I’ve spent a solid amount of time in the last few weeks putting 2015 to bed.
I’ve been working through Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year free workbook for the second year, and it’s an interesting process, both looking back at the previous year and ahead at 2016.
2015 was a busy year for me, as I got stuck into the lifestyle that I’d been shaping the year before as a semi-digital nomad, freelance management consultant, and finally, author. By now, the start of 2016, I feel I’ve managed to put in place a solid foundation for those three activities, and most of the questions that I had in 2014 were resolved. I feel settled in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I base myself.
Here’s a taste of my year in numbers:
Travel and Consulting
Individual flights taken: 112
Missed flights: 1
Business class upgrades: 6
First class upgrades: 1
Countries visited for consulting assignments: 7 (Egypt, UAE, Malaysia, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Kuwait)
Countries visited in total: 11
Visits back to the UK: 3
Nights in hotels: 90
Nights in other people’s houses: 95
Percentage of year at home in Chiang Mai: 49%
Writing: Blogs and Fiction
Novels published: 1 (Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk!)
Websites created or maintained: 3 (here, here and here)
Novel first drafts written: 2.5
Other people’s books I’m featured in: 1
Subscribers to my personal development blog : 1003
Number of posts written and published on ellenbard.com: 17 (23,129 words)
Free interview series created: 1 (16 interviews on self-care)
Visitors to this travel blog: 70k+
Travel blog posts written: 22 (36,168 words)
Guest posts published: 12 (climaxing in one on the Huffington Post)
Other people’s websites featured on (written interview, podcast or other): 16
Days wrote morning pages: 343
Life stuff and things
Books read: 81
In-person conferences attended: 2
First dates: 11
Second dates: 7
Thai lessons attended: 8
Haircuts: 3 (2 in Thailand, 1 in Malaysia)
Hours spent in hammock: Not enough
Coffees drunk: Innumerable
What went well:
Work & Writing: I based myself in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and travelled abroad for freelance work. I had more than enough work to keep me going financially while I built up my blog audience, and wrote and published my first novel. I travelled to workshops and conferences and kept learning and developing in all areas. At one of those conferences I had the epiphany that I really loved the lifestyle I had created (doh!).
New friendships: After a difficult summer in the UK (see below) I came back to Chiang Mai in need of connection, as many of my old friends had left the city while I was away. I was amazed at the awesome people who came into my life once I put myself out there.
Family and ‘old’ friends: I’m so grateful for my supportive family (my mum and my sister over the last year have been amazing with practical help – as well as the usual emotional support – such as editing and reviewing of books and blog articles) and my friends, who are tolerant of the fact I live many thousands of miles away, and put the time in to Skype or make arrangements to see me when I fly in and out of the UK.
(See the slideshow at the bottom for family and friends, old and new 🙂 More photos next year!)
What didn’t go so well / I can do differently:
I travelled a LOT – when I look back at my 2014 and see that I thought 30 flights in a year was a ton, and compare it to the 100+ in 2015 – wow. I’m still working on balance between the activities I’m doing (and having a life) – but I’ve managed to build up a reasonable cushion of savings by now which I hope will help increase my comfort levels with turning down the odd piece of work in 2016.
I spent the summer in the UK, primarily because my grandparents were ill and I wanted to spend time with them in their final days. I lost both my grandparents on my mum’s side at the end of the summer.
Health: My health continues, as ever, to be a bit up and down. After a flare in November, I started seeing a Consultant at a Chiang Mai hospital for my Crohns. It was a reminder to keep actively managing my health challenges.
Time off: I’m not great at this. Until about October, I rarely had a day a week when I didn’t do some kind of work, whether it was consulting, writing or working on my websites. Part of this is because I actually enjoy these activities, but part of it is that I appear to be permanently attached to the laptop. I did manage to go to the US where I had some holiday time, but I went for conferences, so I also did that. I had a three day break at a 5-star hotel in Phuket, and I’d like to do more of this kind of thing in 2016, as well as have one full day away from the laptop each week, and incorporate more massage and other chill time into my life.
Having reviewed 2015, I’m now looking ahead to 2016. At first, I had so many goals for next year I was a bit overwhelmed(!), but I’m starting to refine them. I want to maintain my consulting and UK flat rental income as I build my author career and my blogs.
But I will also keep front of mind the lessons from 2015 – to create connection with awesome people, to give myself breaks and time off, to take notice of the small but beautiful details of my life, and to nourish myself with learning and growth in mind, body and soul.
Sounds pretty good right?