Throughout the year, the pervasive mood in the country has been dour, an ominous shadow hanging over virtually everything else. And yet, we still put ourselves out there, traveling more this year than we had in the last two combined, which was simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. But 2018 was a challenging year for us personally, too. We both work full-time and there were some notable changes to our jobs, which upended the comfortable life we’d built. We were plagued with some health challenges, though fortunately nothing too serious. We had some unfortunate luck, like discovering our toilet was leaking the day before we were due to leave for a trip. And finally, in a real gut-punch, we lost a few friends unexpectedly–a fellow blogger to a freak accident and a longtime co-worker to cancer.
As for the blog, it’s hard to believe it’s been three years since its inception. Some days it feels like the time has flown by, while others it feels like a slow, steady, relentless grind. At this point, we could forgive you for assuming the blog is humming along like a well-oiled machine. But that hasn’t been the case. The curve balls have kept coming, so let’s talk about what the year brought us.
Wins and Losses
Our biggest challenge this year has been finding balance. With so much upheaval in our personal lives, keeping all the balls in the air became a day-to-day challenge. We had trouble maintaining a schedule with our posts, and we disappeared from social media for protracted periods. So why did we still do it? Because this blog continues to be our connection with the world. It’s where we share, where we learn and where we grow.
We finally cleaned up our site a little. We streamlined our blog categories, separating our Adventures in New York City and our Escapes from New York City. We started writing our Mad Chatter posts, which allowed us to ruminate on some issues that were on our minds, and to see if you were thinking about them too. We also added a calendar to our website, which allows us to feature some of our favorite seasonal activities.
Last year we mentioned that we’d met up with readers, fellow bloggers and social media buddies, and we’re happy to have continued that trend in 2018. But for those we haven’t been able to connect with in real life, our November project on Instagram proved the power of a virtual connection. With a few simple questions, comments turned into conversations. If you’re curious, this post kicked it off, and we have a summary in our Highlights on Instagram.
We were proud to have made the runner-up list on Lonely Planet’s Pathfinders site, and to have been featured on Vivant and INSIDER. We also had some fun collaborations, like the one with Vetexbart which translated our New York City Lower East Side recommendations into Dutch. And we would be remiss not to mention the death of Google+, a social platform that never really lived up to its lofty goals. Google+ was very good to us in our first year, featuring our blog early on and gaining us international readers. We’re sad to see it go.
It’s getting more and more difficult to pick favorite posts, so we’ll share a few of our popular ones:
2019 feels like a true refresh–a chance to get things back in balance. Though we’ll look to find more ways to highlight all the things we love about New York City, we also hope to travel as much or more than we did in 2018. We’re also planning to finally make a trip back to Malaysia to see friends and family, which will be our first trip home in six years. And we’re going to make a concerted effort to be more present. We need to spend more time connecting: with each other, with those around us, and with our experiences.
We abandoned the idea of blog milestones a long time ago, choosing to make this about what felt right for us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do better. We want to craft more robust posts, engage in different ways, pick up new skills and reach wider audiences.
The thought of writing this year-end review gave us pause, but we realized that despite our challenges, we continue to have plenty to be grateful for. One of our favorite sayings is, “It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” We believe that to be true, and we appreciate all the opportunities and friends this blog has brought our way.
Our biggest joy in this endeavor has been the dialogue. We love when someone tells us that they tried something we featured, or added something we did to an itinerary. We enjoy hearing from someone who shares our enthusiasm for a dish or a destination, as well as someone who disagrees with us completely. We’re especially grateful to everyone who’s taken the time to share their recommendations with us, giving us a wealth of new experiences. We’re honored when you mention us to someone else, and when you share something we’ve written. But more than anything, we’ve enjoyed the company. We’re thrilled to have you along on this journey. We love the thoughtful insights and the humorous comments. So we hope you’ll continue to share them.
Now it’s your turn: how was your 2018, and what would you like to do differently in 2019?