Happy New Year, everyone!!! 🙂
I once read a book with the title, “Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee”.
I can’t even remember what it’s about. All I vaguely recall is it’s about a Hindu family.
Anyway, the year 2014 to both Zombie and I, is like that bipolar Auntie who spoils you with candies and chocolates and then when you’re having a good laugh and fun is quick to take back the treats and admonish you, “Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee!!”
Ok, I don’t really have or know of any aunts like that but you get my drift (hopefully).
See I even made sure I’m writing this well After 2014. Just to be sure she won’t throw any more last words.
Overall, it’s still been a year that’s so rewarding for me. But also quite challenging towards the end.
Here’s a quick rundown of our nice and crazy 2014
Exactly a year ago, I spent the 1st of January flying from Brisbane to Sydney. I spent New Year’s Eve there and while it’s been fun, I was glad to see Sydney’s coast.
View all Brisbane posts here
My closest Aunt (no, she isn’t the “Life isn’t all Ha Ha hee hee” kind) comes over to visit. And any excuse for me to head to the Opera House is welcome.
We watched Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform John Williams’ works (he who is the master behind the musical scores of movies like Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, just to name a few)
They say a lady never tells her age. Lucky for y’all, I’ve been called shady more times than a lady, so I’m declaring it. I celebrated a milestone on this birthday because I turned 33 on the 3rd of the 3rd, something that will NEVER ever happen again.
I went on an all-girls’ staycation at Manly Beach for my birthday.
And then the celebration continued with Zombie and me heading to the Maldives.
Read all Maldives blogs here
I didn’t really leave Sydney but the milestone was watching the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Gladiator (the entire movie soundtrack and musical score) at the Opera House.
Gladiator is a movie that means quite a lot to us so this was a real highlight.
A month of many firsts! First time in Perth, first time to skydive , and first time to see a quokka!
Read all Perth blogs here
I had a fantastic July , another month of ‘firsts’. I flew to Bali with Jetstar and Boeing, A first for me on all aspects- first time to Bali, first time to take Jetstar on an international flight, and first time on a Boeing Dreamliner!
Read the Bali posts here
August – September
Now here’s when this old cookie crumbled. I had a nasty fall at an indoor trampoline park and badly injured my ankle.
A couple of days later, I flew to Hong Kong and Singapore and limped my way around for a very chilled out 2 week break.
Read all Singapore blogs here
Read all Hong Kong blogs here
October – November
This is the time of big changes, movement, travel and disaster.
The day before I left for Europe, a painter came to do a small paint job to our Sydney apartment. We were getting it ready to be rented out as we were going to move interstate.
A small paint job turned to a horrific disaster when the painter accidentally triggered the kitchen sprinkler. If you’ve ever seen a fire sprinkler activated, you’d know that the word “sprinkler” is a mere suggestion. It’s a Geyser.
In half an hour, our entire apartment was flooded. All our things (furniture, appliance, computers, books) were water damaged. Zombie and I were there when it happened. I can still remember feeling faint, watching in helplessness as our things got soaked, drenched and damaged. It was like having an indoor typhoon.
I won’t go into further details as this issue – the apartment renovation, and some of our things- are still currently being sorted.
Zombie gets husband of the year award for taking care of everything as I had to fly out the next day for Europe. And despite him arranging everything and getting no sleep juggling everything, he still asked me to regularly send him updates and photos from Europe. Seriously, this guy is my solid rock.
I flew to Italy with my mom and despite the stresses back home, it was a nice reunion.
I highly suggest travelling with your parent/s. It was a great way for me to know my mom more (and vice versa I guess!), especially as we’ve always travelled as a family previously, and never just us two.
We also flew to London in November, and I’m always grateful when I get the chance to be in London. It’s still my favourite city!
I attended the World Travel Market conference , which was absolutely fantastic. I also had the chance to visit Bath for a weekend break.
When I returned to Sydney, the hotel living continued as by that time, our apartment was all stripped down for renovation.
Another major thing happened in November. I finally made that (calculated) leap:
I’m now travel blogging full-time! I’m in the process of setting up my home office, which I’m sure will be complete by February.
We have also moved back to Canberra. As some of you may know, Zombie’s job requires us to move around Australia and I’m pretty sure we’ll be somewhere else in a few years’ time.
I now divide my time between Canberra and Sydney. I still find myself being in Sydney very often for events and travel, so it’s quite convenient that Sydney is just 3.5 hours away.
Read all London blogs here
Read all Italy blogs here.
It’s been a busy month for blogging events, and travel wise, I went to Sydney for a weekend in Surry Hills
I also flew to Byron Bay for a much needed R & R at Gaia Retreat and Spa
And just as we were gearing ourselves for a laid back and quiet Christmas and New Year’s, Zombie’s grandfather had a health emergency and Zombie flew to Malaysia on Christmas eve.
So you see, 2014 has been a mix of fun and seriousness. Not all is ha ha hee hee, but not all is boo hoo either.
But really, both Zombie and I are singing “So long, farewell auf Wiedersehen , see you never” to 2014
Having said that though, 2014 still has given me very good things.
So I sam still really thankful for 2014 as it’s given me good things. I will focus on the good things, the blessings- which still by far outweigh the bad.
And globally, 2014 has been quite eventful so I absolutely have no right to whinge about my year when all I’ve lost are material things. Things that can be easily replaced. Some people have lost their entire families. It’s been quite a year for aviation accidents. And with 2 other major tragedies that happened in December (the Sydney siege and Air Asia tragedy), it’s taught me to be more grateful. Just waking up alive and healthy is a blessing in itself!
Travel and blog-wise, 2014 has been very good to Holy Smithereens.
In April 2014, Holy Smithereens made it to the list of Top 50 Australian & New Zealand Travel Blogs
In July, I was glad to be one of the Boeing Dreamliner bloggers.
Then in September, The Luxe Insider named Holy Smithereens has one of the top Travel Blogs of 2014.
In October, Holy Smithereens was also nominated for the Bupa Health Influencer Blog Awards.
I was also very honored in November when World Travel Market London selected Holy Smithereens to be one of the top 60 industry bloggers to participate in their Speed Networking event.
And finally, just over a week ago, Go Travel Media included Holy Smithereens as one of the 7 Niche Australian Travel Bloggers to Watch in 2015.
It really feels so rewarding to be recognised and included in these lists and nominations and I’m ever so grateful for all the opportunities and doors that opened in 2014.
Now blog posts-wise, here are the Top 5 Blog Posts that readers loved in 2014.
1.) Tahiti or Maldives? Paradise-seekers worldwide just loved this post so much. This was one of the posts that I really enjoyed writing, so I’m very glad that many find it useful.
2.) Coming second is my post on Eating and Dining in Tahiti. Eating in Tahiti can be really expensive so it’s good to know what to expect when shelling out a huge amount for meals.
3.) I’m also glad that so many people love a good customer service experience! High on the list is our Singapore Airlines experience on our flight from Hong Kong to Singapore.
4.) There seems to be a lot of people who like a bit of barefoot luxury as my review of Maafushivaru Maldives is also very popular
5.) Many are also curious about flying Business Class with Etihad from Abu Dhabi to Dublin
Those were the top 5 posts, followed by my packing list to Iceland, and packing list to the Maldives.
I also love it when readers get in touch with me. This year, I’m so happy that a reader from the USA took the time to email me to say thank you as he had planned a long awaited trip to Tahiti with his lovely wife based on my blogs, itinerary and Moorea and Bora-Bora resort reviews. They are also travelling with their friends from Melbourne, meeting halfway in Tahiti. I am truly excited for their November 2015 Tahiti trip!
I also received emails from couples who have just returned from their honeymoon to thank me for the reviews that they based their travels on.
I was also touched to receive emails from cabin crew and airline / hotel staff to say they appreciate me mentioning their great service on the blog. I am really BIG on customer service and as I’ve worked in the travel industry , I know that this is often a thankless job. People who work in the travel and hospitality business do not enter it for the promise of a huge salary. These are people with passion and love for their job. So when I see people in the industry go the extra mile, I really make it known to the world about the great job they’ve done. This goes a long way more than tips!
I really want to thank you all for following me on my journeys and I wish you all a very joyous and peaceful New Year.
2015 is full of interstellar possibilities and I am welcoming it with arms wide open 🙂
My Rundown of the year 2013 is here
The Guy says
Many congratulations on an outstanding year Jean. It has been a joy following your adventures. Also congratulations on all the independent recognition you are rightfully receiving.
Turning 33 on the 3rd of the 3rd sounds like a fabulous once in a lifetime moment.
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Guy, thank you very much and Happy New Year to you! And regarding 33rd on the 3rd of 3rd, I even stayed up at 03:33 and took a shot hahaha! such a geek 😉
The Guy @flightsandfrustration.com says
Nice 🙂 I might do that too, when I’m errr….77? 😉
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
That’s so lovely to receive emails from airline staff! That’s absolutely gorgeous. I had no idea about the whole apartment thing. How crazy and to fly out the next day. Zombie really is a keeper! 😀 Happy New Year Jean!!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Lorraine, Happy New Year to you too! Yes, I feel so happy when I hear from airline/hotel staff, when they see that their efforts get recognition. Some people take a lot of effort to write complaints about mundane things but not many go to equal lengths to show appreciation. Anyway yes, I’ve really had a crazy past few months, and as you can imagine I was flying to Europe with my mind half here half there. Yes definitely, this year also showed me how solid Zombie is 🙂
Happy New Year Jean!
Wow you had an impressive 2014 travel wise and congratulations about going full time with your blog, that’s incredible.
Your poor apartment and I can just image it would be what to grab first to try and protect. We have a huge DIY project of a house and it’s a total nightmare at times (on my way back from visiting a Cruise Ship for the day I had a phone call to say that our top section of the house was being held up by one brick and then on our final night in Cairo we had a phone call to say that the plumber had cut off the power to the top section of the house and that the gas wasn’t working properly so we had a choice of hot water or heating in October) so holidays are just what the doctor ordered.
Bring on 2015 and am totally looking forward to reading more of your adventures. When in London next time give me a buzz if you’re free and we can have a drink or two xx
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Happy New Year to you too Kelly!
Thank you very much, I’m so excited to be finally able to focus on the blog 100%.
Oh dear, the last 3 months were just a blur of feeling like everything is a ‘nightmare’ – yes we definitely did that: futile attempts of grabbing our things, putting them in the bedroom (only for the water to later enter the rooms as well). And we didn’t know how to switch the sprinkler off so it ran for about 30 minutes till the firemen came to switch it off. So sorry to hear about your house issues! It really is frustrating to hear things like that – things that are beyond your control happening. My goodness, no hot water or heating in October – yes definitely, hotel-living is in order for that! Likewise , am looking forward to your adventures in 2015 and thank you, I hope to be in London this year again, that would be lovely! 🙂
What a fantastic year with an even better 2015 to come! Happy New Year!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thank you Vicky! Happy New year to you too and may you have a wonderful 2015 🙂
Alex | Wanderlust Marriage says
Congratulations on a huge well done year for you in 2014, Jean! Happy New Year to you and “Zombie” and I really hope all gets sorted well with your apartment!
Wonderful you had the chance to travel with your Mom from Australia to Europe! I really enjoyed experiencing Europe with my father when he would come and visit us from Florida when we lived there. We got to hang out in Ireland two seperate years, the Netherlands and Greece one year for Christmas. It’s special to do this as adults with your parents. Cheers to you all! 🙂
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Alex, Happy Happy New Year to you and Bell too! 🙂
Oh yes, we are still keeping our fingers crossed that all will be sorted quickly for the apartment
So grateful to have the opportunity to travel with my mom, and glad you also had the same experience with your dad. We really tend to appreciate our parents more as we get to be adults as well 🙂
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
You killed it in 2014, Jean. I am so excited to see what you get done in 2015 if last year is an indication of how things roll in your world. Holy smokes, you are inspiring. 🙂
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks so much Anna! 2014 wasn’t the best of years but I still am very grateful. Very hopeful for 2015! Thanks for the support!
Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel says
Great to read this, not about the apartment disaster but you’ve got a good attitude about that. So thrilled to read that you are blogging full time, I do love reading your blog posts as they are so detailed and I really feel I get to know a place. There’s just not enough sheer luxury in my daily life so a bit of luxurious armchair travel is always welome. And it helps me plot my luxurious future!