As I start looking back on what happened in 2022, one word comes to mind to sum it up. That word is growth. Growth came in all its forms from personal, professional, friendship, life, you name it. It came with a lot of hardships and happy moments, just like any year. But the growth that occurred is unmatched, so let’s get into it.
The year always starts with my birthday, so to start off 2022 I turned 30. I’ll be honest when I say I was kind of scared about turning 30. I feel like I should have accomplished more by now or did more of what I wanted to at this point. I was dreading this for months. And in true traveler fashion, having a trip lined up was going to be the only way I could get through it.
So off to Mexico it was. I always say I’ve never been to Mexico but that isn’t exactly true. I did go once, but I was 5 and I don’t remember a thing. Due to that, this actually felt like the first time. I went with my sister Bianca and my college best friend Madelin. We spent 5 days in Mexico City with highlights that included an insane amount of tacos, visiting Frida Kahlo’s house, taking a gondola in Xochimilco, and flying in a hot air balloon during sunrise over the Teotihuacan pyramids.
Needless to say, but it will be a birthday I will never forget. Especially because on my actual birthday I got really sick for no reason. It lasted only that one day but it was definitely not fun.
After a quick trip to New Jersey to switch out my things, it was back to Barcelona with a day trip to Tarragona located about 2 hours south of where I lived.
This month was filled with all things Barcelona. At this point it was my plan to stay in this city. At the time I didn’t know what the future held, but I was always glad to explore more of the city I called home.
I visited the Festival de Llum held in the Poblenou neighborhood. It’s a free event with exhibits all over centered on light. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the city during this time.
The Moco Museum in the Gothic Quarter is this small museum with lots of different artists worldwide. One of their most photographed exhibits are the colorful dangling lights and the “If you think that sexuality is a choice, how do you explain the fact that women still like men?”
Three days into March I was on a plane heading for Miami. This was a pretty last minute decision and supposed to be a surprise. One that got slightly ruined by my parents who were the ones who originally told me to keep it that way. There were 3 birthdays going on that weekend which were the reasons for the trip.
Moments like this are the reasons why I started on this blogging/creator journey. I want the freedom that comes from working from anywhere and being able to do what I do. It really gives time flexibility which is the only thing we can’t get back. I’m grateful to be able to do this.
After 4 days spending it with family it was back to Barcelona. It was back to a routine that I had started and really enjoyed. After a few weeks back into my routine, I had to throw a wrench in it. So I packed my backpack and off to Hungary I went.
In the past year I’ve been to Hungary about 6 times and it’s not just because the country is beautiful. If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen me mention my boyfriend who is currently doing a PhD there. I haven’t given much details about him here or there and I won’t for the time being. Long distance relationships are already hard without more people’s thoughts or opinions on it. But if you see me in Hungary then you know why.
I started April still in Debrecen, Hungary. After 2 weeks with the boy it was time to head back to Barcelona. This was going to be the first year after 3 years that I would spend Sant Jordi in the city that celebrates it big.
But what is Sant Jordi? It is Catalonia’s own version of Valentine’s Day and it’s celebrated on April 23nd. Instead of going on expensive, over the top dates, couples give each other books and roses. Passeig de Gracia turns into a huge outdoor bookstore with stands everywhere. People are selling roses all over the place and you can see Casa Batllo decorated from head to toe. If you can visit during this time, I definitely recommend it.
This year the weather did not cooperate. It rained and even hailed throughout parts of the day. I felt so bad for the books that would get soaked. You can check out my before rain/hail TikTok here and my pouring video here.
During around mid May depending on the weather, Girona has their Temps de Flors (flower festival) where the old part of the city is covered in flower displays. I had seen photos of previous years and knew I wanted to go see it for myself. Thankfully Girona is only a 2 hour train ride from Barcelona so it was pretty easy to get to. If you plan on going in 2023, double check the dates but as of now it’s looking like it’ll be from May 6 to the 14.
Another Catalunya gem to explore is Tossa de Mar. Mainly accessible by car or boat, this coastal town has a historic center that I loved. The tower ruins overlook the turquoise blue water and the lookout is so stunning that honestly it’s impossible not to take a hundred photos there alone. My college friend was in town for a work event and we got the opportunity to go visit this beach town.
The end of May had a last minute trip like I’ve never taken before. I booked the flight literally the day before I went. My parents were in Switzerland and were like “why don’t you come join us in Geneva?” I was like say less! And in less than 24 hours I was there. My dad has a college friend who lives there who took us around to neighboring cities, Annecy in France and Gruyeres in Switzerland. Annecy had been a place I had been wanting to go for a while so going there I was able to cross something off my bucket list.
Since I’m the type of person who can’t really seem to get work done at home, I thrive in cafe settings. I spent most of June exploring different cafes around Barcelona. This month was also when I went to my first ever European travel summit.
It was a B2B (Business to Business) one focusing mainly on payments for travel software and how to improve user experience across well known travel platforms. Obviously things I don’t focus on or work with but it was interesting to network with people I otherwise would have never met. I was probably one of the youngest people in the room and some people definitely saw me that way, but others were more open to interacting with me and making a connection. I mingled with CEOs, owners, sales execs, and many more. I’ll admit I was nervous and felt way out of place but I’m glad I pushed myself to do it.
Towards the end of the month I was headed back to Hungary, but this time with a layover in Bordeaux. I had never visited this city and really knew very little except for its relation to wine. I decided to take full advantage of the fact that I had about 12 hours between flights to explore as much as I could. There’s a video of it on my YouTube with everything I did and a blog post with more things you could do if you’re to ever visit Bordeaux.
After four very long years, I finally made it back to Peru in July. Growing up I spent my summers in Peru, but as I got older and started exploring other parts of the world, I couldn’t go as often as I liked. This was also the first trip my immediate family was taking together since before the pandemic. It was so great going to see family and explore a part of Peru I had never been to, the Chachapoyas region. If you’re looking to explore beyond Peru’s tourist circuit and looking for more unique options, check out my Off the Beaten Path post to give you some ideas.
After 2 weeks back in the motherland it was time to head back to the states. At this point my visa back to Spain had been denied for a second time and I made up my mind that I wouldn’t reapply. It was clearly the universe’s way of telling me it was time to move on. So I returned back to the US with no idea when I would be leaving again for good.
Summertime and I’m feeling fine. August at my parent’s house in New Jersey is great with a pool and the beach only a couple blocks away. It couldn’t be in a more ideal location. This month the stars finally aligned to have my friend’s daughter’s baptism, my now goddaughter.
August has also become the month for prima reunions at my parents NJ house. Many fly and drive in from over the country but there have been international visits some years. It’s great to get together on a weekend or week and catch up. Being dispersed around the US, Peru, and Europe, it’s nice we all make the effort to still get together.
At the end of the month it was back to Barcelona. Since I knew I wouldn’t be staying due to my visa situation, my return was mainly to pack everything up and bring it back to the US.
I couldn’t just pick up my things and return, I had to take advantage of that time and do as much as I could. The first stop was Portugal where I visited both Porto and Lisbon. After countless layovers in Lisbon I finally saw the city for myself. The reason for my visit you’ll find out eventually, so stay tuned.
Back in June I went to my first European travel summit and in September I went to my first travel conference. It’s for travel bloggers and content creators so it was really nice meeting people doing what I do. I met people I had been following for a while and others I had just heard of. Everyone had such unique stories for why they do this and different perspectives. I’m so glad I went, especially since it was somewhere I probably wouldn’t have visited anytime soon, which was Brno in the Czech Republic.
Before heading back to Spain to grab my things I made a quick stop in Budapest. This made it my 4th visit to Hungary this year.
My last few days in Spain were bittersweet. I started exploring parts of the city I had never been to before. Barcelona really has lots to explore which is why I created an Off the Beaten Path Barcelona Guide. It goes beyond what typically comes up when you look up Barcelona in Google.
One of the reasons I was excited about being in the US during the fall was because of the fall foliage. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and it had been 3 years since I had been around during this season. I took advantage of it by visiting a farm in western NJ to see sunflowers and other fall flowers. I also went to visit my cousin in Providence, Rhode Island to go see a lot more foliage. The oranges, yellows, and reds are so beautiful. Definitely something you should do if you visit during this time of the year.
November was supposed to be pretty relaxed, but I ended up taking two trips. The first was to London for the World Trade Market which has destinations from around the world presenting what they offer to the world and how they are looking to expand their marketing efforts. It was great meeting people from various places I’ve always wanted to go to. I’m excited to see what comes out of the contacts I made during that trip.
The second trip was to San Francisco, California. I had never visited before but had so many Instagram friends that live in the area. This was very last minute and the reason I decided to go was for the San Francisco Female Globetrotter’s Festival hosted by Nomad Her and GreetHer, two women owned and led companies for female travelers. I got to meet the CEOs of these and other women owned businesses in the travel space. I created a YouTube video of my time there. It’s actually my first one. It would mean so much if you could watch it and subscribe to my channel!
December has been beyond chill. I decided to take some time off of social media and constant posting on stories and on the feed. It’s been a nice break but I still feel guilty some days of not being consistent. It’s such a battle I think many creators feel. I’m worried that when I do start posting my engagement will have dropped a lot. I’ll be coming back full force in January and moving forward on everything. If socials is more your thing, then go ahead and follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Looking Back to Move Forward
Sounds counterproductive but hear me out. As we start a new year, I like looking back on everything whether good or bad. Every experience and moment can be a learning one. It all depends in how you decide to look at it and what you take from it. Learn from any mistakes you may have gone through so you can have more successes to look back on at the end of next year. Until next time…
Viaja more y live más,