I can’t help but get nostalgic at this time of year. I’m sure I’m not alone. As the years pass and ‘another year older’ starts to set in, I feel this overwhelming sense of melancholy engulf me. Because somehow, some way, I sometimes wish I could make life stand still. Especially during the good moments, the happy ones, the ones where you want to pinch yourself. Christmas and the year’s end always has that effect on me. It’s a time to look back. It’s when you take a moment to reflect and to somehow make peace with the year gone by.
As you know, I write this post every year. This year I write it from my native home city, Melbourne. For personal reasons, I came home a little earlier than usual this year and so while I don’t have my annual ‘goodbye’ photo to share, I have these words for you nonetheless (and thankfully I’m never short of a photo so I’ve included these ones in a video for you to enjoy instead).
I – and if you’re reading, you – survived another year. And whether it was fun or tough, we made it! That in itself is already something to be grateful for and something we should never take for granted.
Sincerely, my year was like any other in that it had ups and downs, good and bad moments.
It’s been another wild ride. Another long, hardworking and rewarding year. Blog posts, articles, reviews, social media shares, radio episodes, exceptional dining experiences, travel, love lost and gained, friendships strengthened and friendships made. HeartRome continues to grow with readers in 100+ countries and over 35,000 followers across social media.
It’s been another fulfilling year on the book front with I Heart Rome sales continuing around the world. I have been humbled by the messages and photos that have come through from around the world. To be honest, it still feels like a dream. Another fun extension was meeting fans of the book in Rome who I took around the neighbourhood to meet some of the characters in the book and taste various dishes.
This year a new and exciting era dawned for HeartRome with the launch of the Heart Rome English language radio show on Radio Food Live – what an honour to host the first English language radio program of its kind to come out of Italy. I was petrified to go live in the studio in September and now I absolutely love sharing tales through that mic!
In other writing highlights – the 2018 edition of the Rome Rough Guide was released and I was a co-author; I had articles published in CNN, USA Today, EasyJet inflight magazine, The Luxury Editor and Romeing to name a few.
Work and personal travel took me to Florence, through Tuscany, Milan, Naples, London, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, Sofia, Riga, Matera, Bari, Sicily, Sarajevo, Sardegna, Capri, Gaeta, Dubai and beyond.
I engaged and worked with numerous PR clients in Rome and beyond on projects in the food, travel, hotel and lifestyle sector; collaborated and consulted with restaurants, hotels and major international brands.
On the personal front, I spent a number of weeks over summer traveling with my beautiful sister and am currently enjoying home time with the rest of my precious family, especially my gorgeous nephews who are growing up at a ridiculous speed. I have friends who love and care for me and shared some unforgettable moments with many of them this year. Some of these moments were more special than others and for that I’m touched. I learnt this year, as I do more and more as the years go by, that family and friends are sacred. Especially the ones who love, inspire, protect, respect and care for you.
Looking back, I smile. The highs in 2018 outweighed the lows because I wanted them to. Life if anything, is just that – about perspective and attitude. And I try to keep mine as positive as possible.
Fans, readers, listeners, followers – from the bottom of my heart, I say THANK YOU for your continued support and encouragement. I wish you and your loved ones love, joy and good fortune throughout the festive season and long into 2019.
Signing off from Melbourne,