It still feels really bizarre talking to
myselfa screen, and I’m still deciding how I’d like to use the platform in the future. While trying Instagram’s other features, I also posted less static Instagram posts. I realized that I have been focusing on trying to do too much in too many different areas so I’ve deleted Instagram for the time being to focus more on writing and travel consulting.
- Attend 2+ Conferences – In June I attended TravelCon in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted by Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt. It was fantastic to reconnect with the friends I made last year, to add a few new gems to the mix, and to continue this learning journey. If you’re curious about TravelCon, I wrote a review this year. The second conference I was hoping to attend was WITS, or Women in Travel Summit, in Riga, Latvia. The timing wasn’t in the cards as it piggybacked onto Asia. Next year WITS is in Gdansk, Poland and already on the calendar. Locally, I attended several Travel Massive events in Toronto, learned quite a bit along the way, and met more Ontarians involved in the professional travel world.
- Build My Network – Oh man, I have met so many fantastic people this year from all over the world, and especially from Ontario, Canada! I’m thankful for the opportunities to connect with others who share interests, a different lifestyle, and a thirst for adventure, and am looking forward to more fun and learning together.
- Earn Income through Travel with TMc – Success! I earned a few dolla dolla bills through Travel with TMc this year through the travel consulting services I offer and freelance travel writing for other websites.
2019 Year in Review
There you have it, a review of 2019’s goals, failures, and accomplishments. Stay tuned for 2020’s list coming soon!
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. Stay safe and enjoy the last few hours of the decade!!!