I can’t believe it’s the end of the year. Wow, what an epic one it has been, in every single way!
Many bad events happened in the world in 2016, some of which I can’t bear to think about as they are so devastating. But this is not a reason to forbid ourselves from reflecting upon our own lives and being grateful for what we have managed to make out of it.
This was, without a doubt, the best year of our lives. It’s been a year full of experiences, revelations and transitions into living a life that is truly creative, truly free, truly inspiring.
So whether you’ve been following our crazy adventures this year or not, we decided to sum it all up into a healthy recap. Here we go…
We will always remember 2016 as THE nomadic year. This year served to realize that we could operate our creative business from different places. We had always been “on the go” people, even back home in Luxembourg – we always liked to change our work environment and sometimes work from coffeeshops, from example. However, we progressively expanded that type of feeling. It all really began with a few work-cations – which are basically vacations we took to places while getting work done. Working while travelling provided a lovely balance and it honestly was so good for our creativity – it made us feel so productive and inspired!! Little by little we turned it into a lifestyle. We switched a few things around, took some scary decisions and just changed our entire mindset about what “home” means. From that point on, it all escalated quickly, and unexpectedly. But what we gained in return is an office/life that fits into a suitcase, and a whole lot of experiences.
As a result, this year we have wandered to: Germany (Cologne), The Netherlands (the dutch coast, Maastricht & Amsterdam), Belgium (Brussels & Antwerp), Italy (Siena & Pisa), Greece (Crete), England (Somerset, Lancaster & The Lake District), Scotland (Crawford, Edinburgh and Isle of Skye), Thailand (Chiang Mai), Indonesia (Bali), and Australia (Sydney & Newcastle). Many of those places we called our temporary home/office. And…all of them allowed us to get inspired for all the creative projects we’ve been working on.
Yep! This year is also pretty whack because we officially became “life partners” in June, on our 8th anniversary. Exactly a year before that, David had proposed to me on top of a mountain in Crete, at midnight. My reaction, might have been just as epic, but in a weird way – I couldn’t stop laughing. It made us both nervous. We’ve been together for a very long time, and we hadn’t thought of getting married. But then again why not? And who says you got to do it in conventional way? Not if you don’t want to. Instead, we turned it into a special experience for just the two of us. We eloped (FYI: we didn’t know this term existed until a couple months ago). We went on a short roadtrip to the Netherlands, danced in our bedroom in Maastricht and then spent a good time in Amsterdam. It was simple and beautiful.
MAKING OUR WORK EVEN MORE FUN
This year was our second year as a creative studio! We have managed to do some pretty great things in terms of handling our projects, our finances and our schedule. Everything now works to bring exactly what we need, no less, no more. We work enough hours to stay inspired and productive yet flexible, healthy and happy. And we choose to have the cherry on top: having fun while working.
In our case we realized that having fun in our job as creatives is about working with people that we really like – that equally like us, what we do and trust us. More than ever, we realized the importance of working with people who are like-minded. We defined who our ideal client is: a simple person with an adventurous mind, starting a business out of passion and out of need to create something meaningful. These are the people that we want to help with our creative services. We want to help them brand themselves with real purpose, as we feel like we’re part of this community that they want to reach. These are the people we want to be longterm partners with. These are the folks that inspire us.
Being selective is a risk we decided to take. It’s not the most comfortable route at first, but it pays in many other ways.
Working with people we connect with is truly fun. It doesn’t feel like work, it rather feels like building something exciting together. We have worked on some really great creative projects, especially towards the second half of this year and we’re so excited for what’s to come in 2017!
DECLUTTERING & SETTING PRIORITIES
Talking about being selective…Ha! Decluttering. Now that, my friends, has been at the core of everything this year and all that I’ve mentioned before. Setting priorities and removing the clutter is what made us gain clarity for just about everything in our lives.
We read the book Essentialism, read many more things about simplifying life and met some minimalists (like our client Ulla who does de-cluttering as a business). Whether you want to declutter physically or mentally, it’s simple but not easy: it involves asking yourself some real hard questions, saying “no” and getting rid of stuff.
When it came to ourselves, all this stuff has been an obstacle, keeping us from where we wanted to go. We put things into perspective and removed those obstacles. In order to gain focus and really do what WE want, we did away with expectations from others. And we stopped trying to do it all at the same time. Or saying “yes” to everybody. We started valuing our time and our mental space, both short and long term. And yes, in order to live freely, we got rid of all the stuff we owned that kept us in one place. We sold a bunch of our stuff and we rented out our place. This photo above is actually a snapshot from our freshly decluttered home office 🙂
NON-ATTACHMENT, GROWING & LEARNING
With de-cluttering and minimalism comes non-attachment. This year, more than ever, we realized that just about everything is fleeting, and human relationships are too. We got disappointed with a few people we knew, or friendships that seemingly lost their spark. But we met plenty of new people along the way, within our travels. Everything is in constant movement, like we are now as nomads – people come in and out of our lives. Instead of choosing to live this as a negative experience, we chose acceptance. Each and every person we meet contributes to a piece of ourselves and allows us to grow. To learn more about what really matters to us in this otherwise confusing life.
We met incredible people this year. Some back home, some along the way and some only digitally – so, so grateful about all of them. They have inspired us incredibly!
2017: SLOW TRAVEL, CREATIVITY & PURPOSE
Here are some of our resolutions for this new year. It’s actually like a little to do list:
– Give even more goodies to our clients who support us (freebies, extra support, virtual hugs), because their loyalty is heart warming.
– Continue volunteering with our creative services for conservation projects as we’ve done in this past year with UK Wild Otter Trust. Doing something for a cause that matters to us is an beautiful feeling.
– Figure out in what ways we want to focus our creative energy both individually and as Kinlake. David is a musician on the side, does minimal photography, and I like to do illustration and hand lettering.
– Connect with even more people and collaborate on cool new things
– Continue taking care of our health. Yes that stuff is important. I’ve always enjoyed living a somewhat healthy lifestyle, but I had a kidney infection last summer and that really made me take things further. We’ve been doing pretty great with that lately, especially in terms of how we eat. Less of the mindless eats, more of the mindful, proper fuel. It keeps us healthy, focused and happy.
– Travel slower. Being nomadic is fun, but we have to stay mindful and find stability where we go. Moving around every few months, not every few days allows for a less hectic, more authentic and healthy experience of the nomadic life.
– Remind our close people (like family) that we love them. Yes, it’s cheesy. But it’s worth every single bit of the cheesiness.
– Be more present. This is a resolution that I have every single year. Not because I fail at it, but because I like the reminder. In this fast paced life, it’s a struggle to stay present. But we have to make it a point to slow down, to know when it’s time to be online and when it’s time to be offline, to live in the present and feel every single thing.
Now… how about you? What made your 2016? What is your vision for 2017? Are you ready for it?