Hello, everyone! This is my first ever article about my year in review and some personal insights. As we are moving towards the end of the year, I review my past trips and give you an idea of what to expect next year. This year I may not have done a lot of trips abroad but I definitely did lots of walking around the UK. But let’s take things one by one…
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Year in Review
January marked the beginning of the year with a trip to Innsbruck in Austria. It was a 5-day trip to the Tyrolian capital and it was a lovely break from everything that has been going on around. This was also partially a solo trip as Christos had to leave earlier due to an assessment centre invitation for one of the jobs he was applying to. Long story short, both parts of the trips were amazing, and although I did not go skiing, I managed to visit some amazing places.
After returning from my trip I was so close at withdrawing from my master’s degree but I didn’t do it in the end. So by the end of January, I started again caring about lectures and coursework. To compensate for this change, I started being involved more with PhotoSoc and the last Saturday of the month I went to my first trip of the year as a trip organiser to Perth.
February was mostly a quiet month in terms of trips. My only excursions were to Roslin and the Pentalds with PhotoSoc for a day each and two weekend-trips to London to meet Christos. I completely forgot; mum also came to visit me during my half-term break in mid-February. We went to many places in Edinburgh and to Stirling. Now that I see it again, February was not such a quiet month!
In March I went day-trips to Dundee and to Cramond with PhotoSoc. We also had our semester weekend trip to Callander. Of course, I went for a weekend in London and Christos came to Edinburgh for another one.
In April I was mostly in Cyprus spending the Easter break with my family. After that, I started studying for my last bunch of exams. Nothing exciting here.
Exams preparation was in full swing by that time. On the 21st I had my last exam (ever? probably not) and then I started frantically preparing for my next trip which I named it as my early and probably only summer holidays to the Scottish Highlands. Christos couldn’t rent a car back then without having to pay the young driver’s insurance (about an additional £30 per day), so we had to limit ourselves to places approachable with public transport. We chose Aviemore to be our base for the three days to explore the Cairngorms National Park and then for another three days we were based in Inverness. From Inverness, we also took an organised tour to Loch Ness, but more details about the trip on a future blog post.
June was filled with academic papers about Audience Response Systems (the topic of my dissertation) and the uncertainty of whether I will qualify to finish it. Towards the end of the month, the exam results were in. I got 54/100 overall which meant that I passed and the work that I had done up to that point wouldn’t go to waste.
In June I also started going to some solo day trips around Scotland. The destinations were mostly places I wanted to visit with PhotoSoc but didn’t work out in the end. So, I tried to pick up sunny days and visited Queensferry and St. Andrews. Of course, I went to London and Christos came to Edinburgh in return.
The last important event that happened in June was that I changed rooms. I was kind of expecting this change because my original contract ended in June, but, in the end, I welcomed the changed because the other room was cheaper (but tiny and with shared kitchen). The worst part about the move was not the actual move itself, but the doors in the way! To give you an idea. I was living on the sixth floor of Block B and my new room was on the first floor of Block A. So, I had to take my stuff from my room to the lift, exit my block, walk outside, get into the second block take the lift (or stairs depending on how heavy the items were), get into the apartment and finally into my new room! 7 doors in total, about 5 minutes per way!
Another month mostly spent in my room, working on my dissertation. My day-trips this month were to Berwick-upon-Tweed and to Falkirk. Towards, the end of the month I took my monthly train to London. Besides, I tried to explore Edinburgh as much as possible as my time there was almost over.
Don’t expect me doing anything else than sitting on my desk trying to finish whatever I was doing. The deadline was on the 16th and after that, I was hoping for a weekend (actually two single day trips) in Glasgow, but this didn’t happen. In reality, I was exhausted from staying up for almost 35 hours to finish everything, so we only went to Glasgow for a day.
August was also the big festival month for Edinburgh with festival events appearing in every corner. The biggest one was the Edinburgh Fringe and we managed to go to one of its shows (we went to Cirque Berskek) before the festival ended. Then I had to pack again because I was leaving Edinburgh for good and I would take all of to stuff to storage. My last trip of the month was a short excursion to Northumberland. During the trip, we visited Sunderland, Newcastle and Tynemouth. After that, things moved very quickly. We got back to Edinburg, finished packing, went for a last walk in Edinburgh, took the train to London and then the plane to Cyprus. So overall I would describe August as exhausting…
September was more or less a quiet month. I went to the beach in Larnaca and Protaras, to Limassol for a day and to the mountains as well (we went to Prodromos). I was generally spending my days doing NOTHING! Ok, I did write a few articles for the blog but as soon I got on track it was October and I had to leave again.
In October, I flew into Stansted Airport which for the first time was not inconvenient. Actually, for my new home Stansted Airport is the closest (public) airport. Since October, I am living in Ely a small city in Cambridgeshire, about 15-20 minutes from Cambridge. We chose this place to live with Christos, who got a job in Cambridge because of the low accommodation costs and frequent trains to Cambridge. I spend this month mostly settling in and exploring the nearby area. I also started preparing for a part-time job I got in Cambridge!
Now this month was busy. It started with me deciding to attend the Women In Travel Summit in Riga, which I started thinking of going since summer when I had serious FOMO over the TravelCon in the USA. My last-minute choice was not the best value for money but I think it paid off in terms of the experience I gained.
Other than going to Riga which was my second (and last) trip abroad, my first full solo trip abroad, and my first trip in Latvia and the Baltics in general, I also went with Christos to Cheltenham to visit his cousin who had recently started a job there, to London to watch Disney On Ice and visit a friend who had started studying there, to Edinburgh for my graduation and then to London again for Black Friday. The last two short trips were with my mum who came to visit me for my graduation and stayed until Black Friday (my first time actually going to the shops on such a day). The last weekend of the month, Christos’ cousin came to visit us.
On top of that, I was still preparing for my part-time job in Cambridge and applied to many companies (maybe 20) for a graduate role. So, as you can see it was a really busy month!
Eventually, we arrived in December. During the first weekend, we visited Christos’ (other) cousin to Loughborough, where she studies. The next weekend we could finally spend some time in Ely, before going to Cyprus to spend the Christmas holidays there.
This month I also started properly my part-time job in Cambridge as a tour guide for Footprint Tours. I had a somewhat trembling start but this month things were, in general, ok although, I am still not sure if I will continue working for them for the next year as well.
If you are still with me, I hope you have a lovely 2020 and the new year and new decade will bring to you love, happiness, health and wellbeing! Keep reading for my plans for next year!
Plans for 2020
You may have noticed that for all the trips above I have literally placed no links of finding more information in the blog. The reason is that I have written none of the content that I prepared while being there. And this is exactly what I want to do in 2020. Bring my blog up-to-date. Write for all those past trips that I have not written yet, and share with you useful information about these destinations. But I want a little help from you to be able to do that. I want you to motivate me to write more by engaging with my posts as much as possible. Anything counts. It could be as little as just reading what I have written, sharing it a friend or two, leaving a comment or anything you can think of.
Lastly, I want another small favour from you. Because not everything that I post on social media reaches all my followers, I want you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I will start sending it out once I have enough subscribers. Until then, keep an eye on my social media profiles. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TripAdvisor and soon on Youtube, as another one of my aims for 2020 is to finally edit those videos that I have been taking from my trips.
Travel-wise in 2020, I am planning to take some trips both in Europe and outside Europe. I don’t want to share anything else now, but I can reassure you that I am planning to visit some new and exciting destinations, with the first one happening very soon. I want to use this year to explore as much of the world as possible without having any other responsibilities, and by that, I mean a full-time job (but I should start one soon). At the moment, most of the jobs I am applying for start in September, so I will need to meet the above goals before then. I don’t know what will happen next. It is too early now, but I would like to continue sharing my trips on Empnefsys & Travel, and hopefully one day I can say that this little place on the internet helps other people plan their trips!
P.S. Thanks for reading my year in review! Let me know in the comments below if you have any preference for a destination that I should start writing.