This year feels like it has gone faster than any other year. I guess you probably start saying that every year as you get older, but I feel like I was just ringing in 2017. Now all of a sudden 2018 is looming and I wonder what it is that has made this year speed by so quickly.
I love these sort of review posts because it’s nice to look back on all of the things that I’ve accomplished, all of the trips I’ve taken, and how much I’ve learned in 12 months. It’s also nice to do a little bit of forward-planning and put my thoughts for the new year in one place.
I think I traveled less this year than I have in the past seven. I lived in Mexico City all year. I’ve been in the exact same apartment since January, which is probably a record for me!
That being said – I feel like I’ve struck a balance that makes me really happy. Mexico City has so much to offer. I can literally go to a new restaurant or bar every weekend, I can check out new art exhibits, visit neighborhoods I’ve never heard of before, or explore ancient ruins that I only just discovered existed. Living here often feels like I’m still “traveling,” even after a year and a half.
But I can still enjoy the home comforts. I still have a routine (a word that used to make me cringe). I have my own bed and all of my clothes are unpacked in drawers. It’s a nice feeling.
Of course, I still have itchy feet. I still need to get away and discover new places. In 2017, I visited so many places in Mexico: Merida, Chichen Itza, Rio Lagartos, Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Oaxaca, and Puebla. I’ve learned so much more about the country and am not done with it yet.
I also visited Costa Rica, a country that I must admit, was never really on my radar. I needed to do a visa run and wanted to go somewhere close by and cheap. The cheapest round-trip flights that I could find were to San Jose, so the planning began. Although it wasn’t as cheap as I thought it was going to be, it was amazing. I loved the beaches, I loved the jungles, and I even have a little crush on San Jose. You can check out my Costa Rica posts here.
Another nice thing about being in Mexico, is that I’m a relatively cheap flight away from my family in New York. So as a last minute trip, I headed north for Thanksgiving. It was so nice. We road-tripped to Virginia Beach where I spent days playing with my nieces and nephews and evenings watching the sunset on the beach. It was just the reset I needed.
Now I’m finishing off the year in one of my favorite countries: the UK. It’s my second home and I’m enjoying every Christmas-y moment of it.
When I lay it all out there I can’t actually believe I packed so many trips and travels into the year. They were well spaced out and no single trip lasted more than three weeks. After each one I got to come home, unpack, do laundry in an actual washing machine (I really don’t miss the days of handwashing in a hostel sink), and sleep in my bed for a night or two.
I forsee a lot more travel, especially internationally, in 2018, but I’m really happy with the exploring that I did around Mexico this past year.
I’ve been blogging in some way or another since 2010. Blogging has changed so much. How people travel and research their trips has changed immensely. Obviously, I’ve changed a lot since I created that first little Blogspot page almost 8 years ago.
I’m so happy with this website and where it is right here, right now. I can’t believe how much this blog has grown over the last 12 months. I’ve put so much energy and effort into turning it into a helpful resource. There are days that I wonder if it’s actually reaching anyone or if I’m doing any real good. There are days that I know I’m getting it totally wrong, but overall this blog has brought me so much happiness and purpose. It has also given me some seriously incredibly opportunities this year that never would have happened to me otherwise.
I started off 2017 making hardly any money from this blog. Most of my income was, and continues to be, from freelance and copywriting jobs. Having that income from somewhere else allows me to work on this site and grow it in a way that I’m proud of and turn it into something that I am happy to put my name to. Now in December, I’ve been able to start making almost 30% of my income from my blog. It’s a milestone that nearly brings tears to my eyes and wouldn’t be possible without all of you.
2017 Freelance & Copywriting
When I first started out with freelance writing and copywriting, my intention was to just keep it as a side gig until I could get this blog up and running. It quickly morphed into something so different and something so much more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.
My income has grown quicker than I ever planned for and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a publisher that I used to dream of working for one day. I’ll never forget the day that email landed in my inbox and it continues to make me feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. As the blog grows in 2018, I’m hoping to be able to spend more time working on projects that interest me and with companies and publishers that I believe in.
Plans for 2018
I’m hoping to add a little bit more travel to my life this year. While I love Mexico City and exploring the surrounding region, I’m ready to head to new places and countries that I’ve been dreaming of for years.
I’m ringing in the new year here in the UK before heading back to Mexico City in mid-January. I’ll likely be in the city all month.
I turn the big 3-0 in February and I’m kind of excited about it. My 20’s have been amazing. I’ve lived most of this decade in different countries and traveling the world, what more could I ask for? I’m going to be celebrating in the city, heading to a favorite restaurant and no doubt some of my favorite bars.
I don’t really have any travel plans until late-March. Although not booked yet, I have a loose itinerary that starts in the Mexican state of Chiapas and may or may not lead to Guatemala or Belize. Still working out the finer details, so if you’ve ever done this route before, let me know in the comments what you think!
In April, Luke’s mum is coming to visit us, so we get to play tour guide again, which is basically my favorite thing. Then suddenly it’s summer again.
I have grand plans for a European adventure this summer. It’s an exciting year that I want to celebrate – not only are Luke and I both turning 30, but we’re also celebrating 10 whole years since we first met. I’m thinking about starting in Barcelona and seeing where the wind takes us. I’ve never been to Spain and I want to eat ALL the tapas and drink ALLLLL the wine.
That’s all I know for now. I’ve got a big and exciting project in the works that I’m hoping to have ready to launch by the end of February and I have lots of ideas for this blog and for more companies that I want to work with in the coming months.
I love setting challenges for myself at the turn of the year or when I get a year older or when a new school year starts. I like to take stock throughout the year to see if I’m really working on the things that are important to me and if I’m actually doing things that will help me reach my goals.
This year, I have only a few goals to set for myself.
- Learn More Spanish. I talked about this a few months ago, but I’m taking this seriously from January. I have just ordered a grammar book. I also ordered one of my favorite novels in Spanish and I’m going to work my way through translating it as a way to build up my vocabulary and really challenge myself with something I otherwise really enjoy (reading books that is).
- Become a Better Photographer & Videographer. I’ve really grown to love making videos, but I know I still have so much to learn. I recently got a free trial of Premiere Pro CC (one of Adobe’s video editing software) and I also joined Skillshare, a monthly membership program that gives you access to TONS of different online courses. So I’m really excited to dive into learning more about taking better photos and making better videos. They also have courses on writing, editing, building a blog or online business, and even learning Spanish (or tons of other languages). Get two free months of Skillshare for free with this link.
- Read More. I was a slacker this year with reading and it wasn’t until around September that I started getting back into it. I want to try to do one of those book challenges where I read a different type of book every month. I like this one from Popsugar with 40 different types – definitely genres that I wouldn’t normally choose, so it should be interesting!
I’m so grateful for this year, for Mexico, for the health and happiness of all of my friends and family, and for all of you that continue to read and comment and like and share content from Eternal Expat. It really means the world to me. I hope you all have a great new year and here’s to an even better 2018.