2017 was in many ways the culmination of three years hard work. What was before, I remember most as constantly longing for something else. I didn't know what it was, and how to figure it out, so I waited.
And waited, and waited. I obsessed over different questions but hesitated to commit to anything. Maybe I should start studying again? Look for a new job? Maybe move to the U.S.? Or just travel more? I made half-ass decisions on a daily basis. Spent weeks researching options. Till I reached a point where I decided that sitting on my ass in Stockholm, year after year, would not bring me closer to an answer.
So 2015 I stopped waiting.
2016 was about slowly learning about things I didn't want.
Which brings us to 2017: the year when I started to figure out what I actually do want. I know my values and priorities in a way I haven't before. Life is not all sunshine and mangos, but knowing what mangos you actually want sure as hell makes it easier to pick them.
Not my greatest analogy, but you get what I'm saying.
This has been an incredible year, and I'm so grateful for everyone that has been part of it in any way, positive as well as negative.
So, what was 2017 all about?
Let's dive into the details!
Cape Town life
I decided to live in Cape Town for two months. The city is gorgeous, the people are just the sweetest you can imagine, and OMG the wine and food are to die for. It was an incredible experience, but for someone who enjoys walking around solo, it was also challenging. You have to pay attention to your surroundings in a way I’ve never had to. It’s not an unsafe city, but as a friend there said: “99% of the time nothing happens. But where you come from it’s 99,9%. There’s a difference.“
The fasting thing
In February, I decided to try intermittent fasting, after a friend pointed out that it was basically the way I was unintentionally eating in Bali. It didn't take long to notice that it works really well for my body (my stomach has never been happier), although getting used to not eating in the mornings was a struggle for the first months.
Bonus: Every day is brunch day!
Finally visiting Colombia
I’ve dreamed of Colombia for years, and I was not disappointed with the country. I was however disappointed with myself, who got sick as soon as I got there and was not able to enjoy it the way I wanted to. I’ll be back one day and do it right.
Crossing the Atlantic
I joined the Nomad Cruise, two weeks crossing the Atlantic from Colombia to Portugal. Here I had a few of my most miserable moments of the year, but also some of my happiest.
Did anyone say tequila-infused emotional rollercoaster?
Besides new friends, I also picked up a new understanding of myself - I have a strong extroverted part, too. I’ve had this idea of myself as a typical introvert who would feel the happiest living as a hermit with books as companions.
This type of experience, where you get thrown into a mix of people, spending every waken hour together for a limited amount of time, works as an energy boost for my brain. Going forward, I aspire to have one or two of these types of experiences yearly.
After the cruise, a group of us stayed for almost a week. These days were magical. Drinking wine by the ocean, eating all the food, having great conversations. Lisbon didn’t quite win my heart as a home base, but I'll always come back for the vibe and (obviously) pastel de nata.
Vipassana silent retreat
I was talking to a friend who has done Vipassana several times, and she looked at me and said, “there’s a before and an after”. It really is. It was a mental boot camp where I had to face my mind in a way I’ve never done before, and it was unbelievably tough.
But I’m so damn grateful for staying and pushing through the pain. Six months later and I'm still growing from this experience.
Defining my priorities
One of the many things Vipassana brought clarity to is what really matters to me. It comes down to three things: health, creating and community. For every decision I make, I try to choose the alternative that most supports this.
Las Palmas life
For six weeks this summer I stayed in Las Palmas and worked on my writing and collaborating with Heather, practiced pole and processed my Vipassana experience. We also managed to have some epic tequila Fridays. If that's not balance, I don't know what is.
Freelancing and AB
Since quitting my job I’ve been freelancing and invoiced through a service, but this summer I finally committed to starting my own business.
So if you hear me talking about something like a proud mother would of her child, it’s about my business. I even take pleasure in reporting my time, sending invoices and making calculations.
I know, my excitement for this is way out of proportion.
Back to Scotland
I went to a magical wedding in Scotland and got the chance to swing by Glasgow for a few days - for the first time since leaving eleven years ago. This city will always feel like home and I'd love to spend a longer period of time there at some point.
Ass crew member getting married
Watching two of my favorite people get married is clearly in the highlights column. LOOK AT HOW PRETTY THEY ARE!
In line with my priorities, I decided it was time to start making plans for getting myself a home base. As most of you know, Berlin has been in the cards for a while, and after spending September there, I have no hesitations. A city with that number of hipster cafes and weird bars is clearly where I belong.
Berlin, I'll be seeing you soon.
Kept the Oktoberfest tradition going
Drinking beer with friends is something you can do anywhere, but there’s something about Oktoberfest in Munich that makes it magical.
Also, somebody plz stop me from buying a new dirndl next year. This habit is wrecking my budget.
learning to let go
Another theme of the year has been working on letting go. It will never be easy, but practice makes ... well, better.
The tricky part is when we're not even aware that we are attached to something. It can be an idea of who you are. Or how someone else is. It’s easy to cling to illusions when letting go means facing what we are without them. If I’m not an introvert, what’s my excuse for hiding? If I bought into a lie, what does that say about me?
You get the picture.
Pole pole pole
This year started with a strong focus on yoga, Ashtanga in particular, but it has been different since the silent retreat. What I used to get from yoga, I now get from meditation. Instead, I want to focus all my attention on dancing.
Being in Stockholm for a while has the upside of training at my home studio which happens to be THE BEST. Not that I'm partial or anything. Lucky for me, Berlin has some kickass studios too.
Also, I started exotic pole! As many other things in pole it doesn't come naturally to me, but putting on 7inch heels and do hair flips has been a highlight of my weeks this winter.
Tequila Friday Newsletter
Oh, and I started a newsletter! I read a lot of interesting things I want to share, and tequila goes really well with smart 3,500 words articles, in case you didn't know. Subscribe here if you're interested!
I did intend to travel less, but still managed to jump across the world. Several places for the first time, but also a few favorites I keep coming back to.
2017, you were spectacular in so many ways. Challenges and happiness in equal measures, a lot of personal growth, new friends, and as always, not quite enough tequila. So grateful for this year.
2018, bring it on.