Travelling Tom: One year on

  Visiting Krka National Park was a highlight of my travels in 2016.

Visiting Krka National Park was a highlight of my travels in 2016.

In my mind I can pinpoint the exact moment that the idea sprung to mind. It was at the beginning of my third year of university and I was home alone in our new house.

The best feature about our house was the sofas in the living room because they were comfy and they reclined – a heavenly combo and a what would be touch of over-indulgence for virtually every student.

That’s exactly where I was sat, half watching the television, half looking at my laptop. I was in that kind of purgatory where Friday night was quickly sliding away and I wasn’t productively utilising my time whatsoever.

Up to that point, 2015 had been very generous to me. I treated my girlfriend to a trip to Krakow in January, was invited on a free trip to Dublin in April, partied in Ayia Napa in June, experienced beautiful Budapest in July and journeyed through the Baltic states and on to Finland in August.

  At Dublin's Aviva Stadium on a free trip which was passed on to a friend of mine by his Dad.

At Dublin's Aviva Stadium on a free trip which was passed on to a friend of mine by his Dad.

I’ve always been interested in visiting different places and countries since I was young. The excitement attached to going to a foreign land you’ve never visited before is unparalleled, so to tick off so many nations in such a short space of time was merely natural progression and a source of great personal excitement.

But why, as a third-year journalism student, didn’t I combine one of my passions with something I was good at?

Well, I already had done in some form. I love sports, and I’d done my fair share of football and NFL writing. But for as much as I enjoy and enjoyed doing that, there was something missing.

That something was me.

Sure, I enjoyed being in the press box at Goodison Park to watch my beloved Everton demolish Aston Villa 4-0 and get to live tweet the whole thing for local newspaper the Liverpool ECHO, and I enjoyed educating myself about American football and producing a plethora of articles on the sport, but reporting aside, I wasn’t otherwise involved.

That’s why when it suddenly clicked in my mind and I had the proverbial ‘lightbulb’ moment, I immediately debated why I hadn’t thought it up sooner.

I’d even been following a number of blogs and travel websites, yet had neglected to think that I could have been getting in on the action.

Starting up my own travel blog would not solely allow me to showcase my journalistic attributes, but also forge my own path as the subject of my musings.

It was the perfect realisation.

On that one night I started planning something that 365 days later I would be continuing and making progress with, taking forth my vision of not only not only documenting my own travels, but also creating a travel resource in which others could use and benefit from.

This year alone I have visited 20 countries and have three more to check off before January comes back around. If I hadn’t started this blog, I wouldn’t have been pressed to pursue this passion and my dream of visiting each and every country in the world.

This year alone I’ve met so many new people and stepped out of my comfort zone, trying such things as hostels, Couchsurfing and solo travel.

  In Copenhagen on my first solo trip, undertaking the challenge of taking a photo of myself!

In Copenhagen on my first solo trip, undertaking the challenge of taking a photo of myself!

It’s also helped me understand the value of hard work, determination and consistency. Over the last seven days I have been invited to my first ever press event and made my first bit of money from Travelling Tom. It's those three key things that have helped me make it this far, and provided a good foundation to push on from.

Had I not stuck at this thing, I’d be a long way of achieving either reward. It certainly has been a big boost to have both an invite and income just short of my website’s first anniversary.

I’m really excited about where this, and I, am going and there are a couple of big announcements and changes coming up this Sunday – so keep your eyes peeled to see what all that’s about!

And last, but not least, I would like to thank everyone for their support, kind words and encouragement with this particular venture.

In the last year I have managed to grow my audience and have a number of regular visitors, likers and sharers that have been instrumental in helping me get this far.

I’m committed in continuing to provide high-quality content as I move forward, and make Travelling Tom not just a place where I can share bits about my adventures, but also enrich the travels of my audience, too.