Yet, another 12 months are gone in a blink, and what a year it has been, a year we would like to repeat! We laughed and danced. We travelled and learned and travelled some more. Two thousand eighteen saw us wander further and wider more than all the years before.
For us, 2018 was all about the change, challenge, gratitude and fulfilling our dreams!
It was the year we stopped dreaming and started doing.
And here we are now, exactly one year later, this is the life we have created, these are our gleaming moments. Now, more than ever, it seems like we are on the right track, sharing hobbies, overcoming barriers, supporting each other, living spontaneously, dreaming big and going through life’s seasons holding hands. Sometimes ankle-deep other times on tiptoes.
Listening to the northerly winds rattle outside I closed my eyes and let my mind wander before reflecting on the quickly vanishing year.
Instead of writing an annual bucket- list at the end of the year of 2017, we made a simple yet powering promise to say yes only to things and places that excite us.
Year in review: Our Top 2018 Personal and Travel Highlights
In brief, we finally moved from Dublin to Sligo, travelled to Africa for the very first time, celebrated Ericeiras 2nd Birthday in Seville, went to Madrid to visit friends and drove to Segovia for a day trip.
We also wandered through Portugal and Scotland, visited Nice, Menton, and Monaco for the very first time and travelled up and down Irelands West coast in our campervan!
#1. Practising gratitude
This life is oh-so stunningly beautiful, we both consistently make an effort to appreciate what a privilege it is to have it. And not only during the epic and exciting travel around the world but also during everyday life, mundane house chores, time management, our day jobs and everything else in-between.
We are taking every new day as a gift, and we are grateful for the knowledge we’ve obtained along the way.
#2. Moving from Dublin to Sligo
Packing boxes and looking for accommodation on the other side of the country while preparing for Christmas with Valters parents wasn’t without its twists and it wasn’t without moments of doubt. And, that’s what made moving to Sligo in the middle of winter even more special. We embraced every ounce of hardship and came out at the other end just fine.
Starting our lives from scratch, we realised there is always room for growth and that finding the right path in life is a forever evolving process. Thanks so much to everyone who supported us along the way.
#3. Having fun with friends in Madrid
From rainy Seville, we took a train to Madrid where we visited Valters best friend. I thought we had escaped the heavy rainstorms once we boarded the train to Madrid only for it to start snowing once we arrived in the city.
#4. Travelling to Northern Africa
It still baffles me how only 3-hour plane ride away from Europe is a place so profoundly charming and characteristically different. Going to Morocco helped us reset our brain, and along the way, we learned more about ourselves.
Getting through the crazy storm upon our arrival in Essaouira, we scored some blue skies and coming into the Old Medina we were greeted with the most beautiful colours and sights.
After a few days in Essaouira, we travelled to Marrakech where the density of colours and sights were so spectacular it was difficult to determine in which direction to point the camera.
#4. Attending Shore Shots
Attending Shore Shots was yet another highlight of the last year. I am beyond grateful to Valters for pushing me out of my comfort zone by signing me up for a workshop run by Easkey Britton and beyond thankful for the unique energy I received in a process. Participating along with other women, connecting and sharing stories got my creative wheels turning.
Shore Shots is an annual Irish Surf Festival taking place in Sligo Model where respected and well-known surfers, filmmakers, artists, and photographers gather together for an epic weekend.
#5. Visiting Seville
Our initial plan for visiting Seville was to soak up some sunshine and to celebrate Ericeiras second Birthday. Although the bad weather followed us in Spain too, we braved the storms and had a chance to visit beautiful Alcazar of Seville and Seville Cathedral.
# 6.Having fun in South of France
We were super excited to see South of France last year. Given the size of the country, one can’t spend a weekend in Paris and claim to know France, that’s why we keep returning ( bargain deals and short flights is a big plus too). Nice was bright, warm and our time in the city was all about letting days gently unfold.
#7. Getting back on bikes
Our lives have dramatically changed since living on the West coast, we have opened doors to even more time outdoors by exploring surrounding areas with bikes. Since we haven’t ridden in years, once we started exploring Sligo on two wheels, there was no stopping us.
#8. Meeting Ally and Jordi again
I have met hundreds of amazing humans in my life, but only a small handful of them went out of their way to show me how beautifully delicate and amazing a true friendship can be, no matter the space in-between. We naturally picked up where we left it last time and had the best reunion ever!
#9. Travelling to Portugal
Despite so many new countries and places to see on this planet, we always find our minds drifting back to Portugal. I’m not entirely sure what it is that keeps dragging us back to this place, but one thing I am aware of, coastal views, great food, and good waves never fail to disappoint.
#10. Exploring Monaco
For us enjoying life means two things. First, getting out into nature and second, reframing our thoughts about everything we see and do along the way. That’s why we love to explore the world as much as possible.
While we only had less than 12 hours to explore this tiny country, it proved to be just enough time to check out all the must-sees. The sun was lit high up in the sky as we wandered around the second smallest country in the world.
#11. Roadtripping with a Campervan
We have reprioritised the way we travel by devoting more time exploring Ireland. While finding the right campervan and sorting out paperwork took forever at the end we were rewarded with the outermost freedom.
Waking up on our first road trip around County Mayo at 5.30 am, rolling over and looking out of the campervan window trough heavy eyelids and seeing morning mist linger over the coast, I knew we made a right decision.
#12. Going home to Latvia
Having lived outside of Latvia for over a decade, I relish every opportunity I get to go back again. I wanted to see my family, and I wanted to find out what has changed. Is my favourite cafe still opened for business, are potato pancakes as tasty as I remember?
Last year was a most significant year for Latvia and Latvians as our country celebrated 100 years of Independence. That’s why our time in Latvia was made so much more special.
#13. Getting rid of the TV
Yes, I know, getting rid of TV doesn’t change anything. Today we can watch our favourite TV shows on demand pretty much on any device, and I am as guilty of screen addiction as anyone out there (marathoning through all six seasons of Grimm in two weeks scared the hell out of me).
The idea of getting rid of TV was something we wanted to do for a very long time, we didn’t want a living room where all the furniture is positioned around the TV. Having lived without it for a year, we are delighted with our decision as it changed our lives and mindsets forever.
It was the most productive year in our lives!
We don’t feel the temptation to sink into a sofa for hours as soon as we get home from work or switch it on first thing in the morning. Our house is more peaceful, we read more, and we engage more!
#14. Travelling to Edinburgh
If there’s one thing I have learned by revisiting Edinburgh city; no two trips are the same! A winter storm blew in, and harsh weather battered the sea as I boarded the early morning flight to Scotlands capital just two weeks before Christmas.
Reunited with my all-time favourite city, I treated myself to a weekend spent indulging in finest Scottish shortbreads, loads of sightseeing and beautiful winter sunrises.
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Now, over to you!
What’s your last year’s highlight? Share it in the comments below!