Last year was the first year that I didn’t write an end of year review. In retrospect, I’m sorry that I skipped that tradition given that Adventures from Elle celebrated five years of existence in 2021 and had received recognition on national television and in the local paper. However, I couldn’t bring myself to write a recap publicly. 2021 was one of the most difficult years of my life, personally and professionally. The pandemic was at its peak with the delta CoVid-19 variant in circulation between August to November 2021, and I still don’t feel as if I’ve fully recovered from that trauma. However, I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better place emotionally for 2022, and my workplace + life in Jamaica are mostly back to normal. I celebrated SIX years of blogging on Adventures from Elle this month too. With that said, let’s recap 2022.
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I don’t understand why my colleagues think I’m “always traveling.” I spend 50% of my time at work, 40% at home or running errands, and about 8% commuting. However, that 2%, ha! Here’s what I did this year:
- Kingston Reggae Garden (I visited three times).
- Peru: I visited Miraflores and Barranco in the capital city of Lima, as well as Cusco, Machu Picchu and its closest town of Aguas Calientes. This is the best trip I’ve had so far in my life and my favourite country, culture and people (besides my own of course!). My only regret is not having longer. I would’ve loved to visit the desert and Rainbow Mountain. Check out my itinerary and costs here. It’s a shame that the country is now experiencing political unrest.
- Pretty Close 876 and three of its waterfalls (Visited twice)
- Art Galleries: Sky Gallery, CreativSpace
- Horseback and ATV riding with Chukka Llandovery
- The Animal Farm Nature Reserve
- Hiking: Holywell, Bull Head Mountain Peak
- Historical Landmarks: Colbeck Castle, Galina Lighthouse, Lovers’ Leap, the Persian Water Wheel and Stewart Castle.
- Overnight Stays: Animal Farm, Escape Villa at Vista, Lashing’s Boutique Hotel
- Rivers: Bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae, tubing on the White River, Twin Rivers in Gayle, St. Mary.
- Treasure Beach
- Waterfalls: Dunn’s River Falls, Mountain River Cave & Falls
- Other Day Trips: Neita’s Nest in Stony Hill, Hidden Springs in Discovery Bay, Diced Café: Jamaica’s 1st board games café.
My favourite local trips for 2022 are a tie between Animal Farm and Chukka, while my favourite (and only!) international trip in 2022 goes to Peru! I visited 11 out of 14 parishes this year too. I realize that I haven’t visited my favourite parish of Portland in over a year though. We’re fixing that in 2023 ASAP! The other two parishes I didn’t visit in 2022 are St. Thomas and Westmoreland.
Blog Stats & Milestones
- I’m really proud of myself for balancing long shifts, school presentations, personal life AND consistent blogging in 2022. I wrote 47 articles in 2022, bringing my total article count to 219.
- I broke my 2020 record of most articles ever written in a single year (previously was 45).
- I received 50% more views than 2021. My main traffic continues to come from Search Engines (mostly Google), followed by the WordPress Reader, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in that order. It’s really cool that Twitter is in my top five referrers too because I’ve never used the platform. It means that you guys are tweeting my articles over there, and for that I’m grateful.
- My readers mainly hail from Jamaica, the USA, Canada, UK and Trinidad & Tobago, in that order.
My increased readership meant more Word Ads earnings which is great. I also had a few more paid collaborations this year, for which I’m grateful. I’m manifesting more partnerships in 2023, as I continue to tread the delicate balance of hobby + business blogging.
Next, I must give special mention of my books Sightsee Jamaica and my Large Print Jamaican Word Search Puzzles. The feedback has been mostly positive. Thanks for your support of these books in 2022. I learnt a lot from the experience. For now, they are only available for purchase on Amazon.
Other milestones accomplished this year include:
- Freelance Writing: Matador Network and International Living.
- Press Features: Travel Noire, GAFFL, Shoutout Miami, Canvas Rebel and Jamaicans.com.
- Crossing 1,000 Facebook followers
- Crossing 8,000 Instagram followers (I began 2022 with about 3,000).
Best of the Blog in 2022
Out of my 47 new posts in 2022, these 3 were your favourites in terms of readership & engagement:
- Riverside Dining at Pretty Close 876 (7,800+ reads)
- 16 Photos Showcasing Manchester Jamaica (3,600+ reads)
- The Sea Cliff Resort in Portland, Jamaica (3,000+ reads)
However, these 3 are my favourites in no particular order:
Practicing medicine in the Jamaican public sector is not for the faint-of-heart. We operate on barebones resources with serious drug and staffing shortages. My medical colleagues and nurses continue to migrate in droves to first world countries for better wages and working conditions. This year, it made headlines that Jamaica has the second highest brain drain rate in the world after American Samoa. Brain drain is a term which refers to the loss of a country’s skilled and educated people as they migrate in search of better opportunities.
It’s a thought I’ve entertained too, but I haven’t made the move because I know I’ll miss my family and tropical weather dearly. Also, despite feeling bitterly unappreciated by our ruling government, I am still patriotic to Jamaica– the only land I know. We have our issues with crime, poverty etc. but I am fiercely proud of and indebted to this country. The Jamaican government funded my medical school education on a merit-based scholarship, and while my job often leaves me burnt out and discouraged, I take pride in serving my people. I’m now in my second year of internal medicine residency training so I’m trying to remain focused on the task at hand– completing residency.
In other news, my relationship is thriving. My immediate family and friends are healthy. I’m forever grateful for my mother as she is the reason why I’m where I am at in life. I thank God every day for good health, a supportive circle and the ability to live life on my own terms. I pray for continued good health, and that for my readers, friends and family.
I hope that a recent investment I made will be worth it, and that my finances will recover enough to make an international summer or autumn trip possible. I’m eyeing a trip to Central America or Europe. I’d also love to spend Christmas 2023 in New York. Lastly, I hope to get started on my research project which will herald the start of the end of my postgraduate training, and that I can end 2023 as a senior resident. Blogging may take a backburner for me in 2023, but I still look forward to writing as often I can and for as many collaborations as my schedule will allow. I currently have 3 posts scheduled for 2023. 🙂
If you’ve made it this far, I just want to say thank you again for being on this journey with me for the past SIX years! I appreciate every read, like, comment, share, social media follow and email or WordPress subscription. What did you enjoy about Adventures from Elle this year? What else would you like to see? Talk to me below, and remember to support the blog on all platforms because it’s free! 😀
See you in 2023! XO, Rochelle.
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