It’s my birthday today!

If you’ve been following Culture Tourist for some time, you probably noticed I love celebrating my birthday. I believe it’s a day to celebrate your life, who you are and everything you have achieved. And I genuinely believe that’s something worth making a massive party for.

I don’t usually share many of these kinds of personal updates. But, each year, I love writing a birthday blog post reflecting on a year that passed, together with a list of twenty things I’d love to achieve in the following year. Well, it’s just to make myself accountable.

Last year’s highlights

Because 2020 and 2021 were so hard, I feel as if the last year was the year of healing and trying to find my balance back. When I read my previous birthday posts, I saw I mainly focused on repairing myself.

I started swimming a lot. There is a beautiful swimming pool close to where I live, and I love spending my early mornings there.

Reading is also an activity I’m doing much more than before. When I moved back to Croatia, I renewed my library subscription and started to be a regular in my city’s library.

I also feel as if I have found more balance with my work. Culture Tourist grew significantly during the last year, both in the number of readers and revenue. However, somehow I managed to organise my work around it quite well. So, it’s not as stressful as it used to be a couple of years ago. I got picky with the projects I’m working on and mainly focused on creating appealing content for my dear readers.

I also hired a fantastic virtual assistant Verity, an American living in the beautiful town of Arezzo in Italy. She is a social media wizard helping me a lot with it.

Besides those, here are some of my previous year’s highlights.

Trip to Ile-de-France

Although I travelled a bit around Croatia (and a bit less around Europe) in 2020 and 2021, it was only during the last year that I started travelling quite a lot again. It was both for work and private travel. And it finally felt as if my world was returning back to normal again.

One of my favourite recent trips from last year was to Paris and Ile-de-France region. I attended a conference organised by the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe with the theme of cultural tourism. I met many interesting people while enjoying the incredible French scenery, architecture, and, of course, its cuisine.

Read more: Ile-de-France travel diary

Winning some blogging awards

Working on your own business could be pretty lonely sometimes. That’s why I started renting an office desk in a co-working space in Zagreb last year.

One of the last year’s highlights was winning two awards for my work. The first one was from Europeana for the storytelling on social media (you can check out my entry here). And the second one was from the Traverse for the innovations in travel blogging for the colouring postcards I created for TRANSROMANICA. I’m super proud of both of these awards!

Trip to Munich

Our first international family trip (after the pandemics started) to Toscana was a big fiasco. We scratched our car badly on the first day, and then we all got super sick and had to return home on the second day.

So, we were all a bit nervous when we planned our trip to Munich during spring break. However, it ended up being a great trip and we enjoyed exploring that beautiful German town so much. It was a perfect family trip during which we had a lot of time to explore a destination and enjoy the time with each other.

Read more: 10 Must-visit art and culture sites in Munich

Getting more work-life balance

As I mentioned before, I feel I started getting more work-life balance during the last year. I managed to organise my work, so it’s less stressful. And so I can focus more on the areas I really enjoy, like writing blog posts and creating videos (if you haven’t yet, you can watch some of them on Culture Tourist’s YouTube channel).

One of my goals for the next year is to work six hours per day, giving me more time to spend with my kid, family and friends. But, also for working more on some of my hobbies, like painting.

I started driving again

This is one of the things I’m pretty proud of. I got my driving license a few months before I moved out of Croatia. And then, during my seven years in the Netherlands, I didn’t really have the need to drive. So, as you can imagine, I forgot how to drive.

That’s why, when I moved back to Croatia, I took a few hours in driving school and started driving again. I’m thrilled with that because it gives me so much more freedom than when relying on public transport in Croatia (which isn’t the best).

Living in Spain for some time this summer

Something I wanted to do for a long time was to be more location-independent. Although my job is remote, I live with two guys who depend on the place where we live.

So, when my husband got a new job in a completely remote company and my son went on a two-and-a-half-month long summer vacation, we decided it was time to experience a bit with digital nomad’s lifestyle. We have been in Barcelona for the last two weeks and are going to Valencia next week. And so far, love that location-independent lifestyle.

Read more: My travel diary – Three days in Barcelona

Things I’d like to do in the next year

Some things find their place on this list each year (like buying an art piece) because I want to keep doing that every year. However, many things are new, and I hope to stick with this birthday wish list throughout the year. So, here they are:

#1 – Work six instead of eight hours per day

#2 – Write a book

#3 – Visit the USA

#4 – Live more of a digital nomad lifestyle

#5 – Read two books per month

#6 – Create a painting (small or big) each month

#7 – Curate an art exhibition

#8 – Spend an hour of quality time each day with my son

#9 – Visit some of the Croatian islands I haven’t been on yet

#10 – Buy food mainly from the local farmers and producers

#11 – Visit a new museum each month

#12 – Create a photo album from my last seven years in the Netherlands

#13 – Buy an original art piece

#14 – Meditate daily

#15 – Go on a solo trip somewhere new

#16 – Eat more vegan

#17 – Go on a mum-son weekend trip

#18 – Start the art ceramics project

#19 – Go swimming three times per week

#20 – Design my own ex libris

All in all, it was a good year. But, I’m excited to make some new birthday resolutions and try to create an even better life for myself in the following year.