As the world bids good riddance to 2016, I can’t help but look back on it fondly.
Especially when I reflect on how much travelling I’ve done, personally it’s been an amazing year. That doesn’t mean it was all plain sailing, at times it has been hard and I’ve had set backs, but I achieved everything I wanted to and I couldn’t be happier.
I set out at the end of 2015 with the goal to save up and travel around Australia. Now at the end of 2016, I am so pleased to be here, and to think I did it… I’m actually doing it!
Let’s look back on the year and see where I’ve been and how I got here..
I spent New Years in Madrid with the one and only Candid Nomad. 2015 was a crazy year starting out as being one of the toughest, but turned into an incredible year of personal transformation. Megan played a key part in helping me put myself back together, and our summer interrailing around Eastern Europe was what led me to decide to save up and travel to Australia in 2016.
As we stood outside Sol in Madrid waiting for the clock to strike twelve, clutching our twelve grapes ready to gulp down during strokes of midnight. I tipsily announced “I’m really glad 2015 happened as it happened, everything that happened has led me here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
And I meant it, coming into 2016 I had just begun saving up for Australia, and the plans for my travels were still forming. I had a brilliant time seeing in 2016, dancing on a podium at Independence and celebrating new year with one my best friends was the best way to start the year.
March: I’ve got a one way ticket!
I didn’t go anywhere this month, but I received my bonus from work. I sat in the common room at uni and booked my flight to Sydney. This was a pretty epic moment, my flight was booked for November 2nd and I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of the year saving for my trip.
(View from the citadel, Budapest)
After completing my final year at university, I celebrated the start of summer by going to Budapest with my friends from the Classics Society.
It was a fun week spent in one of my favourite cities. This was my second time visiting Budapest, as I had visited with Megan the summer before, and it was really special to visit again.
I had an amazing time wandering around the city, eating gelato and walked to my favourite place, the citadel.
Sometimes you just need to get away, and a week before my graduation I decided to spend a couple of days in Reykjavik. Finishing university and preparing to move back home felt pretty daunting, and a little get-away to reflect on the year so far felt like the remedy for me.
Reykjavik was beautiful and peaceful, and was the perfect place to seek respite. It was my first time solo-travelling and I’ll never forget the little gang of friends I made on the first night, we befriended each other as a result of our choosing to eat dinner in the hostel as opposed to eating out. Random I know, but it’s one of my favourite travel memories from this year.
In August I spent Bank Holiday Weekend with a friend in Paris. We hit all the major tourist spots, and though Paris isn’t my favourite city, I still enjoyed exploring the French capital.
I wrote a whole post about everything we got up to here.
August was also the month I finally started this blog. In the beginning it was called “The Alternative Alumna”,until I realised that was a terrible name.
I wanted something short, sweet and slightly classical.
I settled on the Holiad as a mash up of my name, Holly and the Iliad. I thought the name would suit my epic backpacking adventure, and I think it works pretty well.
November – Australia
On November 4th I arrived in Sydney, all the hard work, overtime and jitters paid off. I’d achieved my goal for 2016, I honestly can’t tell you how good it felt when I passed through customs and saw the “Welcome to Sydney” sign, you can’t buy those moments.
December – Australia and then some..
My route so far has been:
Sydney> Melbourne> Hobart> Sydney> Brisbane> Sydney> ?
I’ve been backwards and forwards a lot this month. I’ve loved every stop and am going to have a hard time condensing my travels in December for my second month round up.
Visiting Hobart was a highlight, I was keen to visit as I felt quite a few backpackers bypassed Tasmania, in favour of travelling the Australian East Coast. Hobart was a welcome change to the bustling mainland cities, though my tour to Port Arthur made me realise I’d barely scratched the surface of Tasmania by visiting Hobart. Although a return isn’t on the cards any time soon, I’d suggest anyone going to Australia should pay Tassie a visit, it’s a magical place.
Return to Sydney
I celebrated my birthday in Sydney with friends I made at the beginning of my trip, I went surfing in the morning, and partied so hard I broke a toe in the evening.
I celebrated Christmas Aussie style in Brisbane with a friend and her family. Eating ham on toast, Christmas ham is a big thing over here, and had a proper Christmas dinner on Boxing Day. It was really special and I was really made to feel part of the family, I’m so grateful for my Christmas in Brizzie.
Faced with the decision to either carry on up the coast or to return to Sydney to see in New Years with my friends, I chose the latter. I’m keen to move on from Sydney soon, and am planning on spending the first part of 2017 completing my three months regional work in order to gain my second year visa.
I’m looking forward to celebrating New Years tomorrow, but I can’t help but feel a little sad that 2016 is over. This year I pushed myself and discovered anything is possible. I realise that my achievements this year are the result of a lot of hard work and luck. I’m very lucky to be where I am, and am grateful for the support of my friends and family who encouraged me to follow my heart and travel.
I said in my last post that I’ve met some incredible people so far, and I am still meeting awesome and kind people on my travels. I’m thankful for every person I encounter on this trip, and I’m super excited to meet even more people next year!
So here I am in Sydney, about to spend New Years with a friend I met on my first night in Sydney, his sister and a friend I made before I even left the UK but who I only met the other week. Life is sweet, and again I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I hope that wherever you are you have a happy 2017. I carried these mantras with me this year, and I’d like to share them with you:
- Don’t be afraid to push yourself.
- Find the lesson in the good and the bad.
- Be grateful for all that you have.
Don’t forget to celebrate yourself! (You, yes you. You’re awesome!)
I hope you had a great 2016.
Are you looking forward to 2017? Let me know. Thank you for reading!