Instead of looking back at 2012, I’m looking forward…

Now, technically the title is a bit of a white lie because I will look back on 2012 a little but when you start reading about my year, you’ll realise why I’m focusing more on looking forward to 2013.

You see, 2012, for me, has been the most hideous year I can remember.  Not only did I not leave the UK to do any travelling but I’ve been ill pretty much the entire year.  Fun times huh? Yeah, not so much.  Hence why this blog has looked more like a cobweb-filled cupboard with out of date food than a sparkling fridge full of goodies.

I expect that you’re thinking, if I’ve been ill for most of the year, it something serious like a recurring chest infection or something equally nasty but no, this year my mind decided to stop working and I had a breakdown.  Bet you’re wishing you never asked now huh?  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into details…wouldn’t want you to think I’m ‘crazy’ or anything; I know how uncomfortable mental illness can make people.  So we’lljust skip over the details…

I will say, however, that having a breakdown really does affect every aspect of your life and because of that, I haven’t achieved things that I wanted to this year such as learning to drive (yes, I’m 26 and I don’t know how to drive…please keep the laughter to yourself), travel outside of the UK (or even made many trips around the UK like I had promised myself last year) or made 2012 the ‘year of me’.  In actual fact, 2012 owned me in every sense of the word.


All of that is about to change!

Whilst I’m nowhere near completely better, I am feeling more human than I have all year and towards the end of the year, with help from friends and family, have managed to achieve a few important things…

My mum took some jewellery that I’d inherited from my evil grandmother a few years ago to an auction house that put it up for sale for me and thankfully my pieces netted me approximately £3000 – I couldn’t believe it!   Pieces that had just been stuffed in my jewellery box for years had enabled me to pay off the remainder of my bank loan (the loan is a whole other story…remind me to tell you about it some day).  I couldn’t thank mum enough for making the effort on my behalf to help me out!

Getting rid of the bank loan was a huge step for me; it felt like it was choking me and I was unable to see how travel was possible with the debt hanging over my head.  It felt like my dreams were never going to come true and I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that that thought didn’t help my mood in the least!  To be loan-free just before Christmas felt like Santa had delivered me an early present and I was definitely thankful to have that pressure taken away.

– With my friends help and encouragement, I then began to go through my room to see what I could eBay (to try and start my savings again for travelling) when I had the energy and slowly built up a small pile to start me off.  Over the course of a couple of  few weeks I put my stuff up and managed to grab myself £300 in a month.  It may not sound a lot but every little helps and it certainly helped to lift my mood a bit…to feel as though I was working towards my new goal (more on that new goal later).

– When I had the energy (which wasn’t as often as I wanted or needed) I also started to write an ebook on overlanding Africa.  Sadly it’s still a work in progress.  Despite it being an ebook and theoretically people can write them in a couple of weeks or a month, I’ve just been too ill to focus on it which is why it’s taken me all year but it’s almost complete so look forward an announcement soon!

So now that I’ve caught you up on what I’ve done (or haven’t done as the case may be) this year, let’s talk about what’s going to happen next year shall we?

– The first thing is to tell you about the ‘big goal’ that I mentioned earlier…I’M GOING TO AUSTRALIA!! Not until towards the end of 2013 but I’ll be heading there for 2 years on a Working Holiday Visa before jumping over the New Zealand for another 2 years on a working visa.  I don’t really have any solid plans at the moment, other than I’m starting in Sydney and will take it from there!  That means that basically everything I do over the coming year will be aimed towards helping me to get to Australia and living my new life!

I also want to get fit (a relative term for anyone).  It’s not a New Year’s resolution…I’ve been wanting to do it all year but circumstances obviously dictated otherwise…I just want to look and feel good before I hit the Australian beaches with all the surfing bodies everywhere looking like they’re models from the latest Quicksilver catalogue!

– As I continue to get better, I’m hoping to get back into blogging and writing in general as I’ve missed it terribly!  I’ll be finishing talking about my Africa trip (I’ve held off for so long because finishing writing about my trip meant it was ‘the end’ and I wasn’t ready to fully say goodbye to Africa just yet), writing some general posts about travel and my personal thoughts and also talking about my time in Asia along with hints and tips as I’ve never really blogged about it before; so a nice little mixture for you to dig your teeth into!  I’ll also be updating you with how my plans are going throughout the year i.e. getting fit and saving for Australia!

So, like I said back in 2011 when I looking to 2012 to become my year, I say again that this year is going to be MY year.  The year in which I both work towards and achieve my dreams… 

So watch out folks…the next ‘annual round up’ in 2013 will be coming from Australia, you can count on it!

Leave a Reply


  1. Ahhh it’s so exciting that you’re going to be heading to Australia and New Zealand hun! Obviously if you need any help with either of those two let me know, more than happy to help 🙂

  2. I know what you mean about 2012 not being the best year. I wrote about it today myself.

    But Australia! Awesome! Everyone loves Australia. 4 years, that’s a big chunk of your life right there. Wish you all the best, and look forward to the posts.

    And if you need any advice from someone who lived half their life in Australia, and the other half in New Zealand… you know where to find me.

  3. J

    I hope your plans turn out well for 2013. I am starting to save up my travelling funds through 2013 also. You could try some bootsales to get rid of any stuff that wont sell on ebay.

  4. I’m so glad you’re starting to feel better. Mental illness is something so many people encounter at one stage or another and hopefully the more people talk about it, the more free people will feel to talk about it.

    And you know I’m THRILLED you’re heading to Oz for two years. I miss it so much. Gav and I hope we can save a little to return for a month (but I would prefer three…or even more) in 2014.

  5. yeeewwwwww Austrailaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    Hope 2013 turns out heaps more epic for you hun, but you need the bad to appreciate the good. You’ll treasure all your amazing travel memories even more now!

    Looking forward to hearing about your Asia carnage!

  6. kit

    I hope you have a wonderful 2013, and I’m excited to read about your Australia plans! Happy New Year 🙂

  7. I’m so proud of how you’ve coped with 2012 my love, I know you feel that it’s kicked your arse, but the fact that you’ve got your chin up and you’re ready to fight the shit it’s amazing! You’re an incredible person and I just know that 2013 is going to be an amazing one xxx

  8. Happy New Year Toni. I’m so pleased you’re starting to feel better and have lots of things to look forward to. I think it’s wonderful that you talk openly about your breakdown. I think the taboo of mental illness is a great cause of suffering in our society – it would be much better for everyone if we could talk about it openly.
    I noticed you want to get fit. I recently did a yoga teacher training course and it’s done wonders for my mind and body. I really recommend yoga as a practice. Feel free to ask me any questions if you’re interested. I can recommend plenty of online resources. Take care, and all the best for 2013 x

  9. dreams are the best thing in the whole world. keep reaching for the stars…they are out there for those willing to dream the distance! proud of you, Toni!!

  10. 2013 is going to be the “Year of Toni”, I can just tell!!!!!

  11. I am sorry to hear that you have been ill, but am glad that 2013 is looking brighter. Two years in each country is amazing. Can’t wait to read about it.

  12. Wow – that is such an amazing story! Glad to see that you are moving forward. Australia will be so amazing. Went there for 11 months once – stayed for 7 years!!!! Would love to spend some quality time in NZ. So awesome. Enjoy. Whoot whoot for 2013!

  13. Beverley – Thanks hun; may take you up on that offer as I start researching my trip etc. I’ll become your stalker haha

  14. Ian – I’m going to do all I can to make sure I stay out there for 4 years minimum and only really come home for visits as I want to continue around Asia etc afterwards.
    Half your life in Oz and Nz? yep – might be coming to you for annoying questions 😉

  15. J – Boot sales are definitely on my ‘to do’ list once the weather gets better! Hope your funds and travel go well this year 🙂

  16. Heather – Fingers crossed that you and Gav manage to save enough for a trip to Oz…we might be able to meet; how exciting!

  17. Chris – Amen to appreciating the good after experiencing the bad; at least I know that the only way is up now 😀 haha there wasn’t ‘that’ much carnage in Asia :p

  18. Kit – thank you!! 🙂 Happy New Year to you too!

  19. Scarlett – Aww thank you lovely 🙂 You’ve been the most amazing friend these past few months – I can’t thank you enough! Can’t wait to have you be part of 2013 as well; this is going to be a great year for both of us girly! 😀 xx

  20. Victoria – Happy New Year to you too 🙂 Thank you for appreciating my honesty – I know mental illness isn’t exactly the nicest topics to read about but I think it’s important to remain honest on my blog no matter what happens.
    Thank you for the offer of the yoga help; I might take you up on it…at the moment I’m trying to get back into walking/running but also want to improve my inner strength and flexibility etc so I will probably look into yoga at some point 🙂 I’ll be sure to get in touch when I do 🙂 Thank you again x

  21. Stephanie – I can’t wait! So much fun to be had 🙂

  22. Lola – Thank you for your kind words lovely; very much appreciated 🙂 x

  23. Erik – me too 😀 Can’t wait!

  24. Tammy – I can’t wait to live it never mind write about it 🙂

  25. Anita – Stayed for 7 years?! Wow! I’d love to but sadly Australia like to kick people out pretty quickly these days haha. Can’t wait to get there to begin a new life 🙂

  26. I know you said you didn’t think you’d achieved much in 2012, but I actually think you achieved quite a lot! You managed to pay off a loan which was holding you back and you managed to write an e-book? That sounds pretty good going to me! Some people wouldn’t even achieve those two things over several years! Here’s to 2013 and a hopefully amazing year 🙂

  27. Every other blog that I’ve seen said something like “2012 was the best year ever” and then some flowers and butterflies poof into the air in a wonderfully controlled and pretty explosion. I understand looking back positively, it’s indeed necessary, but your title mentioning it was the most hideous year ever made me laugh.

    Then I realized there was no humor intended in this sentence and felt bad laughing. But once again you’ve come through with some serious honesty that I REALLY respect in your writing. I too feel that 2013 will be amazing so cheers to happiness and improvements on all fronts!

    I’m also gearing up for New Zealand/Australia and I hope our paths will be able to cross somewhere in the land down under.

  28. ConfusedJulia – I suppose when you say it like that, it does sound like I’ve achieved a pretty good amount despite everything 🙂 2013 will definitely be the year my dreams come true!

  29. Izy – I can’t wait to get there that’s for sure! And thanks for the post recommendation 🙂

  30. Dave – lol I loved your explanation of other blogs…flowers and butterflies poof into the air 😀 I do think 12 months of positivity is a little much. I mean we all experience bad times; even if it’s only discovering you’ve ran out of chocolate biscuits! 😉

    And you should NEVER feel bad laughing…until you’ve started crying with laughter in the middle of your cousins wedding and get chucked out of the church for it or got the giggles at a funeral…then you can hang your head in shame haha. Thank you for appreciating honesty…it means a lot!

    Oooh yes our paths may cross!! Another reason I love blogging…a huge network of fellow travellers!!!

  31. Toni, I can relate to this big time. Living abroad for the last 2 years has been a dream come true, so it makes it hard to admit that a lot of my time here has been a bit of a nightmare due to a virus that kicked my ass for over a year. I think I have visited the doctors more times while I have been in Canada than I have in my entire life.
    I too am looking at 2013 as a fresh start.