Why hello 2017, and hello blog, it’s been a while…
Now some of you are probably thinking it’s a little late to be writing a New Year blog post, I mean it is January 10th after all…only ten days late Sophie… Well, let’s just say I have had a very crazy and hectic finish to 2016. I’ve spent the past few weeks stuck at work, neverending ten-hour shifts as it was Christmas, giving me only Christmas Day itself off. To top it all off I’ve literally just finished my exams meaning I had to revise in every spare waking moment I had. So I am OVERJOYED to have gotten over such a busy period and have just over two weeks to recharge before returning to university, which means hello blogging! However, despite not having a spare minute to myself, I still didn’t let myself get too down over Christmas. It is hard to remain positive when you’re burnt out, but with lovely family around me, an amazing year had just passed and now a year full of new opportunities lay ahead, staying positive wasn’t too difficult…
This is a very rambly post of my reflections on this year and looking to 2017, if personal posts like this are not your thing, click away, my travel posts will be back shortly 😉
Now 2016 overall was actually a pretty great year. Of course, throughout the world many things upset me, whether it be natural disasters or politics, I got pretty stirred up. In addition to this, I’ve had to deal with some unfortunate health problems which have made parts of my life a bit harder. Buuuuuut, saying that it wasn’t too bad, in fact, I really enjoyed the year on the whole!
Despite being ill and tired 24/7 and sometimes getting really ill, I still carried on with everything and managed to achieve what I wanted. I only went sick from my work twice, both occasions as a result of Doctor’s orders and I managed to bag myself a 2.1 in my first year of University. To say I achieved it all with ease and I am some kind of superwoman would be a bit of an exaggeration, and I certainly had a few emotional meltdowns, but at least now I can say…’Hey I did it!’
I also learnt to realise who I am and what I want to do with my life a little more (yes how deep). My friendships and social circle has constantly been changing, growing, shrinking, then growing again and I guess I just finally am happy in regards to that. But I guess that’s what happens when you get friends from all different places and walks of life. No pressure with friendships and slowly removing negative people from my life has really aided my happiness levels. People who were supposed to understand me, my health issues and stresses, but instead were cruel, how can you call them friends? But now I understand what to do, why retaliate when you know…you can just avoid those kinds of people and just stay close to those who do build you up, are kind and make you happy? I used to be awful with dealing bitchiness but now, I’ve just reached the ripe old age of 19 and realised, it doesn’t really matter. I just roll with the flow now <3
With all those hours I keep mentioning, of course, there is a positive to those too. Much of the money does indeed go to funding my studies and living costs as I didn’t want to take a penny from my parents. Not that they are unkind people who wouldn’t help me, but hey if they’re working their butts off too they should enjoy their money in my opinion. For me, I enjoyed my leftover money this year by travelling a lot. And although I’m not travelling all the time, I really am happy with the places I got to see this year: I visited Edinburgh, Warsaw, Cardiff, Malta, Rome, Gdansk, Sopot, Nevada, California, Beijing, Paris and of course Japan a couple of times.
Speaking of Japan, 2016 has been quite a significant year in realising what I actually want to do with my life when I have to leave University…you know when I actually have to become an adult… From visiting Japan several times I’ve just gained more and more love for the country. Growing up I always looked up to the place. Of course, now it’s getting to the point that my dream (yes I used that word how deep) can actually be a reality – living in Japan. My aim is to apply for teaching jobs this September. Of course, I sound like a giant weaboo glorifying Japan and saying it’s my dream to live there, however, I am fully aware from visiting that Japan is not a fairytale land and it certainly has its faults. Plus the prospect of living 6,000 miles away from my home and family when I have not even moved out yet in the UK is very daunting. But I know it’s the push I need to grow as I feel as though I have matured as much as I can from working and studying, and if I don’t take the opportunity now when I’m only in my twenties I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Hopefully, when I return the UK I will complete a masters degree and then figure out exactly what I want to do for the majority of my adult life…but thats for other years to figure out.
So what am I planning for 2017? Well, there’s a few things I want to get better at (is it too late for resolutions?) and a few places I really want to see.
-Become more organised: Although I’m pretty good at juggling lots of work and university, I’m not the best at time management as I struggle to fit in time for myself during term time. I never have time to relax, read things leisurely, blog and do things people normally do on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. So I’m definitely going to invest in a big journal this year and try to organise lots of parts of my life, plus it’ll be a great creative outlet.
-Start journaling: As I was saying I would love to start a journal for this year and look back on 2017 and see what I achieve. Plus I used to love my ‘Wreck this Journal’ that I used to doodle in all the time, it would be lovely to craft a pretty journal. Although I already have solid plans to start a travel journal this year, one of my friends bought me a gorgeous scrapbook which I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll put every trip I go on in it, or if I’ll use it for one trip alone…which links onto my next point.
-Explore Japan even more: As most of you know I’ve been to Japan several times, some occasions just visiting Tokyo, others exploring a bit more. This year I will be returning to the bullet trains and exploring Japan from the most northern island Hokkaido to the most southern island of Kyushu. As I said in my bucket-list post, Hokkaido is very high on my list and I’m glad to be ticking it off this year. I cannot wait to see the different culture of the most northern island <3 It’ll probably be great to actually put my Japanese language skills to the test too!
-See more new places in general: I’ve already booked trips to Krakow, Zakopane, Paris, Gdansk, Luxembourg, Germany, Malta and Japan but I am desperate to add places like Norway’s fjords, Helsinki, Hamburg and Bucharest to my 2017 itinerary. With moving to Japan looking very likely in 2018, this year is really my last opportunity for a while to explore Europe with ease.
-Blog more: Blogging is something I genuinely enjoy so much, it’s such a nice outlet from working and it’s a lovely way to look back on my travels but also give people tips and advice for booking their own trips. Plus I’ve met so many lovely people online as a result, I certainly want to be involved even more this year <3
-Do even more for charity: Of course most of you know I’m not new to charity work, and I am someone who is very grateful for the life I have, however, I just feel like I could do so so much more. I especially want to help out with homelessness this year, although I know I’ve made one homeless person smile on a daily basis along with the help of my Mum, I still haven’t been able to give them a better life or help others in the same situation. Plus on my trip to Japan in September, I would love to raise some more money for Kumamoto Earthquake victims and give them some letters from people in the UK, so watch this space as I may be asking some of you to help in regards to the letters <3 (of course I need to do some more research to ensure this would be appropriate)
Well that’s my year in a nutshell! Well done if you read the whole thing, either you’re dedicated or just very nosey 😉 Either way it’s cool! What did you achieve this year? What did you learn? Also what does 2017 have in store for you?