My final month of 2015 brought with it plenty of good things. I’m almost sad to say goodbye to this year; it has put me through a lot and given me so much in return. But, I have high hopes for 2016 and am excited to keep moving forward.
Here’s a look at some of my highlights of December 2015…
I arrived in Stockholm!
Just about three weeks have passed since I touched down at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. Three weeks should feel like nothing, but when your visa allowance is only three months, your precious time feels like it’s whizzing by. It’s been good fun getting to know the city better, seeing the gorgeous Christmas decorations, and feeling like a fish out of water, but entirely welcome at the same time. And while I still don’t know exactly what my future holds for Stockholm, I hope there is lots more to come. I plan to be here again (still?) when the next TBEX conference rolls around this July, at the very least.
I celebrated my first Christmas in Sweden.
I love experiencing Christmas traditions in countries around the world. So far I’ve spent two in Thailand (mostly an expat affair–not much pomp and circumstance on a Christian holiday in a Buddhist country), one in Peru, one in Colombia, and now this one in Sweden. Some of my favorite holiday traditions have included: advent stars hung in every window, drinking glögg (spiced wine) full of almonds and raisins, watching American cartoons at 3 pm on Christmas Eve, and stuffing yourself silly with ham, meatballs, herring and other delicious foods at the Julbord (or Christmas buffet, the main meal eaten on Christmas Eve). I think I’ve gained a few kilos already, and am looking forward to getting back into some sort of exercise routine this January.
I took a step away from social media.
It may have just been a baby step, but it did wonders for my peace of mind. It wasn’t something I’d originally intended to do, it just suddenly felt like something that needed to happen and so I chose to trust my intuition.
Many of you have probably noticed that I haven’t been very active on Snapchat since arriving in Sweden. It pains me in some ways to fall off of the platform so abruptly. I’ve loved being able to share real-time stories and experiences with you since I became an active snapper during my summer in Europe, and I was just as eager to share Stockholm with you. Most of all, I hate disappointing the people who’ve been my biggest supporters. It’s your encouragement and enthusiasm that probably kept me going as long as I did.
Unfortunately, Snapchat is the one platform I’ve found so far that truly began to feel intrusive. When I was no longer traveling solo (beginning with my family trip to Hawaii), I had other people and their privacy to take into consideration. Not only that, but I sometimes felt it was taking too much away from my own experiences. I already take more photos than the average person, so to try to photograph AND Snapchat AND film on a GoPro…well, it started to seem excessive. When blogging or any related activity start to rule my life, I know it’s time to take a step back.
I’m beginning to realize, ever so slowly, just how time-consuming and draining it is to be a “personality” in the online world. I tip my hat to those who can pull it off effortlessly–constantly uploading photos and videos of themselves being gregarious and relatable, seemingly on every social platform around the clock–but I don’t think that approach will ever work for me. Instead, I’ll choose to retain a level of anonymity. I’ll upload more photos of my surroundings than myself. I’ll write objectively about the things that happen to me more often than I’ll shout strong opinions from the mountaintops. In the age of over-sharing, I’ll choose to keep some things for myself.
I still love watching other peoples’ snaps from around the world, and I will still upload my own from time to time. But for now, it feels good to remove at least one small self-imposed obligation. Was it time-consuming? Not at all. But it still caused me to feel as though I’d been spread too thin, and going forward I’m focusing on quality of output over quantity.
And now a few fun extras…
My Most Popular Blog Posts
My Best Instagrams
New on the blog, I’m celebrating my 2️⃣-year #blogaversary with a personal post about my journey to where I am now, starting from before blogging or even #traveling. It’s been one hell of a ride with plenty of ups and downs, yet in the end, I wouldn’t dare change a thing. ? Thanks a million to those of you who’ve been following along! Cheers to two years! ? (Follow the link in my bio to read ?) #Sweden #dametraveler #wintertravel #sunset
A Few Things I’m Loving
Do You Ever Wonder What Could Have Been? – Kristin of Be My Travel Muse poses some tough questions–like Which ghost life haunts you the most?
Pinterest – I’ve added some cool new boards this month and am pinning like a mad woman. Won’t you join me?
That’s it for December and 2015! Bring on the new year!