Life was pretty good in the two years Crown Rules was on a break. Here’s a summary of the best bits.

I started my own business

That’s right, I’m a lady boss now. Due to unforeseen circumstances back in May 2015, I found myself out of a job (more on that in a later blog). This unpleasant surprise resulted in me being rather wary of trying to find a new job at any so-called “creative” company which tries to prove its creativity with a fancy website and a ping pong table. So I decided to start my own. And so Liv Laz Ltd was born.

Being a freelance writer is difficult, stressful, and can cause side effects such as mid-run panic attacks in the frosty Yorkshire countryside. But it’s also absolutely great. I make all my own money. I get to stay in my pyjamas all day. I can pitch articles to anyone I want, and they sometimes pay me loads to write about the things I love. I’ve written for some really cool companies, and done work for some lovely agencies. I’ve made new friends, I’ve learned loads of new skills (I am now a lover of a good excel spreadsheet), and I get to claim stuff back on my expenses like a politician!

I ran a half marathon

13.3 miles is a long way when you only have little legs. I trained really hard for it, and I managed to cross the finish line in 1hr 56, which I’m damn proud of. And that was on a race day that hit 25 degrees, which is really hard to run in when you’ve been training through the winter.

I raised money for Marie Curie, who were lovely and gave me loads of jelly babies afterwards, along with this cool medal and a ridiculous neon finishers t-shirt which I am very unlikely to ever wear. Since then I traded running for climbing mountains at high altitude, so sadly I’ve lost my runner’s legs. However I have vowed to get back running again.

I have all my best ideas when I’m running. I forget about whatever is stressing me out, and I get high off endorphins once I’m home. Running is my therapy.

Didn’t win that new client? Go for a run. Ate too much chocolate orange? go for a run. Everyone suddenly really annoying for no reason? Go for a run. Don’t feel like going for a run? Go for a run.

I moved in with my boyfriend

(This isn’t our house)

Good lord I’m grown up, aren’t I? Roger and I rented a lovely terraced house in a leafy suburb and grew chillies on the windowsill and ate brunch in the garden and bought furniture together. Then we sold it all and moved out in order to fund the next awesome thing I did…

I went travelling to South America

With said money earned from my own company and said boyfriend I moved in with, I said goodbye to Yorkshire and hello to the Andes. We travelled around Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil for five months and it was everything I had dreamed of and more. We trekked over mountains, hacked through jungles, drove across deserts, hiked through forests, climbed volcanoes, explored cities, escaped to islands, and stared in awe at waterfalls and glaciers. I love travelling so I will no doubt be using this blog as a means to write about some of my adventures. A few of the best bits we did are listed below.

 

I climbed some absolutely massive mountains

We did some serious trekking in Peru. The highest altitude we climbed to was 5100 meters (which is higher than the altitude you fly to when skydiving – no biggie), but we also did various other intense hikes that make Snowdon look like a piffling little teletubby hill, including the Santa Cruz trek, the Laguna 69 trek, the Wilcacocha trek, and the trek to Machu Picchu. One of them took four days and involved camping at over 4000 meters. Altitude sickness is no laughing matter.

 

 

I volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary in the Amazon rain forest

Chuchini Wildlife Reserve in Bolivia was our home for two weeks. We looked after monkeys, fed toucans, watched a man catch an alligator off the side of a boat with his bare hands in the middle of the night, got really sweaty, and gave up even trying to fend off the mosquitos and bed bugs.

Living in the jungle is a crazy experience. There’s so much life everywhere you turn, from raucous howler monkeys which wake you up at 4am to lazy capybaras sunbathing by the lagoon. From tiny scorpions which hide in the toilet cubicles to herds of cows which blundered into the reserve from a neighbouring farm. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

 

I drove a camper van through Patagonia

4000km in three weeks. The Careterra Austral in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina. Stunning scenery. Ice capped mountains, glacial rivers, untouched forests, and wind like you would not believe. It almost ripped the passenger door off its hinges when we stopped for lunch one afternoon. Patagonia has to be one of my favourite places on earth.

I went to Rio Carnival

It was exactly as mental and sweaty as you imagine it to be. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb with extremely eccentric hosts, met loads of lovely people, and partied as much as is realistically possible when it’s 38 degrees and the national drink is basically rum watered down with rum and more rum.

 

I agreed to move to London

As a northerner living in the north with southern boyfriend, many people seemed to assume that this was a given while I resolutely refused to accept the inevitable for two and a half years. But I eventually came to the realisation that actually, I have more friends down there, there are more places to eat tasty food, and there are loads of cool things to do. So we’re moving to a lovely flat in Finsbury Park, and I’m going to impose my northern charm on everyone, even the grumpiest of commuters.

Image source: The Telegraph