2016 – A Year in Review
Okay, who’s ready for a tenuous link between travel writing and a retrospective look at the last 12 months …
For The Lighter Journal we travel, that’s the basic premise and that’s what I’ve done. But travel isn’t just a matter of geography, but also of time, and as we stand thoroughly inside 2017 it’s time to think of the travelling we’ve done through 2016.
As the flagship year for The Lighter Journal itself, I should probably start exactly where it all started. One morning I awoke to a message on my phone, a small circle containing Mara Patraiko’s face was on my screen. Mara and I had shared a few uni classes by this point and we’d always had a laugh – wondering if she was asking about the latest assignment I read “Hi Bobby, I’m starting up a travel website called ‘thelighterjournal’ and I would love you to get on board as a content writer.” – Well, I can admit that I was blushing, gushing, and any other type of “ushing” you can think of. Soon after we were in the university grounds taking headshots for the website (we ended up with 52 pictures in the end, only 3 were usable due to my massive head). It was some of the best fun I’d had at uni, and I was ready to get writing.
My first piece on Stonehenge received the following review from our dear Creative Director, Mara – “Obviously I’d never read your writing before and I couldn’t be happier with the risk (smiley emoji)”. Curse my shyness to read my work in class – She had no idea if I could even write, just that I was highly sarcastic. Quite the risk if you ask me. Well it turned out that I could write and that my articles were generally okay – phew!
After settling into a nice, new, journalistic endeavour my next great adventure was personal. As I’ve made no secret of I moved to Glasgow from Southampton. A glorious 450 mile journey that took me away from everyone/everywhere I knew, placing me in a city and country filled with accents, and Irn Bru. Of course I can’t complain, I love a bottle of ginger (oh, and it’s great for a hangover). It was a toll, it took a fair amount of time, money, and sanity, which was extremely fun as the only one of those three that I have is time. Yet here I am, typing in my office, in my gorgeous flat, in a great city. Life happens quickly and often when it’s most inconvenient.
Educationally I came to the end of education … now there’s a sentence. As I, and my fellow writers, celebrated just a few months ago – We graduated! The University of Winchester put on a big old do in the cathedral and someone (for reasons unknown) allowed Alan Titchmarsh to ramble on for a solid half an hour after my arse had gone numb on the wooden seat. Still, I’ve now got myself a fancy piece of paper that’s collecting some beautiful dust instead of getting me employed. Thank God I’ve got that £27,000 of debt to keep my warm at night.
Well this one wasn’t funny, but after 2016 I don’t think we had much to laugh at. Celebrities died, as did democracy (Brexit and Trump were the final nails in that coffin), but 2017 is next, and though we’re only a few months in, who knows? It might be alright. Let’s have a cigar, a glass of whiskey, and see what happens.
Editor: Floss Hafter-Smith