As 2017 draws to a close, I look back on it and breathe a huge sigh of relief – what. a. year.

In a Q&A I did a couple weeks back – someone asked me to define my year in a word – to which I responded; challenging.

Challenging for two very different reasons:

1) Challenging places.
This year one of my goals was to travel to places that I wouldn’t normally visit – I volunteered at an orphanage in Cambodia, I went to Africa and visited townships in South Africa and I travelled to my granddads village in China, to better understand my own heritage.

The travels I undertook during the past year challenged me to confront my own preconceived ideas of the world around me. It made me infinitely more grateful for the things I have and for the people around me. Seeing people who barely had the means to get by – be infinitely more happy than people who seemingly have everything – shifts perspective.

In a way, my trips this year helped me understand my blessings in life, and to not take anything for granted. And I can only wish the same for all of you.

2) Starting full time work.
Perhaps the biggest challenge this year was returning home and starting the 9-5 grind for the first time ever.

It was a change I just wasn’t prepared for – I was so used to working shifts at night and doing whatever I liked during the day; writing, photography, anything to help me pursue my own goals.

When full time work came knocking, I found time harder to come by. I struggled to make time for myself, I’d be tired all the time, it was a toil. And don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for the job, I’ve learnt so much in my time there so far – but it just wasn’t hitting the spot for me. I wanted something more.

But the kid gotta eat ya know.

And like I said before, shifting perspective is key. So, I just doubled down – started writing again, doing photography trips when I could get a moment – accepting the situation and making the most of it was the best thing I could do.

In some ways – I owe it to you guys – the beautiful people that read and engage with my stories and photos. Who show an interest, who take the time to engage in great conversations from all corners on the earth. The connection fuels me in ways simply getting a cheque cannot. So thank you so much.

In some ways the two reasons 2017 was so challenging were the same reasons that it was so inspiring. 2017 forced me out of my comfort zone, it demanded me to work harder, to be better. 2017 wanted me to become more grateful for the world around me, and give back to it all the more.

So here’s to 2017, to all the people that made it, to the difficulties that moulded it and the inspiration that defined it – let’s make 2018 even better!

Photo by DIAO DARIUS on Unsplash



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