Welcome to the gazillionth draft of a post explaining what I plan (hope) to be working on in 2021! Each time I’ve sat down to write about why I personally feel it’s time I pivoted (just a teeny bit) from travel blogging, it’s ended up being a rather morose and self-indulgent post about everything that COVID stole from the travel industry.
But I figured it goes without saying that 2020 was a bit of a shitter, professionally and personally, for many people. And I personally, as a travel blogger, felt somewhat redundant for most of the year.
Not that is was disastrous for all travel bloggers. Some, like my friends Victoria Philpott and Emily Luxton, set up second sites and worked their butts off creating content and becoming experts on local destinations. Others, like Oneika The Traveller, went from strength to strength, presenting on national TV and launching podcasts with huge travel corporations. And I loved following Janet Newenham, as she went from Ireland to Mexico to Bali, producing YouTube videos like a machine and making me envious of her digital nomad lifestyle, even though it didn’t always go smoothly.
But me? Well, I just stayed in. I played hide and seek with a toddler and wrote a few posts about whatever was in my head when he eventually went to sleep. Sure, I snuck in two staycations – to Dorset and Cornwall – but I didn’t do anything that hasn’t be written about a million times already. I started to feel like a fraud even putting myself in the same category as the ladies in the paragraph above this. The days where we were up for the same awards, travelled on the same luxury trains in India or presented at conferences in the Maldives seemed a long – a really, really long – way away.
I guess you could say this ‘girl who travels’ lost her identity in 2020.
But LOL this is supposed to be positive. So, let’s move on shall we.
The good things about 2020
2020 wasn’t a bust completely. I think many of us were thankful for the quality (and not so quality) time we got to spend with our immediate families. While the days at home with an energetic toddler seemed spectacularly long at the time, looking back I can see what an incredible opportunity it’s been to see my son development into the chatty, confident, dancing and digger-mad little boy that he is.
Had I secured childcare and returned to work as intended in early 2020 I might have missed some of the small moments I now cherish.
New house, new obsessions
We also bought our first home in August 2020. Completion took a little longer than anticipated but spending lockdown 2.0 and 3.0 in our cosy new digs felt novel compared to the first one in our slightly mildew-y rented terrace.
I spent the last part of 2020 relishing furnishing and styling our new home. (Well, when things didn’t go missing that is!) My search history is now 90% lamps and sofas and the screen time I spend on Cox & Cox is verging on worrying. I started scouring interior design books and blogs, following more interior design and home accounts on Instagram and binge-watched home renovation shows like nobody’s business. Where once my shelves were filled with Lonely Planet guides, I’ve now got colour-coordinated tomes dedicated to Scandi Rustic style or curating a Travel Home.
So, what about the upcoming year?
Like many of you, I’ve had ample time to think about where to focus my energy in 2021. Miles is now registered at nursery for a few days per week and once he goes back I’m going to have more time to myself than I have in 2 years. I’d love to jump fully back into travel blogging but I don’t think the travel industry is going to bounce back overnight and I’m feeling a little tired of trying to claw back the business I’ve lost since COVID.
So, for now I’ve decided to take my new obsession for home styling to the next level instead and have signed up to an online course with Three Birds Renovation that starts next week. I have no illusions about being the next Shea McGee (you’ve watched Dream Home Makeover right?), I just want to do something for me that will hopefully also make our new home look pretty.
This is the first time I’ve ever invested time or money into a topic other than travel or writing and I’m excited. And because I can’t do anything without chronicling it on social media I’ve decided to start a new Instagram account to record the progress. I’ve called it ‘Our Travel Home’ as my aim is to create a home that reflects and celebrates our travel lifestyle, even when we can’t go anywhere.
I will also be sharing some more posts on this blog about how we’re styling our first home because I’ve had more DM’s and emails about our sofa or fireplace in the last few weeks than I have on any other topic!
I haven’t forgotten my travel blogger roots though. I’ve just signed up to a virtual travel industry conference in February called Propel: FORWARD, which aims to provide the travel industry and travel content creators with the road map for recovery in a post-pandemic world. I’m looking forward to learning how the travel media can responsibly support the recovery of the travel industry, as well as discovering some of the emerging trends that will shape the travel industry post-pandemic. Just reading the programme makes me feel like I’m getting back my mojo.
That was a rather long post on where I’m at for the minute. It seems I’m not quite pivoting but I’ve definitely got 1 foot swinging 😀
Happy new year and thanks as always for reading. Will you be focusing on any new areas in the new year?