Confessions of a travel blogger

How I’m doing … one year later!

Wow … time flies when you’re having fun! A few years ago I used to share quite a few personal stories on We12travel, however over the past one and a half years I cut down on that. Because I didn’t want to share too many personal details anymore, because I was not proud of the burnout that I was diagnosed with and because I traveled the world for no less than nine months. A reader who contacted me on Facebook recently, reminded me about a blog that I wrote almost a year ago but never translated into English. Reading this blog made me think of what happened over the past year. How I climbed from deep lows to big highs again. So get yourself ready with a big pot of tea or whatever it is you’re drinking because this is going to be a long personal update!
I don’t really know where to start as the past year was a crazy one. When on my way to a business meeting a few weeks ago, I listened to this podcast by James Wedmore about Signs the Universe is trying to tell you something. I am usually quite down to earth, yet at some point I started to get some goosebumps. He mentioned that many signs come in threes. On my way to that meeting I had just started my own business Spik & Spaan Media and I was super excited yet a little nervous. Right at that moment I realized that those three big happenings in my life during that time (ending my relationship after 15 years, my dad passing away and having to leave my new apartment) the universe was telling me that all those things happened for a reason. Now, one year later, I’m thankful for picking up those signs (listen to the podcast, you’ll know what I mean) and I was reminded that I’m totally where I should be right now, heading into the right direction. I’m thankful for the universe sending me those signs and giving me the strength to make the decisions I made that changed my life entirely. Quitting my office job was a relieving decision and secretly I hope to never have to work for a boss anymore.
Nine months I lived the digital nomad life. I had no place of my own, traveled from one place to the next and experienced so many amazing adventures. The digital nomad hype spreading throughout the world was to be experienced by me, yet soon after leaving I realized I missed having a place to call home. A place with my own stuff, my own desk to sit behind and write, a place with my own bed for sleeping and dreaming. After a few months on the go, I decided that digital nomad life was not going to be my thing and once I’d return home from New Zealand, I’d find my own place again. Nine months I tried living the digital nomad life and I enjoyed it, yet it was never the lifestyle I wanted to live. Being a digital nomad means you will need to have a lot of discipline and I just love the world too much to actually work when you can hike or spend time in the mountains. I was in a constant battle between having to work and wanting to be outdoors and I think I combined those two very well. The Spik & Spaan website had already been finished way back in January, but I decided to only publish it once I was back home in The Netherlands again, as I wanted to enjoy my stay in New Zealand as much as I could. Besides the freelance jobs that I had already picked up, I didn’t try to find new ones as I didn’t want to spend more hours working than I already did. I wanted to enjoy being out there to the max, rather than coming home and feeling sorry I spent all my time behind my laptop.
So that’s what I did. I enjoyed all the time I spent abroad the fullest and in my head, I’m still processing everything I have done. Have you lost what I’ve done? So did I, so here’s a small recap of the journeys I made over the past nine months:
– June 2017: blogtrip Austria (Achensee and Vorarlberg)
– July 2017: blogtrip San Marino and roadtrip Oregon & Washington
– August 2017: bear viewing in Alaska en blogtrip Sweden
– September 2017: blogtrips to the Westerwaldsteig in Germany en the Algarve in Portugal
– October 2017: Bali, Gili Air and Lombok
– November 2017: Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal
– December 2017 – March 2018: hiking in New Zealand
Quite bizarre, isn’t it? I love the traveling lifestyle, yet being on the way all the time make me restless. Even though I had my own room at my brother’s place, it wasn’t quite what I wanted in life. And then I got the opportunity to move in with my boyfriend, whom I met for the first time about a year ago. He lives in a cabin the woods near Arnhem and I’m incredibly happy I have him in my life. He’s a true outdoorman and I can say I’m grateful for having found a place to call home again. We are enjoying all kinds of micro-adventures together and also have the same dreams and ideas about the future. I can’t say too much about them yet, but believe me when I say they are big! You will hear more about it when the time is right.
I’m currently working as a freelance writer and am still location independent, meaning that I can work from anywhere as long as there is wifi. Over the past few weeks I worked in Amsterdam, Deventer and Utrecht for example. My last weeks mostly were about networking, business meetings and traveling all across The Netherlands. My laptop has a secured spot in my backpack and travels along with me all the time, so I can use every minute of the day to work and relax in the evening.
I’ve left my burnout behind however am cautious not to get back into that part of my life. I take it easy on working hours each day, sometimes choose to sleep in or make a long walk through the woods during my lunch break, rather than grabbing a sandwich and eat it behind the screen. I try to say no to things I don’t feel like doing as often as possible (saying no is a hard one for me) and make choices that are based on my own happiness and not other people’s lives. The past week was quite hectic and for a minute I felt myself slip away into old habits again, which I immediately noticed because of my energy level and mood. Luckily my burnout relapse prevention plan helps me to hit the brake straight away and other around me are here to help, too.
A while ago someone told me ‘you traveled because you inherited money’ and that made me quiet for a while. It’s a shame really that people can be so narrow minded because nobody knows that I actually saved to make the journey I did. I saved for years and worked hard on We12travel to earn some extra money, instead of using what I inherited. It’s something that I’m really proud of, since spending money feels much better when you’ve actually had to work for it. In addition, I never asked for inheriting money, I’d rather have had my dad with me for another few years instead. I don’t want to say too much about it as nobody needs to know anything about my finances, but it’s interesting to see how people can think about you. Luckily I know better and the old me would have spent days sobbing about this, the new me does not really care about what others think of me anymore.
In short: I’m happy and grateful for the life I’m currently living. Spring is inside me and motivates me to work hard and tell you my stories. I’m looking forward to long summer evenings in the hammock reading a book, but I’m also looking forward to being away for some more great adventures to come. I’m 100% happy with my life right now and apparently it shows because some people have told me I’m shining. The sunshine is back in my life baby!
How have you been doing? I’m curious to hear!
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Thanks for sharing!


  • Serena

    So glad to read all the good things in your life now!
    You do deserve all the happiness and serenity, expecially after those hard times you had to face.
    I notice people get mean when it comes to judge how much one travels. I’ve also got some comments myself lately that left me bitter. It’s always like that – envy: instead of getting motivated and inspired by seeing someone else who do good things, people always tend to drag you down, trying to find mean explanations and judging.
    It’s definitely not nice, but in the end – who cares? Their loss. Instead of trying to dig how and why you can afford travelling, they should save energies to make an effort to afford it themselves 😉

    • anto

      Word! I used to feel horrible about nasty comments but now realize that it says more about them than about me anyway. Sad to hear you receive those comments too, although I’m sure every blogger experiences this. Luckily all the positivity totally outweighs the negativity and I feel strong enough to keep on going, no matter what others think. Come to think of that, was it really four years ago since we last met already? Time flies!

  • Lydia

    Such a year, Anto! I enjoyed reading about your life adventures and getting to know you better. Those summer nights sound so mesmerizing! Looking forward to reading all about them!

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