Goodbye 2017!

It’s time to take a moment, pause and reflect on what a ride 2017 has been.

Glancing at all the moments through images, notes and tweets, I can honestly just smile from ear to ear and keep repeating, “I did all that in one year?” 

“How am I still alive?”

But with great highs came great lows; pretending for just a split second that our lives are as magical as the picturesque visuals. Many of our challenges we shy away from people ever knowing.

Like the countless financial strain we had gone through with our car. Yes, it took us EVERYWHERE but before most of our trips, the universe felt the need to put a spanner in our path. Our selector shot loose before heading to Genadendal, the water pump was about to blow three days before our stay in Tulbagh, the overpriced service amounting to over R10 000.00 two days before our tedious road trip – one we saved towards for months.

What all of you didn’t know was that my father had a mild heart attack the same week my mother had enough of her job and handed in her resignation after 20 years of service while my sister was preparing to have a Cornea transplant and me trying to complete my Honour assignments and exams.

The fights Courtney and I had over where we need to say our vows. Mine at Home Affairs, him in a church. Who needs to be added to the guest list, why we cancelled our wine estate wedding venue and, why it’s being held in the midst of winter.

Not one image on my feed showed my depression; working three jobs. Leaving home at 6am, coming back at 7pm. Working until 2am every other night only to do the routine all over again up until Saturday. Mind you, I had to drop one of my projects just to keep sane.

Reading this scenario out loud of what happens behind the scenes and yet still blessed to tell the tales, my images really did showcase some of my most memorable moments.

Here are some of the highlights of 2017 that were my absolute favourite!

MEETING FELLOW BLOGGERS

Behind our mobiles lie other bloggers or influencers that I chat with daily. Whether it be on a friendship level or simply retweeting their content, we all respect one another for what we do. In most cases, you don’t even get to meet in person yet I had the privilege to encounter so many smart, funny and darn knowledgable creators more than once. Not only travel bloggers. Many of them are wine sommeliers; whose teaching me a thing or two about wines.


SAYING YES

To being a wife.

WIFE.

That title sounds weird to me but I’m quite excited to marry my partner in crime that has been by my side the last six years. The proposal took place in Hermon with mud on my feet and Courtney’s face drenched in sweat.

THE SMALL TOWN ADVENTURES

From one town to the next, we travelled to 18 small towns this year; tallying our town total to 64! With three other small towns we explored in the Eastern Cape.

It’s startling to think that once a dream is now a reality; constantly meeting new people, educating ourselves about what makes each town so unique, going out there and understanding the diverse cultures and foods (we love food) in South Africa and, just appreciating what we have at our disposal.

Our adventures took us to the countryside of Swellendam to the restorative beauty of the Garden Route leading us to the desert in the Klein Karoo and the coastal regions of Agulhas.

We couldn’t have been more blessed to explore South Africa the way we did this year.

TREKKING TO THE EASTERN CAPE

Last year, we flew to Kwazulu-Natal discovering all of Durban’s little gems. This year not only did we explore the Garden Route; a route that has been on top of our travel list since the stone ages but we drove to the second largest province, the Eastern Cape venturing into small towns like Storms Valley, Jeffrey’s Bay and Addo.

THE BLOG

With a new hosting name and solely focusing on travel content, this blog got some real traction. I’m immensely proud of the hard work I put into this little website of mine. Despite being hacked and the theme giving me trouble (it’s getting another makeover next month), I still look forward to putting up content every single time.

My website has opened so many doors for me. Even I’m still flabbergasted by the type of work that has come my way. It might not be much but being recognised from time to time does make ones heart beam, right?

I also added quite a few new categories like Wanderlust Traveller Interviews, The Travel Series Guide and, all things Lifestyle which you will see more of in the coming weeks.

I WAS ON RADIO

Who would’ve guessed that our adventures would one day allow us to be on radio? Yes, it was online but a privilege and honour to be sitting behind the microphone, chatting about our travels on Hashtag Radio. And, it was so much fun! Can I do it again?

What’s in store for 2018?

A LOT! We already jotted down our travel itineraries for the upcoming year. Since we’re getting married, our excursions will be put on the back burner a bit. One trip is planned in February, another in May then the big one will be the Honeymoon. I was already told that I can take pictures but not allowed to blog so there you have it – Not sure if we’ll be able to do a province trip next year.

I also have two new projects in the pipeline for www.stephaniemarthinus.com which I’m quite excited about. And, I’ll be contributing to a book!! I’ll discuss it once I myself have all the details. In even more exhilarating news, I created two new social media platforms; one for Small Towns Matter and a new one regarding all things wine.

I’ll also be putting my studies on hold and will return once I’m 100% ready to throw myself into the academics again.

So cheers to 2017! And a big welcome to 2018 adventures.

I’ll be on a blogging break and will return posting new content mid-January! Have a wonderful festive season, be safe of the roads and, have a Happy New Year.