“New Year’s resolutions? I have a few. But the most important is to be able to say that seemingly, nothing has changed. That I am sitting at the same desk with the same cat on my lap and the same man behind my back. The point is to sit there as a better version of myself.”
That’s how I ended my personal sum up of 2016. Today indeed – I’m sitting at the same desk with the same cat on my lap, the same man is in the other room. Am I a better version of myself?
For sure a bit different one again.
2017 was calm and stable.
Does it mean it was boring? Hell no, I don’t remember a single boring day this year 🙂
But it was calm in comparison to 2016 when I changed quite a lot and when I had my longest trip and volunteering in the USA.
It was also calm if I compare it to the upcoming 2018 which I’ll start with 7 weeks in Thailand and end with a different marital status and if everything goes well – in my own flat.
From travel perspective I can call 2017 a year of come backs. I don’t remember any year when I’ve visited so many places I already know. In January, even though we didn’t plan it, we visited Lecco by Como lake in Italy again. We hiked Monte Barro and visited Milan.
In June I came back to Alsace and this time, unlike my visit two years ago I could talk to parents and friends of my friend in French. Not as freely as I’d like to but not too bad already 🙂 We drank wine, we visited cute towns surrounded by vineyards and hiked French mountains – the Vosges.
After over three years I came back to my second home. It was an emotional journey back to my first volunteering experience. I wasn’t sure I remember everything well so I took a map – but I haven’t used it once. Familiar places, familiar faces, showing everything to Adam – all of it made my come back to Saint Petersburg a special experience 🙂
I’ve seen new places this year as well. I visited two new cities in two new countries – charming Lviv and seemingly simple but beautiful in its own way – Dublin.
I can also call 2017 a year of discovering Poland.
I continued hiking the peaks of the Crown of Polish Mountains – the highest peaks of all twenty eight mountains ranges in Poland. I hiked five of them in 2017. Ślęża showed me a bit of old Slavic beliefs, Śnieżka welcomed me with sun and cloudless sky even though over 300 days a year there is cloudy. We hiked Wielka Sowa at the end of April in knee deep snow.
I hiked Skalnik with a fever. I heard there is an outstanding view on the way but the best I got was to see a couple of meters in front of me through the dense fog. And finally Wysoka – which I underestimated, which kicked my butt hard and which showed me the only sunset during storm I’ve ever seen.
For the first time I visited north-eastern part of Poland. I spent a week in Podlasie region and I learnt what it’s like to camp in Poland. I quickly prepared sausages for barbecue with storm roaring behind me. I drank wine lying in my sleeping bag and listening to the hum of pouring rain. I sat dangerously close to the fire when the temperatures at night fell close to zero.
I got to know more of Poland’s hidden gems. Places where we walked for 20 kilometers and met one person on the way. Places with no mobile signal. Places where Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims live next to each other in peace and nobody’s surprised seeing a catholic church, an orthodox church and a mosque in one village.
My country is beautiful and much more diversified than I expected.
When it comes to my blogging goals, a year ago I decided that by the end of 2017 I will reach the statistics allowing me to join a database of Polish Travel Blogs. Joining can help to connect with brands and start a cooperation. But the cooperations weren’t my priority – it was more about crossing a border in my mind. To look at other travel bloggers and start feeling like I am really one of them.
In 2017 I worked on the blog so many hours that I could easily say it was my part-time job – and I’m happy and proud of myself that I still enjoy it a lot 🙂 The blog is a challenge for me and I’m happy to see a progress. Number of unique users grew from 500 a month to over 3000. It’s still not a lot objectively and in winter the traffic stopped growing – but I did cross the border.
This year I earned my first money on the blog. Well, “earned” is not a good word, it wasn’t enough to even cover the expenses. But there was a small tiny income –a huge load of motivation to set ambitious goals for 2018.
The number of Facebook likes almost hasn’t changed since last year, Instagram isn’t growing fast enough either. But your engagement grew, that’s important.
I improved my photography this year. Photography became art, another hobby – not only a necessity to illustrate my blog posts with something. I learned a lot about framing, telling a story with a photo – and I learned basics of editing. I still only know a few percent of Photoshop’s options but it does makes a huge difference. I can make my photos look more professional.
This year I got back to regular sport. I’ve never been a couch potato but in the last years sport wasn’t on top of my priorities list. There was always something else to do. Since it became one of the priorities again I’ve been feeling much better – physically and mentally 🙂
I’m glad that on my 25th birthday I wrote a letter to myself 10 years ago. I had this idea in mind for quite some time as a way of sorting things out in my head and understanding who I am and why. I wish I could really send it to the past.
Plans for 2018? It’s going to be an intense year.
On the 22nd January we’re going to Thailand. For three weeks we will travel with Adam (who said a pre-marital honeymoon is a bad thing… 🙂 ). Another four weeks I’ll spend there volunteering – I’ll teach English to kids in a private language school in Uthai Thani – a province most of the tourists never heard of.
I come back to Poland in the middle of March and I’ll need to prepare everything to start our united journey through life. Take off in June 🙂 There will be a white dress but also red shoes. Serious event but with minimum stress, with loads of great fun instead.
What’s next? Honeymoon – probably with a tent in the mountains nearby as I won’t have any holidays left. And then just mortgage, kids and routine because “it’s what life’s like”, right?
The mortgage might be right, we would like to end 2018 in our own flat. Kids – one day. But I’m already wondering when I can realistically plan another long trip – to South America… 🙂
Goals for 2018?
Life ones – manage it all without going crazy 🙂 Blog ones – keep giving you better and better content, develop my SEO knowledge, work on my mailing list. Build a stable income from affiliates.
I have it all written in an Excel file, divided in months and tasks and I hope I’ll manage to stick to it.
Other goals – improve my photography, learn to take portraits and better street photos. Keep my sport regularity.
And again – become a bit better version of myself 🙂 And I wish it to you too.