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Oh, I know. 2020 has been a massive shitshow. But asides from all the chaos that has been happening around the world, 2020 still managed to bring some good to my personal and professional life. So I thought what a better way to recap everything than to write an annual year in review blog post?
I’ve tried a lot of different formats for my year in review blog posts. I tried keeping ‘memory jars’ (if you remember those, you’ve been here for a while and bow down to you) and I tried noting things down as I go into my notebook until eventually I gave up and decided to stick with a fun ‘remember the whole year in a day’ game.
Which is basically me sitting down in front of my laptop and trying to list all the goals and highlights of the whole year. Let me tell you that it isn’t as easy as it might sound…
Turns out that trying to remember everything is quite a challenge when the majority of the things that come to mind are negative.
Alas, that’s 2020 for us, I guess.
As always in these reviews, I separated my personal and professional (meaning blogging and freelancing) wins into two separate categories. If you’re more interested in my blogging journey rather than personal, feel free to skip it (I won’t mind!).
Now enough with these long intros, let’s recap that 2020 brought to me.
Personal life highlights of 2020
As you could probably have guessed, there isn’t much happening in my personal life highlights of 2020. The biggest reason being the pandemic and two quarantines/lockdowns in the country that really decreased any possibility of opportunities to a flat zero.
Asides from being stuck at home and hibernating through 50% of the year, here are some of my bigger wins that I’m proud of.
I graduated from university
At the beginning of 2020, I was finishing up my 4th year of university and writing my final thesis. One good thing about the first quarantine, which was from February to May, was that I had no other option than to dedicate the majority of my time to writing this thesis.
When all restaurants, bars, entertainment places are closed and you aren’t allowed to exit the house without a valid reason, it surprisingly eliminates all distractions and procrastination opportunities (asides from occasional weekly TV shows marathon).
So I guess I should thank 2020 for giving me a bachelor’s degree with honours in linguistics and marketing.
Speaking of university…
I got accepted into university
This one was a very spontaneous and unplanned win. I spent my 2019 planning my 6-month backpacking adventure around Southeast Asia which I planned to do after finishing my bachelor’s.
However, 2020 had other plans for me. Since all international travel was postponed for the time being and it didn’t seem like a smart choice to embark on long-term travel in the middle of the global pandemic, I decided to take up master’s studies a year earlier.
So right after finishing up my bachelor’s, I applied for MA marketing in the same university and hoped for the best.
I managed to get a fully-funded space which allows me to study and be self-employed without stressing over every dollar that I earn.
I traveled (a bit)
I feel so grateful to be able to say that I managed to visit 3 countries this year while I know a lot of people who didn’t get to chance to go abroad in 2020.
So even though 3 sound like nothing compared to 2019 travels (9 countries!), it is a big highlight of 2020.
I travelled to London and Barcelona at the end of January when we were yet to find out about COVID-19. London was such a bucket list destination for me that I wanted to visit since I was a teen but just didn’t get a chance to.
Barcelona was another place that was quite high on my list and having visited it, I do plan on going back one day to see even more of that city.
The last city I visited was Tallinn, Estonia. It wasn’t a new destination for me but it was a nice short getaway with two of my closest friends. Plus, we managed to go there in summer just before the second wave.
It would be very optimistic of me to expect 2021 to be better travel vise, so if I’ll manage to have at least one trip next year, my heart will be happy.
I read 15 books
Now I know that this number is not a high one but let’s keep in mind that 50% of the year I was reading academic literature for my thesis about climate change and sustainability.
I’ve started the year strong reading around 2 books per month but then it went downhill quite fast. But I still managed to hit my 15 books goal that I set myself on Goodreads, follow me there if you fancy a look at what I read (spoiler alert: it’s a mix of self-help, drama and ridiculous romance).
Knowing that I’ll need to start writing my master’s thesis next year, I probably shouldn’t aim too high for 2021 as well. But do send some of your best-read books my way!
Professional, blogging life highlights of 2020
Looking at my work life, it’s been eventful indeed.
This was the year I finally admitted to myself that the path I want to pursue right now is being self-employed and working for myself. Until 2020 I knew that I didn’t want the usual job but I didn’t feel confident enough to say it out loud and actually actively seek what I want.
I want to talk more about this topic but I’ll need to write a separate blog post about it soon. Because if I’ll start writing about it here, this recap post might turn into 10,000 words piece…
Anyway! Off to the wins of my blogging and freelancing life.
A co-founded Take Off Kit
Back at the beginning of January, I launched a travel community on Instagram with my good friend Odeta. It was something we both worked hard on for the whole of 2020.
Now we have a dedicated Take Off Kit website which features stories of fellow travellers, best travel tips and even showcases best travel opportunities (study abroad, volunteering, youth exchanges, contests) that you can apply for and travel for free.
I am so proud of how far this project of ours got and I absolutely can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring for us. So if you want more unfiltered and real travel content, check out the website and dedicated TOK Instagram page.
I doubled my revenue
This year has been very kind to me financially. I managed to double my revenue and establish stronger income streams.
Although this year I had fewer partnerships and brand deals because of obvious reasons, I still managed to earn much more than last year. I improved my affiliate marketing revenue and I earned more from my blog consulting services.
Also, I started working on a few freelancing projects, some of which I hope to continue working on in 2021.
So I were to look at only the financial side of 2020, I would say that it was a pretty darn good year for me. Hopefully, the pattern will continue on in the next year as well.
I produced some of my best content
I feel like this year was exceptionally good for my writing and content creation. Not to sound arrogant but I really did produce some of my best content in the past twelve months.
Compared to previous years, I wrote a small number of articles. This time I wrote more long-form articles (think 2000+ words) which Google definitely loved because I saw a significant increase in my organic search traffic.
But they took me more time to write, edit and prepare, so you could say I went for quality rather than quantity this year.
Here are some of my favourite blog posts of 2020:
- How to prepare for your first long-distance hike
- 25 Simple ways to be a more responsible traveller
- How to pack carry-on only for a European winter getaway
I changed things up in TNM (again)
I mean, is it even new year without me changing things up once again on The Nerdy Me…
I really loved the previous design I had in the first half of 2020 but it wasn’t user-friendly in the end and definitely not SEO-friendly. So I choose a simpler design because, at this point, I much rather produce quality content on a clean looking website than have a super pretty design and no time to write because all I always have to do is fix errors on the design.
There are still things I didn’t find time to fix or improve on the new design but I’m making it my mission in January. So if you have any recommendations or suggestions of what you’d like to see or improve on this website, please, do let me know.
And I think that’s a wrap on my 2020 highlights!
I won’t be sharing my focus word or goals for 2021 in this blog post because it is already a long one, so keep an eye out for the next blog post which will probably go live next week if that’s something you’d like to read.
For now, I want to say thank you to all of you who read TNM. It is because of you why I am able to continue creating content and doing the things I do for over 5 years now.
Now cheers to everyone for surviving this year and let’s see what 2021 has in store for us, shall we?