Wow, does time ever fly.
This weekend was the Thanksgiving long weekend in Canada and I was so busy spending time with family and eating my bodyweight in turkey that I completely missed my own two-year blogging anniversary!
These past two years have been the most high-paced and exciting years of my life and have presented me with more opportunities than I ever could have imagined. Creating content, sharing my passion, and being able to connect with like-minded individuals has been an incredible journey and I cannot wait to see where it takes me next.
Now I want to invite you to look back at some of the highlights that this past year of blogging has brought me.
One of my blogging goals for this year was to start a YouTube channel and I’m so happy to say that I achieved that goal! I’ve fallen in love with video content and think it’s an amazing platform to share travel stories and other creative and educational content. My goal moving forward is to make YouTube videos a more regular part of my content and come up with some “sit-down” videos to share with you guys when I’m not traveling. Let me know if you have any ideas!
I can’t believe this was a year ago because I’ve settled in so nicely to my new university that I feel like I’ve been here for years! Those of you who have been around since the beginning may know that Airplanes & Avocados was actually born out of an unhappy place when I felt trapped in a school and university program I didn’t love. A year ago I decided to let go of pride, move back home and switch schools and programs entirely. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m so in love with my new program and love coming to class to learn and can envision exactly how my academic studies are going to compliment my creative work in the blogging world and make a real impact on this world. I’ve already started combining them both on my new campus and launched several environmental and awareness campaigns within my community.
Okay, not a real jail, but the HI-Canada Jail Hostel in Ottawa! This was an incredibly fun, short getaway and a great way to kick off the new year. It was my very first hostel experience and I had such an amazing time I’m looking at exploring more Hosteling International properties in my future travels.
Probably one of my most wild trips to date was traveling to Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate my 21st birthday. I had an amazing time going to a Nashville Predators hockey game and exploring all the honky tonks and bars along the strip in downtown Nashville. You might just find me back here to my bachelorette party one day! 😉
Travelling to West Palm Beach to Meet up with Internet Friends
I’m not advocating against stranger danger at all because it’s true the internet is a crazy place and people are weird, but deciding to travel solo to Florida to meet up with some friends I met through Instagram was one of the best decisions I ever made. These guys changed my entire outlook on traveling and life and sparked a new passion in me for shark diving. While I’d always been an advocate for protecting the oceans, having the opportunity to speak with passionate shark enthusiasts like John and Mike sparked a new appreciation for these creatures.
Part of the reason I had gone to Florida to meet up with John was to have him help me shoot my shirts for the A&A Shop. Launching the A&A Shop was a huge milestone in my blogging career and allowed me to make an even larger impact on the ocean conservation efforts happening across the world. I’m so appreciative of everyone who’s supported the shop and I love seeing people wearing my shirts or hanging up my prints. I have a lot of big plans for the shop still to come, so stay tuned!
This was one of the biggest opportunities that this blog has presented me with and I was so honored to accept the invitation and speak with hundreds of women at the Women in Travel Summit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this March. This was a truly incredible experience that uncovered a new found love of public speaking and a realization that my voice is much more powerful than I ever thought. I had such a great time speaking at the event and meeting other likeminded traveling women, I’m hoping to do some more speaking events in the future and share my stories and insight into ocean and marine conservation with as many people as possible.
This year I was blessed enough to take a trip of a lifetime to the Maldives where I had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks! The Maldives was somewhere I previously had only ever dreamed of visiting and to have it made into a reality was a dream come true. Being able to swim alongside the giants of the ocean was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Being in the Maldives I also got to witness first-hand the externalities of climate change on small island nation states. It was another eye-opening experience for me and inspired me to fight even harder for change towards a more sustainable future.
My beautiful country also celebrated 150 years this year and I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time at home to celebrate the festivities. Logan and I spent Canada Day in Toronto watching a baseball game, soaking up the entertainment in Nathan Phillips Square, and watching the fireworks explode off the CN Tower.
This was my first trip back to Europe in over two years and it did not disappoint! My family is actually from Portugal so I was looking forward to this trip for more reason than one. This trip reminded me how much I missed European culture and how much I LOVE Portuguese food! Most of my trips are to tropical destinations to capture beautiful scenery and do conservation work, so I’m not too concerned about the foodie scenes in the area, however, this trip to Portugal was the exact opposite! I really used this trip to immerse myself into Portuguese culture and food and let myself eat absolutely whatever I wanted and I did not regret it for a second!
At the end of the summer, I made another trip back to West Palm Beach to meet up with friends, new and old. This time I brought Logan along to introduce him to this amazingly passionate group of people. We had a blast diving with Ryan, Derek, and Tony and had perfect conditions for shark diving all week. It was a perfect trip to reconnect with everyone and end the summer on a high note.
After Florida, I took a short trip with my family to the Bahamas to get some last minute sunshine before heading back to school. This one wasn’t a work related trip so I was able to put the cameras and electronics aside and just enjoy the weather and have a blast tearing it up on the jet skis!
Found my True Voice
The most important thing that happened for Airplanes & Avocados this past year was me finding my voice. I’ve gotten comfortable with who I am as a writer and a person; I no longer worry about whether or not I “belong” in the creative world, but know that I do and I have found a unique and special voice that no one else can mimic. I’ve focussed my content on what’s important to me including topics like ocean conservation and sustainability, and have stopped being afraid of people reacting negatively to “non-travel” related content. I’ve never been more content with where I am in life and am so happy that I have this platform to share my passions with all of you.