The last week has seen two birthdays as this blog reached its second anniversary and I well and truly entered my mid 30s! It’s been a great year ‘On the Luce’ and I want to thank all the new readers of the site that have come on board this year, as well as saying a special thank you to those that have stuck with me from the beginning. Your great comments keep me going whenever it all seems like hard work.
Blogging has added so much to my life, not least a community of new friends and fellow travel obsessives who make me laugh, make me jealous and inspire me with new destinations for my wishlist every day. As I did last year, I want to highlight a few of my favourite posts from the last 12 months. From the most popular to those with the most personal meaning, here are five posts that sum up the last year to me…
Visiting Paris on a budget
This was by far my most popular post of the last year, which shows how much people love Paris – or maybe it’s more a sign of how expensive the city is these days! After an autumn house-sitting there and plenty of other trips to one of my favourite cities, I had plenty of tips to share. I haven’t managed to fit in a trip out to Paris so far this year but hope to squeeze in a weekend there in December as I’ve never seen it at Christmas time. The Paris post was followed up by a budget guide to London and I’ve one to New York coming up soon, and if there are any other cities you’d like to read about then let me know.
Round the world +10
This February was a major travel anniversary for me as it was 10 years since I set off on my big RTW trip, spending 16 months travelling around India, SE Asia and Australia. I’ve not written much about this trip on the blog before – not least as my photos are all on film and a bit rubbish. But the anniversary gave me an excuse to share some of my most memorable adventures and misadventures, as well as looking at how travel has changed since then. I’ve still scanning my way through lots of negatives so have more posts in this series coming up, including looking at how travel changed the people I met on my trip.
The view from the Shard in the snow
Sometimes it seems like travel is all glamour and excitement, that when you leave home everything gets better and nothing ever goes wrong. But that wasn’t the case with my trip to the Shard, Western Europe’s new tallest building which opened in London earlier this year. After reading posts from other bloggers who’d been to the top, complete with stunning photos, I couldn’t wait to get there myself. But the British weather conspired against me and instead of a crisp, sunny winter’s day I got ice, snow, mist and a monochrome London to show for my £25 entrance fee. But as with my post about my RTW misadventures, sometimes the travel disasters make the best stories!
I take thousands of photos each year – many, many more that I can ever fit into posts on this site. So I’m always trying to think of new ways to use them, and earlier this year I came up with the idea of doing posts with some of my favourite photos in different categories. I started off with my favourite sunset shots, then went on to beaches and viewpoints. It was a great way to rediscover some of my best photos and to share the ones that I have never managed to use on the site before. I’m after suggestions for my next category so if you have any ideas let me know.
Making new Best Friends at the US’s biggest animal sanctuary
I’ve always supported animal charities but had never been in one place long enough to get a pet of my own or to volunteer. So when I read about Best Friends in Utah, a huge animal sanctuary where you can can volunteer with cats, dogs or even pigs, I knew I had to fit it into my road trip itinerary. I spent an inspiring afternoon there, playing with some of their 700 cats, and since coming home I’ve adopted my own cats. But I also heard from a reader who saw my story about Best Friends and recognised Oliver, the lovely old cat with a sad story who I took out for a walk when I was there. She’d volunteered there too and fallen in love with him, and ended up taking him back to New York to live with her. Such a great end to his story and an amazing coincidence that she read the article!
So that was my second year On the Luce – with 80 posts, 491 photos and 12 countries written about over the last 12 months. But what’s coming up in year three? First up I’ll be finishing off writing about my US travels with tales from New Mexico and Arizona, then I’ll be focusing on my own backyard as part of my local travel summer. And beyond that there are plenty of travel plans in the pipeline but first I’ve got a big event coming up when I get married at the end of September. So expect at least a few honeymoons (rather than one expensive one I think a few cheaper ones is the way to go!) and I’m also getting ready to launch a new site dedicated to travelling without a car, so look out for that and more coming up next year.