Catch Up: Becoming Self-Partnered, Wrapping up 2019 and Exciting 2020 Plans

Almost Ginger blog owner at Dean Village in Edinburgh, Scotland

It’s Boxing Day. I’ve just finished eating cheese and crackers, the time is almost 17:30 and I’m on my second glass of fizz. I can’t think of a better situation in which to write a catch-up post to mark the end of 2019 on Almost Ginger and bring in 2020.

Some years feel like ‘cranking up’ years. Just like on a rollercoaster where you’re climbing higher and higher for what seems like forever and not much else is happening. Then, you anxiously hang off the edge before plummeting into a year which feels like 30 seconds of adrenaline, fear and ultimately relief. Panicky fun. Like, it’s amazing but you’re scared sh*tless at the same time. I think for most of us, big life changes all happen at full speed in a short space of time. In 2016, I went abroad at least six times (far more than 2015), moved twice, got made redundant and started a new job. Heck, most of this happened in one month.

2019 has very much felt like I’ve been ‘cranking up’ the rollercoaster. I’ve not personally achieved anything huge, but I feel like I’m hanging off the edge. Eagerly and anxiously anticipating the panicky fun of 2020.

Almost Ginger blog owner in Bowness-on-Windermere
Hanging in Bowness-On-Windermere, Lake District in May

I’m very happy being single. I call it being self-partnered – Emma Watson (2019)

Or “I broke up with my boyfriend of four years”

Feels a bit cringey to make this a whole segment of this blog post, but it’s too significant a life event to gloss over. And even better that I can use a 2019 buzz word from fellow single lady Emma Watson who polarised the internet with the term ‘self-partnered’ to describe her single status. In October, my boyfriend and I parted ways. It’s an adjustment but ultimately a positive one. When you know how awful break-ups can be, I feel lucky that we both knew we had no future together and could part amicably.

So, I’m single for the first time in four years! What’s changed? Well, I feel incredibly productive and I have literally been writing blog posts Every. Single. Day. And I’ve been going on lots of long walks which have helped my head feel clearer and my dresses fit better. I just feel completely free to do whatever I want to do.

I also had to open my own Netflix account for the first time ever. Urgh. And I don’t go to the cinema much now because I used to fit in my film trips when I visited my ex in Manchester. So, I don’t want as many new movies as I did. However, I’ve been re-watching lots of my old favourite movies/TV shows. For instance, The Before Trilogy (1995-2013), Call Me By Your Name (2017) and yes, I’m even re-watching Sex and the City. I love being a cliché. And I’m really loving being self-partnered. Now, where did I leave my copy of Eat Pray Love

Almost Ginger blog owner with her mother at Sleddale Hall in Cumbria, UK
Me & Mum at a Withnail & I outdoor screening in Cumbria in June

The fact I’m trying to speak Polish in Italy is one of the many surprises around here – Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Or “2019 Travels to Poland, Italy, Scotland and, erm, Italy again”

2019 may not have been a landmark year for travel but I can’t look back and not immediately feel happy and grateful for all the experiences I did have. So I don’t really care how much/little I’ve travelled.

January-June

In January, I spend a week volunteering via a workaway exchange at a Buddhist centre near where I live in Cumbria, UK. In March, I had a fantastic city break in Wrocław, Poland which cemented the fact I need to see a lot more of Poland. I also finally got to visit Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire for the 1st Hebden Bridge Film Festival, somewhere in the UK I’ve been wanting to visit for ages. And in May, I revisited the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London which was even more incredible than it was in 2012 when I last went.

June was a game-changing month for me as I spent it entirely away from home. Firstly, I attended Traverse, the content creators’ conference, in Trento, Italy. It was such a brilliant weekend. As always, I loved meeting so many new and old friends in the blogging world. I tagged on a few days in Verona and Sirmione on Lake Garda on my trip to Trento, too. Then, I managed to snag press accreditation to the Edinburgh International Film Festival. This was super exciting for me because I’ve never got press accreditation for Almost Ginger before. And Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities (I also got a cheeky new Scotland-related tattoo, too).

Get ready for lots of photos of my face during 2019. You’re welcome.

Manjushri Buddhist Centre in the Lake District, UK
Temple for World Peace at the Manjushri Centre in January
Almost Ginger blog owner in Wrocław, Poland
Realising how awesome Wrocław (and Poland) is in March
Almost Ginger blog owner in Heptonstall near Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, UK
Trying out my camera remote in Hebden Bridge in March
Almost Ginger blog owner at Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, UK
Re-visiting Harry Potter Studio Tour in May
Almost Ginger blog owner in Trento, Italy
#lovinglife in Trento in early June
Fangirling at the Call Me By Your Name locations in Sirmione on Lake Garda in June
Almost Ginger blog owner on top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland
Top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, late June

July-December

In September, I hopped on a train to Durham and York in search of Harry Potter filming locations. I also piggybacked my parent’s trip to Palermo, Sicily. Palermo is a fantastic place for a city break and we tried all the amazing street food and took a day trip to the charming coastal city of Cefalù. I’ll be writing a Palermo itinerary soon!

The latter half of the year wasn’t as full-on, but I’ve loved spending time at home. Of course, now I think I’m ready to start being braver and taking more opportunities to travel as often as I can, mostly solo.

Almost Ginger blog owner at Durham Cathedral in Durham, UK
Visiting Harry Potter locations at Durham Cathedral in September
Almost Ginger blog owner in Palermo, Sicily in Italy
Enjoying the lovely sunset from the roof of Palermo Cathedral in Sicily, September

There isn’t enough room for me and your ego – Casino Royale (2006)

Or “2019 Successful and Unsuccessful Film Challenges”

As well as the travel and the blogging, I attempted to complete some random film challenges. I set myself challenges every year and usually do horribly, but 2019 was less horrible. I always feel like a terrible film fan: never watching enough classic cinema, not enough world cinema or non-mainstream cinema, etc. etc. so I set myself the most ridiculous goals.

In the end, I managed to watch all 24 James Bond films and I managed to watch #52FilmsByWomen. The latter challenge is a movement where you watch 52 films directed by a woman each year. The aim is to be more aware of diversity in the film industry, both on and off-screen. I actually smashed that one this year, I’ve watched 135 and counting.

I also wanted to watch every single Agnès Varda film (I watched two) and every single Pedro Almodóvar film (he’s my favourite director and I watched six this year). Watching every single Netflix original film directed by a woman was also on the list but JUST when I thought I had almost finished, I discovered about 20 other films I hadn’t counted. So I sacked that goal off.

I think I will try and watch every single Pedro Almodóvar film in 2020. But I’m not pressuring myself next year AT ALL when it comes to film. I need to focus my energy elsewhere and I want to concentrate on watching movies that have filming locations I’m going to visit.

Almost Ginger blog owner and friend in Birmingham, UK
My University bestie & me at Birmingham Library in March

Money’s only something you need in case you don’t die tomorrow – Wall Street (1987)

Or “Very Tentative Travel Plans for 2020”

I’m very excited about my very tentative plans for 2020. They’re still very up in the air because I only have one trip confirmed. And I may not end up doing half of what I’ve got planned here, but I hope I’m still travelling as much or doing just as exciting things.

In February/March, I hope (you’ll be seeing this word a lot) to spend some time in Scotland. Hopefully on a workaway exchange at a hostel. I’d like to visit more filming locations in Scotland in general, especially the Outlander filming locations.

And in April, I have one confirmed trip! I’m going on a city break to Kraków in Poland with Jet2 (which means it’s my first ever overseas trip with a brand!) and my friend Ellie is coming with. I really can’t wait to plan this trip, it’s going to be so much fun.

More tentatively, I plan to go back to Cannes Film Festival in May on a ‘Three Days in Cannes’ pass. I attended Cannes Film Festival in 2017 with the Cinephile pass. But I really want to try out the ‘Three Days’ pass before I’m too old to apply. I’d really love to take the train down and hit up Paris and Lyon for a couple of days on the way. And maybe head to Monaco for a day, just to experience it. But that’s a big ‘we’ll see.’

And even more tentatively, in June, I want to visit Madrid for a language exchange. Then maybe tag that onto revisiting another workaway exchange in Andalucía that I did in 2017. And apply for accreditation for the Venice Film Festival in September. Maybe. Hopefully.

Almost Ginger blog owner next to Edinburgh Caste in Scotland, UK
“Edinburgh is always a good idea” – Rebecca (2019)
View of Wrocław Old Town Sqaure in Poland
Wrocław was lovely and I’m sure Kraków in April will be too!
Theatre Lumiere during Cannes Film Festival 2017 in France
Cannes 2017 was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences
The Haçienda Retreat in Granada, Spain
Who wouldn’t want to go back to this paradise?

Isn’t that what you want too, Jo, to be a famous writer?

Yes, but it sounds so crass when she says it – Little Women (2019)

Or “Blogging and Freelance writing in 2020”

Yes, I’m still attempting to make Almost Ginger my full-time gig. I reached 24,000 pageviews in August but the Google algorithm changes in September/October hit me hard and it’s much lower than that right now. But, I’ve recently invested in Keysearch and SEO courses from Make Traffic Happen in the Black Friday sale and I’m completely committing to my blog in 2020. I don’t know if I’m really determined or really deluded. But I still feel like 2020 is the year I make money from Almost Ginger. ‘Watch this space’ and stuff.

I have had lots of strokes of luck, freelance-writing wise this year. In the middle of November, I was super fortunate to be handed a long term freelance writing contract for a bigger travel blog writing two articles a week. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but consistent and guaranteed freelance writing work (that is enjoyable AND interesting) is incredibly hard to find. It’s given me a confidence lift (not to mention a bank balance lift) and I also bought this travel writing course from Superstar Blogging in the Black Friday sale to keep improving my writing skills.

Almost Ginger blow owner at Tarn Hows in the snow, Lake District in the UK
Snowy scenes at Tarn Hows in the Lake District, January

Thank you, thank you! Thank you very much! – The Fall (2006)

Or “Thank you”

This post has been extremely ‘me me me’ but I’ve already prattled on for 2,000 words. So I’ll end it by saying a brief thank you. Thank you for reading this blog post, and for any other blog post in 2019. Thank you for following me on social media (@almostgingr) even though I post very sporadically, I so appreciate it. I’m not a blogger without readers and I’m so, so grateful to those who keep coming back. If you ever want me to write a post about a specific topic, let me know! If I can do it justice, I’ll write it.

A big thanks to my parents for continuing to believe in me and still letting me live with them while I chase my dream of becoming location independent. I’m sure we all thought it would happen sooner, so I’m really grateful. And to my sister Natalie for giving me a nephew. That was a super kind of her. He’s spot-on, as kids go. I mean, I’m sure she enjoys having him too and she didn’t birth him just so I could be an Auntie, but still. What a lovely thing to do.

Thanks to anyone who has left me a nice comment or said something nice. Really, even if 2020 isn’t the year I think it’s going to be, I’d at least want to still be this content about life in exactly one year’s time. I hope to still be meeting amazing, friendly people both in real life and online. I’ve never had so many friends before since starting this blog and that makes me more contented than travel and films.

I wish you all the best for 2020 and a happy new year!

Almost Ginger blog owner in BrewDog pub in Edinburgh, Scotland
Cheers! Slàinte! Saluti! Chin chin!

7 thoughts on “Catch Up: Becoming Self-Partnered, Wrapping up 2019 and Exciting 2020 Plans

  1. Jess says:

    Lovely wrap up of the year! Even if it was a year of transition, it looks like you had a lot of fun adventures and growth. Looking forward to seeing all your recaps of 2020 travels as well! Your #52FilmsByWomen achievement is very inspiring, and it’s reminded me that its something I should be paying attention to in my own film watching.

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks Jess, definitely cannot complain! 🙂 It’s funny because I really wasn’t even trying to watch so many, but then I guess we never do, do we? I’m sure the vast majority were on Netflix because they’re honestly doing much more than anyone else to get better diversity behind the scenes and have a lot of Netflix original films directed by women. For context, I think I watched just over 400 films in 2019 so roughly 1/4. I will definitely *not* be watching that many in 2020 haha.

  2. Tony Cogan says:

    Your travel plans sound brilliant, hopefully things like up for you to do the festivals. Krakow is a lovely city

    I’ve got my own travel plans for this year, my family are spending a week in Oslo in June and me, my brother and my sister are plannign a trip to Munich, but we haven’t decided when, but we will be doing some film location stuff (going to spend a day in Salzburg and I’m going to insist on going to this .

    I’ve got my own challenges for this year, some film related (going to keep doing the #52FilmsByWomen challenge) and some personal (I did the Swim Serpentine event last year (as these pretty unflattering pictures show https://www.awoladventure.com/events/londonmevents/swimserpentine2019/racenumber/522) and I’m planning to do it again and cut my time down.

    Hope you have a great 2020.

    • Rebecca says:

      Well fingers crossed! I’m sure not all of it will pan out but hopefully a couple will 🙂
      Oh that sounds fantastic, I’ve never been anywhere in Scandinavia and in June you might get those super long days of daylight!
      Oh yeah the Bavaria film studio is there isn’t it? Sounds awesome! I’ve always thought about going to Munich during Oktoberfest but I bet it’s crazy.
      Ah that’s cool, I think I’ll probably do the #52FilmsByWomen again because I think once you start just taking note of who the director is and become more aware it’s like second nature. I didn’t know you did a swim challenge, good for you! 🙂
      Thanks Tony, I hope you have a fantastic 2020 too!

      • Tony Cogan says:

        Yeah, I’ve been to Oslo before over New Years in 2017, it’s a beautiful city, going to be interesting to see it in summer.

        Don’t think Oktoberfest would really be my scene, but Munich has been a city I’ve wanted to go to for years, it’ll be great to see the sites of the city.

        I know what you mean about taking note of films, last year I made my way through the films of Lynne Ramsay and Julie Taymor I hadn’t seen, going to try and make my way through the films of Gurinder Chadha, Andrea Arnold and Ava DuVernay, and once Portrait of A Lady on Fire comes out I’m going to rewatch the films of Celine Sciamma.

        Doing the open water swimming in the Serpentine was an amazing experience, it was cold (made the right call wearing a wetsuit for it) but I found it so rewarding to finish the event, I’m hoping to do more open water swimming this year, and doing the swim in the Serpentine again.

  3. Katy says:

    “it’s amazing but you’re scared sh*tless at the same time” perfect way to describe the New Year. It looks like you had an eventful 2019. Your photographs are truly lovely. I hope 2020 treats you well and you’re able to travel as much as you’d like to!

    • Rebecca says:

      Aw thanks Katy! I hope 2020 delivers for you too, I loved your end of year post – you read so many books!! I’m in awe!

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