Hello 2020 - Rewinding a Decade

Life of a Travel Blogger 2010-2020 Morocco

Hey Owlets,

It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since I sat down to write my 2018 roundup post, but here we are again looking at another new year - not just a new year but an entirely new decade. If I’m honest it doesn’t feel like more than 5 years since my teachers were repeatedly correcting the date in my exercise book when I wrote 2009 instead of 2010, and seeing what vaguely looked like “2019” would always make me wonder where I’d be in 10 years time. In 2009 I was 13 - I can’t remember what I wanted to be at 13, but I’m pretty sure at the time all that mattered was that not everyone in school hated me (it felt like it at the time). 

In February 2020 I’ll be celebrating 4 years since I sat down at my laptop, feeling a bit crap about my life and decided to start a blog, just hoping it would become a bit of a distraction from everything going on at the time. Since then I’ve written posts about my goals, new year’s resolutions and talking about how successful the previous year has been, but now we’re in 2019 it feels like I’m almost standing at the edge of a cliff and none of those types of posts feel right. Even though 13 year old Becky didn’t know what to do with her life, I don’t think I could’ve ever predicted it turning out like this and the beginning of a new decade seems the perfect time to look back on how far I’ve come.

It seems that it doesn’t matter how old you are, someone will always tell you that the next decade is the best- when I was young my high school years were going to be the best of my life, the days that I’d think about and give anything to go back, but they were hell. Then I was told my 20s would be the best and now I’m here it’s “wait until you turn 30”, but at the moment I’d happily hit pause and be 23 forever.

Life of a Travel Blogger 2010-2020 Cardiff USW Graduation

The last decade, but particularly the last 3 years, have been huge in terms of growth for me. In 2011 I left the school that made me utterly miserable for a college that wasn’t much better. Even though I hated almost every second it made me stronger. It’s those miserable years that made me realise that I can do anything I set my mind to in spite of others, not because of them like I was always told. I was told I was a waste of space so I made sure to prove them wrong. 

In my final year I moved to a different university and my time in Cardiff is where I wish I could go back to, not my school years. I was given the opportunity to travel thanks to a job in marketing that I almost fell into - I knew nothing about marketing but I knew photography which is where I started with the company that taught me the basics of everything I know today and encouraged me to keep pushing with my tiny blog. In 2017 I graduated from university and I’ve never felt so split. My blog was starting to grow and I’d graduated from university with a very good grade when my teachers told me I was wasting my time even bothering to apply but in my personal life I was utterly miserable, I lost my job, I was surrounded by fake friends, drowning in online hate and coming to the end of quite a painful relationship. Even though at the time it felt like everything was falling apart I wouldn’t change it for the world, because it was the beginning of something even better.

Life of a Travel Blogger 2010-2020 Cartagena

The first question I’m asked when anyone hears about my job is “how did you get into that?”, and even though I’ve told the story 1000 times before, lived through it online with you and reread my Holiday in a Lifetime post repeatedly I still can’t help but smile. In 2017, just as my entire life was falling apart, my Dad said “I’m fed up of seeing you like this” and he booked the last cabin on the cruise that they were due to go on in 5 days time. At the time I had never been abroad and even leaving Bristol turned me into a nervous wreck, so I wasn’t exactly thankful for this to start with. Looking back it makes me laugh when everyone I know refers to me as a “cruise nerd” and it’s hard to pin me down in the UK for more than a month at a time. 

My mum always witters on about fate - it doesn’t matter what happens, it’s always fate and I don’t think I ever believed her before. The phrase “trip of a lifetime” is constantly thrown around in travel PR but my first cruise really was, because it changed both me and my entire life. I came back, cut out everyone who had hurt me, started again from 0 and the only thing that didn’t get axed was my blog. Instead I sat down to write about everything that I’d learnt from taking a step away from life for a few weeks. I never intended anyone to read it but I published it so I could look back in the future if I needed reminding. My mum and a couple of my most loyal readers at the time shared it and I thought nothing of it until a few hours later, and as I watched the page views creep up into the thousands I was honestly terrified. A few weeks later I had my first email from a brand asking how much I charged for advertising and my answer was “I don’t know, I don’t sell advertising” - I didn’t know this was a thing that happened.

Life of a Travel Blogger 2010-2020 P&O Oriana

Two years on and I still can’t thank my family enough for the holiday that changed everything. I’m a published travel writer, I’ve worked with some of the brands that I’ve been a customer of for years, seen the most incredible places and worked on some campaigns that even now completely blow my mind to think about.

Back to this year and even though I said I wasn’t going to look at how successful I’ve been I can’t help it. At the beginning of 2019 I was a strong, independent woman that refused to accept help from any source, if something upset me it was instantly cut out, and I did anything to keep myself busy. Yes I was on my own but at the time I don’t think I’d ever been happier. Then, this Summer, I met someone that makes me happy and I decided it wouldn’t be so awful if I had a travelling companion (well, not all the time) and things started to change.

It’s been pointed out to me more than once (by both you and offline friends) that 2019 is the year that I’ve finally started to slow down - less big trips and more time in Bristol. The honest truth is that now I’m happy I just don’t feel like I need to get away like I used to. I don’t agree that I’ve slowed down though, far from it. After two years of only travelling by cruise ship, this year I stepped on board my first plane, flew to somewhere with “not the best” reputation, without my family and even though it was difficult I had the time of my life.

Life of a Travel Blogger 2010-2020

In 2009 I was 13, I had no friends, no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and no idea what was going to happen. 10 years later I’ve got my dream job, a supportive family and the most amazing friends. Going into the next decade I know exactly what I want - I want to stay happy and healthy, explore the world more, worry less and make the most of every day.

You can’t control everything, you can’t plan every minor detail of your life and you can’t stop things changing, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s taken me a while to get there but the 20s are absolutely going to be my best decade yet. Bring it on.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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