My imposter syndrome and how I actually did #take12trips in 2017.

I know, we’re practically half way through 2018 and I’m just doing a recap of 2017 for And She’s Off. But just stick with me, okay? 2017 was quite the year. It wasn’t nearly as horrific and heart-wrenching as 2016, but it was up there in terms of shittiness. It was also filled with amazing highs – I started the year with amazing news and I completed my MA. But man, all that up-and-down just left me feeling, well, exhausted. My energies were on my family and my Masters so I had little time for the business of blogging, even though it was my biggest goal for the year.

I guess I just felt I had nothing to offer. Nothing world-changing anyway. So the ‘publish’ button went pretty much untouched for all of 2017 because I wasn’t up to handling criticism, low page views, increasing my brand, or whatever you want to call it.  I to complete the #take12trips challenge and blog about it, but because I’d not jetted off on pintrest-worthy European city breaks every month, I just assumed I’d failed. Which, is frankly crap, because as you’ll see below, I definitely surpassed my goal. Just not in the way I thought I needed to.

Over the next coming weeks, I’ll be going in to far more detail about some of these trips, but for now, here’s what And She’s Off got  up to in 2017:


Okay, so I didn’t actually take a trip this month. January is generally about hibernation for me, plus I was busy applying for a scholarship for a PhD place. I didn’t get it and was pretty grumpy to live with for a while! January did give me plenty of time to plan for February, though.

Number of trips: none


I did a 1,000 mile round trip to the Scottish Highlands. The Great Dane’s parents live there and we went to surprise them as we hadn’t seen them over the Christmas season. I’m the only one who drives, so I got the 10 hour driving seat. To be fair, the drive is beautiful once you’re past Glasgow as it’s straight up and along the coast. The drive takes you through Burham Wood (Shakespeare fans rejoice) and past lochs, castles and snow-capped mountains. It’s also actually part of Scotland’s North Coast 500, one of the most scenic road-trip routes in the world. We were only there for a few days, but we got to enjoy walks like this one above. Closely followed by red wine in front of the fire.

Number of trips: 1


My first trip abroad was to Porto, and technically it straddles Feb and March as we went for my birthday. I’d seen so many pictures on Instagram of the iconic red roofs and pastel buildings tumbling down to the river, that I just knew it was for me. And they make port there, what’s not to love? Well, the weather, for a start. It rained. And it was cold. And we were so smug in only taking one rucksack between us. Walking round in not-quite-dry jeans is not fun. I’ll be detailing my Porto trip in a couple of posts’ time, but to sum it up, I ate the cheapest food ever, drank port (lots of it as The Great Dane doesn’t like it) and went on a boat along the Douro. Oh, and stayed in a converted stationary store!

Number of trips: 1


It’s our anniversary in April (vom, soz) and I surprised The Great Dane with a little night away in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed at The Fat Lamb which is a lovely country pub with rooms, open fire and amazing food. I’d stayed a few times with my family as a kid and I knew he’d love it. The Great Dane is more craft beers and country pub than cocktails and city nightspots. I told him we were just going out for the day and sneakily stashed an overnight bag in the car. We spent the day in Kirby Lonsdale, enjoying coffees and a bacon roll (him not me) overlooking the famous Devil’s Bridge before walking along the river to Ruskin’s View and cooing over all the lambs. The weather took a turn for the worse, but we had some time to buy some cakes in the village before jaunting off to The Fat Lamb where we had dinner, wine and a fantastic sleep.

The next day we drove to Richmond to climb the castle turrets and I bought some of the best vegan treats ever from the market there. I’ll definitely be writing about this trip as it was one of my favourites of the year!

Number of trips: 2


One of the first places The Great Dane and I ever went together was Malham Cove, back in the old days – before I’d even moved to Spain. In fact, one of my old posts is still hanging around here.

My sister works in a school and we made the most of half term by dragging her out here. We did a big walk taking us past Janet’s Foss and to Gordale Scar, which we intended to scramble, but backed out last minute and walked the long way round to the top of the cove and down to the pub in the village. It was hot that day and we all got seriously sunburned but lazing on the grass with a cold, well-deserved pint was utter bliss.

Number of trips: 1


OHMAGAHD I SAW KIEFER SUTHERLAND. Actual Jack Bauer. Okay, so this wasn’t a real trip per se, more being stuck in traffic on the M6 for 3 hours before running to Birmingham art gallery to admire their Pre-Raphaelite collection on to find most of it out on loan. But it was worth it to see Kiefer Sutherland in a Stetson. In a Stetson. Singing. Le sigh.

The real trip this month was to my spiritual homeland, Spain. I’ve always had a love affair with this country, and not simply because of Xabi Alonso and rioja, honest. This trip was a little bit of downtime before the final craziness of my Master thesis. It’s a place we’ve been before, in Calahonda, and I love getting to spend time with some of my favourite people. I’ve been gate-crashing my parents holiday there since 2014, even just for a long weekend. My uncle and aunt who I lived with for a while are usually there and I love so much spending time chatting in the sun, beer in hand. This year we were also joined by my Canadian cousin, who I’ve not seen since I was a kid and we surprised my mum by flying my sister over for the weekend. I think the last time the four of us had a holiday together was 2009. (There was an ill-fated weekend in Rome for my Dad’s 60th, but we won’t talk about that because my sister HATED it. And told everyone. A lot!)

As I said I’d meet her from the airport, I hatched a plan saying I needed to close my Spanish bank account and so we toddled off to Malaga. Oh my days, have you been? It’s beautiful. The Great Dane and I both loved it and would seriously love to go back for a weekend.

Number of trips: 3


This was another month filled with family time and surprises. It was my father-in-law’s birthday. (Yeah, I know we’re not married, but he’s stuck with me and it’s easier than saying my boyfriend’s dad – I’m not 14). It was a big birthday and so we, well The Great Dane, planned a thoroughly lovely day on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway It was the perfect day, weather-wise (nothing’s guaranteed in British summer) we walked to a waterfall, went on a steam railway, enjoyed a really scenic drive up there. We walked to a lovely pub we’d researched before for lunch, only to find them not serving. So we ate snacks in the car and had dinner in a local restaurant back here.

Number of trips: 1


I finished my MA! I got a new job starting the week after hand-in, so August was a really busy month. We still found time to have an adventure, though. Mum very kindly treated us to a night at the Titanic Hotel the day of submission. The Great Dane had never stayed here before, but it’s his favourite coffee in Liverpool, and so he was more excited than me! I’ve never written about Titanic, but we’re staying next month for my birthday – so keep your eye out for my review.

We also had another day out with my sister, this time with her boyfriend. I drove us all up to Devil’s Bridge (again) for coffees and bacon rolls – I brought a Linda McCartney sausage sandwich – and then made our way to Ingleton. I’ve written about walking the falls here as I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s a great day out if you’re in the North West, with plenty of places to stop for picnics – or a pub lunch.

Number of trips: 2


The kitchen garden at the Lingholm Estate, The Lake District

I had a little girls weekend with my Mum in the Lake District. We stayed at The Glen Rothay who have a resident badger set – complete with feeding opportunity and live web cam to watch of a night. No, really. I also finally got to eat at Fellinis in Ambleside. It was delicious and I’ll be making a return I’m sure.

Number of trips: 1


This was a much quieter month on the old adventure/travel front, but we did have a lovely day out at the National Trust site in Formby. It’s home to a sweeping stretch of coast, rolling sand dunes, pine forest walks and lots of protected red squirrels. The Great Dane’s brother and sister-in-law came over from Yorkshire with their adorable staffy, Mabel. For an older dog (she’s a rescue, so not exactly sure of her age) she pulled us a round for ages, thankfully stopping at a pub where we could have lunch.

Number of trips: 1


View of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

‘Oh Rome! My country! City of the soul!’ said poet Byron. What more can be said? I’ve got lots of posts coming about Rome, but to sum it up I spent three blissful days walking with regular wine stops, eating pizza, drinking prosecco at aperitivo, slurping spaghetti, and appreciating every single amazing cup of coffee.

Number of trips: 1


The View from The Shard, London

I managed to squeeze in a couple more trips – along with a little old thing called graduation! Firstly there was the annual trip to Chatsworth House Christmas Market. You can read last year’s post here. I also had a long weekend in the south of England, starting with the Harry Potter Studio tour. This was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be and I loved every single second and I’m not even sorry. We also went to Bletchely Park which I can’t wait to tell you about either, as it was so much fun. I finished my 2017 adventures having brunch at The Shard, in London.

Number of trips: 3

So there you have it. For someone who felt like they hadn’t travelled, or had any adventures this year, my total number of trips was: 17

Not too shabby, eh?

This year, I hope, blogging self-doubt will be minimal enough to allow me to post regularly. I’m stronger, I’m more well-rested (in some ways) and some of the bigger problems of 2017 have been wrangled under control, if only a little bit. And She’s Off for another year of adventures and I hope you’ll join in.



  1. John
    January 23, 2018 / 5:12 am

    Get about a bit you dontcha! Looking forward to reading more about Porto and the Yorkshire Dales trips

    • andshesoff
      January 23, 2018 / 9:11 am

      Ahh thanks John! Yeah, I’ve not done too badly. Keep your eyes out as they’re coming soon.

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