My 2016 Goals: How Did I Do?


bora bora
I don't have any photos to use for my fitness goals, so here's a really big rock in Bora Bora.

Last year, I decided to publicly share my goals for the first time. You can read that post here if you’d like.

I’m all about New Years resolutions, even though deep inside I know that the first of the year is just an arbitrary date and you should never wait to make the changes you’re dreaming of. But fresh starts are exciting nonetheless, so I always take the time to plan out twenty things I’d like to achieve each year.

At the start of 2016, I guessed my themes for the coming 12 months would be change, experimentation, and stopping.

In reality, it ended up being incrementalism.

Baby steps. 

I’ve always been someone who craves immediacy. Someone who gives up if it looks like they’re going to fail. If something seems too hard. If I can’t get the hang of it within a few weeks. If I can’t see progress. 

This year, I had to take a giant shuffle back and embrace the concept of slow and steady. To learn that I can achieve almost anything as long as I take baby steps. 

If I want to be able to do 100 push ups without stopping, I can do it. All I need to do is get on the ground and make myself do as many as possible each and every day. If I don’t give up, I’ll get there eventually — almost anyone will — whether it takes six months or two years. 

If I want the positive effects of meditation, I’ll have to fight through three months where it feels like it’s doing nothing before it all fits into place. 

It’s so simple, right? You can achieve almost anything if you take small, consistent steps towards your goal. I don’t know why I’d never sat down and really thought about it. But having that reminder with me at all times has pushed me to achieve so much more than I expected.

So 2016 was the year of not giving up.

I thought I set myself some ambitious goals for the year, and now looking back and knowing that the first six months of 2016 were fraught with illness, I’m super-proud that I managed to cross off so many of the goals I set myself.

Every year, I look back and evaluate how well I did with each of my goals and decide whether that’s as far as I want to pursue it or whether I want to further it in the following year.

Here’s how I did in 2016!

Beach on Huahine
My favourite island in the South Pacific: Huahine!

To Shatter More Myths About Expensive Destinations

Much like I did with the Maldives, I’ll be spending January showing you how cheaply you can visit paradise. I’ll be travelling to the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Fiji, writing detailed guides to how you can visit them for under $50 a day.

Yep! I passed this challenge with flying colours. I spent just under a month in the South Pacific and saw so much beauty that I’m still processing it today. My posts about how to visit the Cook Islands and Bora Bora on a budget were some of my most successful last year, which gives me the motivation to hit up even more paradise islands on the cheap in 2017. Hi, Mauritius!

Venice canals
I finally made it to Venice!

To Visit My Big European Oversights

It’s 90% likely Dave and I will end up making our base in Europe, which will give me the perfect opportunity to visit the places I really should have seen by now. I’ve explored a significant chunk of the continent, but there are several key destinations I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never seen.

I’ve never been to Paris.

I’ve never been to Berlin.

I’ve never been to Greece.

Check! Check! And check! I spent a full summer visiting all of my European oversights. I sailed around the Ionian in Greece, then finally made it to Venice, Berlin, and Paris!

My summer in Europe was one of the best trips I’ve taken in recent years and I enjoyed every second. Well, apart from all of that Airbnb drama. I can see me doing exactly the same this year and spending another couple of months bouncing around the continent I now call home.

To Take One Trip I’ve Never Considered Before

I want to get out of my comfort zone this year and try something I would normally steer away from. It could be anything from a yoga retreat to a surf instructor course; a spa holiday in a 5* resort to a camping trip. I think it’ll be fun to try something that’s not me at all and see how much I enjoy/hate it.

I smashed this one out of the park, too! While I’m not adverse to splurging on a little bit of luxury when I travel, I recently discovered I only ever do it for a special occasion, which usually means Dave’s birthday. When I travel solo? I stick exclusively to dorm rooms in hostels and opt to save as much money as possible. Why the hell do I never view myself worthy of treating? In 2016, I made up for this and spent a shit ton of money on a stay in one of the best hotels in Berlin. Not only that, but I had my first massage since Bangkokgate and proved how far I’ve come by eating solo at a two-Michelin-star restaurant.

I obviously loved the experience, because who wouldn’t? Would I do it again? Um. I mean, maybe if I was in a cheaper part of the world? At roughly $2000 for a five night stay, I just didn’t feel like the value was there to justify doing it again to that extent. This trip was all about treating myself, though, and proving that I was worth the occasional splurge, so I didn’t dwell on the insane cost, but yeah. So much money!

Nice beach
Nice from above

To Visit a Country That Intimidates Other People

I love shattering perceptions when I travel, so I’m hoping 2016 will be the year I visit somewhere other people view as dangerous to see what it can offer tourists. At present, Pakistan is at the top of the list – a friend of mine lives there, and I’ve received many offers from my Pakistani readers to show me around. 2016 may just be the year I finally take them up on it. Failing that, Iran remains permanently on my list of dream destinations, as does overlanding across West Africa.

This is a tough one to evaluate, because how do you know if a place intimidates other people?

The only destination I think could count would be France, and that’s mainly because Nice intimidated the fuck out of me. The police presence was overwhelming, the locals were jumping at the slightest sound, and news reports were all about recently foiled attacks. I’m ashamed to admit I gave into fear and spent most of my time there terrified about leaving my room.

I have some American friends who have sworn off visiting France in their lifetime [?!] after the terrorist attacks, but is it really all that intimidating? Is it as intimidating to people as Pakistan, Iran, or West Africa?

I think this is probably a fail, but I’ll count it as a maybe for now. Let me know what you think in the comments! :-) I’ll most likely roll this over into my 2017 goals regardless and give it a better attempt this year.

Because when have me and danger not gone well together?

Eating everything in Evora
A food and wine trip to Evora, in Portugal

To Start Taking More Defined Trips

[I want to] spend several months writing and scheduling posts on Never Ending Footsteps so I can then spend a month offline and fully immersing myself in a destination. I’ll be able to research a place instead of just turning up and winging it; I’ll be able to take tours and do activities because I won’t be writing; I’ll be able to get to know a place more than superficially because I’ll be outside exploring. All of this means more detailed coverage of destinations on the site and a healthier, happier version of me.

Did I achieve it? Yep! The vast majority of my travels in 2016 were well-defined, which was so easy to do now that I have a base. A trip to Girona to see friends, a trip to Evora to eat and drink, a trip to check out my European oversights, then time in Lisbon to decompress and process those destinations.

Having a base to return to meant that I greatly improved the way I travelled. I managed to do a lot of research (I own guidebooks now!), took multiple tours, explored the places I visited in greater depth, and felt that I could offer more detailed coverage here because of it. The only part of this goal I didn’t achieve was spending my trips offline, but let’s be real: was I really going to achieve that? (No.)

lauren in greece
Finally getting back to my pre-travel weight in Greece!

To Be Able to Do 100 Push Ups

Last year, I discovered my love of push-ups and have worked my way up to the point where I can do twenty proper ones without stopping. I’m giving myself a year to get to a hundred.

Guys, I got so close! I got up to eighty fucking six without stopping and then I got an infection (the real theme of 2016!) and had to take a break. By the time I got back to it, I had slid way down to only being able to do 20. I couldn’t work my way back up in time for the end of the year, but I’m totally going to carry this over into 2017, because push ups rock.

To Be Able to Do the Splits

Real-life friends will laugh at this, as being able to do the splits has been a mainstay in my resolutions list for more than a decade. I’ve always dreamed of it, but never been able to commit to enough stretching to make it happen. I got close in Mexico two years ago, but then I got glandular fever/mono, and it all slipped away from me. 2016 is the year.

Nope! But it wouldn’t be a Lauren resolution list if it didn’t have me failing to do the splits somewhere in it. I was fairly dedicated to my goal this year and spent 15 minutes every evening stretching out my muscles, but I would stop every time I took a trip, then return to Lisbon to find myself back at square one again. Will 2017 be the year I finally get to do them? Probably not, but you know I’ll give it a shot anyway.

To run a 10k

I got into running last year, surprised to discover how frequent exercise puts me in a positive frame of mind. I half-ran, half-jogged a 5k race in 2015 and with a full twelve months to get in shape, I’m confident I can reach the point where I can run a 10k without stopping.

This was tough. I tried so hard to achieve this, but ended up realising that running is just not something I enjoy, or something that comes easily to me.

This year, I managed to run my furthest distance ever — 5 kilometres without stopping, ha — and it almost killed me. I had chest pains for days afterwards and it would hurt to breathe, my feet had this weird tingling nerve pain for at least a week after, and on my walk home from the gym (yes, I did this on a treadmill), I had to drop to the ground to put my head between my knees because I was so close to fainting. So that put me off attempting to push myself to run even further.

As much as I want to be runner, I don’t think it’s going to work for me. But that’s okay, because I discovered strength training this year and love it.

bora bora
I don’t have any photos to use for my fitness goals, so here’s a really big rock in Bora Bora.

Take Rock Climbing Lessons

I was answering interview questions a few weeks ago and the first one had to do with my hobbies. I froze. My hobbies? I realised I don’t actually have any. I travel, I plan my travels, I read about travel, and I write about travel. And travel kind of makes it hard to cultivate other passions.

Rock climbing is something I’ve always wanted to try. With a base and a routine, I’m going to give it a go.

Fail. I actually signed up for a rock climbing class while I was in Seattle, but found myself with a bladder and sinus infection on the day of the class, so had to cancel. Fail, fail, fail, but I did make a decent attempt at it.

Find a Gym and Start Weightlifting

As soon as Dave and I find our base, I’m joining a gym and getting a personal trainer. It’s time to get strong.

In 2017, I joined a gym, created a strength training workout with a personal trainer, and made a conscious effort to stop writing at 3 p.m. in order to work out.

I freaking love strength training and I love what it does to my body. Did you know that it also burns way more calories than cardio? I didn’t. I love that I can go to the gym, lift weights for twenty minutes, and walk out knowing I’ve had a far more effective workout than running until I get chest pains.

Lauren and gin
I went alcohol-free for the Whole30!

Experiment With the Whole30 Diet

Diets are often a bad idea, especially ones like the Whole30, which are incredibly restrictive. But at the same time, I believe it could be beneficial for my anxiety. I know that your diet can drastically affect your mental health, and when I cut out sugar for a couple of weeks a few years back, I felt incredible.

I’ve wanted to try something drastic for years, but travel — and rarely having a kitchen — has made it near-impossible. I’m excited to see if it has any major benefits for my anxiety.

Check! Doing the Whole30 was probably the best thing I did in 2016. It switched my panic attacks from daily to naught, helped me lose 10 lbs and get me back to my pre-travel weight, took away my motion sickness and allergies, ended the migraines and cramps I used to have on my period, and stopped me from needing afternoon naps. It gave me consistent energy levels, motivation, and random bursts of euphoria. Who knew that inflammation-causing foods had been wreaking so much havoc on my life?

These days, I aim to eat paleo 80% of the time, keeping as much dairy, gluten, and sugar out of my diet as possible.

Meditate Five Times a Week

I know that if I set myself a goal of meditating every day, I’ll never stick to it, but five days a week is an achievable goal. Again, it’s all about getting to grips with my anxiety and feeling stronger and healthier. I know meditation will help me; it’s just about remembering to do it on the days when I feel fantastic rather than solely on the day after I have a panic attack.

Check! 2016 was the year of Headspace, and I found so many benefits to meditation that I kept it up even when my anxiety melted away. Meditating calms me down, gives me focus, improves my productivity, and makes me happy. I fully plan on continuing with this into 2017 and am even looking up silent vipassana retreats for later on in the year!

To Give Myself at Least One Month Offline

When I hit the reset button earlier this year, one of the best things I did for myself was to stop. No writing, no social media, no emails. This year, I’m going to try and take a minimum of one month offline to do anything that doesn’t involve writing. My month in Greece could be the perfect time to do it.

Yes! I achieved this in the South Pacific, where I was completely offline aside from chatting to Dave and uploading the occasional photo to Facebook. I also spent two additional months entirely offline this year, but it was because I had health problems to deal with, not because I was spending time reading and working out and doing other fun stuff. So technically, yes, I more than rocked this goal, but it just wasn’t quite how I envisioned it.

pancake

To Learn How to Cook

I used to find it was funny that the only dish I could make was a sandwich, but now it feels like a huge embarrassment and failure as a human. I can make toast and I can put things into an oven, and sometimes I can even chop vegetables without slicing my hand open, but that’s it.

Travel has opened my eyes to the joy of food – it’s now one of my favourite ways to learn more about the world – and I’m gutted to have such limited cooking abilities. With a long-term home on the agenda, one of the first things I’m going to do is pick up a handful of recipe books and start recreating my favourite dishes from around the world.

Check! I hugely improved my cooking skills this year and tried out hundreds of new dishes. It’s reached the point where I almost feel disappointed when I go out to a restaurant to eat.

The Whole30 was huge for this, because not being able to eat out for 90 meals straight meant that I was in the kitchen all month long. Now, I make curries at least once a week. I make my own hummus, pesto, and garlic mayonnaise. I make the best roast potatoes in the world. I’m all about paleo pancakes that are gluten and dairy-free. I love herbs and spices and creating my own recipes from scratch.

I totally rocked this goal in 2016.

To Gain Confidence With my Spanish

I’d always been confident in my Spanish language skills until I spent time in Mexico and Spain. Suddenly, people were laughing at how I spoke Spanish with a British accent and asking why I don’t use a Spanish accent. And it knocked my confidence so hard to the point that I barely utter a word when I’m in Spanish-speaking countries; I’m too embarrassed to speak. These days, I stand awkwardly and understand everything that’s going on, but keep my lips firmly sealed.

Last year, I worked hard on not caring about what people think of me, and this is one of my few remaining hangups I can work on. I’ll be spending a month in Oaxaca at the start of the year, then potentially moving to Spain a few months later, so there’s no excuse.

Check! I totally achieved this while I was in Oaxaca. I nailed it in my original description: it’s all about getting over yourself and stopping caring what other people think. Once I vaulted that barrier, I was more than happy to mangle a foreign language in front of anyone.

If I had achieved this goal, I would buy a yacht. And yes, I have run out of relevant photos to use in this post.
If I had achieved this goal, I would buy a yacht. And yes, I have run out of relevant photos to use in this post.

Write Another Book

I swore I would never write another book after the first one destroyed my mental health, but this one will be different. I’m keeping it under wraps for now, but I can tell you that it’s about travel, I’ll be self-publishing, and it’s not a memoir. I hope to release it within the first six months of 2016.

That’s a nope again! I was hoping to release a book about how to overcome your fears and anxiety in order to travel, but I managed to write so much about it that I’ve decided to turn it into a course. I’m currently hard at work on it and hope to have it launched by April. More details about that coming soon!

But yeah, no book from me in 2016. Maybe this year!

Create Detailed Resources on Never Ending Footsteps

This year, I want to work on sharing the expertise I’ve gathered from five years of living the nomadic dream. Like how to travel when you have anxiety. Or a detailed guide to what to pack and what to leave behind. Or how to travel long-term. Or how to work from anywhere. I’m talking 10,000+ word resources that contain everything I know about a topic. 2016 is the year where I start producing helpful content as well as narratives about my disasters.

That’s a sort-of-but-mostly-no for this one.

I actually did write way more helpful resources this year than any other year to date, and shared why I only use Osprey backpacks, how much it costs to travel for a year, as well as travel expense posts for Taiwan and Belize, my 100 best travel tips, a packing list for Greece, how I find cheap flights, how to overcome a fear of flying, and how to back up your photos as you travel.

But very few of them were in-depth guides. When I set myself this goal, I was thinking of producing enormous articles similar to my guide on how to start a travel blog, which contains many thousands of words on everything I know about that topic. Beyond my 100 best travel tips post, which was came in at almost 7,000 words, I failed on this front.

Get My Work in Big Publications

I’ve created a list of ten magazines, newspapers, and websites that being featured in would blow my mind, and another list of ten major publications I’m confident I can write for. I suck at marketing myself and actively avoid putting my words in front of another site’s audience, so 2016 will be all about growing my confidence by getting featured in new places.

Fail! My anxiety had me struggling to write posts for this site let alone anyone else’s. I actually did get my site mentioned in twenty-odd news sites around the world when a post of mine went viral, but I’m not going to include that, because I didn’t actively do anything to make it happen. I did manage to squeeze out a guest post on Problogger about how I gained a book deal through my travel blog, but that was it for 2016. I’ll do better this year.

To Switch Up My Social Media Focus

My Instagram account has been sorely neglected from the day I created it, but I’m proud of my engagement levels there. My photos gain between 150 and 250 likes from an audience of 3,000 followers, but 3,000 isn’t great. By the end of the year, I’m hoping to have 20,000. I’m excited to start sharing a mix of my favourite travel photos and what I’m currently up to!

So close! I actually managed to grow my Instagram account from 3,000 followers to 17,000 this year while still maintaining high levels of engagement.

Pinterest is another site I’ve been neglecting, but I’ve become obsessed with it over the past few months. I’m also terrible at it. I think almost all of my blogging buddies cite Pinterest as their highest referrer. Me? I get 100 visits a month. By the end of 2016, I’m hoping for 50,000 monthly referrals. Aim high!

This was definitely aiming high for me! While I experienced a huge amount of growth with Pinterest this year (growing from 100 visits a month to 3,500), this was nowhere near my original goal. One day I’ll crack it and score the huge amounts of traffic that other bloggers get from it.

Youtube is another area I’m going to focus on. After my packing video went somewhat viral, I find my channel with 150,000 views, 1,100 subscribers, and people emailing me every few weeks to tell me they found my video, was inspired to quit their job, and have been travelling ever since! All that from one video and a site I haven’t signed into for a year. This year, I want to start producing high quality Q&A videos. To put some numbers on it, I hope to get a minimum of 25 videos uploaded and grow my audience to 5,000 subscribers.

Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. I didn’t have the mental strength to record videos this year, so didn’t even attempt it. I most likely won’t in 2017 either, but you never know. I don’t actually want to have my eggs in every goddamn social basket on the planet anymore. I grew my account from 1,100 to 1,370 subscribers this year, but it was all organic.

So, how did I do?

Pretty damn well, considering much of the first half of the year ended up being a write-off.

I killed it with my travel and health goals, did okay with my fitness ones, and failed hard at my work ones — that shows me which areas I need to focus on more in 2017. I achieved 11 out of 20 goals in total, with a couple of maybes thrown in there.

Up next: what I’m hoping to achieve in 2017!

What goals did you set yourself in 2016? Did you manage to achieve them?

Previous 2016: My Year in Review
Next My Travel, Work, and Health Goals for 2017

43 Comments

  1. Natalie
    January 11, 2017
    Reply

    Great post. I remember you making these goals and I wondered how you did with them! Pretty awesome, really!

    I don’t make New Years resolutions, either, even though I love the idea the new year being a fresh start. I did start Whole30, but I started right now because I didn’t want to be attempting it during the holiday season. And it’s solely for health and to develop healthy habits. I am (finally) happy with my body exactly as it is.

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Oh yeah, the holidays would be the worst for doing a Whole30! I know I did terribly at eating well at Christmas with my family. Hope the Whole30 goes well for you and hugely improves your health! :-)

      • Natalie
        January 12, 2017
        Reply

        It’s actually going far better than I expected. My husband told me he is feeling great right now, too. I’m pleasantly surprised.

        • Lauren
          January 15, 2017
          Reply

          Yay! I’m so happy to hear that :-)

  2. Dominique
    January 11, 2017
    Reply

    You have achieved so much of what you had planned this year! How great is it to look back at the year and to see what you’ve actually done, I love doing that.

    One minor remark though, I wouldn’t call the goals you didn’t accomplish this year fails. Sometimes people’s priorities change, sometimes something comes in between and the fact the goal isn’t met is not a bad thing at all.

    • Lauren
      March 2, 2017
      Reply

      Oh, I didn’t mean for it to sound like I was beating myself up over it! It was just an easy way to say I didn’t meet my goal :-)

  3. Lotte
    January 11, 2017
    Reply

    Well done! I love how you are setting yourself challenging goals and you achieved so much in 2016:-) And also good to know you are still human and didn’t achieve everything on the list, that would have been incredible but very stressful.

    I achieved my main 2016 goal by getting 10.000 unique visitors a month in December, very proud of that. And as you know I quit my job to travel for a year with my husband. Which wasn’t necessarily a goal but it was a dream and this year it’ll come true:-)

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Woohoo! Congratulations on hitting your traffic goal! 2017 is going to be such an awesome year for you! :-)

  4. Rianne
    January 11, 2017
    Reply

    I’m impressed! Even though you haven’t managed to achieve everything, (who does?) I think you should be proud! Don’t be too hard on yourself :)

    I think sharing your goals online is a great idea, because it’s a way to keep you accountable. Looking back and seeing your achievements must be feeling good.

    Really enjoyed reading this, as everything you write. I completely loved your book and how you write your blog more in-depth than others. You should definitely try to get your work featured in big publications, I’m surprised to hear you haven’t yet! I’m sure it will give you a lot of followers.

    Thanks for the interesting post!

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Rianne! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed my book — yay! Imposter Syndrome has kept me from putting myself out there for so long, so I’m hoping to overcome that by getting featured all over this place this year :-)

  5. Jen Ambrose
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    When I saw the goal about expensive destinations at the top, I immediately thought of your Bora Bora post – it’s still the only one I’ve seen about visiting Bora Bora on a budget! I think that’s a great goal too, because I hate that so many people believe the myth that travel is always super expensive. Congrats!

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, thanks, Jen! There are a few posts out there about visiting on a budget, but most of them are about saving up a ton of points and miles and getting the flights and accommodation for free. I love showing people that you don’t have to resort to that to go to a beautiful place :-)

  6. Larry
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    It always starts with baby steps.

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      True that! Why did it take me so long to realise it? :-)

  7. anjci
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    I would not consider Iran dangerous in the least : ) it is incredibly safe, fun, dynamic and forward-looking in many ways (not all…). I would recommend you to visit!

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Oh, I don’t either, but other people definitely do!

  8. Kate
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    Congratulations – it sounds like you had a great year and achieved so much! Wishing you all the best in 2017!

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Kate! :-)

  9. AH
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    Hi,

    What was your routine for working up to 80 push-ups? How long did it take you? It’s one of my goals for 2017! Love the blog

    x

    • Lauren
      January 12, 2017
      Reply

      I used an app called Runtastic Push Ups — it’s awesome! I think it took me around seven or eight months.

  10. Brooklyn
    January 12, 2017
    Reply

    “I don’t have any photos to use for my fitness goals, so here’s a really big rock in Bora Bora”
    You are hilarious!

    I think you did incredible with your goals for 2016! I can’t wait to see how your goals for 2017 work out :)

    • Lauren
      January 16, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, thanks so much, lovely! :-)

  11. AlicevstheWorld
    January 13, 2017
    Reply

    Congrats on achieving your goals last year! I can’t say I’d ever managed the 100 push ups or 10k resolutions. I’m not that sporty!

    • Lauren
      January 15, 2017
      Reply

      I’m definitely not that sporty, but hey, baby steps. I know I’ll get there eventually :-)

  12. các điểm du lịch ở huế không nên bỏ qua
    January 14, 2017
    Reply

    I like your things

    • Lauren
      January 14, 2017
      Reply

      I like your valuable comment.

      • Suneé
        January 15, 2017
        Reply

        Lol, that’s the best response ever!

        • Lauren
          January 15, 2017
          Reply

          :-)

  13. Rachael Brown
    January 14, 2017
    Reply

    I would say you achieved a lot this year! especially with all the sickness. I think it’s a great idea to look back at what you’ve already achieved, at least for me it gives me more motivation to keep going!

    • Lauren
      January 15, 2017
      Reply

      And for me too! I can’t wait to see what I manage to cross off my list over the next 12 months.

  14. Suneé
    January 15, 2017
    Reply

    Well, that was a pretty impressive list and you smashed most of them – well done! I’m looking forward to reading the post on your 2017 goals. I always make new year’s resolutions too, and I do my very best to try and keep them. I can never understand why many people don’t – I believe everyone should try and better themselves in some way, even just a little, on a continuous basis. I’m super impressed by your Whole30 diet change and the huge improvement it’s had on your health. Makes me want to try it too.

    • Lauren
      January 15, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Sunee! :-) I highly recommend trying the Whole30 — it’s changed my life!

  15. Katie
    January 15, 2017
    Reply

    Well done Lauren, you nailed it! I think that having a base was absolutely the best decision for you guys. I have only permanently been on the road for just over 18 months but am hoping to get some longer housesits this year now that I have picked up more freelancing – it gets stressful when you have work to do and are moving every week!

    • Lauren
      January 16, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you! Ah, I’m so glad we decided to find a base in Lisbon and I’ve never been happier! Finding a work-life balance was pretty much impossible for us while we were travelling, so I know where you’re coming from. Slow travel definitely makes it easier :-)

  16. Karen
    January 16, 2017
    Reply

    Really interesting to read your comments about Nice. We were there in Sept / Oct last year and found that it was pretty calm, all things considered. I expected to see more police than we did and thought the locals would be a lot jumpier than they were. People we spoke to were sad but determined to carry on with life as normal. What else can you do? We didn’t feel threatened there at all and wouldn’t have noticed much difference, had it not been for the devastatingly sad memorials along the beach. Interesting to hear such a different perspective!

  17. Violeta
    January 16, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve never visited Lisbon, but it is high on my to do list for 2017. Out of all countries I visited, I loved Portugal the most. I’ve lived in Algarve for three months, and I can’t wait to get back there again. This time I won’t miss Lisbon, that’s for sure.

    • Lauren
      March 2, 2017
      Reply

      Yay! Definitely go to Lisbon and drop me an email for recommendations when you do! :-)

  18. Katie
    January 26, 2017
    Reply

    Some great travel goals!
    Will definitely head over read check out your Cook Islands and Bora Bora on a budget! Like you, we have some major Europe oversights, in fact we have some major UK oversights! We are moving abroad this year but before we go I want to visit Bath and Stonehenge – too many times have other travellers told us we are bad Brits for not seeing the things on our doorstep.
    I think your “Visit a Country That Intimidates Other People” is a tick! A lot of people would find France incredibly intimidating at the moment so well done for visiting at this scary time for them.
    I can imagine that having a base would make travelling a lot easier and your trips more memorable – this is our aim when we move too :) 86 push ups is still amazing! well done you, keep going and you will build it up! Good Luck with your splits challenge! From a dance graduate, I would suggest static stretches, pilates and holding stretches for 30 seconds. I will definitely look into the Whole30 plan, it looks like it really helped with your health.

    Sorry managed to write another essay!

  19. Angelica
    February 1, 2017
    Reply

    This post is really inspiring! You accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. What do you think was the biggest factor that kept you motivated to work on your fitness goals? Those are the toughest to stick with, imo.

    Gorgeous travel photos, too. But, those food pictures are making me hungry! Must…stay…motivated…fitness goals….Did someone mention pancakes?

  20. Eric || The Bucket List Project
    February 1, 2017
    Reply

    Damn Lauren, this was a massive list! Very impressed!
    I love how you made Spanish your goal but then you set up roods in Portugal, haha, why not Spain?
    Love the fitness goals too, I think as travelers we often miss the boat on this one!
    I would never have thought of France as being a destination that scares people but I understand your thoughts behind it. If you were choosing a European country, wouldn’t Belgium have been worse, or even hop over to Turkey? Just curious. Congrats on the rest!

    • Lauren
      February 1, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, my goal to get more confident with speaking Spanish was based on, well, improving my confidence when speaking another language, and Spanish was the only language I knew more than a dozens words of. Wasn’t planning on moving to Spain for several reasons, but mostly because I don’t have many friends there, and that was my main reason for finding a base.

      I didn’t head to France because I thought it intimidated people. It was just the only place I could think of that might count for the goal. I went to visit Paris and check off my oversights challenge :-). Was hoping to visit either Tunisia or Sierra Leone, but plans fell through, sadly.

  21. ~Stacy
    May 28, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing all of this and your honesty!! Such an inspiration!

    • Lauren
      June 3, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you for the lovely comment! :-)

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