This week is the one-year anniversary of this blog, and me arriving in Thailand for what I thought would be a three month stay. I’ve now been here a year, with another on the horizon. I would never have thought that was possible if you’d asked me in December last year. Sitting in my office in cold, wet Surrey in November, I fully expected to return to the corporate world full time a few months later, after what I considered an extended holiday in a warm place. And it is a warm place – both literally and metaphorically. The people are friendly, the skies are blue.
I wanted to write a post to thank you all for reading. The blog, originally intended for friends and family as a way of updating you all, has turned into a record of my thoughts, feelings and experiences over the year, reached many more people than I expected, and is something I intend to continue. In a year, I’ve had more than 21 thousand views, not much if you’re a professional blogger, but amazing to me. With the viewers from 123 different countries.
The blog, and my enjoyment of writing it, has inspired me to other projects, like a professional blog, to see if I can apply some of my experience in a new field. Creating content for this blog has been a core part of my time away, providing structure by knowing I needed something for the weekly Wednesday post. It’s helped me reflect, consider and formulate my own experiences into something more meaningful.
Posts that struck a chord
It amuses me that my most popular post has been the one I did on my experiences of massage. I think it comes up in a lot of searches with search terms I didn’t expect (from the benign ‘massage experience’ to ‘x-rated massage’ – it’s not about that by the way!). The second most popular is the one I think I loved writing the most – 99 ideas to bring play into your life. It seems to fire people’s creativity, and has been repinned a lot on Pinterest particularly.
My first post, the next most popular, was both the hardest and easiest to write, written in England in an National Trust cottage on my newly arrived Mac Air. The post was the first thing I used the laptop for, and on which I am also writing this post, and all the posts in between. I love the laptop…
Next in popularity come posts about: Elephants; my Cambodian homestay; my learnings from my first ever art classes; the germination and fruition of ManageDevelopInspire and then most difficult and sad for me to write, Emotions and Airports, about being alone in an airport on Father’s Day, and reflecting on the death of my Dad.
A year of wonderful experiences
The most popular posts alone give you an idea of what a whirlwind this year has been for me. In addition:
- I’ve created, and updated by doing many of the items on it, a bucket list.
- I’ve visited Singapore, Cambodia and Dubai, and lived in Chiang Mai and Koh Phangan.
- I’ve seen Angkor Wat, one of the most beautiful, haunting and fascinating – and huge – cultural artefacts I’ve ever experienced.
- I’ve written Morning Pages about 28 days of each month, every month, adding up to more than 330K words of subconscious ramblings.
- I’ve tried creative writing, like poetry and a short story style I call Vignettes (the first of which got the most comments from you apart from my initial post).
- I’ve been on two Thai cooking courses (but never cook here myself).
- My Mum’s visited me for a month and we’re still on good terms.
- I’ve done courses – and exams – in massage and yoga.
- I’ve learned to ride a motorbike (ok, ok, it’s an automatic scooter, but still!).
- I’ve started learning a new language.
- I’ve seen a lot of sunsets – and a few sunrises.
- And I’ve written and published 51 posts, this, of course, being my 52nd.
And that’s just the stuff I tell you about. 😉
I’ve had an amazing year. And I try never to forget how lucky I am to have experienced it. But I also try, sometimes, to give myself credit for making a difficult choice a year ago, with no ability to see what the future would be like. To step out of a career-path I’d been on for many years, and choose to do something different for a while.
I have been lucky – lucky enough to have a profession that is enough in demand in SE Asia that I can freelance and earn enough money to keep me going, without having to work every day.
But I’ve also been proactive, learned new things, networked, explored, grown, and developed. Made mistakes. Been sick. Been sad. Grown from those experiences.
So I encourage you, too, to take a risk next year. It doesn’t have to be the size of mine, but even little risks are good for us. When we don’t know what might happen, we can be surprised by what does happen.
And keep reading. And keep commenting. Interaction and feedback makes such a difference to me. What do you like about the posts I’ve written? What do you enjoy reading about most? Have you learned anything from my experiences? Has it challenged you already to try new things? Tell me! Please? 🙂
Thank you for reading. And enjoy the next year we spend together….