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2017: The Year in Review

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The year 2017 will come to an end in a few days. I am grateful for the opportunity to look back and reflect on all the events it brought with it. I wrote my first post in this series in 2016 (2016: The Year in Review). And knowing I had to do this again this year motivated me to ‘create’ a year worth writing about. So, without further ado, here’s the best of 2017 from Travel with a Pen.

Highlights!

This year was a particularly good one travel and career wise for me. After many sleepless nights, working weekends and stalled travel plans, I got ‘my pen‘ – which symbolizes a major milestone in my career progression. If this was the only thing I achieved in the year, I would still deem it a very successful one. I had a lot of people rooting for me on this one and I’m grateful to each and everyone of you, for the push and encouragement to get through with it. Muchos gracias!

As for Travel with a Pen, I think we got a little bit more recognition this year. First, was the chance to be part of Social Prefect‘s panel for the Social Media Week in February. Then, I got travel to Abuja for Travelstart Nigeria. I made the trip with the best girls – Mofe of Naija Nomads, Lola of Unravelling Nigeria and Fola of Folaswaka. (They all have super inspiring blogs and IG pages, you should totally check them out…). The girls and I also worked on a couple of videos for our travel channel – Through Our Eyes. Please, subscribe if you haven’t done so already.

And then I got invited out to lunch at Thai Thai restaurant by a lovely friend of mine, Yvette. The food was so good, it had to make it to the highlights! This year was also great for connecting with readers and new friends from all around the globe. I got featured on KacheeTee, iModelAfrica, TMid, Naidrenalin and DiusorOdiakosa and received numerous emails from readers just checking in to say hello, or to ask questions about travel or to let me know how this blog has inspired them to travel more and differently too!

I’m always so elated to see your emails. Thank you for writing to me and for all the comments you leave here. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming year…

Lowlight…

I began the year by transitioning from my old blog (Chapter One) into this one. It was a long, hard transition due to constraints at work and I employed the services of a company to help with the move. Needless to say, that was probably the worst decision I made all year. The company failed to deliver as per the plan, remained unbothered when things turned sour, I received no refunds or any official apology, lost my old comments, stats, time and of course money. In the end, I just had to be patient enough to work on the new blog myself. I have taken away many lessons from that experience, so it’s all good.

Month-by-Month Adventures on Travel with a Pen

January: I began the year with a trip to Omu Resort in Lagos. It was a fun ‘lil trip I made with my friend and a good way to kick off 2017. Later the same month, I visited the neighboring countries of Benin Republic and Togo on a budget. This was my second visit to Benin R and first to Togo and I absolutely enjoyed the trip.

In February, I went hiking, forest camping and searching for wild African elephants in Ogun State with Unravelling Nigeria. I absolutely loved the thrill of camping in Nigeria and our mini safari – which ended in a cold trail. The entire trip was so much fun and I’m hoping for more trips like this in 2018.

In April, my sister and I took a road trip from Nigeria to Ghana. We had a stop at Grand Popo (Benin Republic) before visiting Accra and Cape Coast. If you haven’t checked out the posts, make sure you do :). I also have a review of all the services we used and a detailed cost breakdown too.

July was for spectacular views in Obudu and Agbokim waterfalls. My sister and I also visited Calabar, where we had a wonderful time connecting with family and new friends. I also have a detailed breakdown of the trip and a review of the services we used.

In August, we teamed up with Travelstart Nigeria for a trip to Abuja. While we were there, we took a detour to the very beautiful Kajuru Castle in Kaduna. We also used the train service from Abuja to Kaduna in order to get there. We packed in many new experiences in this short trip and I’m just happy I got to spend some quality time with the best travel buddies!

I ended September and began October with a trip to Kwara State by Unravelling Nigeria and Jansport Nigeria. This trip had us chasing the highest waterfall in West Africa and visiting the first museum in Nigeria. We also got to visit Dada Pottery and got a first hand tutorial of the making of clay pots.

November and December were work intensive months. I spent my weekends at work and it paid off when I finally got my pen. I am also doing an excerpt reading for my book ‘Beyond the Beautiful Sea’ which got shortlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Prize. The event is on Saturday 23rd December, 3-5pm at 16 by 16—Flat 16, 16 Kofo Abayomi St., Victoria Island, Lagos. Feel free to stop by 🙂

accra ghanaThis year was certainly filled with lots of exciting adventures. I am happy to have been able to share this journey with everyone of you and I am grateful for all your support, emails, comments and feedback.

PS: The articles below explain how I am able to travel with respect to time and money.

5 ways to balance your work travel life | How I afford to travel

PPS: My number 1 goal for this blog is to encourage [Nigerians] to travel more (and differently) and to help dispel certain travel myths – one of which is the myth that ‘only rich people can travel‘. Like I’ve said a few times, you don’t always need a large budget to travel (if that is your passion). Don’t be afraid to start small and scale up later…

I hope 2018 would be a wonderful year for us all!

I would love to hear about your year. Did you try anything new or exciting? What are your (travel) plans for 2018?

16 Comments

  1. What a year you had! Congratulations Amarachi! Here’s wishing you an even better 2018. Great job with the blog, you know I’m a huge fan. And, congratulations on your career advancement. More blessings!

  2. Oh look at how much you did in the year! Highly commendable and very well done! We are currently writing down what we acheived this year and did not realized we did so much! 2017 was a good good year, no lies! Cheers to a bigger and better 2018….

    • Just got caught up with your highlights. Congratulations on all your strides in 2017! I know 2018 will be even better.

  3. Sounds like you had a full and wonderful year! I am sorry the blog transition was so rough – but it payed off because your new blog is wonderful and I have been enjoying it 🙂

    • Thank you, Rachel. I did have a great year and 2018 is already looking up! I’m also happy I found your blog in the past year.. cheers to more exciting adventures (and less painful misadventures) this year! 🙂

  4. Congrats on your pen dear and all the travels this year, my friend and I plan to explore Nigeria next year but then I was doing research and trying to figure out the attractions and was already complaining bout nothing to do, then I recalled your blog and ran here lol.
    Congrats again and can’t wait for what you accomplish next year

    • Thank you so much! I hope you found something useful to help plan your trip 🙂 Feel free to send me an email in case you need any additional info. Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

  5. congrats Amarachi.. on your career success and blogging career as well. I know that 2018 will be an awesome year for you too. Wish you the very best in the New year and loads of God’s blessings. All the best!

    • Thank you so much, Zinny! Sending you lots of love and best wishes for the new year – in all areas of your life.

  6. Great year indeed. Congrats on getting your pen at work and the many strides you made with the blog. The Nigerian in me is tapping into your pen blessing biko. Here’s to 2018 with greater achievements.

    Beht why are some people like this @low light. It irks to no end to outsource work and end up getting it done yourself after you lost time that you didn’t initially have o and money.

    • Thank you, Ogoo. I pray 2018 will be a blessed & prosperous year for you! Already excited for it.
      For the lowlight, honestly, you want to patronize SMEs in Nigeria and some of them constantly make you question that decision. And Customer Service? Almost zero in the case of this particular company. I’m glad that’s over.

  7. You had a great year, but I just saw this now and I’m bummed I didn’t know about you reading :(. Blogger, Author, what else? Congrats on getting your pen, but what is this pen? You accomplished a lot this year travelwise with the trips, features, and invitations!! I’m sorry to read about your site transfer fiasco 🙁

    Just over here rooting for you!

    • Haha, thanks Dee. ‘The Pen’ is literally a pen. You get it if you’re successful with the defense of a project you’ve worked on and a series of interviews. It signifies a step up in the career ladder.

      You know I’m always rooting for you too. 2018 will be a good year to us in all areas!

  8. Aww! Really enjoyed reading this. It’s nice to look back on the year and just reflect cause life gets so fast paced sometimes. Loved following your adventures this year & look forward to it next year too. What is this I hear about a book? Where can I snag a copy??

    • Thanks Tiese, I’ve enjoyed following yours as well! My book isn’t in print yet but I’ll definitely let you know as soon as it comes out 🙂

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