Can you believe we’re halfway through 2018? Actually, we’re more than halfway. It feels like this year has absolutely flown by. I cannot believe we’re in July already. But when I look back at the first half of 2018, I did manage to cram in quite a bit!
One of my biggest milestones from the first half of 2018 is actually this right here – this blog! I have been blogging since 2012 but only this March decided to take my blog public, commit to regular posting and actually share my writing with the world. And it’s been so much fun! It’s been a lot of learning and I’m sure there are still a million things I could be doing better, but I’ve also gotten to connect with some great people and have written some pieces I’m really proud of.
My other huge milestone from this year so far would have to be our trip to Ireland! We’ve been planning Ireland since August of 2017 so it was absolutely incredible to finally get there this April. We had the most amazing time on our 10 day trip to Ireland.
And lastly, maybe as a mini highlight, would have to be all the trips I managed to go on in just 6-ish months. I was able to go somewhere new almost every month! My wallet wasn’t thrilled but it was so much fun!
- Hope, BC
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Dublin, Belfast, Galway and Cork, Ireland
- London, UK
- Austin, Texas
- Whistler, BC (a few times!)
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Pender Harbour, BC
Can every place I visited be a highlight? Every trip I got to go on in 2018 has been amazing and highlight-worthy. But if I had to pick a few, it would be:
- Our log cabin weekend in Hope, BC. We booked this kind of last minute after my New Zealand trip fell through. And it was perfect! We were able to just hole up in the cutest log cabin, hide from the snow, enjoy the view and watch all of the movies!
- IRELAND! And that time we were able to magically spend a day in London thanks to the British Airways angels who changed our four leg journey home (Dublin to London to New York to Toronto to Vancouver) to a direct flight (London to Vancouver), giving us a full day in London (one of my favourite cities!).
- Scoring awesome flight deals: $550 Asia flights, $400 Europe flights, $50 Austin flights!
- For my last highlight, I’m going to go with a three way tie between throwing axes in Whistler, eating the most delicious food in Austin, and enjoying the incredible views in Honolulu, Hawaii!
You can’t have travel highlights without a few travel lowlights, right? Here are of few of mine from the first half of 2018:
- The drama with our flight coming home from Ireland. Our return flight had been cancelled (and no one decided to tell us!). So we spent a few hours on a long distance call with CheapOAir absolutely stressed and had to settle for a four leg flight journey home. Luckily, when we got to London (after a delay in Dublin, meaning we had already missed our next flight), the amazing British Airways agents worked their magic and booked us on a direct flight home. So this lowlight actually turned into a highlight!
- Our flights to Phoenix were kind of rough. I loved visiting Colin’s family and checking out Arizona, but it was a busy weekend. We had to take connecting flights there and back, which seemed to take up the whole day. And then it felt like as soon as we arrived, we had to turn around and leave again. We’ll have to stay for longer next time!
- Our red-eye flight to Austin was pretty rough. We flew on Frontier, which meant plastic seats and no leg room. Plus, there were multiple screaming babies. Suffice to say, we got no sleep. We did, however, head straight to a hotel when we landed and enjoyed a lovely nap in their plush-y beds.
- Cancelling Calgary kind of sucked. It sucks to cancel a trip and it sucks to lose money in cancellation fees. But I’m sure we’ll get to Calgary soon!
When I’m not traveling (and sometimes, even when I am), I’m working as a freelance writer. This is my second year working full time freelance and it has been going well so far. Here are some of the best parts:
- I’ve picked up a couple of new jobs that I’m excited about. It’s always fun working with new clients and taking on new projects. I’ve also gotten to take on new responsibilities in some of my old jobs and grow my skills in new areas.
- I’ve managed to get all of my jobs to a point that I am comfortable with, financially speaking. Now, I’m not raking in the cash by any means. And I know that I’m not making as much as some freelancers. But I have grown in valuing my work and myself and pricing myself accordingly. I hope to do more of this in the rest of 2018 and into 2019!
- And then, just as general highlights, I’m still loving working from home, having a flexible schedule, spending all day with my dog and not wearing a bra. Freelance highlights I enjoy every day!
Yes, the freelance life is not all glamour and glitz. It’s a struggle. Here are a few of my biggest lows from the first half of the year:
- I definitely struggled getting back into a freelance routine post-trip. I got to go on a lot of awesome trips this year and we all know it’s hard to come home from an amazing trip. It’s even harder to self-motivate and get shit done when you’d much rather be exploring a castle in Ireland.
- Because of all of that traveling, I also saw quite a few income variations. One of the perks of freelance work is that I can take it with me and work on the road. But I do try to keep most of my travel time dedicated to traveling – especially if I’m in a cool spot and don’t have a lot of time. I love the idea of living abroad one day and working there, but it’s hard to do on short little 5-10 day trips. So sadly, my income took a hit when I chose to stand in line for Austin’s best barbecue instead of putting in more laptop hours.
- And then, since I added some general highlights, I thought I should include some general lowlights of freelancing: no job security (or sick days or vacation days!), paying taxes (we all have to do it but it’s harder as a freelancer) and needing to be motivated and organized all the time!
Here’s what else has been amazing, outside of work and travel:
- Enjoying our new home, which we moved into last October, has been really nice. As much as I like to complain about Surrey, it has been fun to get settled into a home that we own and to get to know the (safe parts of the) neighbourhood. And I have really loved taking Ellie to Tynehead Park where they have the best off-leash trails.
- I can’t say we’ve fully succeeded with this but we have been getting into the gym or workout videos and meal planning a little bit. We definitely need to do better but it has been fun trying to get more healthy and on top of our shit.
- Shows and games! I love seeing live theatre, like Les Mis that we’re actually going to tonight. And we have also seen a number of sports games like the Sedins’ last home game and a basketball game.
Sadly, with life’s ups comes life’s downs:
- We lost Colin’s grandmother in January. She was 97 years old, so lived a long and wonderful life. Luckily, she wasn’t in too much pain until the very end. It was sad to lose her, especially with all the loss we’ve had in Colin’s family over the last couple of years. But it was good to know that she lived such a long and full life.
- I’ve definitely felt some more stress about money in 2018. I’m thinking all the flights I’ve booked and trips I’ve gone on have not been helping with that. It feels like each month I’m overspending (mostly on travel) and eating into my savings. It’s definitely something I want to get control of for the rest of 2018. As much as I do believe in spending on travel, I don’t think it’s healthy for me to be stressing about money and risking my financial future. I’m not saying that I’m done with travel or anything like that (would that even be possible for me?) but I do need to cut back and make better choices.
- I got a bad haircut just before we left for Ireland. It’s been three months and I’m only now starting to wear my hair down again. I can’t wait for it to get longer! Let this be a lesson: do not get a haircut on a whim and do not let the hair dresser decide on the length without showing you in the mirror.
Most popular blog post
My most popular blog post of 2018 was 7 Tips for Your First Trip to Ireland. I guess a lot of people are headed to Ireland for the first time! If that’s you and you haven’t given this one a read yet, check it out!
Other posts you may have missed
Here are a few other posts from 2018 that I loved writing, that got lots of love from readers, and that I would love to share with you if you haven’t read them yet:
- The Competitive Nature of Travel
- Is Working from Home for You?
- How to Plan a Round the World Trip for Less Than $1500
- I Want to Elope and Here’s Why
- How to Manage Money with Your Partner
- How to Find & Book Cheap Flights
Most popular IG post
My most popular post on Instagram in 2018 was this awesome shot of the Cliffs of Moher in Western Ireland. Easy to see why this stunning spot was the most popular!
View this post on Instagram
How much did I love the Cliffs of Moher? So much! They were absolutely amazing! We lucked out visiting on a sunny day. And we were told even the wind was lucky as flies descend on the calmer days. The views were beautiful and I couldn't get enough of just staring out at it all.
Coming up for the rest of 2018
So that was the first half of 2018. But what’s coming up for the rest of the year?
- This summer we’re actually taking it easy with travel. We just got back from our annual Pender Harbour visit. And we’re hoping to head up to Kelowna to visit Colin’s brother and his family. But that’s about it! Vancouver is a great place to be in the summer. Plus, my wallet needs a break!
- Heading to Europe twice in October! I am so excited for both of these trips!
- In December, we’ll be heading to Toronto for Christmas. Since Colin and I began dating three years ago, I have alternated spending Christmas in Toronto with my family and here in Vancouver with Colin and his. This year, it’s Toronto’s turn. And, making it extra special, Colin is coming with me!
- So this isn’t technically in 2018, but we’re starting off 2019 with a trip to Southeast Asia and I am so excited about it. We booked these flights almost a year in advance, which has given me tons of time to plan, research and even book a few flights and hotels. It’s three weeks and we’re planning to visit Tokyo (just on a layover), Singapore, Siem Reap in Cambodia (home to Angkor Wat), and Phuket, Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand. This will be Colin’s first visit to Asia and my first visit to most of these countries!
How has the first half of 2018 been for you?
What’s coming up for the rest of the year?