How Starting a Blog Changed my Life

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Hey Owlets.

I can’t believe I’m writing this but this week marks 4 years of me sitting in front of my computer and sharing my life with you - in fact I’ve been doing this for so long that my laptop has admitted defeat and no longer feels the need to constantly correct “owlets” every time, and if I’m honest beating the computer-brain feels like the real achievement here. Over the past few years I’ve spoken about just about everything on these anniversary posts and this time I just want to sit back and take a look at the things that have made me think "how is this happening to me?"

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The Article That Changed my Life

If you've followed The Owlet for any length of time you're probably sick of hearing the story and even more sick of this photo that I coerced my poor Dad into taking, because if I was going to take my first trip abroad then of course I was going to write about it - little did he know that it was going to be the first of many photoshoots he'd be stuck doing. 

In October 2017 I was thoroughly miserable from a combination of work, university and friends/relationships going wrong, so my parents called me downstairs from hibernating in my room to tell me that they were booking the last cabin on the cruise ship they were going on next week and I was going to go with them. Knowing me now you'd think I'd explode with excitement, but at the time I'd not been abroad, was riddled with anxiety and hated the idea of being "stuck on a boat" - and yes, I do yell at my younger self for calling it a boat - it's a ship.

Long story short, I had an incredible time and viewing my life from the outside with no access to phones or internet at sea made me realise what I needed to change. I came back, basically bulldozed everything in my life to start again, then wrote a blog post called "Life Lessons from the Holiday of a Lifetime". At the time I wrote it just to remind myself when I needed reassurance later on, but it clearly struck a chord with you because I sat at my laptop freaking out as I watched the page views creep into the thousands, then tens of thousands as more and more people took comfort from my own revelations. It's since then that your support has given me the confidence and strength to keep going and to do this full time, so thank you.

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 The Articles You Loved

Even after 4 years I feel like I'm still finding my feet - even though The Owlet is 4 years old I've only been blogging properly for the last two years and sometimes it surprises me what you enjoy the most, so in case you missed them here's the best of the bunch, according to what you loved.

My Thoughts on MV Marco Polo - 4826 page views

Why I Quit Facebook - 3422 page views

As a newer blogger I was always told that informative posts do a lot better and that talking about my life was a waste of time and effort, but it's something I've always been passionate about because of you. Even though I lost all of my old blog comments when Google+ shut down I remember reading them and being close to tears because you were so supportive and because you told me I'd helped you too. Yes, you come to me for honest reviews and advice on the places I've visited, but being able to share my personal thoughts, feelings and experiences make me really thankful for everything that's happened to get me to this point.

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My Best Bits

As well as being able to bring you some content that I'm really proud of, there's been quite a few times over the years that I've had to step back for a minute to wonder how on Earth I got here, so please forgive me while I'm being a bit self indulgent.

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The Big Firsts

When I wrote my first post 4 years ago (since deleted, don't even try to look for it!) I had no idea what I was doing and even less of an idea what writing something on my little corner of the internet could bring into my life. In May last year I was sat on the sofa writing another blog post, when an email notification came in that shocked me so much I couldn't go back to writing. I'd been asked to take a two week road trip across Romania, writing about what I found and everything I got up to in each place. As if that wasn't already a huge deal, there aren't a lot of cruise ships going to Romania so it also meant taking my first flight on RyanAir. I may have had a major meltdown on the way to the airport but it was the most incredible experience and even now I can't quite get my head around the fact that someone found me online and liked my content that much that they wanted to fly me to their country to explore -it blew my mind and I still don't think I've come back to Earth yet.

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Saying Goodbye...

Even though I get to experience some amazing adventures, hands down one of the best parts of my blog is when I get to do something that makes the people I care about happy. Even before my parents went on their first cruise together I had been told at great length that Dad went on the original P&O Oriana in 1976 and the way he talks about it (even now we've been on multiple cruises together) you'd think she was the only ocean liner to ever set sail. Last year P&O announced they were going to be retiring Oriana and selling her to another cruise line, and it was like Dad was in mourning for a person because he'd never managed to get on board the "new Oriana".

Thanks to the help of the lovely press team, they were able to get me and Dad on board for the day to explore the ship, tick something off of Dad's bucket list and spend the day enjoying her beautiful decks in the bright summer sunshine. Even today Dad talks about how he was able to enjoy both incarnations of Oriana, his iPad is full of photos and she's been added to the collection of cruise ship magnets on the fridge (we collect one each time we go on a new ship). 

Going on both Orianas was something Dad has always wanted to do and being able to make that happen for him is easily one of the best things to come from starting a blog.

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...But also Saying Hello!

As well as getting to visit P&O's oldest ship, I also had the opportunity to get on board the newest - albeit with a different cruise line. One of the most exciting things when you're in the cruise industry is hearing the announcement of a new ship being built, wondering what it's going to be like and if you'll ever get the chance to sail on her. As I write this I'm incredibly sleep deprived following the most intense 24 hours on board Virgin's first cruise ship, Scarlet Lady. While the experience as a whole was a mixed bag, nothing can take away the incredible sense of pride I got from someone valuing my content enough to invite me to be one of the first people to spend the night on board.

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What Now?

As the big number 5 speeds towards me I can't help but wonder what I'm going to do next. In 4 years I've done so many things that I never even dreamed would be possible - I went from being miserable, sat at home on my own and hating life to being invited to explore the world, offered incredible opportunities and experience once in a lifetime events. When I sat down at my computer 4 years ago I never saw blogging as a long term thing, I just wanted a distraction. 

Next on my list is taking care of a bit of admin - you've been stuck seeing the same uninspiring and outdated blog design for months so I want to save up to get my website updated, I would love to see on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean because that's yet to be explored, and of course more cruises!! I'd love to do something other than a blog as well, maybe write a proper book or come up with some mad out-of-the-box idea. For now though, I'm going to sit down and write another article ready for next week's upload, and enjoy feeling thankful for all the wonderful things that your support has brought into my life.

If I haven't said it enough already then thank you for everything, it really has changed me for the better.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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