I’m always a bit late to the party of yearly reviews, but after very hectic holidays I finally managed to write up this review for the year that just passed by. For me, this post is about summing up this year and having all its highlights in one place, but I know reading such recaps can be draining for some, so feel free to skip this post entirely if you don’t feel like it!
This past year was full, with lots of really busy days and weeks at work, a lot of adventures both local and faraway, and lots of times spent with friends and family, but also quieter times spent on my hobbies. However, as you can guess from the title of this post, it was most of all a “bucket-list” year, one where I managed to check things off my bucket-list, which left me feeling extremely grateful for all that I have.
Random favourites from 2022
- Antipodes’ Avocado Pear night cream: this is a very random one, but I can’t tell you how much my skin loves this at the end of the day. It truly is a bliss for my dry skin!
- Waterstones and reading: I read a lot more this year compared to the previous ones and, what matters most, is that I enjoyed it a lot more. I also loved going to this beautiful British bookstore called Waterstones in Brussels!
- Gilmore Girls: I rewatched this cosy show throughout the year, and I grew to love it more and more – can’t wait for my next rewatch!
- Youtube ambience playlists: from autumnal sounds to Ghibli-inspired playlists, I’ve basically been listening to ambience playlists this whole year to keep me focused.
- Bubble tea: do I really need to expand on this? 😛
- Scented candles: I’ve always loved scented candles but this year I did definitely go a bit crazy over them, and I started lighting them up instead of “saving” them for “better occasions” – yay me!
- One Country per Month: I can’t remember if I have already mentioned this in one of my monthly reviews, but we started doing this challenge with my family where we pick a random country each month and try to learn things about it: music, food, books, history, geography, you name it! So far, we’ve gone through Turkmenistan, Poland, Haiti, Hungary and Gabon, and we are currently on Zimbabwe!
- Running 10K: I can’t believe I actually did this as I haven’t been on a run in such a long time but yes, I actually did run 10 km earlier in 2022, and hopefully I’ll do this again this year!
- Having a bike: I rented an electric bike for several months last year and loved the freedom it gave me to go anywhere in such a short amount of time! I have cancelled my subscription for the winter months but I’d love to renew it for spring.
- Sewing: I have started sewing more regularly this year and apart from a failed attempt at a skirt which reminded me of the importance of practicing before taking on a complicated project, I’ve been super happy with what I created, namely some scrunchies, reusable make-up wipes and a pretty summer top!
- Blogging: from amazing collaborations to writing a guest post for Smileyioana, and finally managing to insert blogging in my daily routine, this blog and you, my blogger friends, were definitely a highlight of the year!
- Lots of things to look forward to: both at work and in my personal life, I have started to work towards some things that hopefully will happen in 2023… let’s see how it goes!
Recap of my 2022 adventures
Of course, 2022 was a year of fantastic adventures, and I managed to capture many of them on this blog. So here’s a little recap of everything I’ve been up to this year:
- Lots of local adventures in Belgium, including a visit to the Train World museum, an icy hike in the Ardennes, a spa weekend with my girlfriends, seeing a ballet show, walking amongst flowers at the Floralia flower show, going to concerts and finally visiting the stunning Royal Greenhouses.
- A week-long trip to Iceland, which was probably one of my all-time favourite trips, where we got to see stunning landscapes, admire beautiful waterfalls, visit ice caves and, most of all, see the elusive Northern lights, which have been on my bucket list for the longest time.
- Exploring Amsterdam for a few days around my boyfriend’s birthday. It was a city that I didn’t really like the first time, but this time was completely different and I can’t wait to go back – luckily, it’s only a train ride away!
- A week in the South of France, where I could show my boyfriend around my adoptive region, Provence. We went to see the beautiful lavender fields, the town of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the impressive Gorges du Verdon and many cute little towns, as well as visit family members.
- Visiting Tuscany and Rome with my boyfriend, my sister and her boyfriend (I’ll call us the “Fantastic Four” from now on), where we went on a three-day road trip starting from the beautiful Florence and continuing in lots of quaint little towns. Our final stop was Italy’s magnificent capital – and my hometown – Rome, which we stayed in for five days.
- 10 days in the Cyclades, in Greece with my boyfriend, where we visited Athens and explored the stunning islands of Milos and Paros. It was a perfect combination of relaxing moments and adventurous days, with crystal-clear water, beautiful hikes, delicious food and charming little towns.
- A week-long trip with my friends to Portugal, a country that I had never visited. We took the car and went from Lisbon to the southern region of Algarve, stopping by the beautiful Sintra. We went on gorgeous hikes, swam in the very cold ocean, ate fantastic food, and I could check off half of my bucket-list item of “going on a North-to-South roadtrip in Portugal”!
- Going to Canada and spending a few days in a stunning National Park in Québec, and revisiting the amazing city of Montreal, that I love more and more each time. This was another “Fantastic Four” adventure, with my mum as a special guest!
- Spending an amazing week in Los Angeles with the rest of the Fantastic Four, where we ate an incredible amount of food, went to many thrift shops and did a lot of other amazing and touristy things in the city of angels and around. This included checking off another of my bucket-list items, which was probably the first-ever thing I ever put on my bucket list: roller skating in Venice beach!
- Going back to Vienna around Christmas with my friends and walking around the countless Christmas markets and wandering about this city that I once lived in was the perfect final adventure for this year. We went to the opera and ice-skated in front of the stunning Town Hall, drank loads of hot chocolate and just walked around.
This year was also challenging for many different reasons, and while I don’t want to expand on it too much, I also think it’s important to acknowledge the lows as well as the highs to keep things more real. While I feel extremely blessed for the year that just passed by and the amazing experiences I’ve had, travelling so much also meant feeling exhausted at times and in dire need of a routine, which wasn’t always easy to combine with the really busy weeks we’ve sometimes had at work, unpredictable workloads, late nights and early mornings.
At the same time, this year was marked by a lack of motivation for my work, which didn’t feel fulfilling enough most times, even though it allows me to go on all of these adventures. I also saw drops in my motivation for my hobbies and passion throughout the year, which wasn’t always easy to navigate.
Add to this the stress and anxiety of daily life, some great projects that I’m working towards but still take on a lot of mental preparation and space, and you have a pretty hectic year, with some moments of rest but not enough, and a lot of overwhelming days and weeks!
Intentions for 2023
The theme of 2022, if you recall last year’s review, was BALANCE, and even though my life was not balanced all the time throughout the year, I did notice a huge improvement from the previous one, where I felt constantly torn between resting and socialising, going out or staying in, being productive or allowing myself not to be… In 2022, I do feel like these issues bothered me less, and I intend to keep this for the new year and hopefully get better at balancing things out.
For 2023, I will focus on G R O W T H, trying to find a way to do things with passion and intention, not losing track of what brings me joy, and trying to find it in everyday life, in local adventures and moments of rest. I want to grow in all areas of my life and build a stable and consistent routine that I can easily go back to when I feel overwhelmed or need some stability. Hopefully I can manage this by slowly creating some helpful habits that will make things easier for me.
2022 was an amazing year of adventures, exciting moments and times spent with my friends and family. From seeing the Northern Lights, to skating in Los Angeles and going to the Opera in Vienna or on a road trip in Portugal, it really was a “bucket-list” year, and I feel immensely grateful for it.
Of course, this blog and my blogger friends also played a huge role in how great this year went, and I am also extremely grateful for those who take the time to read, like and comment these little posts of mine, my little diary.
I hope 2023 is a fantastic year for all of you, filled with all sorts of adventures and the brightest sunny days!