December 27, 2018

What I learned in 2018

It’s the time of year when everyone starts doing their end of year travel roundups.

So I thought I would do something a little different and write about the things I learned in 2018.

I feel that despite writing mainly about travel, I haven’t really done that much travelling this year, but i’ve been busy working on lots of things.

So here are some of the life lessons I learned in 2018:

Never fly Ryanair

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you may know that I flew to see The Killers in Luxembourg and ended up getting stuck there after Ryanair cancelled my flight.

There were no flights out of there for three days but I needed to come back to London for work. So what did I do? I took the train to Brussels, and flew to Heathrow from there.

Did Ryanair pay me back? Nope. They gave me an £8 refund for my flight.

Never again. Still waiting for my payout.

Speaking at travel conferences is scary but rewarding

Earlier this year when I was still freelance, I spoke at Traverse in Rotterdam about freelance travel writing and working for in-flight magazines.

I was absolutely terrified before the presentation but once I got into the swing of things I absolutely LOVED it. And I really enjoyed all of the questions that people had about working in the industry.

I kind of want to do more talks if possible in 2019.

The curly girl method for hair really works

This is a bit of a odd one.

I’d heard people talking about this method for curly hair for a while but thought it was a bit of a fad.

Until I got to the end of my tether with frizz and my boring curls. And then I tried the method, using vegan shampoo and conditioner and only shampooing once a month and my curls are full of life!

When I stop freaking out, I can actually do quite adventurous things

When I was freelancing for one of my clients, I got to film a couple of fun adventurous videos.

In one I rode the world’s longest zipline above the Jebel Jais mountains in the UAE.

In the second video, I abseiled from the Orbit tower in the Olympic Village – that one was more terrifying for me as it seemed to take ages and I don’t think i’d ever felt so alone.

But when it was done, it was so rewarding.

Although I can’t say i’ll be skydiving any time soon.

Scotland is wonderful and TRNSMT is my new favourite festival

I’d never been to Scotland before until this year which is honestly terrible work.


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What a fun 48 hours in Scotland! Awesome people and two amazing @thekillers shows. Although the King Tut’s one will always be the best! 300 people!

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But I went to TRNSMT festival in Glasgow over the summer and loved it.

I liked the fact it was quite small and you were able to get close to the stage while the food and drinks were also a bargain.

Plus the crowds are way much more fun.

If you don’t feel happy, do something about it

This kind of applies to 2017. But I think it really hit me earlier this year.

As you know, I was freelance before my current job.

I worked for a client for over two years and it really knocked my confidence. The atmosphere there made me question my ability to do stuff and made me feel like I wasn’t good at my job.


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A year ago today I left a job that was quite frankly so toxic it drove all of my confidence away. So much so that I barely believed in myself. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. One year later and I’ve worked for so many great people, worked on awesome projects and even given a talk on freelance journalism and how to get into writing for websites and magazines. I will never let anyone stop me from believing in myself ever again. Don’t ever let one person think you are not good enough. You are good enough. 📸 taken shortly after that talk in Rotterdam.

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I stayed there until September 2017 but it only hit me at the beginning of this year that I never want to put up with that ever again.

No one should be made to feel like that.

And now I feel so much happier with my new job.

Tennis is one of the big loves of my life

My eyes were definitely not dry when I entered Melbourne Park for the Australian Open in January.

Hitting on the courts at Melbourne Park

And then began two days of nothing but tennis. It was amazing.

Blogging is rewarding and people are so nice

I’m up for the Best UK Travel Blog award at this year’s UK Blog Awards and people have been so lovely to me!

It’s so nice to have such a lovely writing community to belong to.

Hong Kong is still my favourite place in the world

I spent 36 hours there earlier this year and of course it was never going to be enough.

But every time I am in HK, I am reminded of my time studying there and how much I miss it.

And there is never enough time to eat all of the food.

Maybe next time!

The BAFTAs are fun to be on the red carpet for but it’s a lot of work

We spent hours waiting on the red carpet to talk to people and it was rather unsuccessful.

However it was really good fun to be able to watch all of the stars go by – so many recognisable faces.

And dress up for the red carpet of course!

Learning to ride a bike isn’t actually that hard

I know it sounds crazy when I write it but until this year I wasn’t able to ride a bike.  My house at home is on a hill, so it wasn’t exactly the place to learn to ride a bike.

During my time in China, one of by big regrets was not being able to cycle around Xi’an’s city walls.

And so when I found out that Camden council offered free cycling lessons to residents, I jumped at the chance.

I spent a Saturday morning in the playground of a school being taught all about cycling. And a couple of hours later, I was ready for the Tour de France.

Well almost.

Looking ahead to 2019

I don’t like setting big goals or new year’s resolutions as I think they’re a bit lame.

But i’d really like to continue growing this blog and working with more people.

Also i’m not one to count countries but I would like to visit two new places – that could be somewhere in the UK or further afield. I set myself this target this year and I FINALLY went to Scotland and ended up in the UAE.

And finally, i’d like to keep working on things that make me happy. Because that’s more important than anything else.

2 responses to “What I learned in 2018”

  1. Roma Small says:

    Nice wrap up Soph, I am totally with you about people knocking your confidence. You’re fabulous, don’t let anyone tell you different 🙂

    • Sophie says:

      Awww thanks Roma! ❤️ You guys are pretty fantastic too! Can’t wait to hear about your Georgia adventures! 😀 x

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