Happy New Year 2018 – Reflections and Resolutions

Happy New Year 2018 - Winter hike on Mountain Olympus

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My belated Happy New Year 2018 wishes!

I know, “who is this again and where has she been during the last year?!” Well, part of my absence was due to unforeseeable circumstances and part due to not being clear on where I wanted to take this blog. I spread myself too thin last year, trying many different things. But I have found a renewed sense of purpose, so let refreshing winds blow through our sails and carry us to new shores!

Let me welcome you again on this website, wish you a Happy New Year 2018 and share with you my reflections on 2017 and my resolutions for the year ahead!

Happy New Year 2018 - Winter hike on Mountain Olympus
Happy New Year from Mountain Olympus, Greece. I had missed winter!

Reflections on 2017

This year was definitely full of highs and lows!

2017 found me in Thailand, relaxing with my boyfriend in the charming island of Koh Lanta. In April I finished my teaching contract in the school I was working in Bangkok. Shortly after, my siblings visited me in the Land of Smiles where we had some amazing trips and times together.

Then in the beginning of May , I took a solo trip to Malaysia for 2 weeks. An absolutely fantastic destination that filled my wanderlusting heart with joy and memorable experiences! It’s such an underrated country! Blog post coming soon praising this southeast Asian gem.

Another short trip to Koh Samed followed in June, and after that my man and I said goodbye to Thailand and returned to our countries to see our families and in my case, attend a wedding.

Exploring a jungle in Taman Negara, Malaysia.
Exploring the jungle in Taman Negara national park, Malaysia.


Lessons I learnt from the bad experiences

So far, so good. And then, the lows. What was supposed to be a short visit turned into 4 months of being apart! Ugh. (If you need advice on long-distance relationships, ask away! But I’m not doing it again! I’ll do it again if the circumstances arise and there are plans to reunite soon, as it happened in our case, but damn – it sucks!)

While we were looking for new teaching jobs abroad, I got the chance in July to visit a relative in the USA for a while. And that proved to be my worst traveling experience ever. I arrived at the airport in Chicago, full of joy that I’d visit the United States, only to be interrogated for hours and locked in a waiting cell. They didn’t allow me in, accused me of coming to America to work illegally, went through all my personal belongings, my phone and my private messages…

And then locked me in a detention room, to wait for the flight back that they put me on. Said flight was after 24 hours. The longest hours of my life! At least I had 5 other girls for company, all denied entrance into the US for dubious reasons – and most of them Europeans.

But at least the year ended on a good note. Finally, for the last 3 months of 2017 my boyfriend visited me in my hometown and we spent the time going on day trips, sightseeing in Thessaloniki and planning our next move to Asia! Yay!

Holiday season in Thessaloniki, Greece, with my boyfriend.
We spent the holiday season in beautifully decorated Thessaloniki <3

So, lessons learnt:

  • Don’t leave a beautiful country where you’ve worked for 2 years without a good chunk of savings and especially without having secured another source of income. And if you do, be prepared for the stress and uncertainty. And for staying back with your parents!
  • Don’t resent said time spent with parents. See, if you’re living abroad for a long time as an expat, you can appreciate the extra time you get to spend with family (provided that you are on good terms with them, of course.)
  • Don’t be over-optimistic and convince other people to leave their jobs in search for greener pastures. (In this case, my boyfriend). At least, have a better plan before doing so. It’s good to take risks and be self-confident, but:
  • Don’t expect things to go as planned in the time-frame you planned them. Have patience!
  • Don’t have expectations, period.
  • Don’t succumb to the confusion and procrastination it causes and work harder on your goals that you CAN control. Release the worrying about the things you can’t control. Practice acceptance.
  • Don’t make decisions out of FEAR and a place of worrying – instead, act out of LOVE and of knowing what you really want! (example, don’t take just any job in fear of not having money – know what you’re worth of and direct your energies to finding something closer to your purpose)

Now, lets talk about resolutions!

Don’t make common New Year Resolutions that you Won’t Keep

Some of us, after making the same and same resolutions every year, have concluded that setting goals just for the sake of setting them doesn’t work. Some people are just addicted to lists and feel compelled to make one every new year!

  • I’ll reach my target weight goal and keep it.
  • This will be the year I will learn a new language.
  • I’ll hit the gym 5 times a week.
  • Finally I will become a morning person who never hits the snooze button!

Just because our planet has completed one more trip around the sun, and the year number on the calendar changes, doesn’t mean we will automatically turn into new people. Or we’ll be offered a full jug of motivation that will never run out. Or that we’ll stick with the new habits we’ll form in January.

But this doesn’t mean that we can’t change! The truth is, that in order to stop disappointing ourselves each year, there is only one thing we need to nail down: our “WHY”. The reason behind our list of goals. With each passing year, our plans and goals evolve, because we evolve as people.

With self-awareness, we know the areas in our lives where we need to improve. And we don’t need to wait for January 1st each year in order to change direction, set new goals and go after them. No, that can happen any time! (and some people even choose their birthdays to do a re-evaluation of their lives and set new goals).


Choose a word for 2018

A few years ago, I read somewhere that what’s more effective than detailed lists is to just choose one word that we can let act as a compass for us in the new year. Whenever we are in doubt about decisions, or we feel lost and confused, we can just repeat to ourselves the word we chose and see if our actions align with the general direction we aimed for our lives in the beginning of the year.

Some words you can choose from include: Focus, Accept, Abundance, Wealth, Release, Love, Grow, Inspire, Productive, Expand, Bold.

My word for this year is “CREATE”. I spent too much of last year being in a consuming mode; consuming other people’s work, like articles, books, blog posts, online courses, TV series, movies, posts on social media.

Therefore, this year I want to be more in creating mode. Create more blog articles, posts on my media platforms, income opportunities, memories in new places. Write more, draw more, create abundance and savings and the foundation for going location-independent.

Keep creating a life I absolutely love!

*** And if you want to get reacquainted with me and this blog, please read my first post here! ***

I wish you an amazing year filled with health, happiness, precious moments with your loved ones, exciting travels to new destinations (and if you can’t travel, new discoveries in your own city), inner peace, growth in all the areas important to you and exhilarating adventures!

–> Drop me a comment and let me know what your most exciting trip was last year and what your plans are for 2018! Are you ready to crush the new year? Lets do this!

4 Replies to “Happy New Year 2018 – Reflections and Resolutions”

  1. Hey Nicky,

    Saw your comment on twitter, decided to check your post out 🙂

    First of all, welcome back to blogging world! 🙂
    Secondly, sorry to hear about your experience in the US. Why did they think you are there to work illegally?
    And finally, what are your travel plans for 2018? Anywhere in particular?

    – Zarina

    1. Hi Zarina, thanks for your comment and the welcome!

      It was about time I re-entered the blogging world, excited about the year ahead 🙂
      To answer your question, they found it weird I was visiting a relative for 3 full months with just a carry-on suitcase (it was summer and that’s how I travel anyways!) and that I was unemployed at that moment didn’t help (I was in-between expat teaching jobs). I also didn’t have lots of cash on me, but I did have a credit card with a sufficient limit and my accommodation was sorted. What consoled me was the fact that a bunch of other European girls were refused entry as well, and for 2 of them it wasn’t their first time in the US. We theorized that with the new administration maybe they are making it harder for Europeans to visit the country?

      If all goes as planned, I’ll be relocating to China soon and I plan on visiting south Korea and Japan! I’m especially looking forward to a Japan trip since I’m fascinated with the country’s culture and beauty. And I’ll try to make a Myanmar trip happen, as it’s in my top 10 bucket list 🙂
      What about you?

  2. I agree with you about the resolutions Nicky… no need to wait for the first day of every year to feel determined and to decide and plan the next steps of your life!
    Looking forward to seeing what else your amazing mind will create this year! 😉
    Finally, I hope you get to visit Japan soon… and hopefully take me with you? 😀

    1. Hey sister, it’s a dream destination for both of us and hopefully we can visit Japan soon together – it will be an amazing trip to add to our list of countries we’ve traveled to together 😉

      And I totally agree about resolutions; New Year’s is a great motivational boost since the calendar resets, but it’s for nothing if we don’t change our mindsets, commit to our goals and stick to our plans!

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