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Clazz’s 2017 Challenges

Happy new year travellers and readers! I have to say our new year was VERY different to last year!

When we arrived back in the UK almost four months ago (FOUR MONTHS?!? What the hell, life?!), we had a plan to get jobs, work as much as possible, save lots, spend time with family and friends, and then travel some more. The reality is, we have jobs – and almost no set-in-stone travel plans yet. I’ve been frankly rubbish at catching up with people (this has got to change!), we’re not working many hours, and we’re looking at moving out again which will seriously add to our costs.

I do have a few travel plans (rather, ideas) in the making – I really want to get out and do more of Europe, we will definitely be road tripping Scotland at some point, I really, really REALLY want to go to Download Festival in France, and did I tell you that we went ahead and applied for the Canadian working holiday visa?! Okay, so that’s a big plan.

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Pros of living back with my parents? Well, the view’s not bad on an evening!

The only thing I have confirmed is a trip to Edinburgh next month to see one of my favourite bands and catch up with some awesome people! I can’t wait to see more of what the city of my dreams has to offer.

But all is not lost. On top of looking for second jobs to boost our money, I’m receiving a £50 cheque from one of my survey sites in the next few days, and I’m close to earning £35 on another one. I love looking for ways to earn a bit of extra cash; even if it’s just a bit here and there, it all helps.

Additionally, we are setting ourselves a challenge to move into a new place as cheaply as possible (helped by the fact it’s not going to be permanent). I imagine a few of you end up in similar positions between travels, so feel free to follow along!

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At John O’Groats, we bumped into these rather lovely cars…

I never really set new years resolutions – but this year, I’m setting CHALLENGES! Here’s what I hope to achieve in 2017.

Make at least £50 extra per month on “side hustles”

I’m a big fan of survey sites, and I’m currently putting together a post to show you how YOU can earn some extra money using them. They’re not the most exciting way to spend your time, I’ll give you that, but if I put some time aside to really do them, I think £50 a month is very achievable. My favourites are PopulusLive, YouGov and GlobalTestMarket but I’ll be doing a full write-up soon.

I’m also going to make use of as many money-making apps as possible. Lots of these were unavailable while I was travelling (some are UK-only) so it’s time to give them a real go! I’ve recently downloaded Receipt Hog which pays you for taking photos of your receipts, FOAP which lets you sell photos, and Clic N Walk which gives you tasks to do, for example going into shops and taking photos of products. (there are actually loads of these in the US but they are just starting to become more popular in the UK) A lot of these “money-making” apps are a waste of time, but I’m hoping that some of these are good.

On the computer, I’ve got a fantastic little add-on in Chrome called Qmee. This gives you paid ads when you search for things, mostly on Amazon or eBay although I’ve seen it pop up on other sites as well as Google. Each ad pays you anything between 5p and 10p to click on it! AND there’s no minimum payout, so you can literally have £1 sent to you via PayPal.

To help keep motivated, I’ll be updating with what I’m making!

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Won’t quite be moving into this “house”. But I would like to see plenty of Scottish castles this year – like this one, Dunrobin!

Move into a house as cheaply as possible

While I’m sure mum and dad don’t mind me hanging around, particularly as I moved out at 17 so it’s not like I’ve ever exactly outstayed my welcome, it’s partly because I was 17 and have lived independently ever since, that I feel like I need to get out again. We moved back in for two reasons – one to save money, obviously, and also because since I moved to England I barely feel like I’ve really seen them. So it’s been really nice to spend proper time with them.

The main problem? They live 18 miles from town and all my friends. We’re not going to find a second job locally, so moving does makes sense for pretty much every reason.

Anyway, I’m keeping this challenge vague, because I really don’t have a figure in mind. I just want it to be cheap. This means buying all our furniture on local selling sites, getting cashback on all our bills, and doing without things that we’ve found aren’t all that necessary. It means doing most of our food shopping at Lidl, and maybe even renting out our room on Airbnb if we don’t get a lodger.

I’ll be outlining where we get everything from and every penny we spend and tally up a total of our moving costs at the end!

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A beach in Nairn, near Inverness

Get my weight down to 8.5 stone

A bit of a more personal one here. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t put on any weight while travelling – but since returning home, I’ve been piling on the pounds thanks to Mum’s kitchen! For the first time ever, I’ve put on weight over Christmas. And I feel disgustingly cliché considering joining a gym in January. (I definitely won’t be joining one until we live in town, by which time hopefully I won’t be judged for signing up!)

But to be honest, it’s not really about my weight. It’s about the fact I was so active while travelling and now, since coming home, I’ve become hideously unfit.

So, my real challenge here isn’t to hit a target. It’s to take walks, explore more of Orkney in the process and to get into a daily routine that there was no chance of having while travelling. (FYI – routines scare me. But this one will be good for me!)

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One of the walks you can take in Orkney takes you up to these massive pylons and gives you great views over the main town as well as lots of the islands

Write for other publications

It’s been ten years this year since I became a qualified journalist, and after a slight detour running my own retail business, I really want to get back to my roots and WRITE. If I can get paid to write about travel or get my name on a brand I love, that’s just a bonus.

Read 50 books

One unexpected awesome thing about being home is – I’ve been able to join the LIBRARY! I have been absolutely awful at reading because I’m always out and about and doing things and seeing people and being there and never having time. I make my life sound awfully exciting but the sad truth is most of the time I could actually spend reading is spent looking at a screen and suddenly noticing it’s almost midnight. Travel knocked that habit out of me for a year and a half but it’s back. The annoying thing is I usually am doing something productive (unlike Ash who spends most of his time on Imgur!) but it still feels like I’m wasting my time when I could be getting lost in a creative world of literature or learning about something awesome.

Speaking of which…

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Another beach on another lovely day in Nairn! The dogs loved it here!

Learn something new

This is deliberately vague, but I would love to do some free courses online this year. Like, the ones run by real colleges and universities where you actually get a certificate at the end (think coursera and Alison). I started doing a travel course last year but I really, really did not have the time, so I’d like to actually commit myself to something and do it properly.

It could also be taking up a new hobby. I mean, I have always wanted to learn to knit… but it could be something as simple as getting back into playing guitar and killing it. You never know, I might even write some songs and stick them on YouTube!

I’d also like to finally learn a new language, but I don’t know if that’s something I can achieve this year realistically. I still can’t believe I spent six months living with French people and all I learned was “putain de merde”. Half the reason I don’t make resolutions is because a lot of them are broken too easily, so I’ll think of this as a bonus challenge!

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I realise none of my challenges are specifically to do with travel, but that’s kind of refreshing. I have my plans and ideas, and I’ll definitely try to achieve some awesome things this year, but I don’t want them to be part of my resolutions or put myself under pressure to achieve them all. I want to concentrate on improving myself, and some of that definitely does include travel.

What do you think? Any advice for my challenges?

Do you have any resolutions this year?

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