As with every year before it and, most likely, every year to come, 2017 was a year of ups and downs.
It was a year where I felt like I was constantly a step behind and just trying to catch up.
I spent the first two months of 2017 searching for a full-time job in Leeds, trying to help my career and bank account get back on track after taking a year off. (You can read more about my decision to take an early-career break here)
When I finally started working full-time (not in my chosen career field, but in a job I ultimately really enjoyed) I was so keen to make up for lost time and income that I juggled two jobs for six months. The long days and weeks left me with little energy to devote to this blog, so my little corner of the internet suffered – something I fretted and felt guilty about every single day.
When our Swedish visas didn’t include work permits, I was suddenly faced with a reality where traditional work wasn’t a possibility. Although there was no way to prepare for this, I immediately felt that I was running to catch-up as a blogger and freelancer (why hadn’t I started sooner was something I thought all too often).
For me, 2017 was a year clouded by a case of the shoulds: I should be working, I should be writing, I should be travelling, I should be further along, I should, I should, I should…
I spent so much time thinking about where I should be that I completely forgot about what I was doing and where I’d been. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post and reread all of my month in review posts that I realized just how much I’d done, seen and accomplished this year.
Come to think of it, 2017 was a pretty alright year.
While I didn’t accomplish all my goals, I came pretty damn close on more than a few (click here to read my 2017 goals and get a quick update on how I did).
2017 was a tough year, but it’s also a year where I grew a lot, made a lot of big decisions and laid the foundation to make my dreams come true.
Like all years, it had its good, its bad and its great moments. It had moments that made me proud, moments that made me cry and moments that blew my socks off. To kick off 2018, let’s take a quick look back at my petite adventures from 2017.
- Kicked off 2017 in Toronto, visiting friends, family and remembering how cold winter can actually be (we were so spoiled in Madrid and Leeds).
- Took a day trip to hike Ilkley Moor, visiting the famous Cow and Calf Rocks and seeing what all the fuss was about.
- Ended the month with a city break to Gdansk, Poland where we ate, drank and lived like royalty. (Read more on the five reasons I think everyone should visit Gdansk).
- In February, I briefly took up the hobby of walking (seriously) and explored the Marsden Moor Estate in the Peak District.
- Traveled north on the train from Leeds to Edinburgh, and spent a weekend exploring the Scottish capital city, not climbing Arthur’s Seat (you can read all about that edition in the Scaredy Kate chronicles here) and taking my first bites of haggis.
- After months of searching, I *finally* secured a full-time day job in Leeds. March was a blur as I worked two jobs trying to make up for the few months I’d been without. When I wasn’t working, I was sleeping or fretting about neglecting this blog.
- Took a day trip to York as a friend was visiting from the London-area. The cherry blossoms were in bloom, so the old city looked extra beautiful.
- May marked my biggest and my favourite trip of the year: a week of exploration, rest and relaxation in Croatia. (You can relive a few of my favourite photo highlights here).
- Explored Zadar and listened to the haunting sounds of the sea organ at night.
- Took a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a serious natural wonder and one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.
- Spent three hours on a bus to Split, where I spent four days eating gelato, wandering the ruins and gazing out at the turquoise sea.
- Took a day trip to Supetar, a small island off the coast of Split. (Plan your own eight-day adventure in Croatia with this helpful and hand itinerary).
- Worked, slept and fretted about neglecting this blog.
- Saw Mamma Mia 30 times and it was amazing every single time (I worked at a theatre, I’m not that much an Abba psycho-fan…)
- Prepared for our upcoming international move (decluttering even when you don’t have stuff takes a long time).
- Tagged along when Dave attended a conference in London. It was my first proper visit to the capital and I spent the majority of my time sightseeing and sneezing.
- Jetted off to spend a weekend with friends in Nijmegen (you can learn more about the area by reading my Eindhoven Bucket List) where I relaxed, cycled and fell in love with the Dutch way of life.
- Just before our trip, Dave and I learned that our Swedish visas had been approved, they just weren’t the ones we applied for (read more about our visa fiasco here). A good majority of the month was spent gathering information and documents and trying to get our decision reversed. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
- With our decision upheld, Dave and I travelled to London to pick-up the decision from the Swedish embassy. While in the capital, we explored Marylebone, ate amazing meals, and had a glorious 24-hour stay.
- Mid-month, we said goodbye to Leeds and moved to Stockholm.
- One gloriously sunny fall day, I hopped on the pendeltåg (commuter train) and headed north to explore Uppsala.
- Devoted the month to setting into life in Stockholm:
- I started Swedish lessons;
- I came down with a wicked cold; and,
- Dave and I joined a curling club.
- I dedicate more time and energy to my blog (at least, behind the scenes) after months of ignoring it. I migrated my site to Bluehost, redesigned the layout, and set the foundation for what I hope this blog will one day become.
- November was another month devoted to settling into life in Stockholm:
- I continued with my Swedish lessons;
- I joined a yoga studio; and,
- We continued with our weekly curling matches.
- Additionally, November was the month I really kicked my freelance work into gear. After weeks of behind the scenes work, I launched my website, landed my first clients and got to work making my dreams a reality. (Learn more about the writing and design services I offer at kateslean.com).
- Dave’s parents came to Stockholm and we travelled to Oslo, Norway. We spent three beautiful days exploring the city, eating amazing food and enjoying all that Oslo has to offer.
- We explored more of Stockholm, including taking a boat tour of the city and venturing into the archipelago.
- I relaxed, read and reflected on 2017: a good, bad, interesting and unforgettable year.
Here’s to another year of memories and adventures!
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