October on The Travel Hack

October marked the month that I officially left full-time employment and began working for myself as a social media consultant. How has it been? Awesome, fun and busy. Very busy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy before in my life.

I’m not complaining. I’m working on some really exciting projects and travelling the world at the same time. I’m almost scared to say how much I’m loving my life right now incase I jinx it but, right now, I couldn’t be happier.

So what have I been up to?

The month started in Dublin with TBEX conference for travel bloggers. I met some brilliant new bloggers, caught up with old friends and learned a whole heap about blogging.

After a wedding in Wales I travelled to Iceland for six days and spent my 26th birthday at the beautiful Blue Lagoon. This was an idyllic place to spend my birthday and I had an incredible time exploring Iceland.

Not long after Iceland I went to Barbados for some fun in the sun and a perfect (and much needed) chance to thaw out. It was a super luxury break staying at the Colony Club which is part of the aptly named Elegant Hotels group. I was spoilt rotten with upper class flights, incredible food and wine, boat cruises, rum tours, massages on the beach and I even learnt to paddleboard!

Swimming with turtles

Sunrise in Iceland

Dracula's Fire Garden in Dublin

Dracula’s Fire Garden in Dublin

I then headed back to Dublin to attend the Bram Stoker Festival. I was so pleased I was invited along because Dracula is my all-time favourite horror novel and the city was filled with vampires and Stoker enthusiasts. Among all the Halloween fun I also got the chance to visit the gorgeous Irish countryside with Over the Top Tours so there will be lots of photos to come.

What’s next?

On Friday I’m flying to Venice to join a Celebrity Cruise which will end in Croatia. I really love the idea of boarding a boat and walking up in a new destination each morning so I’m really excited!

I’ll be in London for World Travel Market for more chances to catch up with bloggers and travel industry pros.

Later in the month I’ll be heading to Feurteventura for a yoga retreat and what I’m sure will be some much needed R&R. I can’t wait already.

Links I loved this month

Inside the Travel Lab – After South Africa

Abi King captures the essence of South Africa perfectly in this beautifully written poem. If you only read one thing today, make sure it’s this.

The Culturist – Fabulous Fashionistas

If you missed this program on Channel 4 then you can read about it here. If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend watching it on 4oD too because it’s so inspirational. It’s a documentary about women in their 80’s and 80s who are amazingly stylish. But it isn’t just their fashion sense that is inspiring, it’s their outlook on life, their positive attitudes and their refreshing take on aging.  I’ll admit that I’m actually quite scared about growing old but this show made me feel a whole lot better about one day being an ‘old lady’.

The Glamourai – {Travel Diary} Cambodia

I love reading about people’s travel experiences but sometimes I just like to look at some pretty pictures of pretty girls and pretty boys looking pretty in pretty places. Yes, I like the pretty. And yes, I love Cambodia.

The Planet D – Greenland, where ancient culture meets the modern world

Iceland has obviously given me a taste for visiting cold and remote places. I’d never considered visiting Greenland before but now it’s steadily rising to the top of my bucket list. Check out these photos from The Planet D to find out why.

App of the month

Qwiki App

I’ve been having some fun with Qwiki this month. It’s an app that allows you to turn short video clips and images into fun videos. Admittedly it isn’t the most professional looking video but it’s quick and easy and perfect for sharing holiday moments. Thanks to Heather on Her Travels for suggesting this app at TBEX.

Here’s a Qwiki from Iceland to show you how it works


Gadget of the month

Go Pro

I’ve been debating whether or not I needed a GoPro camera for years now and, as a girl who loves her gadgets, I was lucky enough to be bought one for my birthday. When I climbed the o2, we were followed by some camera guys who used GoPros and I was amazed by the quality of the footage and how easy it was to record.

It is taking me a while to get the hang of using it, and even longer to learn how to edit all that footage, but I’m loving playing around with it so bear with me, the videos will get better!

Here’s a picture taken with the Go Pro in Iceland.

Snorkelling in Iceland

Book of the month

shy feet

Shy Feet: Short stories inspired by travel by Frances M Thompson

As a newcomer to the short story genre I was surprised at how much I loved these stories by my fellow travel blogger, Frankie. Each story is so different but each of them hooked me and wouldn’t let go. They’re all travel related in some way so I felt like I got my travel fix even when I was riding the tube around London.

So there you have it, my month rolled up into words and pictures. If you have any suggestions for apps, books, gadgets or blog posts for next month’s summary, please let me know!

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of the best holidays. Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!


  • October 29, 2013

    Good to hear the first month of self employment is going well! Can I ask which GoPro you have? I’ve been toying with the idea of buying one and still haven’t made up my mind!

  • Lindsey
    October 30, 2013

    Congrats on the first month of self employment! Sounds like you made sure it was a great one 🙂

  • carla[email protected] surf sandals and tanktops
    October 30, 2013

    Woa, you really having your great time. I personally also like to travel on this month. It is so good to know the world, different people and styles and many more. Thanks for sharing your happiness with us.

  • October 30, 2013

    Glad you took the plunge girl! This is worthwhile really. And I am sure you will enjoy this adventure, similar to what we feel now.

  • Mellisa Turner
    October 30, 2013

    Congratulations ! Good to hear that your beginning of being self employed is doing well and quite busy.

  • Jen
    October 30, 2013

    Woweee what a month! Hoping I will have a similar post for November on She Gets Around… October for me has been less than eventful in the travel department.

    Glad you are loving freelance life, woopeee!

    I have Frankie’s book ready to be packed for my holiday to Egypt.


  • October 30, 2013

    What an incredible month you’ve had! I only discovered your blog fairly recently, so I feel like I joined your journey when you started on this new chapter. You’ve left me already with a huge list of places to visit, and your photographs are beautiful!


  • October 30, 2013

    Thanks for the mention – great little Qwiki, is that therapeutic mud you have smeared over your face, hope you enjoyed the steamy volcanic waters of Iceland

  • October 31, 2013

    the Blue Lagoon looks amazing. Sounds like you’re having a great first month!

  • November 4, 2013

    I’m so happy to hear that you have been having such a whirlwind experience with freelance! It looks like you are just having the best, most exciting time 🙂 the yoga retreat sounds so relaxing and peaceful.

  • November 5, 2013

    Everything sounds so good, would love to visit Barbados and especially the blue lagoon in Iceland!!

  • November 7, 2013

    Hi Monica
    I enjoyed reading this and glad to hear you’re enjoying your new ‘work’. I loved Iceland too but thankfully it wasn’t TOO cold when I was there. Living in Thailand now, I can’t remember the last time I actually felt cold 🙂
    Have fun in London.

  • November 14, 2013

    WOO! Congrats on 1 month of being self employed! It sounds like a fab month too, with loads of exciting things to come xx


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