Today is the day. My blog turns 6 years. Six years! I’ll let that linger, just for a few seconds. When I think about it, I still can’t wrap my head around the many ways this blog has changed my life and career path.
Previous years, I’ve written posts about what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown my blog. You can read them all below.
This year, though, I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll update you guys on where I am personally and business wise, and share where I’ve been traveling in 2019 and my travel plans for 2020. I’ve got a long, exciting list!
So, let’s begin with the personal stuff.
The past 1.5 year has been all about two things: Career and being a mom. Reality is that I haven’t really had time for anything else.
I’ve been really busy with my main client, BESTSELLER, where I freelance more or less full-time now. I’ve been there for six years with several brands, and I really love working in the fashion industry. It can be a tough business, with sharp elbows and where things move fast. But I’ve learned to navigate in the fast lane.
When I’m not working, I’m a mom. I pick up Theo from daycare and then I play with him, cook for him and cuddle him until I tuck him in, and then I’ve got two hours of me-time before I pass out on the couch. Newsflash: Being a grown up is seriously hard work 😀
Luckily, it’s getting easier. Theo is 2.5 years old now and past the worst toddler defiance and tantrums. He now talks and can express himself, which has helped a lot.
Also, for the first time, I’m actually looking forward to building a nest. Up until now, I’ve been perfectly happy with renting instead of buying, because it gave us the freedom to just pick up and leave if we wanted to. But as the years have gone by, I’m beginning to appreciate the ways a house can make us happy: it’s ours, with a beautiful garden where I can plant some flowers and watch the sunset with a
glass bottle of Pinot Grigio. A place where Theo can grow up. And it gives us economic stability.
Yes, the fear of losing my freedom still lingers, but I’m taking it one step at the time. I know I’ll get there eventually.
Business wise, it’s going really well. I’ve made some changes this past year, and I’m really happy with them.
For starters: I’ve expanded my crew. Yep, exciting things are happening around AdventurousMiriam.com. I’ve brought on a team member to help with the business side of my blog. His name is Will, and he’s in charge of all my affiliate posts. Like this one. I’m still the CEO of everything that gets published, and I choose the topics, the content and the products, and I take the flat lay photos which has been really fun!
It took me a long time to let someone else in. Because up until now, it’s just been me writing this blog. No guest posts or sponsored posts. Just me. But I’m really glad that I did. This year, my blog has gone from providing inspiration and tips about the places I’ve visited to including more broad travel tips. For instance, I now have country guides for each country I’ve written about, and you can find lots of advice on solo travel, packing lists, travel gear and much more like how to overcome jet lag and fear of flying, and which travel shots you need.
My blog now offers more general advice and most importantly – it answers my reader’s and potential reader’s questions. And I believe that’s the way to success.
Where I’ve been in 2019
My first trip this year was to Georgia & Armenia, otherwise known as ‘the horror trip’.
It all went wrong from the beginning. Every single flight of our five flights was delayed, my friend sprained her ankle, our luggage got lost, Theo threw tantrums, our trip to Kazbegi mountains (the highlight of the trip) got cancelled due to an avalanche, and it rained. All day, every day.
Dealing with the delays, lack of sleep and constant stress of this trip was awful. And by the end of it, my tongue suddenly got swollen to a point where I almost couldn’t speak and had trouble breathing. I was hospitalised when we got home – stress-related edema.
I think, with Georgia, I had a wake-up call. I realised that I shouldn’t always bring my child on trips. I’ve been so busy trying to convince myself that I could take Theo anywhere in the world, as long as I set my mind to it. But seriously guys, that’s a load of …
Traveling with kids is great, and 90% of the time it’s doable. But some ages (1.5-2.5 years) are just horrible for traveling, and some destinations just aren’t suitable for babies and toddlers. Georgia is one of them. For instance, there are no pedestrian walks in Tbilisi, only a few underground passageways, which is difficult with a stroller. All in and outgoing flights are at 4am in the morning, and some of the sights, like Uplistsikhe cave town, are just not made for strollers. So, I learned my lesson and went to Ukraine without Theo, and that was a great decision.
I still liked Georgia, and loved Georgian food. It was just bad timing in every regard. I’m sure I’ll be back when Theo is older.
When we got to Armenia, I was drained mentally and physically. But already at the airport I got the sense that Armenia was different. It’s incredibly child friendly, Armenians love kids! Like, they walk up to you and talk to your child, and they waved at us from their cars.
It was easy to see that the economy was better in Armenia, and everything went more smoothly. I really liked this country. And the food was just as good as in Georgia, just with a twist of Persian flavors. Armenia is not as rough around the edges as Georgia, but that has its charm, too!
A few weeks after returning from the Caucasus, we took off to Croatia. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to invite my parents on a trip. I wanted to share my greatest passion with them and show them some of my favourite places in the world.
Istria was perfect in every way. It’s a place very close to my heart, and also exactly what I needed after the last trip. My parents, Thomas, Theo & I spent a little week in Rovinj with lots of truffles & wine, amazing views and that Croatia vibe I’ve come to love so very much. I almost didn’t take any photos, and only with my phone. It was such a relaxing and re-energizing trip with the ones I love most in this world. Just what I needed.
Then came Ukraine and blew me completely away. I’ve wanted to visit Ukraine for a few years now and obviously had a sense that it would be interesting and beautiful. But wow. Just wow. This country is amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever visited a capital that had SO many things to offer. From WWII sights with nuclear missiles and tanks to secret restaurants and vibrant churches, Kyiv is really unique.
My real reason for visiting was Lviv. Otherwise known as the heart of Ukraine, and it certainly didn’t disappoint either. Lviv instantly became one of my favourite places in Europe along with Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Lauterbrunnen and Hallstatt. I’m already planning a trip back there. Just like Kyiv, there’s so much to see and do.
Last trip of 2019 was to Poland. And what a treat. We flew down to Kraków and spent a long weekend exploring the city and eating our way through the most amazing Polish food. Who would’ve thought?! I’ve always associated Polish food with cabbage and sauerkraut – definitely not with all the exquisite gourmet food recommended by Michelin. I had a lot of duck & goose and of course pierogi – the cousin to Russian pelmeni, Asian dumplings and Georgian khinkali.
Poland was charming with a medieval atmosphere and super nice people. It’s not the last time I visit Poland, that’s for sure!
Where I’m going in 2020
So, 2020 is going to be exciting! I already have my first trip planned in January, and I’m planning out the rest of the spring trips as we speak.
People often ask me where I get my travel inspiration from. Like, how do I decide where to go next. And while I most often get it from Instagram or blogs I follow, it sometimes also just comes to me. I’ve been thinking about where to go in 2020, and which new countries I’d like to explore, but couldn’t really decide. Then the other morning, I woke up, and I just knew. I’d dreamt that I booked a trip to Serbia, Kosovo and Bulgaria. I wasn’t even sure if it’s possible logistically and with a 2 year old. But it turned out, it is. So, I’ll try to make it happen this spring.
This is my plan for 2020:
- The U.S. (my cousin’s wedding in Washington)
- Kosovo (finally!)
- Latvia (my friend’s wedding this summer)
- Lithuania (since it’s so close to Latvia)
- French Polynesia or somewhere tropical in autumn (because I’m craving palm-lined beaches and cocktails ad libitum)
- Maybe Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (I’m still figuring out how to do this overland, sleeping-in-yurts and very off-the-path trip with Theo)