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2016 in Review, and Plans for 2017

I wasn’t going to do one of these posts, but sometimes it’s important to look back at and appreciate what you have achieved, and to see more clearly what you want to do this year!  2016 was an incredible year for me – full of adventure and amazing destinations, but also tinged with some difficult times.

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2016 was certainly a crappy year for celebrity deaths, with famous faces sadly dropping like flies.  I have been lucky not to lose anyone myself (touch wood), and in fact all this has reaffirmed my belief that life is short and you have to take chances where you can.  Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to travel, so for me, I have the chance and I am grabbing it with both hands!

Rio Carnival Baby!!
Rio Carnival Baby!!

I had a busy year of travel in 2016, actually travelling full time and having no fixed job or abode.  For those of you who like lists I visited 15 countries last year, so here they are with the approximate time I spent there:

Venezuela – 3 weeks             Brazil – 5 weeks             Paraguay – 1 week

Argentina – 1 week          Bolivia – 3 weeks          Peru – 4 weeks

Panama – 1 day (layover)          Ecuador – 3 weeks          Colombia – 7 weeks

England – 4 weeks            France – 3 weeks             Spain – 3 weeks

Sweden – 10 days             Cuba – 3.5 weeks             Mexico – 8 weeks

(For anyone who bothered to add up the numbers I am missing a couple of weeks somewhere, I’ve lost track of days in airports, on buses, on beaches or in the rainforest – so let’s not be picky ok?!)

Swimming in Angel Falls
Swimming in Angel Falls

I have been continually growing Tales of a Backpacker, working especially hard since I returned from South America.  2016 was a big year for me because I decided to really change my life.  No longer can I work in an office, I will do everything I can to allow me to live the life I choose – travel, writing, and working anywhere I can to be able to maintain this adventure!

I attended my first travel blogging conference, TBEX, in Stockholm and met some wonderful people who I am now proud to say are my colleagues.  Travel blogging is in general a solo pursuit, so it was great to meet other people doing a similar thing, and finally feeling part of something instead of being the weird one who quit their job.  I’ve also joined various Facebook groups which have helped me build my confidence, share what I’ve learned, and learn from others.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other bloggers and feeling like part of a community – we really are a friendly bunch I’m pleased to say.

2016 Review - Being Chased by Dinosaurs in Bolivia on the Salar de Uyuni
2016 Review – Being Chased by Dinosaurs in Bolivia on the Salar de Uyuni

In 2016 I showered in the highest waterfall in the world, took a boat down the Amazon, partied in Rio for Carnival, been chased by dinosaurs in Bolivia, learned some important lessons in Peru, got robbed in Ecuador, fell in love with Colombia, saw my best friends get married in England, caught up with old friends in Barcelona, met new ones in Stockholm, drank a lot of rum in Cuba, and ate more tacos than I thought possible in Mexico.  And what pains me most about all my adventures is that I have only managed to write about a small proportion of them!

2017 for me will be about catching up with my old adventures, while working towards sharing new ones.  In 2016 I took part in my first press trips, and hope 2017 will continue to grow my success and share my adventures to inspire more people to follow their dreams.

What's not to love about Mexico??
What’s not to love about Mexico??

For now, I am still enjoying Mexico City, so expect plenty more posts from here, as well as Cuba, and some posts remembering previous trips this year!  I still have stories up my sleeve from all the countries I visited, and will try to share them with you as soon as I can!  One thing I did underestimate was how much work this travel blogging business it.  At least I enjoy it, and I am seeing the benefits – it ain’t easy but trust me, it’s worth it!

I hope you all had a memorable 2016, I imagine with both sad & happy memories.  Cherish the happy ones, and appreciate the sad ones, learn from your mistakes and look forward to the future.  You have the power to make changes in your life, no matter how small!  Here’s to making 2017 your best year yet!

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5 thoughts on “2016 in Review, and Plans for 2017

  1. Hallie says:

    I think it’s always great to look back and see what we’ve done, achieved to help us see what is still to do. You’ve accomplished so much this year and that is just amazing. Onward and upward! Am I right? ^^

  2. Paige Wunder says:

    It sounds like you had a truly incredible year! How exciting that you were able to move into full time travel? And 15 countries! AMAZING! I can’t wait to read more about Mexico City and Cuba because those are two destinations I’d love to visit!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Wow! Must be amazing to be a full time traveler. So few people actually pull that off. I would love to visit the tallest waterfall in the world. Hopefully one day. I finally gave up the 9-5, but I am still only a part-time traveler.

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