I know many of you have been wondering what on earth has happened to Absolutely Lucy, I've had so many lovely emails and messages from you all, but there's no need to worry - I'm back! I took a little blogging break over the last two weeks because I had so much going on that it just became impossible to write anything down, plus the wifi has been so terrible here that I couldn't rely on it to upload new posts. In a big change from the party girl you all know and love, I'm now a responsible citizen with two jobs - and hopefully a third soon - who is looking for an apartment and getting settled for the next few months of working and saving in my new home of Darwin. After spending 10 days in Cairns celebrating the end of a fantastic East Coast trip - more to come on this soon - we flew to Darwin for the next stage of our trip when I would be settling down to live and save for a while. I actually can't believe how much I was craving routine, normality and a steady life after seven months of travelling but it's been lovely to get settled in a more homely hostel and to make a little family with the people here. We're all looking to stay and save for a few months and are getting settled in, which is lovely after having so many friends who passed through my life so quickly on the East Coast.
As I'm sure many of you know, I was travelling for two months with Mark, after we were reunited following six months apart. I'm not sure how many of you actually know that we broke up when I came travelling, but remain the best of friends, and it was amazing to be reunited and to have two months of travelling, partying and just doing what the hell we want. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and he left to fly to Thailand on Monday where he will spend the next three weeks before heading home to go to university. I always say that the worst part of travelling is saying goodbye, and although me and my best friends always say "it's not goodbye, it's just see you later", it doesn't make it any easier. It's hard enough saying goodbye to the friends you make on the road and have the most intense, crazy fun times with for a few weeks or days before parting ways. Having to say goodbye to someone who has been such a huge part of your life for ten years is the hardest thing in the world, and I've done it twice in the last eight months. Last time we knew it would be just six months until we would see each other again, but now we have to go even longer - perhaps seven or eight months at the very least - perhaps longer. It sucks, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices if you want to really live your dreams.
On a totally separate note, I was pretty excited to finally catch up on my emails and receive one that said Absolutely Lucy has been named one of the UK's top 100 Travel Blogs by DiscountMyFlights.co.uk! Read the full post here. I'm so honoured to be counted as one of the final 100 let alone to be listed first - it was such a boost after my blogging break and has really given me the motivation to get back into it. UK online travel website DiscountMyFlights.co.uk released the Top 100 UK Travel Blogs, a list compiled through crowdsourcing on social media sites. Bloggers were nominated from a variety of different sources including travel forums, bookmarking sites, travel communities. Nominees were then validated by the Travel Tips Editor Anna Murray. The company said: "This is a great accomplishment in a competitive and online sector that appears to be growing substantially." It's always so amazing to be recognised for something that started out as just a hobby and has gradually turned into a passion - especially when your passion fades for a while and needs reinvigorating. I'm really proud that AbsolutelyLucy.com has grown into something so special and so happy I could share it with all the amazing friends I've met travelling, who message me on a regular basis to say how much they love the posts, as well as all the people close to my heart I've left back at home. Thanks to all for being a part of this, and I'll be bringing more posts to you by the end of the week!
An extra post for you guys today because we're celebrating! Huge news for those who haven't seen on Facebook, Twitter or heard me shouting with excitement from the rooftops in Vietnam. On Friday night, AbsolutelyLucy.com won the highly commended award in the travel blogging section. My blog was shortlisted among ten or so, chosen out of around 30,000 thanks to your votes and support, and now has been named one of the best out of this incredible collection of writers. To say I'm bowled over is an understatement. I'm completely overwhelmed by it because it had never actually entered my head for a second that I stood a chance against these other amazing blogs. I love my blog, you guys love it, but I didn't realise that was enough to make these highly experienced judges feel the same way. It has been such a boost to know that you guys are enjoying my posts and pictures, that you love reading about my experiences as much as I love writing about them, so to know that industry professionals have enjoyed them also is amazing. I'm so proud to say that less than six months after I started travel blogging my blog is considered a success and worthy of note.
It is only a year and a half since I started out on this little venture, as a lifestyle blogger, which at the time was more of a hobby than anything else. Now it has become a huge part of my life and I love it, every second of it. From capturing every moment - the food I eat, the things I see and do, the people I meet - I love thinking about how you will experience the world through my senses. To writing, expressing how I felt about a place and what I loved and my new passions that have formed along the way. And more than any of it, I love the interaction, when you guys say a post has touched you or meant something to you, when others say they are living vicariously through me and when I then inspire others to travel solo or to explore the places I have been. It is amazing, all of it, and I'm so grateful to those who inspired me to start blogging and to those who have encouraged me along the way. I've come a long way since I was Friday's Girl, writing a weekly column in the local newspaper about my time at university - drunken nights out and all - but I hope you are enjoying my work more than ever before!
Sadly I didn't get to celebrate last night as I spent 17 hours on a sleeper bus eating mountains of fruit with my friend Paul, but I'm sure we'll make up for it with a few beers at our next destination! If you're cracking open a bottle of wine tonight, have a glass for me!
As usual, if there is ever anything you would like me to write about, any requests, anything you would like my opinion on, or you would like advice on travelling Asia or travelling solo - I'm always at the end of an email. You can contact me through the contact panel to the right of this post or through my Facebook and Twitter pages.