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40 before 30 challenge / Blogging

Review of 2011 for 40 before 30

After a whirlwind 12 months of business, leisure and unanticipated travel, I thought now would be a good time to look back and see how I did on my challenge this year.  Through discovering new countries, revisiting old favourites (and some not so favourite), finding a new job and winning an unexpected award, I learnt heaps and had fun on the way.

My first jaunt of the year was to San Diego to attend a business conference. This was not my first visit to the States but it was the first time during this challenge. I loved the food and vibe of San Diego but it was the few nights I spent in Palm Springs that really stuck in my mind – especially the part where I flagged down a cop car thinking it was a taxi!

February saw me start a new job looking after the social media for Flight Centre UK and with that came a trip down to the Flight Centre headquarters in Brisbane! In an ironic twist of fate, on my first day on the job I experienced my first ever flight turn around – 4 hours after takeoff. BA handled the situation spectacularly and it resulted in me getting to visit this cool hotel. I learnt that travel is not always plane sailing though.

In March I thought it was time I took a holiday so I bravely teamed up with a group of Aussies to check out Budapest. We partied hard in this scenic city, but I had no love for the food.

My first ever press trip in the capacity of a travel blogger was offered to me in June and I was delighted it led me to discovering Skane in Southern Sweden. Another new country was ticked off my challenge and I developed a new obsession – Fika!

Yumm cinammon buns

Another first in relation to travel blogging was my attendance at TBU in Innsbruck, Austria – a superb conference for the travel blogging community. I met some great people, learnt heaps, and found that Innsbruck is not as boring as I thought as a kid.

In June I was jammy enough to win return flights for 2 to Madrid at the Flight Centre summer ball. I used these up in September and basically ate all the tapas in Madrid.

September also saw my first partnership with airline bmi who sent me to get the low down on their city of the month – Basel, Switzerland. I did a bit of budget juggling and worked out if I stuck to some bargain sightseeing options I would have more money to splurge on Swiss chocolate and wine! I was lucky enough for them to send me business class on this trip but this unfortunately made it very hard to go back to economy on my next one!

Basel cathedral

Shamefully, although being based in the UK, I had never been to Scotland before I received an invite to an event in Glasgow this November. I can’t tell you how unexpectedly cool this city is – as a fan of vintage shops and retro style bars I was in heaven.

The end of November saw me discover somewhere I never thought I would go – Lebanon. Beirut was bmi’s city of the month but my trip to this fascinating place, with its ancient ruins and the luxury of the Four Seasons Hotel,  made my year.

Temple to Baacus at Baalbeck

Just last weekend I was in Rome and bumped into the Pope and the week before that I was working in San Francisco and learning loads from the employees of Google at their impressive Mountain View Headquarters. Content on these experiences will follow very soon.

So this year I got to see 11 countries, 9 of which were new to the challenge and all of which were amazing in their own way. Something else amazing happened this year, I was honoured (and completely shocked) to win Travel Blogger of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards. This site is my favourite hobby so to be recognised in such a way by the industry is really the icing on the cake.

I hope you have all enjoyed the challenge thus far and will continue to as I attempt to discover 13 new countries and revisit some gems that lure me back. There promises to be more misadventures, shopping, culinary treats and who knows what else! First destination on the list is Miami in just a few short weeks!

Wishing you all a happy New Year and very happy travels for 2012 x

About Author

Travel blogger and freelancer writer who loves boutique hotels and brunching. I've been blogging for 10 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. Now travelling with a baby and trying to make it as stylish and stress-free as can be!

18 Comments

  • Andrea
    December 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing year. Congrats on the blogger win, that’s a great achievement!

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      Thanks Andrea – I really appreciate it 🙂

      Reply
  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    December 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Wow what a ridiculously amazing year you had!!!!!!!!! I hope you had a permanent smile plastered on your face?

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      haha I certainly did Andi! I hear you had quite a good year too lol

      Reply
  • Michelle
    December 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

    A great year! I can’t wait to read where 2012 brings you. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you Michelle, much appreciated 🙂

      Reply
  • Ayngelina
    December 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    What a whirlwind of a year for you but so well deserved. Can’t wait to see what you get up to in 2012.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Ayngelina – and likewise yourself. Hope our paths cross a lot more in 2012 too!

      Reply
  • Gregg Tilston
    December 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    It was a great year – you rock! 2012 will be amazing.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      haha thanks G – it helps that my boss is a rock star 🙂

      Reply
  • Oneika the Traveller
    December 28, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Fab!! You have definitely had an enviable year! I need to get cracking on a similar post!

    Reply
    • Jayne
      January 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Look forward to reading it!

      Reply
  • Kathryn
    December 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Sounds like a great year. Congratulations on the award and here’s to 2012. I look forward to following your posts!all the best, Kat

    Reply
    • Jayne
      January 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Many thanks Kat, wishing you a happy and exotic 2012!

      Reply
  • Heather
    January 2, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Awesome, travel-filled year for you with a great job! Congrats on a great year <3

    So glad we got to meet this summer 🙂 I'll be back at the end of March and hopefully we can connect again.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      January 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks Heather! It would be great to see you again, I shall look forward to March 🙂

      Reply
  • Dave Dunn
    January 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm
    • Jayne
      January 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks for you support Dave!

      Reply

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