With 2016 finally drawing to an end, I headed to the beach here in Eilat to think about where I will take what the passing year has left behind in 2017.

A quick look back at 2016

As is the case for many, 2016 has broken my heart more than a few times. It took Bowie, Prince, and Princess Leia. The war in Syria saw one bloody crisis after the other while the world was watching helplessly. And that morning I woke up and Hillary Clinton wasn’t President of the United States — I don’t think I’ll forget that feeling anytime soon. Facts died; that became evident not only in the US elections but also in Britain’s decision to Brexit and the continued rise of right-wing parties in Europe: It’s not about proof and numbers but about what you feel is right. To me as a rationalist and strong believer in science, this is maybe scariest of all.

On a personal level, I enjoyed plenty of brilliant experiences:

I discovered new countries and rediscovered the known ones. Once you start looking you find that Italy and France are full of endless experiences. But after more than two years, I finally said goodbye to those two in the second half of the year and went to Monaco, Belgium, CroatiaMontenegro, Albania, Czech Republic, Israel, and Jordan.

In WorkAwaying and HouseSitting, I applied many old skills, and then I build a pool! While the pool project itself was great fun that had me playing working for the first time ever with concrete, plumbing, and electricity, I also received a shocking lesson in how mental illness grabs control of even the most controlled of people when host and project lead entered an extremely manic phase in his bipolar disorder.

I made new friends and spent more time with the old ones. People always ask me whether I don’t feel lonely traveling solo. Not at all! Besides, it’s almost scarily easy to meet new people when you hang out in hostels and on public transport. In the past three months alone, I found a road tripping buddy and my first Instagram inspiration in Resi di Berlino, and I found a Petra co-conquerer and next-stage social media motivator in Gabriela Here and There.

Where to 2017, Notes on Traveling?Serious plans for 2017

Let’s talk the fun part first: Where will I travel in 2017?

One word: Asia!

I will venture deep into the continent that so far I have only skirted. After all, Jordan (pile of posts to come) and Israel, where I am at the moment, are part of Asia, and so is Turkey, which I raced through in the summer of 2012 when completing Africa 360.

Round about March I will go full-Asia. I will have 18 months before I have to come back to Europe for an important family gig (you wouldn’t mess with my sisters!). Until then, there are 50 nations waiting to be explored.

As usual, my planning is kept to a minimum and I am working more off an idea (“Go see Asia!”). I will probably start with the 11 southeast Asian countries plus India, and see how I go. Such are the perks of perpetual travel: There is no need to cram things into a defined period of time.

Aside from the travel goal, I have also for the first time ever… drum roll… set myself fixed professional goals.

I want to build my reputation as a travel blogger. I have been running this blog for more than five years now, always as a side project, and never with serious commitment. After discussions with fellow digital nomads, I realized that I need to make a decision:

Do it right or don’t do it at all.

In my past life as project manager, I learned that goals should fulfill three criteria. They should be

  • measurable,
  • realistic, and
  • ambitious.

So let’s do this:

  1. I will publish 52 blog posts in 2017, on average 1 per week.
  2. By December, I will reach 1,000 visitors (not views!) each month on the blog.
  3. I will grow my social media following to 50,000 followers across instagram.com/notesontraveling, Twitter, and Facebook.

All of these numbers are realistic but extremely ambitious, considering that I have one last goal for 2017:

I will finally write my first book.

I have been toying with the idea of a dystopian travel story for more than two years now. It is about time that I put pen to paper and see whether the saying is true:

There is a book in every one of us.

While I’m writing these words, the last sun of the year has set somewhere behind the Sinai mountains. It’s time to make 2017 happen.

May you have a New Year full of happy travels!

Do you have anything to add? Any thoughts on what you just read? Let me know!