2014 – The Year I Really Learned About Life

Reflections

Looking back. Or looking forward?

2014 was a funny old year. When it started, I had no idea how it would end. I had many ideas about what I hoped to achieve and where I hoped to go, yet hardly anything I planned actually happened.

I began January in my usual trip booking frenzy, filled with enthusiasm for travel, ready to make sure every day off work was accounted for. We’d go back to Greece in the summer, but we’d also return to Paris and visit new countries in Sweden, Switzerland and Croatia.  I’d rinse out my #take12trips challenge! But we always knew we wanted a baby, and if there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that plans can change in an instant. I secretly hoped a baby would come in 2014, but in January, there was no way I could be sure that this would be the year. So I clicked book over and over and got that familiar thrill every time.

By February, we’d had our first weekend away in Amsterdam and I returned to find that our baby had actually come with us, tiny speck that he was. I was overjoyed and I headed straight to Newcastle for the Traverse travel blogging conference knowing I’d be off the booze for a change. There’s always a party vibe in the evening at these conferences and it wasn’t like me to be drinking fizzy water instead of fizzy wine, but I didn’t care. I’d do anything for the wee one.

The only thing I wish is that I’d started travel blogging sooner. I’ve met wonderful people at the conferences and meet ups I’ve attended (Frankie, Kirsten, Julika, AnaYishyene, Victoria, Helen, Mia, Lucy, Lisa, Monica  – I mean all of you!), and I’d intended on being more active in the blogging community last year – by attending more events, meeting more people in person who I’ve come to call friends online (hello Jo) and clinking glasses with anyone and everyone who had a smile and a story to share.

I also had hopes that 2014 would be the year I made big things happen for Need Another Holiday. And although I’ve continued to grow my beloved little blog, it wasn’t really to be. But in the end it didn’t matter, because I’m writing this now on my phone (thanks to Evernote), with my beautiful baby boy sleeping on my chest.

I didn’t find being pregnant easy – and in the end I visited websites to click cancel almost as much as I had clicked book. But that didn’t matter either.

Being a parent is not for everyone, and that’s fine. I’d never tell someone that having children is the only way to truly complete their life. But I do know that my son has completed mine. I thought travel was the best way to find out about what life is all about. I didn’t know that looking into a tiny new face could show me more than a new place ever would. And I realized quickly that the eyes of the baby we made will show me the wonder in the world that I’d long forgotten.

So although in 2015 I’ll be taking some trips (12 is probably asking too much!), right now I’m not making any firm plans. At this moment, I’m just content to be in one place – at home. With my child in my arms.

20 Comments

  • Kirsten says:

    Such a lovely post Clare – making me emotional here! So happy for you and your new little family. So glad I met you at Traverse in Brighton too and look forward to catching up with again sometime – have an awesome 2015! xoxo

  • Jo says:

    Beautiful post Clare, and welcome to the world of multitasking! My advice? Keep clicking Book, and add in a crib – before Holiday Baby has too much of an opinion!

    • Clare says:

      Love that advice Jo! It would have been so great to meet you in Athens at TBEX, but it wasn’t to be. I hope there’ll be another chance soon!

  • Monica says:

    This is so lovely to read. I think most people who travel a lot are looking for something, even if they don’t really know what it is. It’s so nice to hear you’ve found it 🙂

    Congratulations on your baby boy. Looking forward to seeing how you get on travelling with him this year so I can get some tips and inspiration!

  • This is so lovely – and you’re right, everything changes more than I ever expected (and I expected big changes!).

    At the risk of sounding corny, seeing this little person grow is an incredible journey itself, watching the wonder of the world through their eyes. And the chance to show my daughter the world, as she drinks everything in like a sponge, is just as wonderful.

    Can’t wait to read what you get up to this year… especially while Holiday Baby is still little enough to be easily portable, costs very little in airfares, and has no fixed opinions himself 🙂

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Cathy. I can’t wait to see things in a whole new way as he discovers the world. I am ridiculously excited about his first dip in the sea already!

  • bevchen says:

    Aww, what a beautiful post. I’m so happy for you!

    I won’t be taking 12 trips this year either, for a different reason. We’re moving in a few months so time and money for travel will be limited for a while.

  • Lucy says:

    Such a lovely post – so glad that 2014 was a fantastic and memorable year for you, even if it wasn’t for the reasons you originally had planned! It was great to meet you last year and hopefully our paths will cross again somewhere in 2015.

  • John says:

    What a lovely post – congratulations on the little bundle again, Claire. Glad to see he already has Amsterdam ticket off!

  • Great reflection, Clare! It is so nice to see that your year was just as great as you originally planned (although for other reasons!). Looking forward to see how you travel with your baby!

  • Maddie says:

    Congratulations Clare, so glad to hear that your year turned out so well and that you’re starting out on your next big adventure! Gorgeous words 🙂

  • Josh says:

    I bet the little nipper will become a world traveller one day, all thanks to mummy’s genes 😉

  • Hi Clare! I have never visited your blog before, but I am glad that I read this post on my first time here… I must say it made me very emotional. You put so much love in this post, and you were so honest.
    Congratulations for your baby boy, I am sure he will bring you more joy in this life than you can imagine! And I am sure he will also travel with you around the World!
    Its really nice to have found your blog. I hope we can keep in touch!

    Happy new year!! I wish you lots of love and travels!
    Allane

  • Andrea says:

    Awww! What an incredible year! You got a the best of both worlds: a little travel and a beautiful son!

  • Gilda Baxter says:

    Hi Clare, just found your blog and loved this post. Congratulations on your baby boy. My 2 babies are now 19 and 21 and they enrich my life in a way that can”t be explained in words. Having them has never stopped me travelling. At 3 months old Chloe was off to Brazil with me and by 10 months we travelled to Interlaken and walked miles everyday with her in a back pack. Like you I work full time and travel part time. Happy 2015 and enjoy motherhood.

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