2012: The Best Year Of My Life, Not The End of The World

Well, the world didn’t end on December 21st. Erm… what a surprise! To be honest, if it had done though, I would have at least been content that I’d made 2012 the best year of my life so far. I spent five months travelling solo around Canada and loved every minute of it.

Actually, that’s no exactly true. There were plenty of ups and downs, such as losing two cameras in two weeks, running away from a farm in Ontario, spooky goings on in Montreal and Toronto, a run-in with an angry wasp and plenty of other situations which I haven’t mentioned on this blog. 

But I wouldn’t change a thing. If everything had gone smoothly, my travels wouldn’t have been anywhere near as interesting and fulfilling. 

see my travels hiking in the Canadian Rockies, Stanley Glacier

There were a number of reasons why I decided to travel solo. Reflecting back now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’m so glad I took the risk and made a huge step into the unknown. 

I was worried about leaving my journalism job at a time of high unemployment. There was always a risk that I wouldn’t be able to get a job on my return to England. 

Ultimately, I dreaded the thought of being a failure and taking a step backwards in my career as a result of taking this much-needed sabbatical. 

Thankfully, after a couple of months of uncertainty, I’ve landed back on my feet. I start an exciting new job in the online copywriting industry in January – a field I’ve been aiming to move into for some time now. 

emerald lake canadian rockies

I believe more than ever that, although things might not necessarily work out as expected, if you want to change your life and are prepared to take a big risk in order to do this, backed by an indomitable will to succeed and be happy, good things WILL happen. 

If you’ve been wanting to go travelling for a while, but haven’t made that final decision, all I can say is: DO IT! Life is too short and you can make travel happen if you really want to – even though it might take some time to prepare and save enough money. 

the best street art in montreal

There are so many highlights of my travels in Canada, from hiking in the Rockies and seeing a polar bear in Churchill to admiring street art in Montreal and embracing the healthy lifestyle in Vancouver

I impulsively booked my flight to Canada on January 1st, 2012, starting the year on a hopeful note. I’m happy to be ending it on a positive note as well. 

Merry Christmas and I hope 2013 will be your best year yet. 

Do you have any plans to travel in 2013? Did you ever have to take a big risk in order to travel long-term? 


  1. Ryan Brown
    December 24, 2012 / 15:42

    Alison, seems like you had an amazing year! I had PLENTY of ups and downs throughout my trip in New Zealand, but I would do it all over again. Cheers to many great (mis)adventures had, and more to come in 2013! Congrats on the new gig and happy holidays!
    Ryan Brown recently posted..Death: My Travel Inspiration.My Profile

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:26

      Thanks Ryan, the ups and downs are what makes travel so enriching. Although my ‘downs’ were actually rather silly in comparison to what happens to some people on their travels ;-). Happy New Year to you and happy travels for 2013!

  2. December 25, 2012 / 15:26

    Best of luck in you new job — very exciting! It’s been following along with your travels through Canda. Somehow I missed the one about running away from a farm — on my way to read it now. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:29

      Thanks Cathy, you might have found the farm story to be slightly over dramatic ha ha! Cheers for your well wishes, I’m very excited and very nervous, but it’s a relief not to be beginning the year unemployed. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. December 26, 2012 / 00:39

    You did have an amazing year and it is so good to read such a positive post Alison. One of my highlights was meeting you when you were here on the west coast of Canada! Congratulations on the new job. Sounds perfect and it really didn’t take you very long to find it. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and another amazing New Year!! Love from Canada, Darlene

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:35

      It was a highlight meeting you as well, Darlene and I feel grateful to have had such a lovely reader follow along on my journey! Hope your Christmas was merry and Happy New Year to you and your family!
      Alison recently posted..Toronto: The New York Of CanadaMy Profile

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:46

      Hi Belinda, that’s fab you met your husband on your travels! Travelling solo is worth it as only good seems to come from it. There was no romance for me in Canada, as I had a lovely boyfriend back home, so it was hard on that front. But confidence wise, the benefits of solo travel are priceless. Happy 2013 to you too!

  4. December 27, 2012 / 21:29

    Congratulations on your new job! And I’d echo all your comments that travel is always worth the risk. Hope you have lots of exciting travels to come and a great 2013.
    Lucy Dodsworth recently posted..On the Luce in 2012My Profile

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:49

      Cheers Lucy and amen to travel being worth the risk! A very Happy New Year to you and I look forward to continuing to read about your travels in 2013!

  5. December 28, 2012 / 22:39

    Congrats on your new job! Taking risks is always worth it, even if it’s a little scary for a while. Glad your travels went well and that 2013 promises to be great for you!
    Adventure Travel Nick recently posted..White LandscapeMy Profile

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:53

      Thanks Nick, it was scary when I got home and had to find a job, but glad it turned out okay in the end! Happy New Year to you and keep up the good work on Let’s Be Wild – pics on Facebook are fantastic!

  6. December 29, 2012 / 00:22

    Glad to hear 2012 was the best year yet. It was a fantastic year for me as well. Congrats on your new job!
    Fernando Quintero recently posted..DVD Court: December 27My Profile

    • December 30, 2012 / 16:59

      Thank you and happy to hear you had a great year too!