What I’ve Been Most Grateful For This Year

Was pretty stoked to return to Berlin, for one thing.
2016 has been an odd year.

Sometimes I think of world events and honestly, the phrase “What the actual f—” just circles around my head. I can’t believe Trump will be president of the USA next year. That Britain would so viciously cut its nose off to spite its face. Or that bloody Pauline Hanson (a crackpot Australian politician) is actually relevant again.

On the other hand – this year has been one of the best I’ve had. Ever. In so many different ways.

I wanted to pen a round up post, because they’re fun, yet I got a bit stuck on what to write about. Last year I wrote a summary of a year overseas. Well, I’m not an expat anymore, so that’s not going to float.

So, in tying in with my promise of keeping things a little more personal on this blog, I decided to do things a little differently this year.

In recognising that it’s been a jolly good twelve months for me, but that’s not exactly been the case for everyone else – I’m going to tell you exactly what I’m grateful for.

It’s a bit of a list. It’s not my fault, it’s a result of all the yoga I’ve been doing lately. Feeling very zen these days.

Cuddling John the dog in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

I’m grateful for having the time, funds and opportunities to travel

First and foremost, as this is technically mostly a travel blog – I’m going to start with the obvious.

I travelled to twenty-one countries this year – some new, as well as visiting old favourites.

Some trips didn’t meet my expectations, but others exceeded them.

I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to travel as much as I did this year (and to be honest, I don’t think I’d want to!). Nonetheless, I’m grateful for all the experiences that were thrown my way and don’t regret a single penny spent.

I’m lucky to have my family and friends – both old and new

I’ve always felt blessed in my family. We’re a tight unit, we work hard at our relationships with each other and it pays off tenfold. I missed them immensely when I was an expat and am pretty stoked that I now get to see them all the time. They are my soulmates and my better parts. I wouldn’t be who I am without their influences.

I’m equally as grateful for the various relationships I have in my life – my personal relationship as well as friendships. Not only my mates in Australia who kept in touch with me for almost three years and rushed to catch up when I was back, but the pals I met and bonded with whilst I was abroad.

Also fun are new, online friendships. It’s all so delightfully new age!

My boy Bentley.

I’m happy that German Shepherds were invented

I think I missed my dogs more than anything else, whilst I was abroad. You can email and call friends and family but you can’t exactly Skype your dog for a conversation. Poor things get overexcited and then confused.

Sometimes I look at my main man Bentley and think about how insanely beautiful he is. Look at him! He’s so regal looking! I’m mad about Shepherds, they’re just such a lovely breed of mutt.

I’m glad that I’m not one of those people who “doesn’t really get excited about food”

I actually had a few people say this to me when dating. It was a red flag – an immediate sign that I should never, ever go on a date with them again, as we were clearly not compatible.

I love food and am literally always thinking about where/how I can get my next meal. One of the things I enjoy most about travelling, is eating. So many of my stories revolve around good meals. This would be a food blog, if I bothered to learn how to photograph dishes properly. I don’t have the patience and my meal would go cold, which would be upsetting.

I’m super happy about being around nature again

I always felt a little bit out of whack when I was living in London. It wasn’t until I travelled to Costa Rica in May, that I realised it was because I really missed being around nature.

Related: Escaping City Life for Costa Rica

You grow up surrounded by the natural world, in Australia. Everywhere is inundated with birds, animals, plant life and vicious creepy crawlies. You can’t escape it.

London felt so sanitised in comparison. Yes, there are parks and pigeons and the occasional urban fox. It’s not the same. You’re living in an urban jungle, not the great outdoors.

It wasn’t until I was back home, free to stare at the lake or go to the beach whenever I wanted, that I finally felt as though my chakras or something had been aligned. I felt like me again. And I no longer start crying when I listen to the sound of a magpie warbling on YouTube, because I can now hear it outside my study window.


Having a cuppa whilst watching the giraffes at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

I’m grateful for being healthy

One of the more horrible aspects of this year, has been hearing about friends and family who have been hit by various muscle injuries, involved in freak accidents or struck by the worst disease of all… cancer.

If you are genuinely healthy, it’s probably something that you take for granted. I know I do. Not only being disease free, but being able to walk, talk, see, hear, taste, smell… we think it’s our God-given right to have control over our bodies, but it’s not always the case.

I’m really happy that people still write and that bookstores continue to exist

I love to read almost as much as I love to write (this whole blog should be testament to that fact).

And although I make a lot of book purchases online these days, either in hard copy form or on Kindle, nothing replaces going to an actual bookshop and roaming around the store until you pick a book up off the shelf.

If you’ve got any recommendations, let me know on Goodreads.

One of my favourite photos of the year, taken in the Faroe Islands.

It’s good that Nicéphore Niépce took a photo a couple of centuries ago

I’ve had to learn how to photographise at a better level for this blog and admittedly, it’s a hobby I’ve pounced upon with much gusto and enthusiasm.

There’s a lot more to learn, but it’s something I enjoy doing and I’m quite pleased with some of the photos I snapped across the world this year.

I’m glad I discovered golden lattes

My mother had been going on about these golden lattes for awhile and I’d been all like: “S’ok Mum I don’t even like coffee.” FOOL ON ME because they don’t even have coffee in them!

They’re a delightful drink that have turmeric and other spices in them and they often get served with almond milk and honey and I love them and want to drink them everyday. My favourite so far was at the Maitland Art Gallery, which is possibly the best place to grab a meal in the entire town. 

I don’t actually remember what my life was like before discovering this drink.

And lastly, I’m grateful for this blog

As I mentioned in my two year anniversary post, although my blog really, really frustrates me sometimes, I owe a lot to it. It’s nice to have a hobby, for one thing. It’s led me to become a better writer and photographer, I think. It’s opened up doors, that I never realised I’d one day have the key to. And it makes me happy.

Which is the main thing, right?

How about you? How was your year? What are you grateful for?

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  1. BOOKSTORES! I love shopping for books! Especially when you go to one in a new country and they still have rip off versions of the books you like. 21 countries is totally crazy; we were knackered after 7 in 4 months!

  2. Great list of things to be grateful for! I know what you mean about being away from pets, I really wish I could Skype my cat when I’m traveling. This is one of the reasons I decided to bring him to Thailand despite the 24 hour flight! We love food, too!! Often times we judge a place we want to travel to by the type of food they have to offer-hence the reason we love Thailand!!!

    1. I’m glad, hope you head to some amazing places! He’s a cutie and I agree – totally the best. You can’t help but love them, desperately – the same way they love you!

  3. I never ever thought I would see Pauline Hansen’s name in a travel blog, less said of her the better and calling her a crack pot is a kind way to describe her.
    It seems like 2016 was a great year for you, 21 countries just fantastic, perhaps I can do that when my kids are out of the house. Anyway I hope 2017 is even better for you and the rest of the world.

    1. I’m glad you’re not a fan either, Anthony! Hehe kick ’em out as soon as you’re able and hit the road, I reckon. Hope you have a good 2017 too.

  4. Those are all beautiful words about gratefulness, and it rings true to us too. We have a lot of things to be grateful for, and first on the list is that we are alive and healthy. 🙂
    You had one amazing year of travels and memories, and we wish your 2017 would be equally or more awesome!

  5. I resonate with many of your feelings out there. Even I have very similar thoughts on the year that was. I am glad you penned it down..it was joy reading through it as it felt like my own reflections somewhere

  6. First of all, your logo is super cute! My blog is all about drawing and doodles so I love it! It sounds like you had a fantastic year. Always good to stop and reflect on the things we are grateful for. I don’t think people do that enough. It isn’t about wanting more more more all the time. <3

    1. Thank you, Jessica. My very talented BF drew it. ? I don’t think people do it enough either and have definitely resolved to stop and say thanks more often, myself! Hope you have a grand year.

  7. Hey, we got one thing common.. food. I think all my happiness buds are somehow intersected with my taste bud 🙂 . It’s always good to look back & cherish your memories whether it’s a place or life for you. Great Blog and I hope coming years would be more exciting, happy traveling !!

  8. This was a really heart-warming read! So glad you’re being grateful for things many people often take for granted. I love your writing style, and the fact that you’re excited about the food as much as I am!

  9. There’s always something to be grateful for most definitely. I’m now intrigued by the golden latte especially when you say there’s no coffee in it. If it tastes like coffee then that would be a marvelous way to kick my coffee addiction….maybe.

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