Hello and welcome to the post where I round up the previous year. It’s always fun to look back at how the year went and 2022 was an exciting year. After not travelling for over 2 years I was finally back on the road and I ended up taking more trips than expected thanks to work.
Apologies that this post is coming to you so late in January. December and January have been crazy for me. You’ll see why in this post! So if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to since 2021 then continue reading…
- 1 A Look Back at 2022
- 1.1 January – Working in London
- 1.2 February – Stratford upon Avon / Oxford
- 1.3 March – Birthday Fun in London
- 1.4 April – Luxembourg
- 1.5 May – Work Trip To Inverness, Scotland
- 1.6 June – Work Trip To Rhodes, Greece
- 1.7 July – Work Trip To Bulgaria
- 1.8 August – Croatia
- 1.9 September – Fun in London
- 1.10 October / November – US Trip
- 1.11 December – Buying A Home
- 2 What’s Planned in 2023?
- 3 More Personal Posts
A Look Back at 2022
January – Working in London
After losing out on money at the end of 2021 due to Covid and food poisoning, I spent my January working 6 days a week. I usually try not to work too many days a month, especially as most of my work days are 10-12 hours long, but it felt necessary to work a bit extra in January.
The good news was for 4 days of the week I was working somewhere new. If you’ve never read any of my personal blogs before, I work in the TV industry and at the start of 2022 I got to work at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. A nice area of London I haven’t had an excuse to explore yet so it was nice to have a reason to visit for a few weeks.
February – Stratford upon Avon / Oxford
For my first trip of 2022 I stayed in the UK and visited two places in England I have never been before. This trip also coincided with Valentine’s Day and the first stop was Stratford upon Avon. This is where we were on that romantic of days so we stayed in a lovely spa hotel and on Valentine’s Day stayed in the hotel for a very delicious dinner.
Stratford upon Avon
As tempting as it was to stay in the hotel for the whole of the stay, I was keen to see Stratford upon Avon as I had never been before. As the birthplace of Shakespeare, it’s a historical town that has a lot to offer. I especially fell in love with the cat cafe there.
READ ALSO: Visiting Shakespaw Cat Cafe
After a few days relaxing and exploring Stratford upon Avon it was time to head to Oxford. This university town is a popular UK destination that I hadn’t actually been to yet. Now seemed like a perfect opportunity to fix that! I love walking around the beautiful university buildings. Although unfortunately we couldn’t visit every spot easily as they were filming in the streets at the time. Possibly exciting for more visitors but as a girl who works in TV I was trying to get away from that world! Mission failed.
One of the highlights of the visit for me was getting to explore the old castle / prison. You can take tours which are great fun and next door to where the tour goes is an old prison wing that has been converted into a prison themed hotel! My mum actually went a few months later and stayed there and it looks so cool. Will definitely stay there on my next visit to Oxford!
March – Birthday Fun in London
I didn’t too much in March. I mostly just worked but I was treated to a lovely weekend for my birthday. The weekend was all a surprise so when I was told it involved a hotel I wasn’t expecting it to be inside Twickenham Stadium! For a rugby fan this was a fantastic surprise to be staying in the home of English rugby. Especially as we were there too see my team play at their stadium, The Stoop, just down the road.
After a fun night of rugby it was off to central London for more surprises. We stayed in a small and simple hotel right in the centre of London. It turned out to be a perfect spot for all the amazing birthday surprises I was treated to. These included a brewery tour, visit to the gin club, ancient baths, dinner at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, the Tottenham Stadium tour and a visit to a cat cafe.
April – Luxembourg
After a long wait I finally returned to overseas travels. Not only had I been patiently waiting to travel abroad since my trip to Bali in early 2020, I was keen to take my first overseas trip with Boyfriend. As two keen travellers we were excited for this first trip together.
We found it hard to pick a destination for this first trip. Being our first trip together and our first one after a covid forced break, we took time considering the destination. After much discussion we decided to make it a country neither of us had visited before. We finally settled on Luxembourg.
The tiny country of Luxembourg is too easily overlooked when planning a European adventure but it seemed like a great place for our first trip. We spent the whole week staying in Luxembourg city. One thing that did surprise me was how much of a great beer destination Luxembourg was. That wasn’t why I picked it but it was a lovely surprise once there.
With the country being so small, it was easy to explore the rest of the country without having to change hotels. Places are easy to get to by car if you want to rent one but what I loved is that all public transport is free in Luxembourg. We were able to easily get around by buses and trains without having to buy tickets. We found so many great castles in Luxembourg and even one that had a brewery!
May – Work Trip To Inverness, Scotland
My first work trip of 2022 saw me heading to Inverness in Scotland. Having had to cancel my plans to do the NC500 road trip in 2020 thanks to Covid, I was excited to head to the Scottish highlands.
Working in a castle just outside of Inverness was really cool, especially with peacocks roaming around the grounds. I had a huge obsession with those peacocks during that job!
Unfortunately, all my shifts were late finishes so I never got a chance to explore the night scene of Inverness. However, with every morning off I did get to explore the city’s cafes and found some cool cafes in Inverness. I also got very lucky with the weather the two weeks I was there and had beautiful sun while exploring the city before heading to the castle for work.
Luckily I did get one day off and a co-worker with one of the rental cars was as keen as me to explore on our day off so I got to see a little outside the city too. We just decided to drive and when we found out about a steam train nearby, we both were excited to try it out. It was so much fun and the afternoon tea on the train looked incredible.
June – Work Trip To Rhodes, Greece
As my Scottish work trip was coming to an end and I was looking forward to a few days off before returning to the regular London work, I got a text that changed everything. There had been a last minute decision to bring an extra person to a job in Greece for a few days and I got a text saying “don’t suppose your free Friday to Tuesday and fancy some fun in the sun”.
Well as it turned out those were exactly the days that I had off and as much as I was looking forward to some days off, the chance to spend a few days in the sun was too resisting to pass up so the day after I returned from Scotland, I was straight back to the airport to head to Rhodes.
While I was there to work, it was one of those weird (and rare) jobs where I didn’t have much to do. It was a show where people were island hopping around Greece so I got to Rhodes before the rest of the crew so I could get on with work and stop the guys already out there from falling behind. It meant that I had a very casual work day and could pop out to the beach whenever I felt like it, just so long as the work was done.
I didn’t get much chance to explore the island but I did get to enjoy the sun on my skin (for the first time in a long time) and take strolls along the local beach, dipping my toes into that mediterranean ocean. And while I didn’t venture out too far, I did get to sample some Greek foods at the nearby restaurants and sample some Greek beers.
July – Work Trip To Bulgaria
Sunny Beach is a popular tourist spot in Bulgaria and probably not one you would think of as a work location but here I was getting offered another European job there. Originally I was going to use this time to take some time off work but after having fun in Greece I was keen to take another job with this company.
Sadly I was just in Bulgaria for 2 weeks of the run. Someone else was there before me and as I had to disappear for a holiday someone else came after me. But it was my first time in Bulgaria so I was excited to tick off my second new country of 2022.
As this was a work trip I didn’t get to run around exploring Bulgaria like I would have liked. But I did get to enjoy the warm weather and have some chill time down by the pool for an hour a day. Plus there was time to head out to the beach and check out the area. Plus I did get one day off to check out nearby Nessebar.
August – Croatia
Croatia is a place Boyfriend have talked about going to for a long time so it was the perfect destination for our first summer trip together. We contemplated spending a few weeks here but with an upcoming month-long trip to the US looming we decided on just a week.
We booked a few nights in Zagreb but left the rest of the trip open. Well, we ended up loving Zagreb so much we booked another few nights here so we could stay long. Plus the city has so many museums and great food spots, we just weren’t ready to leave after a couple of days. Like Luxembourg, this wasn’t supposed to be a beer trip but as it turned out, Croatia is a great destination for beer lovers. Especially Zagreb!
We did eventually leave Zagreb though as we were keen to see a bit more of Croatia. We decided to end the trip along the coast so went to Zadar. This place was so relaxed and had a completely different vibe to Zagreb. But the highlight of the trip was definitely the day trip to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I’ve heard a lot about this place and seen so many beautiful pictures so it’s been high on my European bucket list for a long time. It was great to finally visited as it was better than I could have hoped. It’s a little pricy but well worth it in my opinion. Especially as you can spend hours there walking around.
September – Fun in London
September was a non travel month where I spent a lot of time working to make up some money ready for a month off in the coming months. But it wasn’t all work. I had some days off to enjoy London, something I don’t do as much as I should. But my favourite was finally going to see a friend’s band, The Grudge live. I used to go to Camden Town regularly to listen to rock and metal bands so it was nice to relive my youth… yes I know how old that makes me sound!
October / November – US Trip
Thanks to Boyfriend having been at the same company for 10 years, he qualifies for a sabbatical. This means an extra 4 weeks holiday. The best part? He doesn’t have to take it all at once but in 2 parts. As he works in a school we decided to do 2 weeks sabbatical with two of the 2 week holidays. That means two 4 week holidays this school year. For the first one we headed to the USA.
New York City
So this wasn’t supposed to be the first stop. We flew in and out of NYC as it’s a cheap spot but the plan was to go straight to Chicago the next day. Unfortunately we are idiots and made a stupid travel mistake. We accidentally planned the trip wrong. When we arrived at the airport hotel, after much confusion, were told that are booking was for the following day. We had planned the whole trip from the day after we arrived, not the day we arrived. How we did this I don’t know!
To make the most of the situation, we head for the city and found a cheap hotel for the night. At least this way we could enjoy our bonus day in New York City. Especially great when we accidentally walked past a taproom for a Brooklyn brewery I’ve been dying to visit!
After the bonus day in NYC it was time to start the real trip. Chicago has been high on my US bucket list for a while now so it was great to finally go. Chicago had a great vibe to it and I loved exploring the cafes and taprooms.
One thing I’ve never done in the US is take a Greyhound bus so I finally got to try this way of travelling on this trip. The first journey was the longest. Chicago to Cleveland. It’s a cheap way to travel around and with music and a good book I’m fine with long bus journeys.
Ohio had never really been a place I’ve necessarily wanted to visit but both Boyfriend and I had friends there who we hadn’t seen in years so this trip was the perfect opportunity to see them. The first stop was Cleveland. This was a cool place that had some really great taprooms and best of all The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was so much fun to visit!
After Cleveland we got another Greyhound bus to see our second friend. He lives in a cute little suburb called Beavercreek which looked like a TV set. It was just so cute and a great place to spend a few days before heading to Cincinnati for our a flight to Fort Lauderdale.
When we were planning this trip Fort Lauderdale wasn’t on our radar as a possible destination. If i’m honest, I’ve never really thought much about Florida as a destination. But the plan was to meet friends in Ohio and then meet my mum and step dad in Vegas. The only place we could find that had direct flights from Ohio and to Vegas was Fort Lauderdale so we decided to enjoy a couple days of relaxing and sun in between seeing people.
As it turned out we both really loved Fort Lauderdale. There were a surprising amount of breweries and taprooms to visit. Plus by our hotel was a really cool food hall where you could order foods from different restaurants and have it brought to your table. It was like a fancy American food hall.
Las Vegas was on our agenda because my mum and step dad were going to be there so it was a great excuse to see them and visit Vegas. While this wasn’t my first visit to Las Vegas it was Boyfriends. I had great fun showing him some of my favourite places. It was especially great to return to Hell’s Kitchen. I accidentally got Boyfriend into the show so he was keen to visit and I was grateful for an excuse to go back.
After a few busy days exploring the city we ended Vegas with a bit of relaxation. After watching an earlier season of Hell’s Kitchen we discovered the Green Valley Ranch and decided it was too good to not visit, especially since we were in the area! When we got there we were in shock when they informed us we had been treated to a free upgrade… to a suite!
This part of the trip was mostly for Boyfriend. While I do also enjoy Bruce Springsteen I am nowhere near the kind of fan that he is. For him it was a dream come true to visit Ashbury park and visit the Stone Pony. What made it extra special is we also did a private Bruce Springsteen location tour.
After New Jersey it was back to New York for the final leg of the trip. One thing I really wanted to do was head over to Brooklyn. I’ve been to NYC a few times now but never gone to the bridge, let alone over it! I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really liked Brooklyn. Of course the highlight for me was being able to visit the Other Half brewery. Their beers are just so good!
And just like that the final part of the 4 week US trip had arrived. It was great to end the trip in a city we both loved and had visited before. It’s one of those cities I don’t think I could ever get bored of. There’s always something new to try. This visit was fun to try new museums in New York. There was a Dog Museum that was a lot of fun and the Sex Museum was a lot more than I expected it to be!
December – Buying A Home
With 2022 coming to an end Boyfriend and I made a big life decision. It’s something we had talked about for a while and back in September we started taking it seriously. We worked out what we could afford, what we wanted to spend and where we could buy something decent for in that price. Before we knew it we found a place we loved and put in an offer that got accepted.
It wasn’t an easy journey with me being self employed and banks basically hating that. Through a lot of stress and backwards and forwards we finally got that mortgage. Seriously they ask self employed people to show them every possible proof of earnings under the sun!
What’s Planned in 2023?
This is my favourite part of the yearly review. This is the part where I started to think about all the amazing places I could possibly go in 2023. I usually have a couple of trips planned before the year starts but most of my year won’t be planned in advance so right now the world is my oyster.
As you read above, my last trip of the year was a month in the US as part of Boyfriend’s sabbatical. The exciting thing is we still have the other half ahead of us and I can’t wait. We’ll be leaving Europe again but this time heading to Asia. For the second half of the sabbatical we will be heading to India and Nepal. I’ve never been to Nepal so that will be my first new country in 2023. While I have been to India before, this trip will see me heading to the north of the country for the first time. And India was the first country I visited in Asia so it feels like it’s time to head back.
The rest of my year is wide open. Who knows what I’ll be doing?! Maybe I’ll head abroad for work again. As long as I have some time to enjoy the area or the weather these work trips are worthwhile although I do miss Boyfriend when I go away for work. I do also need to catch up with friends in Scotland and Portugal which might end up being solo trips too depending on when I can go.
But the trip I’m really looking forward to planning is Boyfriend’s birthday trip in the summer. It’s the big 4-0 so it needs to be special. Although I’m having to restrict how much I spend on him now because of the whole buying a place thing. With the deposit, agency fees and solicitor fees, my money is a little too tied up which is a shame. But that being said, I still want to make this a special birthday for him.
As always, thank you to everyone who has read this blog, followed my social channels and supported me along the way. I still can’t believe this blog has gotten as big as it has. You guys are amazing and I can’t wait to share 2023 with you all.
More Personal Posts
If you enjoy reading some of the more personal posts, you might want to check these out
- A Year in Review: 2021
- What I Read in 2021
- Confessions of My First Solo Travel
- That Time I Had To Flee Poland
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