It’s that time of the year again. December is a great month to reflect on the year’s successes, failures, and lessons. Likewise, it’s the perfect moment to plan and set goals for the new year.
I have been doing private yearly reviews for many years, and last year, I shared my 2021 review for the first time on this blog.
It’s now time to reflect on 2022 and confront myself with the year’s wins and losses. Spoiler alert, it was a rather eventful year.
I traveled to more than 20 countries and started a Youtube channel. I made more money than ever before, but I also made some not-so-great business decisions. Aside from that, my personal life had lots of ups and downs. So, let’s get to the review.
2022 Year Review: Travel
I will start this yearly review with a month-by-month breakdown of my 2022 travels.
I started the year in a pub in Livigno, Italy. I was on a skiing trip in the Italian Alps with two mates, and overall, it was a superb trip. We spent the first few days of 2022 on the slopes, in après-ski locales, and in delicious Italian restaurants.
View this post on Instagram
After briefly returning to Luxembourg, I flew to Tallinn, Estonia. It was my second visit, and I thoroughly enjoyed my two-week stay in this quaint Baltic city. The primary reason to travel to Tallinn was business, though, as I set up a new company in Estonia.
Eastern Estonia is a different, post-Soviet world to the glittering capital of Tallinn, and especially in -15°C January weather, fascinating. Thanks, Bald and Bankrupt, for inspiring me.
View this post on Instagram
As soon as February rolled around, I caught a flight to Brazil (country n°61). I spent about six weeks in the country, using São Paulo and Rio as my nomad bases. From there, I visited Paraty and Buzios and experienced the Rio Carnival for the first time. It was amazing.
Brazil has its dangers, but it’s a country like no other. The warmth and fun-loving nature of the people are second to none.
As such, my six weeks in Brazil were undoubtedly among the highlights of 2022.
I was there with my now ex-girlfriend, and we enjoyed every single minute, except when a guy almost stole her bag on the beach. I was watching the bag while she was in the water.
Some dude came from behind and tried to take the bag. Luckily, I turned my head quickly enough, and the thief didn’t manage to snatch it. He then ran away. Just an average day in Rio…
I have been to a lot of places in South America, and unfortunately, I have to say that Rio is one of the worst in terms of petty crime. But that’s just my subjective experience.
We spent most of our time working remotely in the country. Travel-wise, we didn’t even scratch the surface. One thing is for sure: I’ll be back.
After leaving Brazil in mid-March, I headed to Bolivia (country n°62).
I spent about three weeks there working remotely. If you’re interested in Bolivia’s advantages and disadvantages as a remote working destination, check out my complete Bolivia digital nomad guide.
I also visited some of Bolivia’s natural treasures, including the stunning Uyuni Salt Flats.
On my last day in Bolivia, I cycled the world’s most dangerous road, the Camino a Los Yungas. Around 200 people a year died on this road before it was replaced by a more modern highway a few years ago. Today it’s used by local people and crazy tourists like myself who cycle here.
Bolivia is an underrated country with a unique indigenous culture and breathtaking landscapes. Not as fun as Brazil, but undoubtedly worth a visit.
Personally, the trip ended on a negative note as I broke up with my girlfriend during our last week in Bolivia. New beginnings were beckoning once more.
In April, I returned to Europe and spent a few days in the Austrian Alps. I went on a digital detox and didn’t use social media or the internet for four days. It’s one of my yearly traditions and helps me refocus and boost my mindfulness.
Later that month, I took a short trip to Belgium and from there, I traveled to Albania (country n°63) and the partially recognized nation of Kosovo (country n°64). They were my last countries in the Balkans, and I enjoyed my time in both, especially Albania.
It was also here where I made my first ever Youtube video. The videos from Albania and Kosovo got me my first subscribers, and even though they weren’t great, I had finally gathered the courage to start a Youtube channel.
Ten months later, the channel is monetized and has over 2k subscribers, a first little milestone. If you want to support this blog and my travels in general, subscribing to my Youtube channel helps. Thanks!
View this post on Instagram
At end of April and the beginning of May, I traveled to Cyprus (country n°65).
It was my last country in the European Union and May is a great month to visit this Mediterranean island.
The highlight, however, is the northern part, an unrecognized republic where Turkish Cypriots live. I explored Nicosia, the world’s only divided capital, and also went to Famagusta and Varosha, one of the largest abandoned cities in the world.
At the end of May, my brother married his long-term girlfriend in Luxembourg, and I spent two weeks relaxing in my home country.
2022 was a hectic travel year. Those two weeks were, in fact, my longest stationary period.
In June, I left Europe once again and started a big road trip across the USA. Using a combination of buses, rental cars, and one single flight (Austin, TX to Albuquerque, NM), I crossed the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
It was one of my primary travel goals to complete an American cross-country trip, and it didn’t disappoint. The US has a lot of flaws, but there are things that I absolutely love about the US. I made a video on it, in case you’re interested.
Some of the highlights were the city of New Orleans, Texas, Sedona, and of course, the Grand Canyon.
After one month and almost 6k USD spent, I left the US and finally returned to Asia after two years.
After celebrating the 4th of July in the US, I took a plane from LA to Hanoi and spent the rest of the month in Vietnam (country n°67).
From North to South, Vietnam is an incredible destination and also has a lot of potential as a digital nomad base. In one month, I feel like I only scratched the surface, so I’ll definitely be back.
My favorite place in Vietnam was Saigon, the country’s most modern city.
On August 1st, I flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (country n°68), and spent two weeks there.
Overall, Cambodia is a great place to visit with lovely people and a tragic history. There were two highlights: the mighty Angkor Wat site and the rural villages around Battambang.
After Cambodia, I traveled to Malaysia (country n°69) where I spent the next five weeks.
Malaysia is a great country for digital nomads and I loved my time in both Kuala Lumpur and Penang. I also went solo hiking in the rainforest (a bad idea) and visited the city of Ipoh and its surroundings.
In September, I left Malaysia for Indonesia (country n°70), and celebrated my 70th country with some local friends in Jakarta.
I then flew to the island of Sumatra where I went on a brutal two-day orangutan trek. That was undoubtedly the highlight of my time in Indonesia but it also nearly killed me.
After Sumatra, I spent some time in Bandung and Yogyakarta. Overall, I loved Indonesia and will visit again in the future.
India was as intense as I imagined it to be. I spent some time in Delhi, Rishikesh, Agra, and Jaipur and visited the Taj Mahal. I had trouble with the food, the pollution, and the hassling, but I also fell in love with the cultural wealth and diversity.
India is one of those countries that really takes time to get used to, and on this first trip, I struggled a bit. Nevertheless, I would return and see other corners of this vast sub-continent.
After an intense few weeks in India, I flew to Turkey, one of my favorite countries in the world.
First, I met up with my family in Antalya and we drove all the way to Izmir, stopping in destinations like Fethiye and Ephesus.
I then spent some time working remotely in Izmir before heading east. I visited the cities o Konya, Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Urfa, and Mardin.
All of them were well worth a stop. Eastern Turkey is one of the most underrated regions and is full of history, culture, hospitable locals, and stunning landscapes. I would recommend checking out places like Konya and Gaziantep after you’ve seen places like Cappadocia and Istanbul.
The highlight was probably Diyarbakır, Turkey’s largest Kurdish-majority city. Western governments considered the city a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” location for many years, but as of today, the situation is peaceful and calm.
In early December, I left Turkey for Georgia (country n°72). I spent some time working remotely in the capital of Tbilisi and also went on a day trip to the stunning Caucasus mountains. Tbilisi is an excellent digital nomad base and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and wine.
Just before Christmas, I returned to Luxembourg for the first time in seven months to reunite with friends and family.
So, that’s a wrap for my 2022 travels. It was a pretty impressive year travel-wise, thanks in no small part to the world opening up. I took 33 flights and spent time on four different continents.
- Total countries visited: 22
- New countries visited: 12
That brings my total up to 72 countries. I might move around a little bit less next year, but I definitely want to continue visiting new countries in order to reach my goal of 100 countries in the next few years.
2022 Year Review: Content Creation Business
Business-wise, it was the best year since I became a digital nomad in 2019.
My blogs – including this one, are growing and profitable. My Medium page grew from 35k to 55k followers in 2022, and my revenue also increased, even though it fluctuated a lot.
If you want to support my work, you can use this Medium link to sign up. It’s 50 dollars a year for an unlimited number of articles and insightful stories from thousands of independent creators.
My stock photography income grew as I added more videos to my portfolio. Overall, I grew my portfolios on all the stock agencies and earned the rewards.
Nevertheless, I have to say that it’s a lot of work for not that much money, so I am not sure how much time I will invest in stock photography in the future. Luckily, I built large portfolios and will have passive income for years to come.
Finally, the project I invested a lot of time in was my Youtube channel, and it’s starting to pay off. Even though the Adsense revenue (I only got monetized three months ago) is small, it’s a motivating factor and a growing source of income.
To sum up, my online business revenue grew by almost 50% this year, and that’s undoubtedly something to celebrate. I also set up a new company in Estonia which now gives me the perfect legal entity to conduct my online business.
2022 Year Review: Health and Personal Life
Frankly speaking, the year had a lot of downs in this category.
Even though I achieved almost all of my goals, I started paying too little attention to my personal life and my health. I was in decent shape until June, but from then on, it started going downhill.
Too much beer, comfort food, and too little exercise. If you are used to being fit and working out a lot, feeling a difference will create both mental and physical unease. And that’s precisely what I thought throughout the last six months.
My personal relationships suffered because I upped the pace of my travels. I broke up with my girlfriend and didn’t manage to form enough connections throughout the year. I have to do better when it comes to relationships next year.
Overall, I have to say that I didn’t read enough books, didn’t connect enough with people, didn’t journal enough, and didn’t take care of my mental health enough. And the reason was my super-fast lifestyle – changing location every few days. The pace was simply too high.
As such, I still want to visit lots of new countries next year but I NEED to have a better balance when it comes to mental and physical well-being.
2022 Year Review: Goals Set in 2021
- Complete 70 countries: DONE. Got to 72.
- Do a motorcycle trip: DONEish. Did a lot of small motorcycle trips in Vietnam and Malaysia but not a “big” one even though that was my original goal.
- Become serious at videography: DONE. Started a Youtube channel and it is growing.
- Launch a print store: FAILED.
- Grow my social media channels: DONEish. Youtube grew from 0 to 2k subscribers in 7 months, but Instagram and Facebook are still lacking.
2023 Goals and Outlook
- Visit 14 new countries: that will bring me to 86 in 2023 and 100 within 2 years, which is my ultimate travel goal as of now;
- Complete the Seven Wonders of the World: I am missing Macchu Picchu, the Great Wall, and Petra.
- Read 25 books: in 2020, I read over 50 books. As such, this isn’t a particularly ambitious goal but since I only read 6 this year, I feel like I need to remind myself of how important reading is;
- Grow my business by at least 50%: the goal is to match this year’s growth;
- 200/365 workouts and clean eating: simply put, I want to return to my best shape and will try to work out and eat clean on at least 200 days.