What Really Happened in 2015

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This past year has been one of the craziest years of my entire life. It involved a lot of moving around the world, traveling even more than ever, defining friendships, building up my first own business and the most important learning a lot about myself. In 2015 I was constantly being called insane by people who knew me, or rather thought they’ve known me, as rarely anyone actually had an idea what was happening in my life.

I also didn’t necessarily wanted to share all my ups and down with the entire world. The truth is that only my very close friends had a slight idea of what was really happening and why my life could have looked so chaotic.

All the past events eventually led to me almost completely quitting blogging. In fact, I actually stopped writing for an extensive amount of time as I couldn’t find any inspiration. It took me a long time and a travel blogging conference to thankfully regaining my confidence in Anna Everywhere and deciding to carry on.

What really happened in 2015? [*Be aware this article is VERY long!]

2015 was meant to be new, exciting and full of great memories, however, it ended up as one of the messiest years of my life. I haven’t written an article as honest as this one since my post on chronic diseases and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to share this story with the world. However, I’m happy to introduce my readers and friends to the new honest tone of my website, but I have to say that I’m extremely nervous about the reception of this post.

In January I moved to California…

On January 1st, 2015, after recovering from Xmas dengue fever, I flew to New York City for a few days before embarking on my next flight to San Diego, California. I was excited, as me and my fiancee at the time (yes, I was engaged) were making a move from the Netherlands to sunny California, right after finishing our pre-honeymoon in South-East Asia at the end of 2014.

As fairy tale as it might sound to you, it was far off from being a beautiful romantic story. The amount of legal documents, money, and stress needed in order to get married in the US as a non-US citizen is unbelievable, to the extent that one can easily forget about love in order to focus on actually getting things done.

I used to live in California before in 2009, but this time was slightly different. Incapable of working for months due to various immigration rules I had to spend my days alone at home. Without a car, in California, I was practically unable to do anything on my own and moreover, we neither had the money to do much nor had any friends in the area. Basically, life wasn’t easy.

California looks pretty in photos

California looks pretty in photos…

That was the time when my blog came in handy. When I started Anna Everywhere in March 2014 I had no will or plans to ever make it my full-time job, in, fact I released the website thinking it could help my career in the future if I’m going to be recognizable. Fortunately or not, pushed by the circumstances I had no other choice but to work online and make my blog my job. When my story on Boracay went super viral in January it opened a lot of doors for me to work on various freelance gigs and I made it happen – I started to live off my blog.

While bored out of my mind in San Diego I set up a few side trips to have something to do. I revisited Los Angeles after many years and this time I actually fell in love with the city. I went to Las Vegas, also on my own, as my fiancee said he has no interest in going on a fully sponsored (!) trip to any of these places. His loss. I still enjoyed my trip regardless, however that was the time when several friends of mine began to send me messages assuming I suddenly inherited a huge amount of money and live like a spoiled girl staying in luxury hotels and flying helicopters over Sin City. I guess that’s all people saw throughout my social media channels and didn’t bother to look and see what I was actually doing.

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Las Vegas baby!

At the beginning on March we made a decision of not getting married as planned. We neither had the money for a proper wedding, nor weren’t we ready for it. Unfortunately, intercontinental unions often require either getting married quickly or staying in a long-distance relationship and often neither of these options look realistic. Looking back, I think the situation became way too overwhelming and I didn’t want to just sign papers in order to stay together. My friends didn’t understand my actions and I can’t blame them for it, as I probably wouldn’t get my situation either unless I was in it myself. At the end of March I returned to London and my fiancee was meant to join me right after I found a job to be able to sponsor him.

Looking back, I think the situation became way too overwhelming and I didn’t want to just sign papers in order to stay together. My friends didn’t understand my actions and I can’t blame them for it, as I probably wouldn’t get my situation either unless I was in it myself. At the end of March, I returned to London and my fiancee was meant to join me right after I found a job to be able to sponsor him.

I returned to London at the end of March…

I was sad to leave California, but using the opportunity of IcelandAir free layover on the way to London I stayed in Iceland for a few days. I had a blast and genuinely enjoyed my trip. As I didn’t share any details of my life with my readers my blogging audience was able to see my pretty photos from Iceland from a girl who’s in a joyful relationship. How far away from reality, right?

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Being back in London made me realize that getting a proper job as a travel blogger might not be as easy as I thought it would be. Despite gaining an enormous amount of skills related to online marketing, social media management and website developing there was one big problem with my CV. Potential employees were genuinely impressed by me, however first interview questions were: ‘How long are you planning on staying in the company? Aren’t you going to take off and travel again soon?’ Little did they know that I actually wanted to stay in Europe in order to sponsor my partner, but I guess the majority of people were too afraid to hire me.

Potential employees were genuinely impressed by me, however first interview questions were: ‘How long are you planning on staying in the company? Aren’t you going to take off and travel again soon?’ Little did they know that I actually wanted to stay in Europe in order to sponsor my partner, but I guess the majority of people were too afraid to hire me.

Forced to freelance and therefore having a flexible schedule, allowed me to start an intense aerial acrobatics training and return to practicing ballet. I used to be a dancer when I was a kid, but I was forced to quit it all in order to pursue my dream of studying and living abroad.Desktop

When I was went to Africa in May things just couldn’t get more wrong, but again, noone had the slightest idea of what was actually going on in my life. My amazing plan of visiting 3 countries in Africa fell into pieces when I reached the northern Zanzibar and my fiancee broke up with me, as he couldn’t handle the distance and had no desire to move back to Europe afterall. Adding the fact that my computer containing all my files and photos broke down completely I was a complete mess and all I wanted was to go home.lthough as I thought my home was California I had no idea what should I even call ‘home’. I somehow managed to schedule a bunch of photos for my facebook page, so nobody even realized anything. Moreover, as my trip was fully sponsored I had to smile to hotel owners, look beautiful in all my photos and cry alone in my hotel room.

Although as I thought my home was California I had no idea what should I even call ‘home’. I somehow managed to schedule a bunch of photos for my facebook page, so nobody even realized anything. Moreover, as my trip was fully sponsored I had to smile to hotel owners, look beautiful in all my photos and cry alone in my hotel room.

It was the first time when I canceled my projects in Uganda, bought another flight and returned to Europe sooner than expected realizing that professional travel blogging isn’t always bed and roses. It requires a lot of fake smile and plenty of strength.

As incredible my trip may sound you can trust me that I ended up having a complete breakdown at the airport in Addis Ababa that ended up probably the worst bottle of wine in my life, before staying in a hotel with no electricity or water in Kampala and got almost refused an entry to the UK due to my crazy travel record and inability to prove what am I actually doing because of my disfunctioned laptop.

No matter what I had to smile... but I spent the rest of it crying in my hotel room.

No matter what I had to smile… but I spent the rest of it crying in my hotel room.

I went back in California…

When I came back to California in June to sort out my own visa I ended up reconnecting with my fiancee. We spent a fantastic month together thinking that things could be like this forever. Without a pressure of getting married again so quickly I thought I can just come back to California, live my own life and happily date my boy. Disgracefully, upon my return to Europe it turned out that our marvelous idea of me coming back to the US on my own wasn’t going to work afterall. We made a choice to pursue the plan of getting married with a proper wedding in Las Vegas.

I almost forgot to mention that while in California I was finally fulfill my dreams of becoming a My childhood dream came true when I visited the home of the Oscars – Dolby Theater, but I was also interviewed on travel writing by Jimmy Kimmel and met a decent amount of celebrities at various movie premieres and TV shows I was invited to. It seemed to be that everything finally fell into place in both professional and private life.

I lost my photo with Jimmy Kimmel (I know, right?!) so here's someone else... do you recognize her? :)

I lost my photo with Jimmy Kimmel (I know, right?!) so here’s someone else… do you recognize her? 🙂

I decided to rediscover Europe again…

Before moving back to California I decided to rediscover Europe again. I left London in order to stay in my original hometown – Warsaw for a month to get to know it a bit better. It might sound strange to some people, but I had no idea how does life in Poland actually looked like as I left Warsaw as a teenager. My childhood friends kind of don’t even think of me as a real Polish person and when I visit I’m often told that I act like a foreigner, what’s probably the truth.

In a post-communist country such as Poland things changed drastically over the last couple of years. I still remember the times when we didn’t have any imported products and fancy bars when nowadays one can find anything in Warsaw and the nightlife is simply amazing, as I happened to experience back in August.

I also went on several work trips: to Cote d’Azur which I absolutely loved, followed by a short visit to Venice, Verona and Budapest. Right before I moved back to the US I also managed to go on a first group press trip to Romania which made ma doubt the whole blogging community. Here’s why.

 

I quit blogging for a while…

As I never actually wanted to be a full-time blogger, combined with a strong disapproval from my ex-fiancee and mixed feelings about my press trip I thought I’m never going back to writing again. I couldn’t write a word for weeks, as I felt ashamed of my messy life situation and disgusted by wannabe travelers. I didn’t want to belong to this community and represent more than just an empty bunch of articles begging for more traffic.DSC01789

Once again, I returned to California…

Privately, I was often close to canceling my flight to San Diego as my ex-fiancee kept backing off our wedding plans. My friends weren’t supportive of my decision to try to get married again and it even began to be a running joke among my closest friends that I should marry the guy before he runs away again. The truth is that I wanted to be able to say to myself that I did everything I could to make things work between us. What I haven’t realized quickly enough was the fact that I was the only one actually trying to make things work as I made friends, found myself an amazing aerial studio and made my blog a job while it nothing happen on his end. It’s not my point to trash him as he’s not a bad person per se, but looking back I probably should have seen that my relationship was destined to failure this time as he wasn’t supportive of my work, my hobbies and therefore simply of who I was. We were simply mismatched.

The truth is that I wanted to be able to say to myself that I did everything I could to make things work between us. What I haven’t realized quickly enough was the fact that I was the only one actually trying to make things work as I made friends, found myself an amazing aerial studio and made my blog a job while it nothing happened on his end.

It’s not my point to trash him as he’s not a bad person per se, but looking back I probably should have seen that my relationship was destined to fail this time as he wasn’t supportive of my work, my hobbies and therefore simply of who I was. We were simply mismatched.

I moved out of the apartment countless times and in the end never actually unpacked my things and sent back some furniture we ordered for the house. Thanks to my blog I met a girl who was able to host me in Los Angeles during my time of crisis and thanks to her and endless support from my other friends I was able to make my speaking debut at the travel conference in Orlando where I met genuine bloggers and had a fantastic time.

More crazy bloggers I'm friends with!

Some crazy bloggers I’m friends with! Flight of the Travel Bee, Who Needs Maps, Keep Calm and Travel, eTramping

Some of the amazing travel bloggers I met!

More of the amazing travel bloggers I became friends with this year: Chris Guillebeau, Nomadic Matt,  Expert Vagabond, Baldpacker, My Life’s a Movie, Unresting Sea, Caroline in the City, Heels to Hiking Boots, Travel with Pedro, Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler, Bemused Backpacker, Machbel.

I attended and spoke at travel conferences…

While my relationship was basically over as without trust I wasn’t able to go through the wedding arrangements, I canceled everything a week in advance. Months of choosing the best wedding dress, arranging documents and trying to build a new home fell into pieces. Moreover, my health was very bad as my skin looked horrible and I somehow managed to get another pneumonia.

Again, looking at my facebook page at the time one could say that I was this crazy girl traveling throughout Florida and California living the dream…

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Venice Beach, CA

This is when I attended my first TBEX conference in Fort Lauderdale which rescued Anna Everywhere. I met an amazing bunch of people from the industry that weren’t ashamed of blogging, understood me to pieces and more important genuinely enjoyed my blog and encouraged me to continue working on it. TBEX might be a week of constant party which in fact is a great networking opportunity, so I couldn’t be more grateful that I attended this conference. Words can’t describe how I felt when a random lady came to me asking me if I’m really ‘Anna Everywhere’ and told me that she encourages her daughter to be like me whilst another guy told me that I’ve been his inspiration. I knew that I had to continue doing what I’m doing if not for myself then to show others that they can get out of their countries and become who they want to become.

Right after TBEX I left to Mexico for the most unplanned trip in my entire life as I was booking my flights a few hours before departure or even at the airport. I traveled all over the country, revisiting my old home – Mexico City, exploring Chiapas where my bus got kidnapped (that’s a story for another occasion) and spending an extensive time in Playa del Carmen with friends.  I’m currently writing this post from London where I spent the last month of this year with a short break for a trip to Finland.

What I’ve learned this year?

Unfortunately, for many people I became ‘this girl in dresses and heels traveling the world’ and people started treating me like a mindless pretty doll that doesn’t work or do anything meaningful. I think everyone already forgot or never even knew that I actually have a few degrees in the pocket including Harvard University and even published a serious book on legal issues in Mexico.

I also realized that having a life plan isn’t always the greatest solution. I thought that I had a plan to get married and live happily ever after, but when it didn’t happen I had to come up with a space B, C and D plans… This year has definitely made me stronger and made me understood what I want and where do I go from here.DSC03661

What are my plans for 2016…

On January 1st I’ll hop on a plane to Mexico as I decided that Playa del Carmen will be the perfect hub to work as a digital nomad and give my website a little push before I come back to London and get busier with regular daytime job. After a messy year I want to spend more time with friends instead of working on projects abroad most of the year. Therefore stay tuned for my updates from Tacoland soon!

An urge to settle down for a little bit in 2016 doesn’t mean that I’ll stop traveling. Actually, I have a few crazy trip ideas, but I’m not going to reveal them just yet. All I can say for now is that I want to visit less explored places focusing on a deeper issue than just tourism. After all I’m a historian, journalist and human rights lawyer in case you didn’t know that. I might not be the next Martha Gellhorn (who is my personal idol), but I want to show my audience more than just pretty fashion photos.

 

Probably not a photo you'd like to see on an Instagram ;)

Probably not a photo you’d like to see on an Instagram, but trust me – it was an amazing trip 😉

That’s all for now and I hope you guys didn’t fall asleep when reading this post…




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75 Comments

  1. Nicholas
    Dec 28, 2015 / 12:54 am

    Nope, I didn’t fall asleep reading it. 😛 Every once in a while it’s great to read a post like this. Your honesty is greatly appreciated and I’m glad to hear that things are looking up for you.

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Aww I’m glad 🙂

    • Mark Ingram
      Dec 31, 2015 / 7:13 am

      ”If you’ve toured the world there’s always Greenland!”

  2. Khrystsina
    Dec 28, 2015 / 2:27 am

    Thank you for your honesty about travel blogging. It is quite refreshing to hear a true story of what happens behind the scenes. I’m sorry that you had such a horrible year, but keep on writing because you have great readers who are interested in True and genuine reviews. New year, new beginnings. I love your new style!

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you for your kind words!

  3. Baldpacker
    Dec 28, 2015 / 2:40 am

    I love this post Anna and I definitely feel like I know you better now.

    I feel just as disenchanted with the travel blogger industry as you wrote about in the middle of this post and I probably haven’t worked on my blog as much as I should because of it. It’s good to know I’m not the only person who often feels that way and I agree there are way too many phony “experts” out pushing their blogs for financial gain these days.

    It was great meeting you at TBEX and it’s the people and friends like yourself who will keep me motivated to keep sharing my stories and experiences and help others achieve their travel dreams.

    Here’s to an epic 2016!

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:37 pm

      One thing is for sure: you’re my tequilla expert ;D
      Hope to see you again and finally meet Sara in 2016! Let’s see where 😉

  4. Alberto
    Dec 28, 2015 / 2:48 am

    Thanks for sharing, as always you show us the world thru your words, and as you say not only places looks different through a lens of the camera, people too. Hope you have an amazing year to come, with my best wishes… Happy New year!!

  5. Dec 28, 2015 / 3:50 am

    Travel blogging is a glamourous profession and like every profession from that genre, it is painful behind the back.

    I so agree with you on wanting to travel slow, enjoy the destination and not just see a story everywhere you go.

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:37 pm

      Exactly, that’s what I’ve been doing before I started this blog 🙂

  6. Dec 28, 2015 / 3:56 am

    love your honesty! the blogging world needs more of this, thank you for sharing your beautiful truths <3

    + focus on the positive, 2016 is just a corner away! 🙂

    xo Christina

  7. JuanT
    Dec 28, 2015 / 4:08 am

    Great post,.just keep it up anna,.as long as you’re happy im with you

  8. Adam
    Dec 28, 2015 / 4:14 am

    A wonderful post to read, feels very genuine. I’m happy to hear that things are looking a bit better now and I hope you find happiness. Keep up the good work!

  9. Alison
    Dec 28, 2015 / 5:06 am

    Your genuine honesty is very refreshing! Thanks for sharing all of the lessons you’ve learned over the past year. And love the new style!

  10. Dec 28, 2015 / 6:14 am

    You have my full sympathy and I know what you mean.
    I’ve never done a press trip, they sound horrible, my worst nightmare. And the bloggers claiming to be “experts” on places they’ve visited for 2 weeks……..Ugg.
    We live in Romania now ( sort of), it’s an amazing country, you should see a bit more, without the gang of snap happy wannabe bloggers and the big bus.
    I’ve been blogging now for, maybe 4-5 years. The money I make would maybe support a single person travelling full time, but quite honestly, it’s no easy meal ticket and I dislike the scroungers immensely, those wanting something for nothing. We are 4 people, 2 kids, we pay our way and travel our way, because travel is our enjoyment, we don’t want it to be just work.

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:39 pm

      I think smaller press trips don’t always have to be bad… but it’s definitely a different experience so I’d liek to show both sides of every story.
      Keep traveling as long as you’re enjoying it!

  11. Dec 28, 2015 / 6:18 am

    Thanks for this post Anna, it is nice to read the raw truth behind the pretty photos. No one is immune to hardship and that is what we all share in common as human beings, whether you travel internationally or just in your own backyard. I appreciate your vulnerability to share your true story. I hope 2016 is better for you!

  12. Ahmad Motayed
    Dec 28, 2015 / 6:47 am

    Wishing you very best on 2016 🙂

  13. Dec 28, 2015 / 7:01 am

    Great post, but I don’t understand the issue of getting into UK. With Polish passport you have right to go and travel, live and look for work there any time. Did you not travel on your Polish passport???

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      I did, but since I’ve been coming back from Uganda via Ethiopia they were wondering why am I traveling so much and took me for an interview and search. It doesn’t matter which passport you have, I actually know a girl who got deported from the UK because of some other issues. It’s the same way in the US for Americans – if your story is messy then you might be in trouble 😉

      • Dec 29, 2015 / 2:06 pm

        Haha, they probably thought you are a smart looking drug trafficker 🙂 I guess security procedures don’t depend on nationality…

  14. Dec 28, 2015 / 7:34 am

    Hey Anna, it was a pleasure meeting you in Mexico! The best decisions in life are the unplanned ones indeed! Have a great 2016!

    PS. Single selfies are better than married selfies so you dodged a bullet in that aspect haha

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      We didn’t take a selfie in Mexico! What am I gonna do now without a selfie with the Selfie King Raphael? 😀

  15. MARTA
    Dec 28, 2015 / 8:29 am

    You should be proud of you and your work. Maybe you lost few readers because of this post but you gain a bunch of real, supportive readers, who will be with you no matter what, You are on the good path.
    I hope that 2016 will be a lot easier for you and you find courage, time and sources to make your “crazy” dreams come true. I wish you all the best in 2016!

  16. Dec 28, 2015 / 9:57 am

    Good post for read, you had a difficult year, but you overpass every bad thing, and now you are wisest.
    As a blogger, I also thought about quitting blogging, but at the end, is our passion and enjoyed it. So, the best for next years, and was a pleasure to meet you in Romania 😀
    Feliz año pendeja 😉

    • Dec 28, 2015 / 4:40 pm

      I think a lot of us have ups and downs hehe 🙂
      Feliz ano amigo! N c si pendejo significa algo diferente en Espanol de Espana pero espero q si jaja!

  17. Dec 28, 2015 / 10:03 am

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks for this candid post!
    I myself (full-time nomad, living off other income, but hoping to eventually earn enough money from what I love most) have asked myself that: do you accept just any (press/blogger) trip just because it’s fully paid (and often comes with a built-in audience) or do you do your own thing with your own money, knowing you’ll have an awesome time (albeit a less luxurious one…), and hope, that the content you’ll create is compelling enough?
    I also think that in a way we are responsible for the impression we leave on our audience: if every photo posted is perfect than we shouldn’t be surprised that some in our audience miss the point: travel offers so much but it’s not always a perfect life…

    All the best for 2016!

  18. Dec 28, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Anna, I relate to so many things you said, but not to others. Your year really seemed like a huge mess to me but sometimes the worst experiences make us the strongest. So I wish you loads of positive energy in 2016 and remember, that sometimes to take time to slow down can teach you more about what you really want instead of rushing with everything.

  19. Dec 28, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing – great read, good insights. I’m at the start of a similar adventure as you were, so I appreciate you sharing these (personal) events. Take care!

  20. Dec 28, 2015 / 11:22 pm

    What a fantastic post. It connected with me on so many levels. Traveling all around the world trying to make ends meet on my blog is not as easy as it seems, and now that I know what it will take to monetize the blog, it seems I can never catch up. Getting a job in any one location, with the word “traveler” associated with you is nearly impossible too. But in the end it is a life I would never want to give up. And I hope you never do either. Looking forward to meeting up with you someday, maybe at a blogging conference. Oh, and I was fascinated with my visit with Warsaw last September!

  21. Dec 28, 2015 / 11:30 pm

    Great post, Anna! Thanks for being so black and white! It’s not always easy. I’m sorry for the tough times you had, but I know it’s only made you stronger and it was life lessons. I’m happy to hear you’re continuing your blog, even if it’s only part time. Mine has always been part time because I need to work. I’m like you, I can’t believe people they say “I’ll just start a blog so I can travel more and get free stuff”… Uhm… WHAT?! What planet do you live on?! I also know a few bloggers who go some place for a few days and then, somehow, have become an expert on the destination. All there is to do is our own thing. People will eventually see through it. Enjoy your base in Playa, I was just there for an actual vacation! Like 8 days of no work… First time in three years +. It was amazing! 🙂

  22. Dec 28, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    I wish you all the luck, Anna– your situation this year sounds similar to mine (tho’ less the marriage, just a failed relationship)! He didn’t want his life played out online, and since a lot of my plans involved him, I stopped writing…I hope to start again in the new year, but I don’t think I want it to become a permanent job, it’s just too difficult. I want to enjoy where I travel to, and keep a journal about it, rather than travel blog per se.

  23. Brad
    Dec 29, 2015 / 2:33 am

    It is sad you get to travel the world for free (a job many people dream of) then complain how tough your life is. Its horrible you got famous bashing a place which may be a tourist trap but the country of Philippines is full of great great people who are the nicest people in the world and they are poor. They need money from the tourists and you only hurt their economy. If you are going to bash someone, bash the crooked people of Kuta, not the generous people of the Philippines. Your life is not that bad, I don’t like how you are trying to get pitty. You have some talent, there is a reason you get sponsored to travel, but no one likes a blogger who feels sorry for themself.

    • Dec 29, 2015 / 1:50 pm

      I think you definitely misunderstood a lot of what I just said… Who says I’m feeling sorry for myself? Who says I’m bashing the whole Philippines (did you in fact read the other post to see I didn’t say anything like that)?

      • Brad
        Jan 2, 2016 / 12:40 am

        Sorry Anna, keep up the good work! don’t stop!

  24. Dec 29, 2015 / 3:52 am

    So much wisdom in one so young. Anna, we only recently became virtually acquainted when we came across your travel blog, shortly after we started our own travel blog. Although, we had a long history being published in scuba magazines, our blog was to be a vehicle to publish some of our topside adventures, and supplement our work as Matador Network Ambassadors. You figuratively hit the nail on the head in saying there are a lot of non professional bloggers/travel writers who think it is all about taking free trips and giving little back. Sorry to hear about your wedding plans being called off, but you probably have already realized you have done the right thing for all concerned. From what you describe, the relationship was due to fail at some point. We applaud your courage (you seem to have this in spades) and that you have decided to carry on with your blog. You write with grace and we enjoy reading your posts. Chin up! Ignore the haters and forgive the misguided (friends). Yours is a voice that is making a difference. Yours is a life that you are destined to define. Wishing you all the best for 2016!

  25. Don Ashley
    Dec 29, 2015 / 6:40 am

    Thanks for the post, Anna. Your honesty is rare and you paint an accurate picture of how messy life tends to be. You are a gem in the world of travel blogging. I’m a professor who enjoys travel, and I started following many travel bloggers about 8 months ago. I’m already growing tired of their posts.

    From now on, I’m going to delete every blogger who posts about Bali with a selfie doing yoga. Be original people! I’m sure it’s a lovely place, but why do so many bloggers go there? I’m not a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and I don’t practice yoga. I do enjoy a good steak and I drive a very large Dodge pickup. Maybe these bloggers aren’t my people. ???? You seem to be the exception.

    I’m glad to hear you are doing better. Love is never easy. My wife’s fiancée introduced us to each other, and we’ve been married nearly 26 years.

    My family has suffered two suicides in the last year. While I’m thankful my wife and children are happy, I’ve had moments of despair over my dear sister losing her husband and son. Suicide leaves a lot of emotional wreckage in its wake. Your post is of some comfort. I know I’m not alone when I feel so depressed.

    On Thursday I leave on a trip to Kenya to teach and do research. I hope you enjoy the photos!

    I think you should require people to address you as “doctor” to remind them you are a great deal more than a pretty girl. LOL

    • Dec 29, 2015 / 11:03 pm

      Booo! 😀

  26. gabo
    Dec 29, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    You surely have been an inspiration for me even tough I can’t travel that much, but the way you describe all those places is always entertaining so, please keep it up 🙂

    Thanks for everything 😀

    • gabo
      Dec 30, 2015 / 1:08 am

      I forgot to mention that I always value your honesty in your reviews, I wouldn’t expect that to change, despite the horrible comments or emails you may receive when stating them

  27. Dec 30, 2015 / 3:35 am

    Love is difficult enough… and then you have to deal with paperwork. I’m so sorry that things fell apart in your romantic life. I’m a true believer in the interconnectedness of everything, and I think life has bigger things in store for you. 

    I love the photo of us at the mermaid show; makes me smile! So glad we met at TBEX. I only wish we would have had time for a heart-to-heart. I’m glad that you didn’t give up on blogging. I agree that there are some ugly sides to this community, and yes, there are way too many empty articles out there, but authenticity overpowers the emptiness every time. 🙂 And YOU are a genuine person. I’m really truly excited to see how things are going to change and improve for you in 2016 — sounds like you’re on the right track! Sending all my support, blogger love, and cat snaps. 

    xo Amanda (& Cheddar)

    • Dec 30, 2015 / 3:44 am

      Aww thanks dear!
      P.S. Hug Cheddar from me! <3

  28. Tyrone Daroca
    Dec 30, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Let me give you a hug, Anna. I’m sorry for all the misadventures, pain, sadness, and struggles you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing a slice of your beautiful real life. I wish you all the best in life. Cheers to more adventures! *HUG!

  29. Aisha keita
    Dec 30, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Hi Anna
    Great job nice to read from you. It’s my first time seeing your work but am very impressed and inspired at the same time.
    I am new bee in blogging, I hope to learn from you. I want to be courageous like you in sharing my stories on my my blog

    Best of luck in year ahead.

  30. Jan 1, 2016 / 11:34 pm

    I loved your honesty in this post. As a traveler who has recently delved into the blogging world, I’m especially interested in the behind the scenes stories. I find it’s rare for people to show that side and when they do it’s often less glamorous that people expect. I think it’s good for the reader to know as it helps them appreciate you and your travels even more. Good luck to you, I hope 2016 treats you well.

  31. Carlos
    Jan 2, 2016 / 4:51 am

    By chance I found this blog and it’s good to read your stories, it was a bit long but very good post. It made me realize of some things. Go ahead Anna.

  32. Jan 10, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Thanks for telling your story from last year. It takes real bravery to open up like this. It shows that sometimes travel and life isn’t always easy. I hope you have a wonderful 2016 and have success in blogging and whatever you do.

    • Jan 10, 2016 / 7:02 pm

      Thank you so much Jeff! Means a lot 🙂

  33. Diane
    Jan 25, 2016 / 1:33 am

    Anna you were smart to leave this man. A great book for you to read is Why Does He Do that? by Lundy Bancroft. It will describe in detail the mentality of the controller. The average woman leaves these sorts of men 7 times before finally leaving them for good. A man that loves you wants you to live your dreams. I liked your honesty and never look back on this man again. Go straight forward and learn how to recognize them so you will never make that mistake again.

  34. Jan 25, 2016 / 11:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing Anna, its nice to read such a personal post. Stay strong and all the best for 2016 xx

  35. Feb 8, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Your authenticity is touching. In my mind travel shouldn’t be an adrenaline or money chase. It’s an exploration. Knowing what motivates you to travel, work and love separates you from people who are traveling as the industry says they should. Do things your way. Do what you believe in.

    It makes your work worthy of reading.

    • Feb 8, 2016 / 12:46 pm

      Thank you Catherine!

  36. Feb 13, 2016 / 2:20 am

    This might be called One Writer’s Confessions about What’s Trend. That’s seems that the witerr have passed most of the time investigating if this is practically true or not.

  37. Mar 16, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    I know how hard it is to believe that bloggers are normal people with all-day-life struggles., even though only the happy pictures end up on instagram & Co. But you know what? How many of these people would actually hang up pictures of themselves crying in their house? Instagram to me is very much what a photo album is for other People. You fill that album with happy memories, am I wrong?
    Anyway, I loved hearing your story. Thanks for sharing it. Looking Forward to your future travels!

    • Mar 17, 2016 / 4:34 pm

      Good point Susanne! 🙂

  38. Apr 17, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    Hi Anna I’m a little jealous. You have covered more of the planet in such a short period of life than I have in 52 years. I think your going to find it hard to settle down.

    • Apr 17, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      You can still travel – it’s never too late 🙂

  39. Jun 6, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    I think it’s great that you’ve stayed with it and are doing everything despite the challenges! Very inspiring! 🙂

  40. Jun 23, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Sorry to hear about the troubles you had during 2015 – both personally and professionally! It really irks me when I see fake travel blogs from people who haven’t even visited the place.

    Blogging to me has always been about a creative outlet to share your stories and offer advice from time to time. Anyone who thinks professional blogging is “a quick way to make money and get free trips” is an idiot. Plain and simple! It just devalues all the hard work that you and other bloggers, like Nomadic Matt or Expert Vagabond, put in to make your blogs extremely valuable to us wanderlust-struck readers. Here’s hoping 2016 erases the bad memories of 2015. Good luck!

    • Jun 23, 2016 / 6:34 pm

      2016 is definitely a better year 🙂
      Funny that you mention Expert Vagabond actually since we’re dating now but you prob didn’t know that 😀

      • Oct 12, 2016 / 5:57 am

        No, I did not! But, congratulations to you both. I guess 2016 is going better for you after all. 😉

  41. Joan
    Jun 29, 2016 / 12:00 am

    Aniu dla mnie również jesteś inspiracją i bardzo lubię twojego bloga. Z resztą cały czas na fb cię śledzę i komentuję. To musi być nie wdzięczna praca czasami z tego co piszesz. I całkowicie się zgadzam że bycie podróżniczym blogerem i jeżdżenie na parę dni w jakieś miejsce to straszna żenada w kontekście uznawania siebie za eksperta od regionu. Pamiętam jak ktoś w moim towarzystwie wymądrzał się niezmiernie jak to zna Etiopię bo był tam 2 tygodnie!! pouczał mnie aż w amharskim mu coś powiedziałam bo mieszkałam tam rok i mówił straszne nadęte bzdury ;).. Też uważam że nei mieszkając w jakimś miejscu, bardzo trudno jest choć odrobinę poznać i odczuć klimat jaki tam panuje. Pozdrawiam i bało by mi bardzo miło gdybym mogła z tobą czasem pogadać na priv.

    • Jun 29, 2016 / 12:16 am

      Witam i dziekuje za mile slowa 🙂 Zazdroszcze Ci tej Etiopii, koniecznie chce tam wrocic bo bylam tam tylko przelotem niestety i praktycznei nic nie widzialam jeszcze. Myslalam o zorganizowaniu meet-upu w Warszawie na poczatku wrzesnia ale jak cos wiecej bede wiedziala wiecej na ten temat to dam znac 🙂

      • Joan
        Jun 29, 2016 / 2:29 pm

        Ja akurat z krakowa, a we wrześniu mam nadzieję być już w podróży z córką. mamy zamiar objechać wyspowo świat dookoła. 🙂 ale zobaczymy co z tego wyjdzie :). U Ciebie na blogu można połączyć komentowanie z fb? nie widze nigdzie takiej możliwości? p.s. Etiopia na dłuższy pobyt jest trudna do zniesienia 😀 chociaż piękna i warta pobycia tam dłużej niż 2 tygodnie 🙂 .

        • Jun 29, 2016 / 4:53 pm

          Niestety sie nie da polaczyc z facebookiem, ale na tam tez zapraszam – sporo innych fotografii jest 🙂

  42. Jul 14, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    This is an awesome post, Anna. Thanks for your honesty!

  43. Aug 6, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    I loved reading this. So open an honest. Thank you for sharing your story with us xx

    • Aug 6, 2016 / 5:29 pm

      Thank you dear 🙂

  44. Michael
    Oct 1, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    Hi Anna, as usual this was a great read, I found your honesty totally refreshing. Life has a way of falling into place, some of it we can control and some of it we are just along for the ride. Do what makes you happy and live every day to its fullest, no matter what that day might bring.

  45. Jun 28, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    that’s a long article but good one.. one needs to enjoy what they do in life.. and i am glad that you’re enjoying.. life is never planned.. we plan something and other thing happens, which is best for us..

  46. Jun 29, 2017 / 4:14 pm

    your transparency and courage in this post is so inspiring! thank you .

    I have been travelling every weekend (aside my 9-5) for nearly 8-months, with my now ex.
    I can’t wait for this new journey of my own 🙂 It helps to read and see chicks struggling and picking themselves up for some reason. To know I’m not alone.

    Again, thank you.

  47. Sep 23, 2017 / 5:13 am

    I love how honest and real you are. I have been following your blog for a while, and just wanted to tell you to do what will make you happy. I always follow my heart and let my mind figure the rest out. Haven’t regretted it yet.

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