2019 the recap.
Or as I like to say 2019 what the actual feck just happened! I usually avoid doing recap blog posts. I’ve tried the monthly ones and the yearly ones and usually find them to be a bit blergh and it did feel as if I was boasting about all the awesome things that I got to do and the not so cool things that you didn’t get to do. This year was a big one for me. Like a slap in the face was a pavlova fish of strange happenings. So here is my very basic 2019 the year that got me recap.
This year really did take me by surprise a lot of the time. This time last year I didn’t have a whole lot of things planned for 2019. As far as travel went we had booked a trip to Tasmania, a girls get away to Nepal and later in the year another ladies trip to Japan. Seemed rather basic right? A few trips, work on the blog kinda a solid if not basic bitch plan. Exercise more, drink less ya know the real basics of being an adult. And then things happened. Like a lot of things happened, some that through me into awesome adventures and other things that made me reconsider my life choices. A few things that happened were quite personal to me and my family, so I won’t be sharing those happenings. Sometimes I do have to draw the line between blogger Jean and basic human Jean. It’s a paper thin line but one that I think a lot of bloggers forget about.
2019 – The Year That Slapped Me in the Face
A very short trip to India
The year did start off with a rather unique adventure to India to attend the Kumbh Mela. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend a festival with 40million other people in attendance on the same day then this festival is for you! In a few short days we did hectic touring around Varanasi and over to Lucknow via the Kumbh!
This trip was an absolute blast, along with a real eye opener into the odd side of travelling in India. There’s something truly unique about travelling in India, from the people to the animals to the 14 hour day stuck on a bus. One thing I do know is that one day I’ll be back to explore Mumbai with Roxanne from The Tiny Taster and hopefully some hiking in the Indian side of the Himalayas.
The smashed laptop of Abu Dhabi
On my way to India my laptop had a wee incident. A fallen down not even drunk incident and smashed. Which is every travel bloggers nightmare – at the very start of a hosted trip having your laptop smashed. Not even able to turn it on smashed. The perk being that on my way home I had an exceptionally long layover in Abu Dhabi, got to go explore a few areas and catch up with a marvelous friend.
Lesson learnt – always have travel insurance that covers things like laptops!
Popped over to Tasmania
I’m a huge fan of Tasmania and really do hate telling everyone how awesome it is. So when James and I received an invitation to attend a friends wedding in Launceston we were there without any hesitation. Finally having experienced a weekend in Launceston we got to enjoy the harvest market and eating a lot. Really in our little hire car we drove around eating ourselves stupid. Though nothing on this trip could trump getting naked in a fern garden and enjoying a long soak with wine in an outdoor bath. Life goals!
Not one but two trips to Nepal
Nepal was always high on my list as an amazing country to go and visit but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that i would go not once but twice in the space of 4 months. Nepal was a country that I instantly feel in love with. The ease of the buses, the unique accommodation options but most importantly the epic mountain adventures and great Nepalese coffee. Not only epic mountains and great coffee but on my first trip I was fortunate enough to stay at the Barahi luxury lodges where I experienced the wonder of safari life, seeing a tiger, rhinos and a very rare sighting of a breeding pair of civet cats amongst the other animals spotted. I can’t thank the staff enough for taking care of this solo female traveller in Nepal, from the amazing food to taking me to a Nepalese wedding for some rather unique dance moves (read I can’t dance to save my life).
It would be rude of me to not talk about hiking in the Himalayas. Trip one I took on the Poonhill trek, which did have some amazing views and did give me the opportunity to trail run in near knee deep snow at some points. So I won’t lie, this was a great basic introductory trek but was crowded. And we went in March so at the very very start of the season. I’d hate to have been on this trek in the peak of trekking season. The teahouses would be crowded and difficult. It was only when I trekked the Mohare Danda trail that I realised how much I enjoy hiking in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of tourists.
This blog became a legit business.
With advertising and all. For the past 5 years I have restrained from adding ads to my site. Yet it was time for the passive income to kick it up a knotch or ten. So I did it. Dove in and added advertising to my site. Not everyone was happy and I’m still playing around with placements etc. I also set some fairly standard and non-negotiable rates for the work that I do. It annoyed a few brands but at the end of the day it takes a butt tonne of time and energy to create content, nurture an audience and keep Traveling Honeybird alive and running. Some body has got to pay and for me that is the brands that want access to my audience. It’s a really tough decision to make and certainly as a female content creator I’ve come across a lot of resistance but also a fair amount of acceptance.
If you are interested in working with us – click here.
Adventures in Japan
And we sweated. A lot. So let me give you some advice, going to Japan in August is the WORST time ever to go. It’s hot. Like toe sweating hot, have to go to Uniqlo to buy more clothing kinda hot. Even though we sweated a bucket every day going to Japan with Brittany was certainly a highlight of the year. From Tokyo to Shizuoka to Kyoto and back again. We ate a lot, travelled across cities to find the most kawaii donuts and explored odd places to find coffee. There’s too many highlights to list but one of the best things we did was learning how to make a kawaii bento box and getting our pretty on in kimonos for the day.
I became a coffee tour guide in Melbourne
Yup I really did. After talking to other travellers, and the importance of diversifying my income streams I started my very own wee coffee tour guiding via AirBnb Experiences. It’s been an absolute blast showing off the coffee and history of Melbourne. Two of my favourite things to do. It was a bit of a challenge to get the experience listed on AirBnb as they required a LOT of additional information, but as a traveller that makes me confident that when I book an AirBnb experience that it will be safe and that the person hosting actually knows what they are doing.
I took on a full time job
Yup, I did that thing that supposedly use blogger folks are not supposed to do. I took on a full time gig, which got crazy busy over December. Which did result in a lack of content created, as being up at 5am to be in the office at 7.30am and getting home at 7pm didn’t leave a lot of brain space for the words to get out. The next quarter will be a bit slower for me again, and I’ve set up a decent work life balance to ensure that I still have the time to create the things I love – like this blog. And cookies. The joy of this job has been the big learnings that I’ve taken and with more to come in 2020. Ultimately leading to a better balanced business Jean!
As well as running a blog, running a Travel Massive chapter (yay for Melbourne) a full time job and a household I’ve started to craft a very affordable course for content creators. All focused around administration and business skills.
Then there was the deaths of people we love.
It kinda upsets me a lot when people moan about celebrities that they have never met that have passed away. Like really? I don’t want to grief shame anyone but that one song that had a great impact on your life, is worth weeks of emo Facebook posts? 2019 really did throw a funeral curve ball at us, with not one but three funerals to attend. I have to keep reminding myself that death and celebration of life is one of the joys of being alive. That we still have the opportunity to celebrate the lives of our loved ones. Yet even saying that it never stops the hurt that you get when someone has passed. I still regularly think of the amazing Paula from The Contented Traveller, who I miss a lot.
We popped over to enjoy Christchurch, New Zealand
I say enjoy because we went over very last minute to attend a family funeral. Never ones to have our spirits dampened we took the opportunity to take a few days off and explore the reinvigorated Christchurch. We had a teeny tiny hire car and enjoyed finding coffee spots – both the good and the bad. As well as exploring the city center on Lime scooters. It was rather interesting to see the new development in Christchurch and how the city is attempting to update it’s international status as a gateway city – to the prettier parts of the south island – to more so a city worth staying in.
2019 top purchases that made my life easier.
Some years some things make life a lot easier. 2019 was the year that a few key items made my life as a traveller that little bit easier.
SkyRoam Solis – who would’ve thought this little device would make our travel lives so much easier? Doubling up as a battery pack and connecting up to 5 devices at once! Use code HONEYBIRDTRAVEL to get a discount
Ahnu Hiking Boots – I bought a second pair because I loved my first pair from 2017 sooooo much. These boots are just wonderful. So easy to wear, to fly in and hike in. (Australia readers click here to buy)
Anker battery pack – these are seriously the best battery packs I’ve ever owned. Quiet and powerful. Plus they are kinda really stylish (Australian readers can click here to buy)
ModiBodi underwear – these knickers are amazing for long haul travel. A few trips went astray and had rather long layovers so it was nice to arrive fresh where it matters.
And then the summer bushfires hit Australia
And hit hard. Like the earth is on fire hard. To date (31 December) over 3 million hectares and over 700 homes have been lost. This figure will continue to only increase over the coming days and weeks. Homes have been lost, lives lost and irreplaceable habitat for wild animals lost. To help out we are donating all December 2019 and January 2020 earnings from all affiliate, advertising and sponsored content to bush fire relief.
If you can spare some cash please consider donating to organisations like Wires.
What’s next for Traveling Honeybird in 2020?
Well that’s always a fun question to ask. We don’t know! 2019 was supposed to be a quiet, less travelled year but that really didn’t happen. I know that I’ll be continuing my 9-5 gig, as well as hosting coffee tours and continuing to travel. We are hoping for some more local weekend trips as well as a trip to Europe in February and March 2020. Other then these trips and dreams I’m going to take a moment to sit back, relax and see what the universe throws at me. 2019 was a tough year in a lot of ways. Returning to full time work, along with some other issues I won’t mention here, running the blog and having 13hours of transit each week really did slam me. The week leading to the holiday break I was chomping at the bit to do nothing. To get past Christmas joy and enjoy some truly lazy days, sitting around reading my kindle. Which I’ve gotten to do. I’ve recharged, refreshed and now am ready to take it all on once more and deep dive into 2020!
What will 2020 bring you?
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame.
Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.