As we come to the end of 2016, I wanted to reflect over my year and share some of my thoughts.
I started the year in Bali with a couple of friends, just 3 months after becoming a nomad. New Year’s Eve in Bali was not quite what we expected (a little quiet), but we were all super grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy such a tropical environment. Following a few weeks in Bali, we got a boat over to Gili Trawangan which has to be one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever visited. To travel around the island you can walk, cycle or get a horse – it’s a step back in time and was very memorable.
Following 10 nights on the island we got a boat back to Bali. Mid-way through the trip we experienced the full force of a storm and at times it felt more like we were flying as we were pushed up from the ocean to fall on the hard crashing waves. For 30 minutes I sat there, trying to avoid being sick whilst pondering over my mortality. I haven’t had many times where I’ve genuinely been in a state of acceptance that the end may have come, but that was one of those moments. In the haze of the experience, it made me realise how important it is to live fully now and just go for it.
“Life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you’ve got.” – Tim Cook
The next destination was Australia, a country I had never visited but a place which always excited me. As I had no idea what to expect, I booked a short trip of 21 days so I could get a taste of the country and decide whether it was place I’d like to return. Well, Australia was more than I could of hoped for. Upon arriving in Sydney I had that homely feeling, it was a place I felt like I belonged.
Over the 21 days I explored Sydney & Melbourne, made some friends both with other travellers and some locals, and attended the Mardi Gras parade. Sydney was the city which impressed me most, I knew I had to return.
After Australia I had a short trip to Kuala Lumpur, which is one of my favourite cities in Asia before flying up to Hong Kong. I wasn’t overly impressed with Hong Kong due to communication challenges and the overall cost of living. Having travelled all over Asia, it was a shock to be paying western prices.
Following Hong Kong I had a flight to Berlin via London. Berlin remains one of my favourite places and I had found a lovely 1-bedroom apartment to rent on Airbnb. During my time in Berlin I had several visitors from friends & family so got to explore the city a few times. Berlin comes out top for the best nightlife in the world with incredible converted warehouses, factories & swimming pools now hosting all weekend parties.
My plans beyond Berlin were to visit my dad in Spain, then fly to Bangkok & Tokyo – however plans changed. My client in New York had some vital meetings which come up so I flew out to join them for a month. Spending a month in Manhattan was an incredible experience, it’s an amazing city and during the summer it was very hot which made central park just fantastic.
Following a brief visit back to the UK to visit family, I flew out to San Francisco and had the pleasure of really exploring Silicon Valley. During my trip I attended some courses at Stanford University, had a range of events booked & also attended San Francisco Pride. We drove from SF > LA (a 7 hour drive) and back the next day. We rented an Airbnb in the heart of the valley and got a real taste of valley life. It’s impressive and it’s clear to see why so much innovation happens there.
En route back to New York, I took a de-tour and had 3 nights in Las Vegas. I’d always wanted to go and having built up so many air miles it was a free trip. It’s a weird and wild place and somewhere I’d love to return with a good group of friends. Following a couple of weeks back in Manhattan, I had a quick trip to Florida on my way back to Europe. Just before I left the US, I was in JFK airport when they suspected a shooter in the terminal. It was a terrifying experience – with thousands of people screaming, running and taking cover as we thought the worst. I’ve never experienced an event where so many people were trying to survive. I hope I never have to experience something like that again. Thankfully, there wasn’t any shooter found and therefore nobody was injured.
In Europe, I covered London & Tallinn (Estonia) before flying to Berlin and then joining my flight to Sydney (via Singapore). It was awesome to be back in Australia, this time for an extended period. During this trip I covered the east coast from Cairns to Sydney, which is the usual travel path. I explored the great barrier reef & took a 2 night boat trip out to the Whitsunday islands before heading down to Brisbane. I’ve decided to fly back to Australia early next year to catch the Australian summer.
Most recently and coming to the close of the year, I flew from Sydney to Quebec (Canada) for the JCI World Congress and then down to Montreal for 3 weeks before flying back to London (the location where I’m writing this).
I’ve had an incredible year and I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had as a nomad. Being able to explore the world & meet new people, all whilst doing what I love is something I value dearly. Whilst I’ve loved this year, there are some questionable shifts happening in the world. With Brexit in June and now Trump being elected in November, there are some odd collective choices being made as to the direction of the world.
Despite whatever is happening around you, it’s vital you stay focussed. You must stay focussed on the outcomes you’re seeking in your life & for those around you. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear or gossip, but I urge you to turn off the news and spend the time reviewing your own choices and direction.
I hope that your 2016 was something you can be proud of and that 2017 is filled with adventure and meaning. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for your time.