For the last 4 years, as each one ends, I say 'That was the best year ever' and I really mean it. But, I have to admit, I don't think I knew what 'the best year ever' really was until 2015 hit. WHAT A YEAR. From working and living on a scuba diving boat, to moving to Hong Kong and becoming a full time writer. I couldn't have predicted any of that a meer 365 days ago. So this post is to not show off, it is to inspire, to help others understand that you can do whatever you put your mind too- even if your mind doesn't even know what it wants yet. Here's how 2015 became the year that changed it all. The highs and lows, the achievements and push backs, and everything in between.
Living and working on a scuba boat in Micronesia
This was really my ultimate dream. I remember the first time I ever scuba dived in the Maldives in 2009 and my instructor said he quit his job and life back home to be a scuba instructor. I knew from then that was exactly what I wanted to do. Fast forward 6 years later and I was on a plane to the middle of NO WHERE to work in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, one of the best places in the world for wreck (and shark) diving. Read the full story here
Moved to Hong Kong
The best decision I have made in my 27 years so far. And how did I make that decision? Typhoons had hit Micronesia, boats were being damaged, we had to go onto dry land..there were no customers for 6 weeks. I had the choice to stay and help on the boat (but not scuba dive) or to go somewhere and come back. I typed in Guam to ANYWHERE. Tokyo came up. I was going to go to Tokyo... once I booked it in the morning. When I woke up Hong Kong was cheaper. So I went to Hong Kong, and I never looked back. For those of you that have been following for a while you will know how much I love this city. More about that to come. But check out some of my full HK story here
Having to go back to London to renew my Passport
My work visa came back saying I needed 12 months on it to be valid. I had 11 months and 25 days!! I could either wait 6 WEEKS to get a new passport through (meaning I couldn't work over here), leave Hong Kong (That was never an option) or fly back to the UK, get my passport renewed in one day, spend a few more days there then fly back... Really there was no other choice than to say goodbye to a few hundred pounds and 40 odd hours of my life spent in an airport. This was one of the lowest points of the year- although it may not sound like it. The flights and layovers were exhausting, I got to London and had only a few hours to get everything sorted. I was tired, moody, and didn't want to be there. I lost a lot of money and sleep. It inspired me to write an article on 'The highs and lows of a life of constant travel' However I dont regret a moment of it- the risk paid off, I got my work visa through fine and it lead me to some incredible opportunities.
Spending 2 weeks in Bali
Now I had been in Hong Kong for 3 months, I had made some great friends and we all booked a villa in Bali for the weekend! I then stayed on for an extra few weeks to travel and work. I was now writing for a few companies in Hong Kong that I could sell articles to, so I went exploring and started writing, After having not visited Bali for 4 years, I completely fell for it again. I think if I ever felt the need to leave the city, this is where I would head. Read more about scuba diving, luxry spas, and everything in between here
Diving with Mantas in Yap Micronesia
Who would have thought only a few months after I left Micronesia and 'never looked back' I would indeed be doing the opposite. This trip came out of nowhere. As I was sitting with my friends in Bali having breakfast an email came through from a publication in Hong Kong asking if I wanted to go on a press trip for them, ERRR YEAH! And not just any press trip- my favourite kind. Scuba diving. I was on the plane before they could change their mind. I had the most incredible time being in the presence of these beautiful creatures. For 7 days, I dived with mantas, sharks and drank coconuts. I was lucky enough to be hanging out with an epic underwater photographer (Shout out Brad Holland) and experienced nature at its finest. That trip will forever be in my memories. It instilled in my brain that I should recognise how lucky I am. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY
The month that had it all: Getting a job as Online Editor, Singapore, China and Tibet.
After coming back from my press trip to Yap, Expat Living offered me the job as Online Editor for Hong Kong. With the flexibility to keep living my life of travel (Online work rocks eh) I really couldn't let that opportunity go. So I took over the site and turned the city into my canvas. Along with all the other freelance contracts I now had, my writing had now turned from a hobby into a full-time career. I flew to Singapore for some training, had 3 days back in HK and was straight back on a plane off to Lijiang and Tibet. Without much time to take in the last few months, I didn't think too much about going to China. I arrived and it hit me like a ton of bricks. This was one of the most breath-taking places I had ever. EVER. seen. I was in total awe. A week went by in the blink of an eye. I felt a love for a place like never before. Tibet blew my mind. I struggle to write about it, I don't think words can do it justice. All I know is I am going back... REAL SOON. Who's joining? Read more here
Start making money from your writing. Create your blog here
When travel is your job and your job is to travel, why stop? But believe it or not, it can all get a bit tiring. I needed to have a break and turn off my phone for a few days (although that didn't quite happen) I headed to VEGAS to visit some friends and take a rest (haha, yes, I know Vegas isn't the obvious choice) BUT Hong Kong to Vegas is one of the cheapest flights I have ever booked. £365 return! How could I say no? That week gave me the time I needed to digest the last few months. I had hardly had time to have a full nights sleep since I moved to Hong Kong. And that time away re-focused me and taught me what it was I really wanted. I was excited to come back to Hong Kong and work harder than ever before!
Oh and I also g0t to meet and talk to Gordon Ramsay! And started doing a lot more food writing (and getting fat while doing it) Writers life in Hong Kong hey! :)
Read the full article here
Just a week or so after my break away I was heading back to do what I love best: Travel writing. I had met a great company over here in HK who were sending me to Vietnam for some adventures. I spent 4 days travelling from Hanoi up to Sapa and discovering the real Vietnam. Spending a day in a local village really brought me back down to earth, and made me realised what an amazing life I lead, and how to be grateful for it. Read more of my stories and how you can do this trip here
I am closing a CRAZY year with my first ever trip to Austraila! I know, can you believe I haven't been yet! My younger brother has just moved to Sydney, and I can't wait to see him! I am heading to Sydney on the 27th of December for a week, and then planning to hit up Western Australia, or wherever else takes my fancy. However, there's no rest for the wicked, and the internet doesn't get time off over Christmas, so I will still be typing away on my laptop, keeping Hong Kong in the loop. (Any suggestion on Sydney or anywhere else in Oz I should visit are much appreciated!) I'm not going to give the whole 2015 has been the best year yet BS. I'm sure its pretty clear that it really has been amazing, but mainly, I feel this year has taught me so many valuable lessons. I have no intention of slowing down any time soon, but I am defitley a lot clearer on what I am aiming towards. Being a travel writer (and lifestyle and food writer) is the most epic job ever! I really could not think of a more perfect job for me! So take from this: never give up on what you believe in. Wanna be a travel writer too? THEN DO IT. If I can, YOU can!