An update on life and our 2014 plans

The delicious mud cake we had on New Years Eve

Fairly representative of my holiday break this year!

Happy New Year everyone! Apologies for our absence of late, New Years resolution number one is to start writing again so here I am. It’s funny how even though we haven’t been working the days just seem to fill up with things that need to be done, it’s quite easy to get into the bad habit of not sitting down to write and it’s something I’m trying my best to fix.


We’ve been home for 2.5 months now and it is still proving to be the roller coaster we expected. Some days I am so incredibly grateful to be back home and other days I spend longing for the road again. It will take time to adjust and I think the hardest part is coming to terms with the huge variety of emotions. Visiting an enormous number of places and experiencing the highs and lows of travel was a new experience in itself but it gradually became our normal, we’ve not really had anything to worry about and none of the responsibilities that come with our lives back home. To go from quite a steady routine of travel to something that feels completely different and yet should be the most familiar thing in the world is quite odd.


Our beautiful Christmas tree with my very own bauble

Our beautiful Christmas tree with my very own bauble

We had a quiet and lovely Christmas filled with lazy days and lots of delicious festive food. I was overjoyed to be back in the northern hemisphere this Christmas and had a ridiculous amount of festive spirit. There’s just something about the holiday season that makes you want to be at home and I definitely appreciated it much more this year. My waistline didn’t so I’ve started Couch to 5K this week to try and kick my butt into action, my genius yet wistful plan is that I’m exercising every day so when I’m working full time and complaining about being tired my body will crave exercise at least 3 times a week. I’m also starting yoga classes next week, after falling in love with yoga when we were in Laos I promised myself I’d attend a full beginners programme when we got home so I can’t wait.


Paul received a job offer a couple of weeks before Christmas and starts his new position next week. I’m still looking but will keep you posted as soon as anything changes. You know how when you’re the only single person and people keep asking you if you’ve met anyone yet? Or when you’re the only one without a baby and people keep asking if you will be next? Yep, being the only one without a job is pretty much the same thing! I’m determined to find the right fit and hopefully the New Year will provide that opportunity. It will be good to have a regular income coming in with Paul working and to have something for him to focus on but I can’t deny that it will be incredibly strange having spent nearly two years together every single day.


Peterhof - St Petersburg

Peterhof – St Petersburg

Photo credit: Paula Funnell

Our travel ideas for 2014 are slowly starting to take shape but the real planning will have to wait until I’m back in full time employment and we top up our travel funds a little. As soon as I do we have a lot of domestic trips to plan and some weekend hikes we’ve be desperate to do. As far as international trips go, we have two on the horizon that are happening no matter what! In July this year Paul’s brother plans to marry his lovely bride in St Petersburg. Aside from the great fun of attending a family wedding, St Petersburg has been somewhere I’ve dreamed of visiting since I was a young girl. I was fascinated by the stories of the Tsars and can’t wait to see some of the incredible palaces.


The breathtaking sight of Denali - Alaska

The breathtaking sight of Denali – Alaska

Photo credit: Barbara

The other big international trip we have planned is Alaska! It’s been number one on the travel wish list for a really long time and I’m currently nose-deep in my guidebook trying to figure out where we should go. One benefit of being back to holidays rather than long term travelling is I get to indulge in my love of really planning a trip. Whenever we’ve been on shorter trips in the past they have been researched beyond belief to make sure we make the most of limited time. We’re aiming to head out there in September when the weather is still decent for hiking and when we might catch a glimpse of bears following the salmon run. Any suggestions and tips would be most welcome.


So many places… Where to go in 2014??

So many places… Where to go in 2014??

Photo credit: Max Froumentin

The other big change to our travel style this year is that we’re aiming to take on the ‘Take 12 Trips’ challenge. I first heard about this courtesy of the lovely Lucy from On The Luce and I think it’s perfect for anyone who loves travel but still works a full time job with normal holiday allowance. The premise is that you plan at least one travel activity per month for the full year, the activity can be anything from a day out to a weekend away or a full holiday. The idea is that you always have some sort of trip to look forward to and it can encourage you to make the most of weekends and random days off. I’d love to hear from anyone else accepting the ‘Take 12 Trips’ challenge in 2014 – go on, visit somewhere new this year!


This week I’m kicking myself into writing about the experiences we had during the last few weeks of our RTW trip and I promise not to neglect our little blog for as long next time!


If you liked this post please let us know by clicking on the little heart, it would also be great to hear from you in the comments below.



Posted on by Maddie Posted in Thoughts, UK re-entry

23 Responses to An update on life and our 2014 plans

  1. Lucy

    Great to have you taking part in the Take 12 Trips challenge! And your trips planned so far sound fantastic, Russia sounds like a fascinating place to visit and Alaska looks just beautiful. I’m with you on the travel planning too – I have a couple of months when I’m staying fairly local but am submerging myself in Lonely Planets and blog posts researching my upcoming trips! Happy new year and here’s to lots of 2014 travels (and good luck on the job hunt).
    Lucy recently posted..Travel plans for 2014My Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Lucy and Happy New Year to you too! There will be quite a lot of trips in the UK this year, we’re sitting down tonight to make a list of everything we want to do here, I’m excited to start exploring our country more. Looking forward to reading about your adventures this year.

  2. Philip Deaton

    Yippee, a post at last! Talk about treat em mean, keep em keen 🙂 That 12 trip thing sounds like a very good idea. I think I will suggest that to Julia. Does visiting her Mum count? It’s far enough away ffs! Greetings from a damp and dreary Portugal xo

    • Maddie

      Greetings from equally damp Yorkshire! I’m feeling back on form with the writing, just needed a swift kick up the bum to get me going. I think the 12 trips will really keep us motivated throughout the year. No matter how much of a brave face you put on it’s always going to be tough returning home after such a long time but this gives us lots of mini goals. Sorry you’re having such crap weather, next year pick somewhere with guaranteed heat and we might even join you 😉 xx

  3. Kim

    So glad that you are back and writing again. I can’t wait to read about what 2014 has in store for you. Write no matter what, even once you land a job. It’s fun to follow you.
    Kim recently posted..Happy Holidays from VietnamMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Kim, it means a lot that people are still interested now that we’re back. I hit a bit of a slump which I was expecting to happen but it wasn’t much fun, I’m feeling a lot more positive going into 2014 and actually feeling inspired to write again.

  4. anjci

    Great to hear from you at last! Looking forward to more stories on your RTW travels but especially your holidays as a full-time employee! I am one myself, so it is close to my heart. Wishing you all the best for the new year.
    anjci recently posted..2013 NewsletterMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Anjci and Happy New Year! I promise to pull my finger out and start writing more, consider my wrists slapped. Now that we’re back I’m finding so many other people who are in the same position we are, yourself included and it’s great to hear how people manage their wanderlust with a full time job. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures this year.

  5. Laura Davidson

    On a selfish note it is great to have you back, if you need my Norfolk or Hampshire travel books for your mini trips let me know!!

    • Maddie

      It’s nice to be loved and welcomed back 🙂 There will be mini trips galore hopefully so I’ll keep you posted!

  6. Kellie

    Its great to have you back in the blog world again, we missed you. Looking forward to hearing about what 2014 has in store for you. Oh and good luck with the job hunting 🙂
    Kellie recently posted..I’m sick already!!My Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Kel, I really missed it too and just posting this today has made me realise how much. I’m also incredibly excited to see what 2014 has in store for you, what a year it’s going to be!

  7. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    So good to hear from you again; I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to. I can only imagine what a rollercoaster being back has been, but it sounds like there have been far more ups than downs.

    And I love the Take 12 Trips challenge. Excited to hear about all of the ones you take, and I have no fears you’ll manage to meet this challenge with style!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Mosque Ado About NothingMy Profile

    • Maddie

      We’re excited too, we made a list last night of all the shorter UK trips we want to take and it’s pretty huge! It’s good to be back, I’m really enjoying writing again.

  8. Carmel

    That’s a great plan! I would love to be sure to take a trip a month. We were limited before we left by not having a car. It’s amazing how little you can do when you lack your own transportation in the US. Well, you CAN get places, but it costs a small fortune and it makes you wonder why you ever gave up your car. Sigh.

    I’m so jealous you’re going to St. Petersburg! I would love to go there. What part of July will you be gone? There’s a strong possibility we’ll be in the UK in July…

    Congrats to Paul on his new job!
    Carmel recently posted..BLACK HOUSE, WHITE TEMPLEMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Eeeee, so excited that you’re visiting Blighty! We’ve been told to keep the first couple of weeks in July free for the wedding, they are booking it at some point this month. I’ll keep you posted, it would be so great to meet you both and show you around a little.

  9. Clare

    I’m so glad to find that the word about #take12trips is spreading! Hope you have a wonderful travel year. I’ll be posting a round up of where all the take 12 trippers have been going each month so do check it out.

    • Maddie

      Thanks for coming up with a great idea Clare! I’m new to your blog and as a newly part-time traveller I’m loving reading about how you manage a job with a love of travel.

  10. Amy

    The ‘Take 12 Trips’ challenge sounds like a great way to keep the travel spirit alive once you’re back home. Alaska sounds amazing; we have been thinking more and more about a trip to America (once we’ve spent a year in Taiwan topping up our travel fund!) and Alaska looks like a magical place to visit. Congrats to Paul on the new job; I’m sure you’ll find just the right job for you soon enough and I look forward to hearing all about it.
    Amy recently posted..Video: Three Months in ThailandMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Amy, I’m sure the right thing will come along and Paul is happy to be heading back to work. We’re excited about the 12 trips challenge, many of our trips will be closer to home until we top up our funds but it gives us a great chance to explore our own country more.

  11. NZ Muse

    ALASKA, my goodness! My husband will be so jealous.

    Good luck getting settled in, it’s a lot to handle at once but the familiarity is nice, and sending good vibes to you on the job hunt.
    NZ Muse recently posted..What to do when visiting AucklandMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Ester, we’ll get there eventually 🙂 Alaska has been a dream of mine for a really long time so we’re looking forward to finally making it a reality.

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