Travel Highlights, Blogging Lowlights & A Move To Melbourne – Review of 2017

Travel Highlights, Blogging Lowlights & A Move To Melbourne – Review of 2017

I’ve been dragging my heels about writing this post. Firstly, because I wondered if reviewing the year was more fun for the writer than the audience (Insta poll saw me stand corrected) and secondly, because 2017 left me feeling a bit meh.

The biggest cause of my meh-ery, I think, is due to our move to Melbourne. I’ve struggled to get on with Sydney’s grungier sister, missing the coastal walks and blogger community I’d come to love in my first Aussie home.

Being based in Brunswick has reminded me so much of London that I miss all the family and familiarity I have over there and while it is wonderful to now have the Aussie half of our family on our doorsteps I can’t pretend it hasn’t made the distance seem further from my UK rellies.

Melbourne laneways

So, it’s been interesting (and mildly depressing) to review the latter half of this year’s blog content and see themes of homesickness and illness pop up more often than they have in previous years. (And here was me thinking I keep this a mostly positive place. Pah!)

Luckily, a combination of work trips and savvy-saving gave me the chance to visit home 3 times this year and I’ve had some incredible adventures in and around Oz in-between the transatlantic hops.

Where did I go?

Riding Rotto – Daytrip to Rottnest Island, Western Australia

After a rough tally I counted that 2017 took me to 11 countries, 4 continents and approx. 20 cities, which is not bad considering I live on a massive island down under. I boarded a whopping 53 flights – watching every movie ever made and getting a serious case of déjà vu each time I was served another familiar inflight meal.

Only 1 country this year was new to me – South Korea – but I’m so glad I squeezed in some of my old faves including Japan (3 times!), Greece, Maldives and Bali.

Onsen etiquette - tips for visiting onsen in Japan

Japan was definitely the destination that put me out of my comfort zone the most. (Mainly, the whole bathing naked with strangers thing that went hopelessly wrong for me first time around.) Another first also took place in Japan as I went to a ski resort and attempted snowshoeing – it was more like slowly sinking for me though!

Elsewhere, I got involved with an Insta-perfect floating breakfast in Bali and did more falling than floating in a Caribbean Floatfit class in Antigua.

On reflection, it’s been a year of incredible variety and despite (or maybe because of) my homesickness, I travelled more with friends and family in 2017 than any other year and that is a truly wondrous thing.

Top Trips of 2017

There was lots to be grateful for in 2017 but these are the travel highlights that stand out.

Tokyo, Osaka and Wakayama – Japan

5 things you need to know before visiting Japan - Girl Tweets World

Of the 10 most popular posts I published this year 5 were about Japan and I get it. You guys are as obsessed with the technologically advanced, culturally conservative country as I am. In 2017, I discovered foodie-mecca Osaka, the ramen-filled Wakayama and some of the lesser-known local areas of Tokyo. Would I like to go again in 2018? Hells, yes. I still haven’t made it to Kyoto!

Seoul – South Korea

Travel Briefs: Short Guide To Seoul

Bearing the crown of the only new country I visited this year, South Korea was a worthy new discovery. I loved the vibrancy of Seoul’s Gangnam Eating Street, the traditional architecture and accompanying costumes of the Traditional Hanok Village and the fact that there was some form of cake-wielding café on every corner. My kind of place, really!

Yasawa Islands & Denarau – Fiji

Grown-Up Girls’ Getaway at Waitui Beach Club, Sofitel Fiji

10 years after I first visited as a perma-tanned backpacker, I went back to Octopus Resort in Fiji with my sister who took a sabbatical to visit this side of the globe. Unaware that the waters in the Yasawas can get exceedingly choppy in February, it looked like we might be marooned on the island for the foreseeable future as the ferries could get nowhere near it. Eventually we had to hike over the hills to a bay on the calmer side of the island and we were picked up from there after a little wading. It was a little slice of my backpacker days which, while fun, didn’t necessarily leave me wanting more. I felt a lot more at home at the Waitui Beach Club at Sofitel Fiji where we begun our trip. (Soft, me? You bet!)

Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos – Greece

Guide To Island Hopping In The Sporades, Greece

There’s a joke in my family that wherever my mum holidays – Dubai, Rome, Singapore – she always comes back saying it wasn’t as good as Greece and I think her opinions might be rubbing off on me! In May I jumped at the chance to relive my favourite family holidays in Greece with one of my best blogger buds Vicky Flip Flop and we had a ball singing ABBA songs as we ferry-hopped and cruised in a jeep around the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos. This saganaki-filled trio will surely be even popular in 2018 as Mamma Mia 2 (the blockbuster musical filmed on the islands) is set to be released. Book now before everyone else cottons on!

Perth, Western Australia

Bathhurst Lighthouse Staircase Rottnest Island WA

I broke up the epically long flight back from Europe with a weekend in Perth with Justin and we set off to meet the quokkas on Rottnest Island. After glimpsing the bays, reefs and pink lakes in this part of Oz I’d dying to see more of WA in future. Maybe I’ll finally get to Esperance and the Kimberley in 2018?

Maldives

Visiting local island in the Maldives

O M Maldives. Winning the crown for most last-minute trip of the year (I received my flight confirmation the day before I flew) is the Maldives. I was one of a lucky group of bloggers who were invited to speak at the inaugural World Travel Writers Conference in this gorgeous, gorgeous part of the world and who cares if the plans were a little rushed when you’re landing somewhere like this? In the end, the conference was a success and I hugely enjoyed getting to know the Maldives beyond its honeymoon reputation.

Vienna – Austria

Hofburg Imperial Palace Vienna

Rounding out the year was our incredible Christmas visit to the UK and a jaunt with my parents and brother to Vienna for strudel and Christmas Markets. Unfortunately, I was struck by a stomach bug in Vienna but that didn’t stop me wandering the bauble-filled markets, marvelling at the Imperial Palaces and soaking up all the intelligent vibes of the city’s coffee houses. (More on this trip coming shortly.)

Blog Bits

If I’m honest with myself I think a lot of my best (and perhaps most useful) writing went on sites other than my own this year. The ‘problem’ (of sorts) of being both a blogger and freelance writer is that you have to sell some of your best ideas to other publications and work with what’s left for your own domain. I’d like to redress this balance in 2018 and, as such, have set some intentions for the year to make Girl Tweets World my main focus once again.

Where to next?

yotel london heathrow

2017 was the year of (not necessarily glam!) transit hotel!

It seems like all of Australia is on holiday right now so Justin and I are going to join them! We’ve booked a trip to Tasmania at the end of this month and I can’t wait to explore the only Aussie state that I haven’t been to yet. There are some more tentative travel plans in the mix too – including a catch up with my parents in Penang – but I’m keeping things loose at the moment while I work on some pitches and projects.

What about you?

I’d love to know how your 2017 has been – travel, work or otherwise – and what you have in the pipeline for 2018. Let me know if you have any trips you need help planning and I’ll work a post into my content schedule. (Something I resolve to stick to in 2018 too!)

Wishing you a wonderful start to the year. Thanks for being here 😀

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10 Comments

  1. January 3, 2018 / 7:05 am

    Well 2017 was awesome for me! 17 countries and 4 continents in total. 2018 is kind of a blank slate right now – I am hoping to back in Melbourne by the end of January (I think..) but I have no travels booked yet!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      January 3, 2018 / 7:13 am

      Wow that is some serious country coverage – how awesome! Let me know if you make it back to Melbs 🙂

  2. January 3, 2018 / 9:08 am

    Ooo I’d lurrrrve to go to Tasmania. Looks beaut. You’ve definitely had an impressive year of travel. I think I only went to one new country this year too – Antigua with you. Hard to go to new ones when you enjoy the ones from before so much.

    Hope 2018 is a great one for you, and that I see you somewhere! X

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      January 5, 2018 / 2:57 am

      I used to always want to visit as many new countries as possible but there is definitely something to be said for revisiting old favourites and getting to them even better!

      Bring on the 2018 travel adventures 😀

  3. January 4, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    Amazing review and seriously well written! Stomach bug in Austria doesn’t sound great but the Christmas Markets there make up for it.

    What’s the first destination of 2018? Look forward to seeing more of your adventures.

    Regards,
    H

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      January 5, 2018 / 2:55 am

      Thanks Harjit! First up is Tasmania in a few weeks. We cashed in some frequent flyer points for cheap getaway 🙂 Where are you off to this year?

  4. January 10, 2018 / 12:03 am

    Sorry to hear 2017 hasn’t been the best for you, but glad it’s looking a lot better in the rear view mirror!

    I’m so keen to go to Japan, it looks fascinating. Hopefully 2018 is the year…

    We just got back from Tasmania! Happy to pass along tips for the NW if that’s where you’re going, other than that we went to Hobart and Strahan on the west coast almost 10 years ago so those recommendations might be a little out of date… I love the place though, enjoy your trip!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      January 10, 2018 / 6:45 am

      Thank you! I was just reading your post about your trip there yesterday – it looks gorgeous. We’ve only got 4 days so are just doing Hobart and Freycinet and it will probably leave us wanting more. Hope you get to Japan in 2018!

  5. February 17, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    Aw, sorry to hear about the homesickness. Wish I could say something constructive! I’ve had a bit of blogsickness on my end as maternity leave has made it somewhat harder to get stuff done! Totally worth it, though. Just takes some getting used to. Wishing you a happy & healthy 2018 !(Sorry it’s a bit late!)

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      February 20, 2018 / 3:37 am

      Ha I think any kind of sickness can be a block to creativity. Here’s to us both getting our mojo’s back in 2018! And happy belated new year to you and the family too 😀

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