I’ve looked back over my travels of last year but I think it is also important to look back at my achievements too. I guess, travel has become such a huge part of my life now that I don’t see it as an achievement to visit a new country, instead I’ve been busying myself by doing crazy things like running, working on the olympics and getting a degree.
Things I achieved in 2016
I ran a marathon
Going to see the London Marathon had been on my ‘must do’ list for a while but then sporadically in 2015 I decided to apply to run it instead. I was one of those lucky few who got in first time of asking and then had this crazy challenge to train my body to be able to run 26.2 miles. It wasn’t easy, you can read about the journey here but that doesn’t matter because I did it. I slogged for months training, normally in the freezing cold and pouring rain at 7am. Then one day in April I got dressed in my race gear, lined up in my zone and pounded the streets of London. Not only had I never run in central London before but I’d never even been to the marathon before! Crossing that finishing line was something else!
Just writing this my legs are itching to go for a run. The marathon has had such a positive effect on my health.
I got paid to take photos
As in someone officially employed me to take photos of things. I’ve been paid for wedding photos before but that’s just one day, this was much bigger than that. It was a two week photo assignment where I had to really work to get the right shots. I didn’t have hours to think about how to style each image nor did I have time to waste thinking about the perfect shot. I just had to go in and get the shot on the first click, knowing it might be the only click I get.
You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. This year I took photos of products at the Rio Olympics and this meant sneaking into places I probably wasn’t meant to be because that was the only place with a certain product. With this job came a lot of amazing benefits and I saw more of the olympics than most people can even dream of. Tokyo 2020 here I come.
I worked at the Rio Olympics
I know this is kind of the same as the point above but I actually had two jobs working on the olympics and my second was assisting the logistical operation of the media villages. That probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone outside of the industry, so basically what I did was move a lot of tables and chairs with an awesome team. However being Rio, nothing was straight forward, a lot of the work was done in Portuguese and it was all terribly last minute. I learnt invaluable skills during this job and if the whole teaching career doesn’t work out then I have something else to fall back on.
I completed the second year of my degree
Let’s rewind to Feb 2015, I remember it was half term and I was sitting on my sofa crying my eyes out because I thought doing a teaching degree was a huge mistake. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, why I was doing it or anything. I just wanted to get the hell out of London. Fast forward to the end of second year and I’ve scored grades I didn’t think were possible. I’ve enjoyed more of it than hated it and although I still loath those god damn essays, it is going pretty well. So yeah, for someone who was going to quit after 4 months I’d say that is a pretty proud achievement.
I learnt enough Portuguese to get by in a foreign country
I’ve never been a language person, I was first to drop them in year ten and prior to that I put in as little effort as possible. The English language was challenging for me let alone trying another language, but then school has a habit of making people think that. I’m fascinated by languages now and wish I’d had those annoying parents that make you learn from a young age. Languages are not only useful for travelling but for job prospects too.
This summer while I lived in Brazil and worked on the olympics with my boyfriend I had to do a lot of communicating in Portuguese. At first I relied on him to help me but then I suddenly found myself working without him and having no choice. This actually did wonders for my language though, I quickly realised I knew enough words to get the outcome I needed. My grammar must have been terrible and for anyone who speaks fluently it was probably embarrassing to listen to me, but for me, it was a huge achievement.
I’m not sure if you call this one an achievement but I’m certainly proud of it
My boyfriend and I survived a year of living in different countries
You might be a little confused about this statement considering I’ve just said we worked together on the olympics. We did do that, but for the majority of this year we were apart, living in different countries on different time zones. I’ve spoken about long distance relationships before but they are really hard, especially when you’ve lived together for years previously. Despite this, we were determined to make it work no matter how hard it was at times. We found the key was communication and having the next trip to see each other booked. Surviving this one feels like a real achievement.
What did you achieve in 2016? Let me know in the comments below.