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It is time for my yearly recap. At the time of publishing this, it’s one day before New Years Eve which is really exciting. This is usually the time where I look back on the destinations I’ve visited and do a little bit of self-reflection. Spoiler alert: I have not travelled internationally this year. However, 2020 gave me a lot to think about so I was able to self-reflect a lot. This is a yearly recap of what 2020 taught me!
I have done this twice before. I wrote a travel recap of 2018 and a travel recap of 2019. Those are two nice blogposts to read if you haven’t been following me for so long! A little personal touch and more of story time because I don’t do them often anymore.
The Whirlwind Called 2020 | Yearly Recap
The elephant in the room
I almost don’t want to mention it because I’m sure we are all ready to move on. Unfortunately, it is not finished with us just yet which means – we still have to take it seriously and kinda accept that it is still here. I’m talking about COVID-19. What a whirlwind did it cause us. If you told me one year ago, that we would be in a second lockdown in the Netherlands, that we needed to wear our masks and that we wouldn’t be able to live the life we want and had planned.
This shows how fast things can change and that’s one of the first things 2020 taught me. We can’t plan our life. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Every day is a blessing and gifted which we should not take for granted. Every time I go out to dinner in the future, every time I go out with a friend, hug someone and travel abroad – I will be ten times more grateful and appreciative.
Another thought about it is that I want to do what I want no matter what everyone else thinks. I have done this my entire life and even though I thought I let it go in the past, this year has shown me that’s not the case.
I’m still struggling with it but I am definitely growing and improving. I have become less stressed in things I don’t control and it gave me much more peace of mind. Another thing I’ve learned is to dream big and to not be scared of having big goals. I may not reach all my big dreams but I’m certain I will reach every single goal if I put my mind to it and make realistic micro goals.
What I’m grateful for
I have hit a few milestones this year that made me really happy and proud. Three big moments! There have been a few minor accomplishments as well but most of them were business based – that’s going to be the next point I’m talking about.
I’m moving in January!
I’m just going to be very honest here. I have wanted to get my own place right after I moved back home during university because I love the freedom and being able to just do my thing. However, it is so hard to find a house in the Netherlands especially if you’re young like me. I ended up getting a home because of my 6-year registration on a housing website.
It’s right next to my favorite Dutch city – Rotterdam. I love Rotterdam for many reasons. The way of thinking, the historic and modern elements and it is the place to be if you’re a (starting) business owner. Lots of co-working spaces and interesting people to work with. I’m so excited to live only 15 minutes away from such a vibrant city.
I will be moving to a 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom apartment with a huge balcony. It’s on a high floor which means I have a cool view. Lots of windows so a lot of light which I love. I have the afternoon and evening sun and that’s perfect for people who work a lot during the day.
This will be my home, but I will travel a lot while I live here. It’s just my home base in the Netherlands! The thought of always living here just scares me honestly, so I’ve already planned so many trips.
I graduated university!
Another big milestone is graduating university and getting my Bachelor of Arts. After four years of studying, I was so happy to finally focus on my own business! I studied Tourism Management where I learned everything about different stakeholders on destinations, marketing and finances, destination branding and every single aspect of online marketing in my 2-year specialization.
I did my thesis (graduation project) for my own business, Rosy Melissa, and it helped me create a product that will be released next year. I’m still grateful to have gotten the opportunity to do the last 5 months of my study all for my own business!
Life after graduation is challenging. Obviously the current situation didn’t help with my field of expertise but it also got me into really cool new opportunities. I decided to go for it and focus on my own business for the remaining of 2020. I’m not able to be a fulltime business owner just yet, but I definitely knew I didn’t want a fulltime 9-5 job.
I got a remote job!
When I decided I didn’t want to have a fulltime 9-5 job, I started looking at parttime office jobs but most of them almost always increased their hours to being fulltime anyways. It took a while but at the end of November or beginning of December I found a cool job and I eventually got the job!
It’s a parttime remote job and it gives me so much freedom. I’m able to work from home, might go to the office once a week in the future and I have the time to grow my business while having a stable income to pay my bills and save money. The stress and anxiety of not finding a job was definitely real. So happy I found a nice job in a perfect sustainable company. It’s gonna be great!
So those were three big things but to put it all in perspective, not the most important things. 2019 was a really, really rough year where the health of close family members got really bad and we were in a scary situation. I’m grateful that for my close family and friends, 2020 has been a good year health wise. There have been hard times with my grandparents that made me really sad. I’m grateful that I kept a good group of friends close to me that make me laugh every single day.
I’m grateful to have a good home and not worry about having food, clean drinking water and money. I’m grateful to live in the Netherlands which is a very safe country and I don’t wake up in fear.
I feel like it’s easy to fall into the materialistic side of things but to me, that’s really not important. In the end, materialistic things don’t make you happy. Happiness comes from the inside and it is so much more than money for example. Freedom, love and good health are the three key factors that make me the happiest.
The journey of my business
My business took a serious turn in 2019 when I made it my official business and registered it. It made me excited to create plans which I shared in my business & travel plans in 2020. Let’s have a look at what happened! Needless to say, I didn’t do any of my planned trips.
I have an email list and I’m sure you have seen my little pop up form if you’re not already subscribed! I’ve shared an e-mail every single week with updates related to me and my blog, but it’s going to be a bit different in 2021.
I will be sharing two emails a month. Once is focused on behind the scenes stuff where I share more about travel blogging, growing a blog and freelancing. The other one will be focused on sustainable and conscious travel. Quick and new tips to be a more conscious traveller in such an easy way! I will share authentic destinations and hidden gems in these emails as well.
I officially started freelancing this year and landed multiple collaborations and long term clients to work with. So exciting to have started this freelance side hustle as well, because 2020 showed me that having a travel blog comes with big challenges at times. And as someone who absolutely loves writing, I was ready to get into freelancing as a writer!
I’m creating a second website called Socialissa to focus on my freelancing career. So there won’t be much about freelancing on this blog, but I will share some bits of it in personal life updates. Socialissa is definitely the place to be if you’re interested in freelancing! It’s still in the works so the website is not live at this moment.
A new thing, after doing my thesis research for Rosy Melissa and creating a feasible digital product – 2021 is going to be the year when I release the first edition of this product. The exciting part is that there will be more editions of this digital product focused on different topics.
This all happened in the last year and I have been so excited to be in my own creative mind in 2020 and completely focus on these projects. My thesis gave me the time and opportunity to do serious research about the market and what would be a nice product to sell. I’m sure any other creative person recognizes this – once you find what you’re excited about and what you’re passioned about ánd once you think of a certain product to help others: it is such an excited feeling.
My travel blog
Honestly, this travel blog will forever be the place where I share all my creativity. I still enjoy it as much as I did when I just started it and you know what, I might even like it more at this moment. When I started I just wrote about travel and that was it. This year, I completely dove into the niche of conscious and authentic travel and I love writing about it.
I want to give a big shout out and thank you to everyone who reads my blog and is a new or returning visitor. In 2018, I could only dream of having strangers reading my blog. At the time, I only had a handful of “unknown” readers. Most of them were my friends and family.
Fast forward to this year. I started to truly focus on increasing my blog traffic by using Pinterest and SEO. I can’t believe this number: my blog grew over 800%. It is still increasing every month and to see your hard work reflecting in statistics like these is really rewarding. So thank you for reading my blog and being here. It truly made a huge difference in my life. I wouldn’t be here without any of you!
2020 was a rollercoaster. Time flew by. Things happened, good things and bad things. I think I’m going to stop and say “next year will be better” because we truly never know. I’m going to say “today will be better” because I do have control over today.
What is something that happened in 2020 you’re grateful for? I would love to know if you’re comfortable sharing it with me and the others.