CAREER CULTURE AND COMMUNITY TOURISM

My Year in Review: Best of 2014

https://lilygirma.photoshelter.com/gallery/BEST-OF-2014-Lebawit-Lily-Girma/G0000ZzvcybIB6Xg

How can I possibly sum up 2014? It was my best year yet on this fulfilling yet unpredictable journey as a freelance travel writer and photographer.

A year that took me to a different country almost every month of the year, from far-flung New Zealand to my beloved Caribbean and Central American region, and exciting destinations like Haiti.

A year in which I landed several print travel writing assignments, including for in-flight magazinesone of which required me to fly to Jamaica, research, write and shoot the feature story, all under a week’s time. Another had me write a feature article on Belize that landed in the same issue as my dear friend and colleague Lola Akinmade Akerstrom’s article (which she appropriately called a “virtual fist bump.”) And yet another had me penning about chocolate and squeezing in a Belize mention, for Every Day With Rachael Ray.

2014 was also a year of firsts: first national radio interviews, podcast interviewfirst keynote speech (before the Belize Hotel Association), first time profiled as a travel expert in major print outlets like VERA (Virgin Atlantic) and Upscale Magazine.

A year in which I was qualified to attend Travel Classics–a prestigious travel writers’ conference–and made wonderful new friends and colleagues.

2014 was also the year in which I published my second guidebook for Moon Guides (and landed my second book cover photo), self-published an ebook on Jamaica, was published in a variety of new travel outlets and took on varied assignments for the likes of Travel + Leisure, curating their 2015 Best Hotels list for the Caribbean region, and AFAR–becoming their Jamaica expert and writing a complete, digital AFAR Guide to Jamaica.

Of course, 2014 wasn’t perfect. It had its challenges, both in and outside of my work life. I overworked myself and didn’t take enough personal breaks, particularly in the second half of the year. It took falling ill earlier in December to realize I need to take better care of my body and my mind even in the midst of juggling multiple assignments.

2015 will be a year to refocus and put my energies where it counts. Learning to keep trusting myself and God in all parts of my life, saying no to the wrong opportunities and people, and make better choices in friends and relationships (still learning that one). Work smarter, not harder. Revamp my website and seek other income generating avenues that are steadier than the feast or famine world of travel writing.

And perhaps I’ll finally pick a permanent home abroad–six years on the road and incessantly packing suitcases has paid off, but become taxing.

Overall, 2014 was an incredibly blessed year. One I won’t forget anytime soon.

BEST OF 2014 PHOTO GALLERY

I’ve put together a gallery of my best 2014 images (also displayed above) from my travels to the Caribbean & Central America–some of which involved multiple trips to the same destination–including to: Belize, Martinique, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Guadeloupe Islands, Haiti, and The Dominican Republic.

I hope you enjoy this collection of 70 images as much as I did putting them together. Feel free to bookmark and return to this gallery whenever you need travel inspiration. If you’re interested in getting a print or licensing a landscape image, feel free to shoot me a message.

Most of all, thank you for following along my adventures and being a part of my year!


To read my latest interview, click here.

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4 Comments

  1. What a year it’s been for you! Congratulations and may 2015 bring even more success.

  2. What a fantastic year! Wishing you an amazing 2015 as well!

  3. Thanks so much, Diana! Wishing you the same–cheers to a new and exciting year!

  4. @Lola – Thanks so much, my friend!! I wish you the same and more!