Each month, we jot down a personal wrap of our travels, life updates, and general happenings in the life of The Common Wanderer. No bullshit, just our honest thoughts.
Guys. It’s officially December as we write this, which means three things.
1. Christmas is coming!! One of us is exceptionally excited about this, and the other is pulling on their grinch costume and getting ready to yell at carollers (jk… or are we?!). Can you guess who is who?!
2. 2017 is almost over. Another entire freaking year just…. gone. Is it just us, or is each year just flipping by quicker than ever now?!
3. It’s time for our monthly update! And we seem to almost be on time, which is nothing short of a miracle! Here’s what we got up to in November.
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET, OUR TWO YEAR TRAVEL-VERSARY, AND OUR FAVE POSTS: OUR NOVEMBER 2018 UPDATE
WE SURVIVED THE MAYHEM OF WORLD TRAVEL MARKET
In the first week of November each year, the entire world descends on London for a week of excitement, networking, and absolute chaos: World Travel Market (WTM).
We’re talking tourism boards, travel brands, government ministers, media, and industry professionals from all around the globe, who arrive at the ExCel Centre to build relationships, lock in business deals, and learn from the many seminars running during the three days. It’s busy, intense, and very serious business for exhibitors too – the Costa Rica tourism board built a freaking jungle for their stand!
For bloggers, this is also a key opportunity to get yourself in front of the people you want to work with and build a personal relationship with them. Needless to say, our three days are a blur of turning up, running around between stands, and talking with people till we nearly dropped. But we now have some exciting travel plans in the works post-WTM which we can’t wait to share with you soon!
As with most conferences there are also many parties held by various brands during the week, so the days of networking are long, the evenings of drinking longer, and by the end of the week most our friends were just zombie shells of their former selves (this is no exaggeration: I also spent the next three weeks almost bedridden with two separate colds, one of which I’ve generously passed onto Mark now..!).
MIM SPOKE ON AN INTREPID TRAVEL WRITING PANEL
Connecting with other travellers and sharing our knowledge is something we’re really keen to start doing more of in the future. After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today without soaking up all the info that some very talented and generous bloggers were kind enough to share with us when we first started out, and we’re keen to repay some of that generosity.
So when I was asked to join the Intrepid Travel x About Time Mag: The Art of Travel Writing panel alongside some of the best travel writers and photographers in the UK in November, I absolutely jumped at the chance. It was an awesome evening sharing our insights on blogging, hearing about the journeys of other travel writers, picking up lots of freelance tips ourselves, and getting inspired all over again by how many creative and adventurous people there are out there doing really cool things.
We’re hoping to get a few more speaking opportunities under our belt in 2018 – so definitely watch this space!
WE CELEBRATED OUR TWO YEAR TRAVEL-VERSARY!
When the 30th of November rolled around this year we honestly couldn’t believe it had been two years since we departed Australia with our one-way ticket to the world. It’s been a pretty wild journey since then, full of ups and downs (but mostly ups!), and lots of happy memories made.
To be honest, we’re both actually really bad at pausing to recognise or celebrate our successes as we always seem to be too focused on looking forward to the next hurdle. But SO much has happened in the past two years, between our year-long trip, settling in London, going semi full-time with the blog, and seeing lots of growth lately, there’s actually been a lot to celebrate. It’s funny to think that this time two years ago we’d just quit our jobs to travel, and today travelling IS our job!
WHERE WE’VE BEEN TRAVELLING LATELY
After a pretty manic year of travel till now, November was a rare month where we were at home for almost an entire month. It was actually really nice to spend a decent amount of time bunkered down , particularly as the cooler weather started to set in and we recovered from WTM! But by the end of November we were definitely ready to brush the dust off our passports again, and head to….
If you follow us on Instagram (and I mean, you obviously should be) you’ll already know from our stories that we were in Hamburg with the tourism board last weekend, checking out their various Christmas markets and fun.
It was the first time either of us had visited Hamburg, and while we were bundled up in about 15 layers, coats, and beanies like little snowmen in the cold, we were both pleasantly surprised by just how cool this city is. What is it about Germans and their cities just being so hipster and laidback without even trying?
The Christmas markets in Hamburg definitely don’t disappoint either, ranging from your traditional and historical Weihnachtsmarkts right through to the world’s first erotic Christmas market on the notorious Reeperbahn. Yep, you read that right: erotic Christmas market. The Santa Pauli Christmas market in Hamburg’s red-light-district-turned-cool-nightlife-spot, St Pauli, takes your traditional Christmas spirit and adds a twist of adult fun, complete with a ‘stripping Santa’ tent, and sex toys for sale.
Hamburg was also recently voted number 1 city for going out, and between that and its über cool vibe, we’re keen to get back and explore it again soon (perhaps when it’s warmer!).
READ ABOUT OUR WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS WEEKEND IN HAMBURG
WE ALSO ESCAPED LONDON VERY BRIEFLY
Anyone who has spent longer than a week in London (or any other major international city) will likely agree with us here: there’s nothing better than escaping the bustle of the city and getting some fresh country air.
We managed to sneak in a visit back to Mark’s family this month, who we lived with when we first arrived in the UK. They live about half an hour by train from London, so not exactly ‘rural’, but far enough away that there’s fresh(er) air and lots of greenery. We spent a lovely day catching up, taking their gorgeous pup on a wander through the rolling hills and green fields near their place, and feasting on a delicious home-cooked lunch – the perfect way to rebalance after a busy few weeks and the start of Christmas crowds appearing in London.
OUR FAVOURITE POSTS
25 incredible photos that will make you want to visit Swedish Lapland – visiting Swedish Lapland was an actual dream come true for us both, having sat at the top of our bucket list for many years. Even in the cold and wet, the region is a photographer’s dream, and we had so much fun exploring the wild with our cameras every day.
Understanding Singapore: is it a tourism utopia or a police state? – we explored whether the modern, efficient and seemingly all-around perfect city-state of Singapore is the urban dream it seems – or if being perfect comes at a cost.
15 useful things you should know before travelling to Swedish Lapland – we’re the first to admit that while Swedish Lapland had been on our travel list for ages, we really didn’t know much about it beforehand. In this post, we went through some of the really interesting and useful info we discovered during our travels there.
OUR FAVOURITE INSTAGRAMS
If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa. ✨ ••• Leaving tiny footprints on these ancient dunes in Sossusvlei had us feeling pretty in awe of Mother Nature. In fact, the whole of Namibia, with its endless horizons and starry desert skies, had us feeling like that, which is probably why it became one of our favourite countries 🇳🇦 💫 ••• We’ve picked Namibia as one of the destinations you have to visit in 2018! Want to see where else we think you should go? Check out the link in our bio 👆
Taking the slow train 🚂 ••• One of our favourite things about train travel in places like Sri Lanka is there’s always a new story to be found through every window: a gaggle of school kids laughing together, a young family travelling home to visit grandparents, the entrepreneur selling fresh samosas or the day’s news. We think this cheeky fella perfectly sums up most of the Sri Lankans we encountered there: friendly, fun, and just a little playful.
Why not use our AirBnB code and get yourself up to £30 off your next booking!