2016: An honest year in review

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My little corner of the internet has been a bit neglected over the holiday period, to be completely honest I just have not wanted to write due to a complete mixture of things, despite being full of inspiration and having so many posts to write, the last thing I have wanted to do is sit at a computer. So I listened to that fully and took a break away.

I felt I needed to write a 2016 round up year because what a year it has been. Travel took the lead completely this year and saw me visit six new countries, which I can’t quite believe to honest, but alongside travel everything else was a bit of a mixed bag with massive personal achievements and the lowest of lows. I have found the best of friends in the unlikeliest places but also had people I care about intentionally hurt me for reasons I will never understand, ‘ You can’t win them all’ became a phrase I told myself a lot in 2016.  I can’t say if I have finished 2016 any stronger, as right now it really does not feel like it, but I do know I am in a better position.

African elephants

started on a high by travelling to Phalaborwa, South Africa with my wonderful friend Tree, to spend two absolutely incredible weeks volunteering to rehabilitate Chacma Baboons. With the fear of sounding incredibly cheesy, for me, it was life-changing and I know someday I will return. Whilst we were there, I had the opportunity to cross off a bucket list dream of going on safari in the Kruger National Park, I urge anyone who gets the opportunity to do this.

March I took a weekend break to Berlin for Dj’s Christmas present, my first time in Germany, and ate the best burger of my life at BurgerMeister. From this trip, I created my most successful blog post to date – Nine unique things to do in Berlin, which has received over 20,000 views alone this year. Berlin grew my love for Europe and reminded me of the all the amazing cities I am lucky to have on my doorstep.
yoko meshi berlin
April bank holiday I had my first taste of Scandinavia when visiting Copenhagen, a beautifully picturesque city but also a quite expensive one. Through our four day trip here, I can fully understand why the Danish are said to the some of the happiest in the world.
May was an odd month for me, one with the highest highs and also the lowest lows. I think I probably cried more in May than I did throughout the rest of the year. At the start of the month, I achieved something I did not think was possible for me, I presented a case study at a professional conference in front of over sixty other industry people. Yep, crazy. I can not thank enough, the two wonderful people I had in front of me championing me all the way, Sally and Matt, two people who this year have become huge parts of my life, in two different roles, one a friend I can count on no matter what and the other a career guidance and biggest inspiration.

Despite this high, my full-time job was making me lose my belief in my profession and industry, something I have put my heart and soul into for the past eight years. My career was (is) my passion and not being able to find the good in it left me confused and unsure of where to turn. Burnout is a massive problem in the industry I work in, yet it took a while to see it had happened to me. Thankfully I was in a position, where I could walk away from my job and follow my Dad’s advice of ‘ No job is worth your health’, I took some time out to recoup. Gradually, I realised the locum life was for me, due to change being something I need frequently in my life, this has lead to me become my own boss. ( Now on December 30th, I can happily say, my passion for my career is back, with more ambition than ever.)

In June I saw more of the UK, with a weekend trip to Bath followed by a trip Dartmoor over my birthday. We discovered the beautiful beaches of Dorset and I realised how much beauty there is in the UK. I can not wait to discover more of it in 2017.
During August I took a road trip to Scotland with Tree, to visit some of her family. Edinburgh became the year’s biggest surprise, I absolutely loved it! Scotland is another place I want to see more of in 2017!

Things then stayed pretty quiet in preparation for the year’s big trip in November – Indonesia and Malaysia. Without a doubt, my favourite trip of the year, potentially ever. Not only did we visit some of the most beautiful and incredible places I have ever seen, I overcome so many challenges, physically and mentally, I felt the sense of freedom that I had been longing for and needed throughout the whole of the year. We dived in the Gili Islands, climbed an active volcano at Sunrise, spent three days in the jungle spotting Orangutan, I still have so much more posts I need to write about our time there. My desire to travel after this trip and at the present point has never been more fuelled.

Luckily, 2017 does not look like it is slowing down anytime soon with travel very much in the forefront.  In under four weeks, I am heading out to Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Dog’s Trust to work on a street dog project, which will then be followed by a quick trip to rediscover Paris.
At the start of March, I am spending a weekend in Lanzarote with two dear friends followed then at the end of March, we fly back out to Orlando, for DJ to watch Wrestlemania (and for me to rediscover my Disney Magic!).
Next June there is a potential work trip back to my beloved South Africa and despite saying we would give Asia a miss in 2017, it looks like it will call us back towards the end of the year, to tick off a massive bucket list location for both myself and DJ. Oh and also in the middle of this, we want to also try and buy our first home. Looks like I will also be working a lot of overtime.

Of course, Yoko Meshi will continue into 2017, in 2016, this little creative outlet, has grown to collaborate with amazing brands, hotels and even tourist boards, I still find it weird that people even read here. I am also grateful for the wonderful friends I have met due to this blog.

I also could not end this blog without a shout out to DJ, the one that puts up with my constant stream of on a whim ideas, followed by a million irrational worries, god knows it cannot be easy and that boy has the patience of a saint. There is no one else I would want to travel the world with and share this journey with.

2016, you really have not been that bad at all, infact you have been pretty fantastic.

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  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Hi Sam,

    Awesome blog post. Love that you’ve been so honest. Most people perceive travel bloggers to have the life of Riley, but it’s not all rainsbows and sparkles.
    I’ve neglected my blog a lot this year, despite travelling a lot, but you’ve inspired me to write again.

    Your 2017 sounds awesome so far.

    Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Aw thank you! Yes do! you have had so many incredible trips over the past year and I love reading your blog, have a great new year and hopefully will see you again at some point during 2017! xx

  • Reply
    January 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    You are such an inspiration! Loved reading this post, as I’ve only discovered you fairly recently and had no idea of the career turmoil you went through. Many moons ago, I remember my dad saying the exact same phrase ‘no job is worth your health’ and I’ve lived by that motto ever since.

    Can’t wait to see your 2017 trips in action!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you so much Lucy, really made me smile! But yes our Dads are right, there isn’t enough awareness on how damaging stress can be to your physical health as well as mental. Heres to an incredible 2017 for both of us!

  • Reply
    Tink Jayne
    January 3, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Awwww Sam you’ve done so much this year – well done you.
    All the pics look great (my fave being the second down where it looks like your being attacked by monkey hugs)
    Sounds like you’ve got some great adventures coming up this year (Paris is on my 2017 agenda too!) and oh my gosh, congrats & Good luck with the house hunting and home buying 🙂
    Can’t wait to see all your 2017 content on both here and Insta
    Happy New Year
    x tink jayne x

    • Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you lovely! Is Paris for the marathon you are completing? I have vowed to do a half marathon this year, so should probably start running again after nearly 4 months off!!

  • Reply
    Lloyd & Yaya
    January 8, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Congratulations, Sam! You’ve had some amazing travel experiences this year. Always love your blog 🙂

    Best of wishes for the year ahead too!

    big hugs,
    Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you boys! Means a lot coming from you guys, I hope our paths cross at some point during 2017! xx

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