RTatW 2016 Yearly Review & lessons learned!

The year is almost over and a yearly review is in order? Well I guess it’s a mandatory, or at least customary thing to do. But starting this I realized, once more, how much I dislike to do it! And it might be getting worst!!! Despite what you may feel when reading below, it isn’t because I haven’t managed most of my 2016 goals! Sight! Overall, I was, actually, happily surprised about my achievements and it left me essentially optimistic for the future.

Why do I dislike yearly review? It might be a timing issue. The year end just doesn’t feel like the right time for me to do it. It might be a season issue. I’m not a winter gal, I would prefer to hibernate! It might be a process issue. I’m usually overly critical with myself, and starting something like a yearly review can become a never ending hole of self inflicted pain.  Maybe it’s just that it looks like the yearly reviews, I used to have to do for work…. Sight… again! 


Anyway, I did it nevertheless and here it is! This long post will give you some hints about what’s coming on RTatW!



If you read my 2016 Goal settings and if you read part of this blog in 2016, you may have realized that I have been to none of the places I had planned to go to! I do mean none as not a single one, zero, nada,  zilch!!! You get the point!

It doesn’t mean Mr A & I didn’t travel. On the contrary, 2016 was a pretty good year. My favorite trip was obviously our road trip in Slovenia. Somehow, it just felt so right. Our road trip to Portugal filled my eyes with wonders. Rediscovering the Loire Valley was a treat. Brittany is calling me again and again… it must be Merlin’s magic!



London, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, the Black Forest, Munich…. It’s been mostly European travel, sometimes to new destinations, sometimes to well known ones. Even then, every time, I was able to discover new places and new things to do. Yes this included visiting new castles and breathtaking cathedrals, I admit!! but not only…

Oh! And we managed to pass a significant threshold: we have now been to over 10% of all UNESCO World Heritage sites. Only 900 left to go!!


Lessons learned: 

Go where your heart takes you. Make the most of it. 

Travelling doesn’t always mean going to the other side of the World.  



As you know if you’ve been here before, or as you are guessing from this post, I’m not a full time traveler. I’ve partially explained why in this post: Why I don’t want to quit my job to travel the World.

This hasn’t changed. I still don’t want to quit my job or my life to travel. I’d rather create a life where I can travel as much as I want, yet have a place to call home.

What hasn’t changed either is that I’m still a freelancer. It’s been 3 years now! 3 years being independent. (yep yep, self congratulation here!!) I’m quite proud, considering most people dream of it, some actually dive into it and quite a few go back to full time jobs after a while. A steady paycheck has a lot of added value.

Being a freelancer isn’t perfect everyday. The biggest issue for me this year has been about planning. When you have a full time job, you plan your vacation, you plan your week-ends… When you are a freelancer, clients have expectations and dead lines and for most part, you have no control over these.

It isn’t always a bad thing, and yes you probably can still be thousands of miles away and still perform the necessary tasks. But it’s not nice to sneak out the bed at 5AM, during your ‘vacation’ to answer emails from your clients, before your partner wakes up.

I’m not complaining, I feel extremely lucky. I’m lucky it’s working out so well for me, I’m lucky to have the personality and experience to manage this…

I landed a new great opportunity about a year ago and this has proven to be a huge commitment. It’s been a constraint on my planning but after a few months, I learned to make the most of it. It would be too long to explain here on this already quite long post but I will explain a bit more soon.


Lessons learned: 

Be grateful.

Commit to being present. 

Commit to continuous improvements.



When I relaunch RTatW in 2015, I don’t think I realised how much ‘work’ it was going to be. To give you an idea I usually spend 3 to 4 hours writing each post and another 1 to 2 hours preparing the pictures. So, each post on RTatW take me something between 4 to 6 hours to produce. I do a lot of research, all of my posts are very detailed (maybe too much?!) and include lots of pictures (maybe too much!?!). That’s the way I want to blog. I want to provide as much useful info as possible, while keeping it hopefully a little bit entertaining.

However, spending this much time on each post, means that I can’t catch up with all the posts I want to write and all the places I want to take you to. I am trying!!! but I’m also starting to wonder if I will ever manage!!

Over 200 pages and posts on RTatW

There are now over 200 pages and posts on RTatW. That’s 100 more than last year! All above things considered it isn’t bad!

Fun perspective: My posts are on average 1,000 words long which means by now I wrote something like 200,000 words. Good God?! That’s like 2 short novels!! I could have written a book instead of a blog! 😉 I won’t do that, don’t worry!!


Mini guides

My latest mini guide (A mini guide about Medieval architecture vocabulary) was a work of love and tears and sweat and more tears!! I think it is a great complement to the Medieval Castle guide and the Church architecture guide. They go hand in hand (and in your pocket) and together provide a lot of information. I’m super proud!

Fun fact: I create those with travelers in mind. Travelers who want to learn and understand more than what the usual tour guides provide. And it works, my mini guide pages are amongst the most popular ones on the blog. But what else happened? Schools have started to link to my guides, to recommend them to their students! Pretty cool but totally unexpected! Mini travelers will be very knowledgable in the future!!  And in addition, some of my drawings will be used in educational publications! I’m beyond honored.



In terms of maps, I’ve taken it to the next level this year!! Compare my Turkey road trip map and my Portugal road trip map, and you’ll see what I mean!

I wish I could create more of those, more regularly but if I told you here, how long it takes me for each of those, you would totally understand why there isn’t more of those available yet! There will be in the future of course!




Yeah!! I did achieve one of my 2016 goals!! I launched my Newsletter!! In October, but hey, it’s still is 2016!

If you haven’t subscribe yet, I think you should! It’s a monthly newsletter (at least for now) filled with very special things reserved for my VIP readers…. like:


Special goodies and secret page!

Yeah there is a very special page that only avid readers of RTatW can access. And it’s filled with free goodies and you only need to subscribe to find out what it is!



That wasn’t one of my official goals because I didn’t want to create a page for RTatW. Why is a long story. But I finally did it anyway. It’s been fun and you definitively need to come and say Hi! You can also tell me there, what you would like to see on the blog. Come on: www.facebook.com/RTatW/ & you should like it and share it with your friends. I would be eternally grateful!


Lessons learned: 

Blogging is addictive! 

Blogging is time consuming!! 

Blogging is a great stimulation to learn new things. 

Never say never. 




My 2016 personal goals included learning Spanish (I secretly also wanted to brush up on my German!), finishing my photography classes, taking my yoga practice seriously, etc… How many of those goals do you think I achieved? You guessed right, if you guessed zero! … Again!!

Another of my 2016 resolutions was to put my family first. And I did, well at least partially but, very quickly, it took a toll on my sanity and I realised that I need to be more selfish and put myself first. Yeah selfish, I know. Or just plain stupid to not know this already. If you don’t put yourself first, who’s going to do it?

One thing that did happen in 2016 is that Mr A and I started learning to dance Tango! That’s something I had been dreaming about but did not expect to happen! Now that we are both realizing how much fun it is, I could see myself dancing Tango all over the world!!


Lessons learned: 

No goal setting for 2017!!

Welcome & embrace changes & surprises. 

Make the most of every situation. 


Voila! Let’s welcome 2017 with a bang!!



How was your year end review? 

Come on Facebook and tell me about it! 



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