While the world is getting ready to ring in 2020, most of us are looking back at what 2019 meant to us and are already making promises to ourselves for the new year. Hopes and wishes and resolutions are scribbled on papers or sent into the universe. I decided instead to look back on this past decade.

You see, I have been feeling quite down lately. A feeling I am only too familiar with unfortunately. I guess it is part of my ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression. I feel like I’m stuck, like I haven’t moved an inch or accomplished much in the last year. While friends and peers are joyfully announcing big things happening in their lives, career and love lives, I cannot help but wonder where the fuck I went wrong.

We as humans often tend to put much emphasis on the things we did not accomplish, goals we have not met and parts of our lives that went south. So much so that we completely forget to acknowledge the better parts of our existence, our accomplishments, no matter how small, and the highlights in our movie reel called life.

So this end of year I decided to take a look back at all the positive little things that I have done, goals I have met, all the beauty that I have experienced and the personal growth I made during this last decade.

Remembering my highlights of the last ten years

Becoming an Entrepreneur

2010 was the year I became entrepreneur for the very first time. I cut off all lines of the safety net that was my job and dove head first into owning my very own Event Planning company. I felt so incredibly proud and I was so determined to make Glitter Events a success. I may not have known much about being a small business owner at the time but man, did I have fun learning it all.

Remembering my highlights of the last ten years
Decorating an event space

Becoming a wife.

My husband and I decided to elope in 2011, much to the dismay of some of our family members. We figured it was our day and we would celebrate it the way we wanted to. So, we flew to New York City, registered at City Hall and got married there the next day. Click here to read all about that day.

The "too much guacemole" joke

After being together for 9 years, we knew exactly what we wanted for our “big day” and an elopement in the City that does not Sleep, complete with photos on Brooklyn Bridge, lunch at a diner and drinks at a speak-easy was the best thing we could have ever done.

A trip with Fate

The years flew by and they were pretty much a blur of sweat and hard work. Until 2013 when my husband took a nasty fall that resulted in neurological issues. He was examined by doctors on Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, Florida and Toronto. But nobody could find a cause or a cure. We decide to give it one more try and left for Bogotá, Colombia at the end of that year only to return for a month in January 2014. Check out the highlights of that trip here.

2015-02-15 19.01.25-1
At the Tequendama Museum near Bogotá

Calling that month-long stay in Bogotá eye opening is the understatement of the decade. Colombia is where my life changed forever. It is where I realized that my life was not mine, that my career was not making me happy and that I really wanted to see more of the world. I can safely say that Colombia is where it all started.

The big change

I made 40 in April of 2015 and with that birthday came the decision to finally listen to that urge for a big change that started in Colombia the year before. Much to the shock and disbelief of family and friends, I decided to close my event planning business, with no real plan for the future and no clue of what the hell I was gonna do for money. I just knew that I was burnt out and needed a change. With no money for therapy, I started writing. Before I knew it I was researching “how to start a blog” and in the summer of 2015 I clicked on “publish” for the first time of my life and The Traveling Island Girl was born. Read all about that big change and how I did it here.

The storm of a lifetime

2017 started out beautifully. I was working several jobs just to save up and travel. I was invited on my first media trip, My articles were published for the first time in print media as well as in an online magazine. I attended a writer’s retreat and found my tribe. But while starting the blog surely made my heart soar, it did not exactly make me money. In fact, it became an expense. I knew I wanted to travel and my sight was set high. I wanted to live that nomadic life, I  saw so beautifully portrayed on Instagram by well-known and successful travel bloggers. I had no plan and no idea on how to get there. So, I fell into a deep depression. My marriage was falling apart, I had no career and to top it all off, I slammed my beautiful jeep into a tanker which ended up costing us 10 grand in repairs. I prayed for a way out of this mess I called life.

Traveling girls club
I found my tribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico on a writer’s retreat. Meet my ride or die crew.

And then came Irma…

On September 6th 2017 a 200 mile-per-hour hurricane called Irma turned my life upside down, quite literally. You might be reading this and think: Why would she count such a disastrous life-event a highlight?” In case you want to read about that disaster, you can click here .

Road to recovery post-Irma
Taking a shower in the rain because we had no water for weeks after the storm

The truth is Irma saved my life. Irma gave me back my will to live and the guts to continue doing what I was doing. It brought a new focus and determination. Something I have quite honestly lost for a while.

A year of travel

I thought my travels were over after Irma, at least for a while. But I can happily say that 2018 brought me to a lot of cool places and amazing people. I celebrated Women’s Day on the island of Saba, my birthday in New York City, I met up with two of my blogger friends for a second media trip to Nevis, I visited my little brother in Antwerp, walked the street of Paris with my husband, met a few super cool fellow bloggers in Miami, laughed with my siblings in Curaçao and fell in love wth the center of Puerto Rico. I organized my first Boss Women Retreat in May of 2018, followed by a second one the following November. Yes, 2018 was a great travel year.

A long time dream becomes a reality

I found myself on the floating bridge in Curaçao at the stroke of midnight on January 1st 2019. As everyone around me was wishing each other a happy new year, I looked up and made a wish of my own. I wished for my dream trip to finally happen this year…and it did.

On the 15th of September 2019, I finally traveled to Oregon to see the Haystack Rock and the Multnomah Falls, I took the train to Seattle to visit the epicenter of grunge music, see the Pike Market, the gum wall and the troll under the overpass, I drove to forks to walk the hall of mosses trail in the HOH first, visit Ruby Beach, La Push, and Cape Flattery, the North-Westernmost point of the contiguous United States. At the time of of typing this blog post, I have yet to write a review of this trip, but know it is coming. I saw sea lions, an elk and whales in the wild. I’m smiling the widest smile and my heart is so content as I type up these words. While most of you who read my blog are dreaming of blue oceans and white sandy beaches, I dreamt of visiting the rainiest part of continental US and I am deliriously happy that I finally got to do so, and all by myself.

Standing amongst some seriously old trees in the Hall of Mosses

Sure there were other trips and highlights this year. I hosted my first Instagram for Business Workshop (and am planning another one at the end of January 2020) I celebrated my birthday in the BVI, I drove a Moke for the first time on Anguilla, I got to meet one of my favorite travel bloggers, Alyssa from My Life’s a Travel Movie and her mom, I spent a month in Curaçao to take care of my dad and I got the opportunity of a lifetime to sail the virgin islands on a luxury charter catamaran.

Not bad for a penniless blogger 😉

Remembering my Highlights of the last ten years
Cruising the Virgin Islands onboard luxury catamaran Viramar

Looking back on the past ten years makes me realize that my life was indeed full of accomplishments. I met one of the biggest goals of my life, I got to spend time with my family, even though we live in different parts of the world and I experienced failures and success in my career life. Not to mention all the life lessons I learned.

2020 is knocking on the door but before you open up, take a look back at all the good, the great and the beautiful that you had the honor of experiencing in the last 10 years and get ready for another 10 more.

Happy New Year!

Signature The Traveling Island Girl


    • Riselle Reply

      RONNNNNN!!!!!! Happy New year mijn goeie vriend. All the best. Hele dikke knuffel 🤗

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