Looking Back: An Adventurous 2012

Posted on December 28, 2012

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Sunset at Rock Werchter

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and I can’t help but get a little bit sentimental. The end of 2012 is very near, and what a wonderful year it was! Like every year, I’ve had my ups and downs, but in the end it has been nothing short of spectacular.  I thought it would be nice to reflect back on some of the adventures I’ve had. Here are my 12 personal highlights of 2012!

The Voice Of Holland

At the beginning of this year I was in the last stage of one of the biggest adventures I’ve had in my life; starring in the popular talent show The Voice Of Holland. During this time I learned a lot about myself, but even more important, I got to live out my dream. I’ll never forget the lessons I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made and all the positive comments I received from everyone who followed me during this time. It was a ride to remember!

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Egypt

After the season ended, I traveled to Egypt for a much-needed vacation. I had always wanted to see the Valley of the Kings and the ruins of Luxor, so this was yet another dream come true. Even though the resort turned out to be not my style, I still enjoyed it very much and wouldn’t want to have missed it for the world. I hope I’ll get the chance to return someday and see the pyramids this time around!

Big Ben London

The Big Ben… thought it would be bigger.

London

In March I went over to London to visit one of my best friends. I’ve been there twice before, but this time I finally got around to doing all the touristy things like Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Big Ben.

Antwerp… Twice!

In April Nick and I spent 2 days in Antwerp together. We loved it so much we went back with our band for a weekend of team building and shameless fun in June.

Rock Werchter

Rock Werchter

Living it up at my favorite festival has almost become a yearly tradition for me and my friends. Last year it was a bit of a drag, but this year was memorable to say the least. I think it may have been one of the best festivals I’ve ever experienced. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll have to skip it in 2013, but at least we’ll have the memories of a spectacular Rock Werchter 2012 edition!

Beautiful Barcelona

Beautiful Barcelona

Barcelona… #1

When Nick and I talked about going on holiday together we immediately felt drawn to Barcelona. We went there for a week of romance and exploring the city. Not only did we fall even more in love with each other, we also fell head over heels with Barcelona itself! I went back there 2 months later with my family, as a present for my mom’s birthday.

Good memories from Cadiz

Good memories from Cadiz

Backpacking Andalusia

After having to skip our planned vacation to the Greek islands in 2011, it was now finally time for my roommate and me to go on our first backpacking trip together. We were joined by another friend for 3 weeks of traveling around Andalusia, drinking as many sangrias and eating as many tapas as we could muster. It was my first backpacking trip with friends and it was an unforgettable experience. Andalusia is stunningly beautiful, the people are warm & friendly and the food is amazing. We survived the extreme heat in Seville, rode horses through the Sierra Nevada area and jammed on the beach in Cadiz. I fell even more in love with Spain and promised myself I’d go back there as soon as I can.

Traveling with family can be loads of fun

Traveling with family can be loads of fun

Barcelona #2, my first family vacation

Although challenging at times, visiting Barcelona with my mother, brother, grandmother and aunt was great. It gave me newfound appreciation for family bonds and we got to know each other a little better. We’ve spent more time together ever since and I’m eternally grateful for that.

We suck at self-timer shots.

We suck at self-timer shots.

Rome

For my birthday, Nick surprised me with 2 tickets and a bed&breakfast reservation for Rome! I had always wanted to visit the Ancient City so this was truly a dream come true. The beauty of it took my breath away and the delicious food definitely had its role in me having to buy new pants…

Singing with an orchestra

It’s one of those things any singer dreams of, and I got to do it twice this year. The adrenaline was souring through my body as I sat there in a magnificent theatre listening to the overture, waiting for my cue and the spotlights to go on. Both events were amazing nights to remember, here’s hoping I get to do it again in 2013! If you’re interested in seeing how it went, watch the video:

Making friends all over the world

In 2012, I’ve met so many people who touched my life in some way. Whether it be through CouchSurfing, blogging, music or during the travels I’ve made, every single encounter has been special and some of them have grown into lasting friendships that have become very dear to me.

Meeting so many different people from all over the world

Meeting so many different people from all over the world

But the best thing of all…

See? That's how happy I am now.

Growing into one happy young woman.

Personal growth

2012 has been a year full of hardships, but through those hardships I got to learn some important lessons. Over the past year, I feel that my perspective on life has shifted in many ways. Through mindfulness and therapy I’ve learned to let go of the past and not only look forward to the future, but thoroughly enjoy the present as well. I’ve dedicated my life to pursuing the things that give me joy, such as travel, writing and making music. In the process, I’ve mostly gotten rid of materialistic thinking as well, I’ve sold most of my stuff and stopped buying things I didn’t need. I could not have imagined how liberating this was and I intend to keep this up in the following year as well. I’ve become more relaxed, rid of the pressure that was weighing me down and open to new adventures, new encounters and new paths to follow. By allowing myself to love and be loved, I now find myself in a healthy relationship with someone who knows me through and through, someone to share my life with.

I’m grateful for what 2012 has brought me and I’m excited to see what 2013 has in store.

So, since the world didn’t end on the 21st, I raise my glass. Cheers! Here’s to life, to love, and to all of you who have followed my adventures over the past few months. Let’s leave this year behind and start the next one with an open mind, an open heart and with anticipation and excitement, for the next adventure is just around the corner.

Now it’s your turn; tell me about the best things that happened to you in 2012!

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Posted in: Inspiration, Personal