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An open & honest look at the goals at which I’ve failed and succeeded in 2016 (my first year as a travel blogger)

An open & honest look at the goals at which I’ve failed and succeeded in 2016 (my first year as a travel blogger)

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Since I’ve been writing down my goals, life has worked out better for me – duh! However, in January 2016, I shared my goals for the first time publicly on Facebook because I knew this was going to be a completely life changing year: I was going to quit my job, travel the world and make money online. Are you curious as how this worked out? Keep reading. I’ve also attempted to analyze why I’ve achieved some but failed at others. Finally, I put together the best motivational quotes to get you started on your 2017 goals and am sharing mine with you!

Black marks my exact goals from last year, green indicates goals that I have fully achieved, and red goals that I have only partially or not at all achieved:

“2016 will be the best year of my life. It’s been quite a challenging year! The best? Yes, I would say so because after a lot of challenges I’ve become my best self, I love myself, I appreciate myself, and I work on myself every single day whether it’s physically by working out or mentally by developing my skills or learning about things I’m interested in.

I am quitting my job in April to travel the world while making money online. Quit my job in April, but starting to make sufficient money online took me about 7 months!

People are doing it right now; therefore, I can do it. I will no longer have a plan as to where or how I will live – scary but very very exciting! I sure don’t have plans anymore! Trips happen within a matter of 2-3 weeks now. It’s true – I have plans until mid January, but what will be after that, I don’t know. And my prediction was correct: it is indeed scary but very exciting! And it keeps my mind open to new things 🙂

No longer will I have someone telling me when to work or what to do because I will be my own boss. I still work with people who tell me what they want me to do obviously, but I have way more freedom as to what I do and when I do it, so that’s great!

I hope to reconnect with my European friends and look forward to meeting my LA friends anywhere in Europe and create lasting memories during their overseas trips! Definitely did that on several occasions!

Here are some more of my goals for 2016:


  • Have my own online business with which I make enough money to support myself and my travels, I would say I can now support myself and my travels, but it took me 7 months of going back and forth between travels and living at my parents’ , live very comfortably, I have shelter, food, and clothes and the privilege to travel – so that’s definitely more comfortable than most people on this earth and something I should be extremely grateful for! start paying back the loan to my mom, sorry mom, couldn’t start doing that yet! and invest/put in a savings account, uhm, yeah, so, I haven’t even opened one work 10-15 hours per week lol. That’s not quite happening. It’s been more like 30-50 – depending on the week.
  • Publish in the New York Times Modern Love column. The year still has three weeks, so I should give this one another try. Haven’t achieved this yet. BUT – I got published and paid for three Matador articles, one of them which got 16,000+ shares, so that’s not bad either 🙂   


  • Keep friends who inspire me and push me; get rid of those who don’t. That was one of the biggest challenges this year! Had to let a few people go; sometimes it bothered me for a while, sometimes it surprisingly didn’t. I’m happy with my circle now 🙂


  • Meet my life partner while I travel and start traveling the world with him. I have three more weeks to meet him! Where are you, soulmate?


  • All over Europe (Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Bulgaria, Portugal,…), Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, South Africa and/or Southeast Asia. Countries I’ve been to this year: Sweden, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Morocco, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, France, UK, Tanzania (by this Friday!), Oman (by this Thursday), US, and Germany.
  • visit at least 15 to 20 new countries. By this coming Friday, I will have made it to 9 new countries and 14 total!
  • see the Northern Lights. I should have been more specific: “See the Northern Lights live” or “Experience the Northern Lights.” I’ve definitely seen them this year, but only online. So I’ll take note of this for next year!


  • Be a better photographer. Check my IG: What do you think? I think I did pretty well!
  • Be a better writer. Definitely achieved. Also because Matador Network published 3 articles of mine! 
  • Look into Masters programs. Looked into some at USC and in Scandinavia, which are free. Possibly will apply for one in Sweden by April!
  • Learn French and Spanish. Definitely have and used both languages pretty well in Spain, Morocco and France, but not as much as I wanted to.


  • Never say no to anything I haven’t tried. I surely did not try fermented shark, snails or frog legs this year. Said hell no… Failed!
  • Improve/learn/grow every single day. Absolutely! I’m super proud about this one!
  • Write into my grateful journal daily. That happened almost daily.
  • Inspire others. Fuck yes! Another one I’m proudest of: I’ve inspired friend to dream big, quit their jobs, speak up for themselves, and just risk something this year. I was told that several times and it made me extremely happy!
  • Give back to people, especially kids. Hm, I guess I gave back to people, but I could emphasize on kids a bit more for sure.
  • ALWAYS think positive. Ha! Another huge challenge this year that I struggled a lot with, especially because I spent a lot of time in a place which I never liked with a lot of people I have a hard time relating to. I’ve had a lot of my lowest lows and Debbie Downer days this year to the point where even my friends told me they don’t recognize me anymore. Also worked hard through this one! So I definitely didn’t always think positive but towards the end of the year, I’ve become more and more happy and optimistic.
  • Have a lasting impact on a better cultural understanding among people. I really don’t know about this one… 
  • SMILE.” Haven’t done that as much as I should have, so more smiles for 2017!

Comparing the goals I have achieved and the ones I haven’t, I’ve realized the following: Throughout this whole year, I stressed about making money rather than anything else and guess what? I failed at making a lot of money and am barely scraping by sometimes, still owing a few hundreds to several people and the state. Towards the end of this year, I learned how to stop obsessing money and investing the tiny amounts that I had into classes, trips, and things that’d be beneficial to me in the future – such as a business coach and a house sitting website. And as soon as I focused on putting myself and my work out there, people have been flocking to me with offers to pay me to do what I love or to collaborate with them in exchange for my writing. What this has taught me? That you need a whole lot of patience and hard work to be able to get paid for what you love doing, but it’ll be absolutely worth it in the end.

Also, I’ve realized that not making money is not a sign of failure. There are times where you just have to invest into yourself, spend months learning new and perfecting old skills, just work on your projects, and maybe stay at a place you otherwise wouldn’t, but even that’s a blessing!

Also, I’m not really upset about failing on the other goals because:

  • My soulmate still has three weeks to walk into my life
  • The NY Times or LA Times or Nat Geo are not going anywhere and the more time I take to work on the articles I’ll submit, the better they’ll be
  • There’s no reason to stress myself about the few days I’ve missed in my grateful journal because I’ve written in it every day or every other and that’s good enough
  • Saying no to the fermented shark in Iceland, and snails and frogs in France probably wouldn’t have changed my life for the better. I’m stoked to have said yes to floating though, that’s more life changing than these – to me – weird things to eat .

And you know what? Let’s say I did reach all my goals this year – wouldn’t that have been boring? I need to be challenged, I’m not perfect nor am I the hardest working person on the planet. But that’s ok – I have more years to come and for my goals to work out.


Check out my goals for 2017:


  • Have a business that helps, educates people and inspires them
  • Make $5,000-10,000 per month
  • Get invited to speak at Float Conference & travel events
  • Get invited to work with tourism boards, etc.
  • Publish my book
  • Publish articles in at least two of the the following: LA Times, NY Times, National Geographic, BBC Travel, CNN Travel, Cosmopolitan
  • Open up a savings account and put money in it regularly



  • Surround myself with people who inspire and motivate me
  • Hang out with positive minded people
  • Work with creatives & people who want to make the world a more loving place



  • Meet my life partner and travel the world with him



  • Pay a trip for my mentee to visit me and pay for a trip for my parents
  • See the Northern Lights live
  • Ethiopia with Mona, Sammy, Juwar, Veronica
  • Columbia with Monica
  • Greece with Maritza and our moms
  • 10-15 more countries



  • Improve my Spanish & French
  • Improve photography skills & get a mention/award for them
  • Get an NLP/life coach certification
  • Learn everything I can from my business coach



  • Work out 3-4 times a week
  • Stay active
  • Cut back on sugar
  • Eat more veggies
  • Float more (at least in 5 new countries)



  • Be fucking happy
  • Be more grateful
  • Love more
  • Give more
  • Forgive more
  • Think positive
  • Visualize
  • Don’t stress about money
  • Meditate & write into grateful journal daily
  • Attend at least 2 travel conferences for networking
  • Meet 2 idols
  • Spread floating


If this hasn’t motivated you enough, here are 10 more quotes that should definitely give you another kick:

“What the mind can conceive and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals.

If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

Karen Lamb

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

E. Joseph Cossman

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

Albert Einstein

“Aim higher in case you fall short.”

Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency


Do you set your goals at the beginning of each year, each month, week, or day even? Are you writing them down? What have you found? Also, tell me about your 2016 and 2017 goals! I’d love to know! Please share with me in the comments 🙂

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