A YEAR IN REVERSE
Thank you, 2018; Watch out, 2019!
Once again, the new year is knocking at our door, which means it’s time again — time for reflection.
The last year ended with a tan, a backpack full of souvenirs from Indonesia and a broken heart. In some ways, you can say that I was at my lowest back then. I had a severe burn-out, no time and energy left for my close ones, and serious doubts about what path to chart out. However, as crazy as that year was, I received so much love that gave me the strength (and the perspective) to take many bold risks. Needless to say, they’ve all paid off, because 2018 has been a year of highs! A growing company, a great team, bundles of energy, steel focus, and lots of quality time with the people who matter.
So now, as this year draws to a close, it’s time to look back once again and see how I’ve grown. Once again, there’s a tan and a backpack full of souvenirs from Nicaragua… but this time, there’s no broken heart. 2018, it’s been a hell of a ride!
A life of travel
So, in typical Charlotte fashion, what I did the most this year is what I love the most.
The result? More happiness and contentment than I knew possible.
I started the year on the Austria slopes, went on a snowboard party trip to France, and jetted off to Barcelona for some business and a whole lot of fun (yup, that’s the time when I lost my voice and had a ridiculous hangover at the airport).
And that’s not it, not even barely!
I explored Iceland for the first time (strongly stressing on ‘first time’ because this place made such a mark on me that I want to go back every year). Went surfing in the South of France. Spent quality time with my dad motorbiking in the Bourgogne/Ardèche. Road-tripped through Europe for an entire month (again, something I want to do every summer, because you really don’t have to go too far to find absolutely amazing places). Drove through Germany, Austria and pretty much the whole of Italy. Crossed the Sustenpass and watched the sunny settings of Italy transform into the snowy mountaintops of Switzerland.
What more? Well, I fell head over heels in love with The Mighty Dolomites. Discovered the charming Colmar in France. Camped and went rafting in Siberia. I went on an adventure that merged travel, women empowerment, sustainability and social entrepreneurship in Kenya with A.S. Adventure. Flew to London and Marrakech.
It seems like a lot, but to be honest, I flourished in this constant travel and work — because everything I did was tinged with passion. The blurry haze of movement actually gave me the clearest perspective I’ve ever had.
Now, as I fly between Nicaragua and Costa Rica and write all this down on the vomit bags in the plane, I feel one emotion the most strongly: gratitude. As I prepare to bid farewell to 2018, I can truly say that I’ve grown by leaps and bounds as an individual, a traveler, a friend and a professional.
It’s crazy how much you can change in such a short time when you put your mind to it. In 2017, I made a promise to myself that I would travel more, have my own company, and spend quality time with loved ones. I truly did all of that in just a year, and so much more. I learned to love in more ways I knew how, I learned to trust my gut and I learned the true meaning of exploration.
So, as you enter the new year, remember to define what happiness means for you. Remember to believe in yourself. Remember to dive in and make your own opportunities. And with that, go forth to crush those goals!
Like my mom says:
Het leven is een reis.
Reis je wel.
Life is a journey.