Borough Market, London
Roundups, Sweden, United Kingdom

Month in Review: January 2016

Well, guys, the first month of the year is officially over.  I had an incredible 2015 and I’ve already got a suspicious feeling that 2016 is going to be even better.  It’s already off to a glorious start, that’s for sure–ringing in the new year on the banks of Kungsholmen (one of Stockholm’s many islands) was just the beginning.

In January 2016…

I was reminded what real winter is like.

Coming to Stockholm in the winter was a divergence from my typical pattern of bouncing from one tropical locale to the next and only hitting up the northern latitudes in the summer.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m happy to report that for the most part, I’m faring just fine.Stockholm, Sweden

I worried that seeing the sun go down at 2:30 every afternoon would have a profound effect on my mood, and I’ll admit, this was the toughest thing to adjust to when I first arrived.  But this month I realized that as long as I got my bum out the door for a little while every day to soak up what little sunshine I had, those early sunsets wouldn’t be so terrible after all.

One pleasant surprise about winter here in Sweden is that because of the sun’s low position during the day and the prolonged sunrises and sunsets, there’s never any shortage of soft lighting–you know, the kind that’s perfect for photography.  And don’t even get me STARTED on the sunsets.Winter in Stockholm, Sweden Winter in Stockholm, Sweden Sunset in Stockholm, Sweden

I’ve also been reminded what it feels like to lose sensation in all of your extremities, have tears and snot freeze to your face, eat popcorn for dinner because walking to the grocery store is the LAST thing you want to do, and to shiver at any given time of the day no matter how many layers you pile on.  But hey, at least now I can tolerate just about any temperature above freezing, so there’s that!

I hit some new blogging milestones.

This month I hit a record high for blog traffic!  I love seeing my stats trending upward and traffic, in particular, has been a really slow burn in terms of growth, so it’s been very exciting to finally hit a new milestone there.  Additionally, I finally got around to something else that’s been bouncing around in the back of my mind for several months now–I launched a second website!  It’s far from ready for the public as of yet, but the foundation is there and over the next several months I’ll be churning out content both here and on my new site.  I was starting to feel burned out a little bit by travel blogging and the travel blogging community and so I thought it would do me some good to branch out and write about something entirely different to get my creative juices flowing again.  It has done wonders to reenergize me and I’m absolutely thrilled to have a new project to work on.

I got to revisit a city I’d been dying to explore.

I’ve just returned from a 6-day jaunt to one of the cities I promised myself I’d revisit this year, London!  It was an absolutely fabulous week of exploring and eating and exploring some more, and I wouldn’t change any part of it.  I saw many of the famous sites like the Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern museum as well as a few cool local spots including a basement comedy club tucked away in Covent Garden and one of London’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, re-built in 1667 following the Great Fire of London in 1666.  And did I mention the weather was just perfect the whole week?  I couldn’t believe my luck!Camden Market, London Camden Market, London Tower Bridge, LondonTower Bridge, London

My priorities became clearer than ever.

You already know that I plan to travel a bit more slowly in 2016.  The other goal I’ve got in mind is to spend more time with the people I care about most.  This means spending more time in Washington with family and planning the rest of my travels around seeing my nearest and dearest, whether they be friends from college, blogging buddies, or friends I’ve made traveling.  Making new friends is wonderful and all, but at this point in time, I’m looking to prioritize the relationships and the communities that I already have in my life over creating new ones.

And now a few fun extras…

My Most Popular Blog Posts

On Travel and Trusting in Strangers

A Low-Key Month in Koh Tao

10 Travel Tips for Stockholm

A Very Special Chiang Mai Photoshoot

My Best Instagrams

A Few Things I’m Loving

Blogs that aren’t solely about travel – I’ve recently rediscovered some of the blogs I fell in love with when I got involved in this whole blogging mess in the first place, and while many of them do feature travel sections, that’s not always the focus.  Here are just a few I’ve been poring over lately:

This Swedish Instagrammer – Guys, do yourself a favor right now and go follow the account of Jonna Jinton.  This ‘grammer from the north of Sweden is absolutely KILLING it with her mesmerizing, whimsical, magical images.  I seriously can’t get enough.

Spotify – I’m not sure how it took me this long to hop onboard the Spotify train, but now that I’m on it, there’s no getting off.  It’s officially an obsession (and coincidentally also the reason I’m now a #Belieber).  Also never knew Spotify was a Swedish company until I got to Sweden…fancy that!

That’s it for January…onward and upward!

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  • Reply Amanda | The Backpack Lass February 1, 2016 at 9:08 am

    And once again I’m swooning over the London pics!
    Amanda | The Backpack Lass recently posted…Hiking Arthur’s Seat in EdinburghMy Profile

  • Reply Rachel February 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Wow, your photos look so refreshing as I’m sitting here sweating my face off in Bangkok! I’m not much for the cold, but this heat is pushing my limits. I hope to get to London in the summer – I have a few friends there that I’m dying to visit (and um, stay with) and I’m excited to see a city that my high school self totally didn’t appreciate.

    And yes, I got on the Spotify train recently, and WOW I feel the same way about Bieber. What the heck happened to him?!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 1, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Oh, Rachel, I know the pain of Thailand’s hot hot heat all too well. My recent visit was enough to solidify in my mind that I really REALLY don’t want to live in a tropical climate anymore. The cold is a bit much at times, but I’m so relieved to not be a sweaty mess around the clock.
      Leah Davis recently posted…8 New Nimmanhaemin Cafes Worth Checking OutMy Profile

  • Reply Allison February 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    It took me forever to join the Spotify bandwagon as well but now I’m hooked. I love your pics but I’m not sure I could handle the cold. Even my two weeks in Seattle almost killed my psyche because I couldn’t handle the gloominess (wimpy, I know!) Looking forward to reading more about your year of slow travel!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 3, 2016 at 1:11 am

      Seattle is a different story, I think, because it really is cloudy and gloomy all the time, even if it’s not rainy! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Stockholm in that it’s actually sunny most of the time, which really helps my mood a lot! I couldn’t do Seattle either–I’m from Washington and I avoid it like the plague!
      Leah Davis recently posted…6 Things to Know Before Traveling to Chiang Mai, ThailandMy Profile

  • Reply Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki February 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    The winter lighting really is so perfect for photography! Congrats on your blogging milestone!

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