The time between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to take stock of what has been happening over the past 12 months. It’s time to look back to see what we accomplished, what brought us the most joy, and what turned out to be a dud. It’s also the perfect time to think about what we want to do next year, and with that in mind, we have just one message for you….
In this post there will be some reminiscences, dry statistics and thoughts that caught up with us in the last quarter. We are preparing some changes to the blog, which may not please everyone, but we think it will be better. So if you want to know what to expect from us next year we invite you to read on.
Table of contents
What have we accomplished that we are most proud of?
We entered 2017 with an almost concrete plan for the trips. We had already bought tickets for the middle of the year, and we already had very precise plans for the second half of the year.
The whole year, however, was a big unknown for us, because it was the first time we traveled so far with a child and we didn’t quite know what it would be like. We were totally green on the subject :) On the one hand, we were full of anxiety, because before us was the first airplane flight with a toddler, the first exotic vacation for three, new places, new challenges. What if Olive gets sick? What about time changes? How to deal with efficient packing? On the other hand, we were hopeful, because we had peeped at many other travelers who travel with children and are doing great. So why shouldn’t we? ;)
We found out that traveling with a child is a whole different story. With each trip we learned more and more, and we began to master packing almost to perfection. By traveling together, we had the opportunity to see what Olive is most interested in and what she likes. We already know what places and attractions we should look for in 2018. But no worries… we will not become a parenting blog :)
The first eight months flew by as planned. All the trips we planned were able to be carried out and we are very proud of that. We didn’t cancel any flight, and on the ground, we made the minimum plan every time. The next four months were quieter. Although we didn’t plan a typical vacation trip, about halfway through the year we decided that we needed some rest and flew to bask in the sun in Cyprus.
In 2017, we conducted several meetings for travelers and gave more media coverage (there was TV, radio, other news portals). These were interesting experiences for us, and we are open to them in 2018 as well (and already have concrete plans!).
The icing on the cake that gave us a mega big kick at the end of the year was the appearance of our blog in the Rising Stars of the Blogosphere category, as ranked by Jason Hunt. Maybe someone will think that we are already too “old” for rising stars, but we look at it as a distinction that sends a signal: keep it up , you are doing a cool thing :-)
So, writing briefly – we are most proud of the fact that we still have the strength and motivation to travel and manage to realize our common travel dreams together. Transferring them to our blog, of course :)
We are also happy when our activities are appreciated by the people who visit us. Every nice comment motivates us even more to work on this little place of ours on the web. For each of your words we thank you very much!
TOP 10 places and memories of 2017
What will we remember best from our travels in 2017? Here is our short list of the most beautiful memories of the past year:
1. the most beautiful vantage point in the Faroe Islands, the view from the Trælanípan cliff over Lake Sørvágsvatn. More photos can be found here.
2. Vienna – we are not able to choose just one place, because all of Vienna is beautiful, but we especially recommend the Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The park includes St. Stephen’s Cathedral, City Hall, Prater Park and Schönbrunn. We wrote about Vienna here.
3. the World War II Museum in Gdansk – more here.
4. picturesque calderas in the Azores – two to be exact: Lagoa do Fogo and Sete Cidades
5. by car around the Faroe Islands – both sheep on the road, beautiful fjords, serpentine roads, and abandoned villages…. The delight is endless. You can read about the roads and rules of the road here.
6. the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily – you can read about this wonderful place that surprised us in Sicily here.
7th “Safari” in Cyprus and that with a child ;) Unplanned, in a regular passenger car, but the views and the destination make up for everything ;) Enjoy the trip here.
The 8th Terracotta Army in Xi’an – an amazing, mind-blowing place! It’s worth the drive especially from Beijing. You can find an account of it here.
9. Taormina and the most beautifully located Greek theater. Best in the off-season :) An account of the city here.
The 10th Great Wall of China – trite, commercialized, but we managed to get there and with a child, so it deserves a top 10 memory :) Our coverage here.
2017 in numbers
Some people like numbers, so this is what our year looked like in numbers:
- We took 14 flights (all with a baby).
- We visited 8 different airports.
- In total, we flew 34,044 kilometers / 21,154 miles.
- We spent more than 50 hours on board the planes alone.
- We were on board 5 different airlines.
- We set off in 6 different directions: Sicily, China, Azores, Faroe Islands, Cyprus and Austria (+ a few trips around Poland :))
- We surpassed 55,000 fans on FB (thanks again!).
- We wrote 111 blog posts (including this one :)).
A lot? For us very much! We know that quite a few people travel even more, but this is not a race after all. Considering that we both work full time, travel with the baby this result satisfies us very, very much :)
Honestly, only once a year do we gather to reflect on how many places we’ve already seen – right now. On a daily basis, we don’t count, calculate or take stock of how many countries we’ve been to, because that’s not the most important thing.
And below is a map with the new points:
We also recommend our summary of 2016 and 2015! So a little historical already :)
What could we have done better?
We regret one thing – there was not enough Poland this year. Compared to 2016, when we traveled a lot around the country by car, this year we have been to only a few places and have a huge deficiency.
As a rule, we moved on the road on the occasion of some events or business trips, which unfortunately involved less free time. There wasn’t enough time for spontaneous weekend trips, which we intend to make up for next year.
The time has come when it’s worth considering what’s next for the blog? We will continue to travel, that goes without saying (!), but the blog has long since ceased to serve as a travel report for our use and that of our loved ones. The statistics are inexorable ;-)))) more and more people are looking here and using our advice, which we are very happy about, seriously :) We also realize the responsibility that rests on bloggers who have stopped writing for themselves.
And here two questions arise: how much is blogging for us and how much does it make us happy?
We haven’t been blogging just for ourselves for a long time. Something that we used to create as loose notes with a few photos has grown, matured and gone into the world :) More and more people come here looking for specific information, and we try to put this information on a platter and serve it in an accessible way. We don’t run the blog just for ourselves anymore, although partly too, still :)
Looking at our first entries, we can see how much we have grown and how much we have learned, so creating readyforboarding.co.uk still gives us a lot. In no other way would we have so much motivation to work on the content we upload here, photos, maps….
At some point, however, we began to wonder how much this is still our hobby and how much is already our (second) job. And this is not about financial issues, because the fact is that what we happen to earn from the blog we invest in trips and equipment, and our main source of income is our regular jobs. It is about the obligations we have to you :). We are incredibly happy to read your positive reactions and comments, but one recent one particularly stuck out to us: “This is probably the only blog I identify with. Everywhere there are blogs of people who quit their jobs, homes and explore the world in the wild or some descriptions of resorts…. AND you are my golden mean :)“. And that’s how we want to remain. To do our own thing, to do what we love and what gives us the most pleasure.
Unfortunately, we increasingly lament the lack of time (by the way, who has it in excess?!), and on the other hand we see how much of it we invest in creating a blog. There are some sleepless nights, when we want to finalize the next post, another article is hanging over us, and on the way we still have to answer emails, comments, and all this only after the baby falls asleep :) Yes, there have been times of doubt this year.
No, we are not giving up on blogging. In 2018, we want to focus even more on the quality of the content created here. A year ago we imposed a high pace on ourselves with the writing of entries, and now we are lowering it, all in an effort to make it better, more readable and more interesting. We hope it will be successful.
We also do not plan to create a business from the blog. We will not allow sponsored posts and advertisements to dominate this space. They have appeared and will continue to appear, because thanks to our partners we are able to realize our dreams or it gives us directly additional funds for travel, equipment, or at least hosting, but we want to remain independent in what we do. Thanks to the fact that the blog is not our main source of income, we can develop, experiment and even take risks, because we know that we have other security.
We want travel and the blog to be a springboard, something we enjoy, something we want to escape to, not something we start to get sick of because it becomes our job. We want to go, explore, travel and do it our way, as we always have :) Traveling is supposed to make us happy – we want to have time to delight in what is around us.
A famous quote by Confucius immediately comes to mind: Choose a job you love, and you won’t work another day in your life. And in our case, work (which we both enjoy!) is the means by which we travel. We need it because we can develop in a completely different direction, and travel is a springboard for us, something we look forward to.
So what are we going to do in 2018? To do what we love – which is to travel further and inspire you to travel!
And let the message for the coming year be:
Do more of what makes you happy.
…meaning, do what you love, but only as long as it gives you real pleasure. If it’s becoming a routine or a chore for you, consider whether something needs to be changed so that you don’t fall into a slump and lose the real pleasure of what you do.
Happy New Year and many successful travels! :)