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It’s crazy to think that it’s been 6 whole months since I walked out of my full-time job for a summer of travel and exploring a new potential career path. Being almost the end of October, and now that I am working on the blog and freelancing full-time, it felt like it was probably about time for me to take a look back and reflect on how the last half a year has gone.
Back in May, I set myself 7 goals for this summer (check out the original post here).
So did I complete them? Let’s see…
Relax a little
Snippet: ‘Over the coming months, I am looking forward to taking a little bit of time for myself, such as sitting by a pool with a book for a couple of hours, taking a leisurely stroll on the beach or going out for dinner with a friend without my camera in tow.’
I can safely say that this is a goal I definitely managed to achieve. Taking a step back from my hectic London lifestyle of trying to maintain a full-time job, the blog and an active social life gave me a certain amount of free time which I haven’t had in years.
Although many of my travels at the start of the summer were city-based (anyone who knows me knows that I won’t be sitting still when there’s an entire city to explore!), I did find plenty of time for relaxing on the beach with a good book in Gran Canaria, Albania and later in the summer during my week on the French Riviera.
I’ve never particularly been someone who can stay still for long periods of time and therefore prefer city breaks or more active travel, however, I definitely appreciated the time to take a step back and just relax for a change.
Returning to London after my initial two months away in Europe, I also found myself with more spare time to chill out back at home. I’ve had time to do things that I actually want to do, such as taking a slow stroll down the Thames on a Sunday afternoon, visiting the museums at my own pace, hanging out with friends at non-blogging events and even getting back into binge-watching TV series.
Take joy in writing again
Snippet: ‘The thing is, I know I still love it, and most of the time when I’m sitting writing a blog post I’m in my happy place. Therefore, my goal is to make sure I’m in this place everytime I write. Which once again should be much more manageable now that I have more time on my hands to focus on blogging.’
This was certainly the case at the start of summer when I had plenty of time to write and catch up on all of the blog posts I’d been dying to write for so long and hadn’t got the chance to. Plus, all of my fantastic travels and exciting adventures at the start of the summer gave me plenty of fun things to write about for months.
Now that I’m starting to do more collaborations and write for other publications, I’m not going to lie and pretend that there aren’t some days that I really don’t feel like writing but have to force myself to in order to meet deadlines. However, just like any job, it would be unusual to feel 100% motivated every hour of every day. I do take joy in writing the majority of the time and I feel lucky that I get to do the thing I love the most as a full-time career.
Snippet: ‘I’m planning to brush up on my SEO and technical knowledge, as well as improving my photography and editing skills. Plus on top of the blog learnings, I also plan to learn more about travel too.’
It’s safe to say that I’ve learnt a lot this summer, about blogging, photography, travel, running a business and even just about myself.
I have brushed up greatly on my SEO skills and now even offer this as a service to clients. I’ve started shooting my photos in raw and editing using Lightroom. I’ve learnt how to create a freelance business and work with clients while managing things such as admin and accounts (boring but has to be done!). I even learnt that flying alone isn’t the scary experience I’d built it up to be in my head and that I am more than capable of travelling solo.
There’s definitely plenty more to learn but I am proud of myself for the skills I have picked up this summer and the notable difference they are making in my work and life.
Give YouTube a go
Snippet: ‘This summer I will be creating some videos of my travels and attempting to start a YouTube channel to accompany my blog. I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing, but I’ve really been enjoying filming and editing the videos already, so hopefully, it’s something which will stick.’
Ah, it was all going so well up until this point!
Unfortunately, my YouTube channel was a bit of a one month wonder. In my defence, much of the reason for this was down to my external hard drive with several countries worth of footage breaking halfway through my trip, leaving me disheartened and extremely behind schedule.
I did truly enjoy filming and editing the few videos I managed to put together, however, I can’t see myself becoming an avid YouTuber any time soon. Well, at least I tried!
Achieve a life goal
Snippet: ‘So throughout this summer, I am learning Italian once again using the language app Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone comes in the form of a nifty little phone app with short 5-10 minute lessons, making it super easy for me to use it on the go and no matter where I am, whether it’s sitting by a pool, in my hotel room or travelling to my next location.’
Okay, so this goal didn’t go entirely to plan either. My language lessons using the Rosetta Stone app were great and I certainly got to grips with some of my basic Italian once again. But as with every other time I’ve attempted to learn a language, I quickly forgot everything the second I stopped using the app.
One day I will fully commit to becoming fluent in Italian (even if that means moving to Italy for a little while), but unfortunately, it didn’t happen this summer.
Figure out what’s next
Snippet: ‘Will I enjoy blogging full-time? Or will I miss the 9-5 office life? Will I love travelling so much? Or will I pine for my beloved London? Do I want to go freelance? Will blogging full-time even be a viable possibility? Or if not, what job do I want to do when I’m back home?’
This is a decision I made pretty early on. After just 2 months out in Europe and blogging full-time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I started picking up writing clients straight away and I haven’t looked back since. I still have a long way to go on building up my own blog, and starting a career as a freelance writer/blogger has definitely come with its fair share of difficulties and stress, but I’ve never felt so passionate about anything before and I love the freelance lifestyle I have created for myself.
Currently I plan to keep building my freelancing business and working on the blog while making the most of the flexibility and ability to travel whenever I want. I have some exciting plans over the next few months so watch this space…
Snippet: ‘Last but certainly not least, I’m going to have fun! Even if I come out of this summer having achieved none of my other goals (fingers crossed that won’t happen), if I’ve enjoyed myself then it wasn’t a complete waste of time.’
This summer has been an absolute rollercoaster for me and I’ve certainly had many amazing highs as well as some horrible lows. But there is no doubting that I’ve had the most fun and amazing summer, with some of the biggest and best adventures of my entire life.
Photos speak a thousand words, so here are a few of my favourite memories from the summer…