This time last year I sat in this very spot in a small café in Camden. I tap, tap, tapped on the keys writing this blog: The Greatest Decision I Almost Didn't Make.
Despite being a naturally optimistic person, I was run down, bored and frustrated. I'd never felt like it before. I desperately needed a break from being a London career girl, running around after other people, and needed to address no.1. Me. Myself. I. It was time to hit that reset button.
So I resigned from the stressful job, booked a plane ticket to Mexico, and went on a three and a half month trip through Mexico, Cuba and Central America. From learning Spanish in Mexico, to throwing myself down a volcano in Nicaragua, and getting to know the locals in Guatemala, it provided everything I needed and more. It made me excited about life again, gave me a confidence boost, and provided me with enough stories to last the rest of my life!
One year on... was it really the greatest decision I've ever made?!
YES! I can honestly say I have no regrets. Before I left, I was anxious about my trip, especially as I was travelling solo. While away I made tonnes of new friends from across the globe - some I would consider to be friends for life! Travel experiences create strong bonds and special friendships.
I launched my travel blog Wanderlust Chloe as a way to pass on stories, tips and photos from my adventures. I spent happy afternoons writing blogs on the beach in Mexico, evenings by ancient ruins in Guatemala uploading photos, and ate and drank every local delicacy possible in order to gain a real understanding of each country.
My lowest point? It wasn't while I was away, but when I returned to England in December. You know that 'post-holiday blues' feeling? Times that by 1000 and you might be able to relate to what I felt. Firstly, it was cold and dark...a big shock after months of Caribbean sunshine. But harder than that - I'd moved on, had all these incredible experiences, and yet everyone I'd left behind was still the same. I found it hard to fit in. I was unemployed and living back home... It was time to find a job.
I decided to go freelance, keen to steer clear of the 9-5 London grind, whilst keeping my travel options open. I spent a few weeks redesigning my blog, posting lots of new content and reaching out to travel companies.
The best way to conquer post-travel blues? Book a flight! In January I jetted off to Spain and spent two weeks road-tripping around Madrid, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Barcelona. The travel bug was back. It opened my eyes again and I knew I was hooked!
But come on, you have to earn money too right? Yes, I'm not totally irresponsible! Since then I have been freelancing for several great production companies. I've been a project manager, video director, social media planner, content creator and audio producer. I've worked on projects for Cadbury, Thomson Holidays, Radio 2 and more. Plenty of the work has involved travel, so I've managed to satisfy that love, alongside topping up the bank account.
Plus, there's Wanderlust Chloe. It's not easy maintaining a blog - I've worked every spare minute on developing it as a brand, and it's going really well. Over the last few months I've visited Turkey with the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, cruised around Croatia on a luxury yacht with MedSailors, been whisked off to Greece by Marketing Greece as part of their Blogtrotters project... and I've just returned from a week touring Scandinavia and The Baltics with Busabout. I've continued blogging onHuffington Post, and been accepted to write for Metro, GapYear.com and A Luxury Travel Blog. I've tried to make my love of adventure, a major part of my life. Not bad for someone who felt trapped in her full-time job exactly one year ago.
So what's next? Well that's for me to know, and you to find out. No doubt there will be some more ups and downs, but two years on, who knows where I'll be? For now, I'm just following Walt Disney's advice: "If you dream it, you can do it".
Follow Chloe's travels and adventures at Wanderlustchloe.com