Happy New Year everyone!
I know I’m a tad late in publishing a New Year post but we are just two weeks into 2017, it’s still a new year 🙂
I have never written a New Year post before; this will be the first especially for my six-month old website. I have been blogging for three years but I had never bothered to write a New Year post in my previous website as I didn’t believe in New Year resolutions then.
There were many resolutions about improving my fitness level and saving money years ago but all went out of the window mainly because I could not visualise the desired outcomes, did not set realistic goals and proper execution plans, and did not establish milestones and incentives to follow through with my plans. My mindset was different then – I gave up easily at the slightest challenge that came my way, the concept of delayed gratification was foreign to me. But above all, I was too hard on myself. When things didn’t go according to plan, I felt like a failure and gave up immediately rather than picking myself up and moving forward.
However, I’m not the same person now. I made my New Year resolutions a week ago.
It was in November 2015 – I was sitting by the window in Baker’s Café in Gangtok, Sikkim, admiring the Himalayan mountain range and it was there that I made a decision to take my blog to another level. I wrote notes about what I wanted to do and to achieve in 2016, namely, networking, self-hosting my blog, online learning courses, Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference in Manila and freelance writing opportunities. I phased out my plans into short, medium and long-term goals. It was a mental and emotional decision, something which I had never done before.
I attended a travel bloggers meetup as soon as I returned from Kolkata, and I met four travel bloggers who had introduced opportunities for me, ranging from guest posts, freelance writing, speaking engagements and more networking events throughout the year 2016. Till now, I’m extremely grateful to them for believing in me who had no clue about the travel blogging industry except personal travelling and writing, both of which are my true passion, and will always be even if no one wants to read my travel stories 🙂
Now this post sounds like a year-end review post, right? Hahah!
Well, the point I’m trying to make is that New Year resolutions can happen, and they can do wonders for you if you connect with the decision mentally and emotionally. However, I found that decision-making is only the first step, after which many opportunities come abound when I worked hard at it.
Were there mistakes, setbacks and challenges throughout 2016? Of course! There were times when I felt frustrated and went back to my old ways but I have quickly learnt to turn the challenges into opportunities – opportunities for me to learn and to improve. And when that turnaround happened, amazingly, my heart felt lighter and I felt confident to move forward.
So, what’s in store for me in 2017?
I will be focusing a lot on domestic travels in Malaysia or destinations within the Southeast Asia region for the first half of this year. Nothing is cast in stone except for Surabaya & Mount Bromo in Java, Indonesia in mid-February.
For the latter part of the year, I’m hoping to make my way to Europe, perhaps travel to Portugal during autumn and to visit my friend living in Lisbon. There is a TBEX conference in Killarney, Ireland in early October; if everything goes well, I hope to attend the conference after the Portugal trip. It will be great to see Ireland again after more than 10 years – my first solo backpacking trip was to Ireland in 2004! And if Ireland is in the cards for this year, then I might as well take the opportunity to travel to London. My last trip to London was in 2004 as well; I’m pretty sure London has changed a lot throughout these years 🙂
Apart from travel, I have a couple of projects lined up – a monthly newsletter for my subscribers (look out for a post on this!) and more freelance online work and writing opportunities. There is a possibility I will be “cubicle-free” in June after many years working in the financial industry, thus I’m excited about this new chapter in my life to focus on the two things I love most: travelling and writing.
And in case you’re wondering, what about my previous resolutions to increase fitness level and to save more money? I’ve come to realise that pursuing my passions will be a futile exercise if I don’t make the efforts to improve my fitness level and to be more thrifty. This is because travelling does involve some walking or climbing up stairs and hills, and money. Even if one gets invited for a bloggers press trip, chances are one has to pay for the flight ticket, at the very least. As such, I’m exercising twice or thrice a week for 45 minutes in the gym, and am quite conscious about how I spend my money nowadays – is it something that I would like to have or need to have?
My journey has only begun and I’m already loving it. Like I said before in my year-end review post, all this would not be possible without you, my readers and followers, thank you!
Hope you continue to join me on my travel and personal endeavours in 2017 🙂
Here’s wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and HAPPY TRAVELS!