2019 in Review – My favourite trips, goals & accomplishments

The end of the year always feels like closing a chapter of my life to me. I love to reflect on what went well, where I travelled and all the achievements from the previous year. I believe it’s an excellent way to get inspired and kick off the next year. So, here is my 2019 in Review with some of my favourite trips, blogging and personal goals and accomplishments.

2019 in Review

Before I started writing my 2019 in Review blog post, I looked at some of the goals I set up to myself at the beginning of this year. And, to be honest, things mostly went as I wanted to when it comes to my business life. But, some of my personal goals didn’t really go as I planned. Hmmm… Should I read more into it? 🙂 Maybe that’s a part of my life I’m taking the most seriously.

Tea at the Rijksmuseum garden

2019 for my blog

Focusing entirely on this blog

At the beginning of this year, I wanted to focus solely on working on this blog. Create a community of loyal readers and provide you with great content. Well, since this time last year my blog traffic went up more than a double, so I think that’s definitely a great sign. I was working a lot on it. Researching interesting stories, planning some great content, working on many projects and collaborating with some inspiring brands and tourism boards.

I’ve also completely stopped with organising museum tours. And although it was hard to say goodbye to that part of my job, it was necessary if I wanted to focus entirely on blogging. I do still visit the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam very often and love spending my time there.

To learn more about this exciting industry, I went to some conferences this year, as well. I went for the first time to Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht (the Netherlands). It was my fourth time at the World Travel Market in London (UK), as well. However, it was quite a special year for me, because I had a session during the Traverse Conference in Trento (Italy) where I spoke about monetising my blog by creating products. It was such a fantastic feeling to share my knowledge with other bloggers, and it was probably one of the highlights of my blogging year. And a thing I’m very proud to include in this 2019 in Review blog post.

Tea presenting at Traverse conference in Trento
Tea working at a cafe in Amsterdam

Products I’ve created in 2019

I’ve created three new products on Culture Tourist during the last year. 2019 was the year dedicated to a famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. And, to contribute to that celebration, I’ve created a set of colouring postcards dedicated to Rembrandt. But, also my first digital product, self-guided tour Follow the Footsteps of Rembrandt in Amsterdam.

Tea holding a phone in a city
De Waag building in Amsterdam

The third product, my Art Letter, is more recent and I’ve just launched it this month. Although I’m trying to inspire you with some art and cultural travel through my blog posts, I felt it would be nice to deliver some art to your post box each month, too. So, I started curating a letter filled with some art news, paper art and design for people that subscribed to it, each month.

Would you like to learn more about the Art Letter? Check it out here!

postcards and calendar from Culture Tourist art letter
Content of Culture Tourist October Art Letter

2019 in trips

Well, this is my favourite part of each year – travel! And although I had a feeling this year was a bit slow in terms of travel, it was actually quite good.

I’ve started the year with some dear friends in Colmar, France. Being in such a charming region, definitely put us in Christmas mood and it was great welcoming the new year there. I just realised I haven’t written anything about it on the blog. But, it’s maybe because it was such a personal trip during which we just talked a lot, played board games and enjoyed exploring charming little villages in the Alsace region.

Next trip of the year was a five days trip to Dublin and Ireland with my husband. Although we have a rule of travelling somewhere as a couple (meaning without a kid) once per year, this year we did that three times. I think it so important not to forget to cherish your relationship and travel as a couple as much as possible. Well, we definitely like these kinds of trips.

Trinity college library in Dublin
Tea drinking coffee in the Schiphol airport

After that, I went on a trip of the year for me. It was absolutely one of my most favourite trips ever. I went on a two weeks-long journey from Amsterdam to the south of France, during which I was visiting places related to life and work of one of my favourite painters, Vincent van Gogh. It was such an inspiring trip, and I feel like I understand Vincent a bit better after looking to some of the places where he was through his eyes.

Location of the Starry night over the Rhone in Arles

In 2019 I also travelled quite a lot around my own country, Croatia. I have finally written a massive Croatia Travel Guide, as well. In May, Marijan and I did a two weeks long road trip around Croatia. We visited some fantastic places like Plitvice Lakes, Split and Dubrovnik. And then, I’ve spent the whole summer in Croatia with my son. It was so lovely to spend a long time in my home town of Zagreb, and travel more around my favourite part of Croatia – Istria. Besides spending a week in Rovinj, we also visited the Brijuni Islands, which was one of the highlights of my summer 2019.

View on the old town of Dubrovnik

I also had a chance to visit Italy twice this year. And to be honest, I have completely fallen in love with that fantastic country all over again. I spent some time in Trento and Verona in June. And I went to Milan and Lake Como with my family in October then. I just love the lifestyle, food and all the amazing art and architecture there.

Ferry at the Lake Como

If you’re following my blog for some time already, you probably know how much I love spending weekends in Belgium. Well, this year, I had a chance to explore more of Flemish art and history during them. I’ve spent two days in Bruges by exploring its Golden Ages. 2019 was the year dedicated to a great Belgian master Bruegel, and I had an opportunity to spend some time in Antwerp and Brussels by visiting exhibitions and places related to him. And then in December, I’ve spent a weekend in Ypres and was entirely amazed by its charm, architecture, but also the First World War heritage.

Bruges Golden Age
View on Golden Ages canal in Bruges
Snijders and Rockoxhuis in Antwerp
View on Ypres main square

I’m just getting ready to travel to Thailand now, and am really looking forward to finishing my year in such a fantastic place. Well, keep an eye on my Instagram stories for more photos and videos from there, since I can’t include them already in this 2019 in Review post.

2019 in my personal life

Being a blogger means my professional and personal life are closely linked. And although that’s often great because I do what I love during most of my days, I have an opportunity to go to some amazing trips and can often bring my family with me. It’s also sometimes hard to draw a line between the two and have some quiet personal relaxing time.

I was already writing in some of my personal posts how sometimes I feel overwhelmed and stressed out. But, I think things got a bit better, and I learned how to get more organised and clear up the afternoons to relax and spend some time with my family and friends.

Although, there’s still space left for the improvements.

I wrote this list for my birthday in August with the things I want to do in the following year. I’ve just checked it, and can happily say I have already accomplished no. 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 20. And I’m going to do no. 6 next week.

Tea in India

2019 was probably the year I wanted to figure out some things in my personal life. And after thinking a lot and looking for the way our family could be the most fulfilled and happy, I think we’re finally on the right track. We have some bold plans for the next year. I won’t share them yet in this 2019 in Review blog post. However, I’ll be telling you more soon.

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