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Early to rise and early to bed. I fail to master it. Always more a creature of the night, I am consistently at my most productive at 1am on a quiet night but this is not conducive to a regular routine so one tries one’s best to adapt. Earlier this week was no different. It was a balmy midnight in London town, our tower fan making a whimpering effort at relieving us of our heat intolerance; Pumpkin fast asleep, not quite snoring and me on smart phone responding to a couple of blog comments. Ironic really considering that it was just then that WordPress reminded me that it was my 1st blogiversary (blogiversary is another term I have come to learn in the last year.) Reminded, in actual fact, is too strong a word. It implies I knew it in the first place. I didn’t – which is uncharacteristic since I’m a sentimental sap 90% of my life.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write a post about “what I’ve achieved in a year of blogging.” I suppose I kind of felt I should reserve that for bloggers bigger and better than myself but then I started to reflect, always a dangerous endeavour for those of us who express ourselves best in prose. I am fully aware that my humble, little travel blog is a small fish in the expansile blogosphere ocean. I am Nemo. Except that I don’t feel lost.Patagonia coast

You hear of travellers heading abroad to “find themselves”, a term I’ve never fully grasped. I’ve been trotting around the globe for years but it’s only here, since putting the proverbial pen to paper, where I hasten to say that I’ve found a creative space for myself. When I started the blog, I told nobody for four months (except my parents and Pumpkin, who took a lot longer than 4 months to forgive me for the nickname). I suppose I was shy and a bit self-conscious about it and whilst dipping my (rather wide) foot into the overwhelming social media world, I cringed at having to share my own posts. Self-promotion and patting yourself on the back are painfully awkward exploits for those of us totally unfamiliar with the worlds of sales, marketing, advertising or performance.

I started the blog up for myself. I had no agenda, no entrepreneurial thoughts and no expectations. I thought it would be a nice travel journal for Pumpkin and I to reminisce over in future years, simultaneously giving me a chance to write about travel, which I love. Anything else and I mean anything was a bonus. What I never expected were the wonderful readers, the accommodating and welcoming travel blogger community, the kind-hearted comments, the new friends, the meet ups and tweet ups, the odd perk, the new knowledge (I’d never even heard of a widget this time last year) and most of all, the boost in self-confidence.

I spend much of my working life reassuring people that opening up about their feelings is not only acceptable but actually necessary and encouraged. It has been cathartic to take a wafer-thin leaf out of my own book today by doing just that but I apologise if the spiel has been a little heavy for the end of a working week. I feel privileged to have made it to 11 countries in the last 12 months, a personal record that I doubt I’ll be able to reproduce but to end, here are the blog posts that have (perhaps) left the deepest thumb prints – it’s hard to pick just a few; it would be like choosing the favourite of your children. So without further ado:

The original blog post

The unique, rugged scenery of Iceland (with the most rainbows I had ever seen) was the original inspiration for the travel blog.

iceland rainbowThe most viewed blog post

Ever the hopeless romantic, I wrote about the Salzburg love-lock bridge on a complete whim, whilst feeling loved up on Valentine’s week this year and was totally stunned to find out it has been my most viewed post!Salzburg love lock bridgeThe most quirky blog post

This peculiar little red, phone box library is packed full of heart and soul and encapsulates everything that is great about community spirit. Found completely by chance one Saturday morning, I’m delighted so many of you have warmed to it as much as I did! Lewisham micro-libraryThe country my fellow travel bloggers inspired me to visit

It is a hand-on-heart truth when I say that this was entirely inspired by reading so many wonderful travel blog posts about it. I’ve always thought that Italy was my favourite European country but after discovering this little gem of a land, I no longer know where I stand! From the beautiful Lake Bled to the tasty treats on tour in Ljubljana, I remain infatuated with mesmerising Slovenia.Lake Bled SloveniaAnd last but not least – the post I enjoyed writing the most (I’m as predictable as they get)

Pumpkin has actually travelled far more than I have – if he were on the blogosphere, he’d be my biggest competitor! But he also happens to be a quite perfect travel partner  Blogging about our honeymoon in the remote African bush (my first trip to Africa) brought back so many special memories that it just had to win my vote for favourite post.Selous Tanzania

What have you loved most about blogging?