2019 was an interesting year both personally and professionally. In many ways, it felt like an entire lifetime. I married my best friend, spent quality time with my family, travelled the world, and shared a lot of it with you all. Professionally, I finally feel as though I found my sweet spot — a nice mix between client work and personal projects. I dipped my toes in video, wrote for a handful of publications, and as a result, this blog has taken a bit of a backseat. Over the years, it’s grown into a space where I can share personal stories, milestones and struggles that hopefully hold some universal truths and thought-provoking questions for you.
Surrounded by our friends and family, Nick and I got married on our ten year anniversary. It was better and worse than I could’ve ever imagined. The day after the terrorist attacks, we were all in shock, heartbroken and yet incredibly grateful to be with our loved ones. Leading up to our wedding, I had become consumed with all the menial, superficial details of our day. I became obsessed with celebrating this milestone, one that felt like the most important day in the world. My entire perspective has changed after the 15th and it felt like a wake up call.
I haven’t said or written much about the Christchurch terrorist attacks that killed 51 precious souls in their place of worship mostly because I haven’t found the words. Perhaps it’s not my place, but it’s something I think about every day and am still trying to process. The response from our city, our prime minister and the world was comforting; Jacinda Ardern managed to change gun laws within six days and her empathy has truly come to define her as a great leader. The donations, messages and aroha flooded in from everyone and everywhere… Yet there are still echoes of xenophobia and racism in New Zealand. Stereotyping, generalisations, ‘harmless’ comments and jokes, people flat out refusing to pronounce Māori words and names correctly. I remember when Taika Waititi’s video with the Human Rights Commission first came out and how it brilliantly illustrated the subtle ways prejudice thrives in this country. I hope in five or twenty years from now, we haven’t forgotten about our nation’s darkest day and we’re all still doing the necessary work to build inclusive communities, voting in favour of governments that welcome immigrants and refugees, actively learning about other cultures, races and religions, and remembering the country’s history and educating ourselves on the Treaty of Waitangi.
The rest of the year was a bit of a blur, taking on new projects with local, national and international businesses. I worked with Christchurch hospitality clients and filmed a travel documentary with American Airlines (out in March!) I travelled to Dubai, Europe and the UK with Nick before heading home to Canada for family time. It was Nick’s first time in Europe and he fell in love with Amsterdam, where he spent 2.5 weeks studying urban economics and cycling everywhere. We even found our Smash Palace equivalent and plenty of amazing eateries and cafés. It felt like somewhere we could live long term. We also went to Paris (Paris is never a bad idea!) and London where we stayed with Nick’s uncle, Andrew, the ultimate tour guide and cultural buff.
That said, the amount I’ve been travelling has been weighing on me, especially given the climate crisis and the fires in Australia. I’ve always loved to explore and experience different places and cultures, but these signs are impossible to ignore and I know I need to cut back. I’ve been taking steps in all other areas of my life, limiting the amount of meat I eat, cycling rather than driving, and buying way less (also accepting very few PR packages). So, in 2020, I’m making some big decisions about travel for the next wee while. I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming months…
I got a bit personal with you all this year, sharing my fertility struggles and the outpouring of love offered me hope in what felt like a hopeless situation. I can’t thank you enough for your messages, comments and general support. I’m usually quite private when it comes to my personal struggles, but this had been on my mind for years. I even started having dreams (more like nightmares) and it was impacting my sleep. I had written six or seven drafts by the time I finally mustered up the courage to share. Needless to say, I was blown away by the response I received and was reminded of how important it is to be vulnerable with one another.
And for my announcement…
I’m proud as punch to announce that I’ll be launching my very own consultation sessions in 2020. These one-on-one sessions are in response to questions I am frequently asked directly on Instagram or in person, on subjects ranging from how to get started in marketing to approaching editors and getting your writing published. While I do my best to answer every question I receive, sometimes they require a bit more thought and attention. I am now at a place professionally where I feel equipped to offer advice on the publishing and marketing landscape and will soon be opening up a form on my website (go check it out if you’re wondering what I’m talking about…) These consultation sessions will be open internationally via Skype and FaceTime as well.
All in all, 2019 has been a year of growth with some of the highest highs and lowest lows. As I get older, I’m not as focused on ticking off the big milestones, I want to make memories with my loved ones and become a better person, someone with integrity and continue to speak up for what matters. Wherever you are currently, whether you had the best year of your life or you’ve just managed to get by, 2020 is a clean slate. The year is yours, so plan something amazing! Here’s to making it a good one!
I’d love to hear more about what you’re up to in 2020, leave me a comment below. x
Photo by Hannah Bird Photography