Final Flashback to 2017

Happy New Year dear readers! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that 2018 may be a wonderful year for you! Considering it’s only the first week of the New Year, I think it’s still acceptable to reflect on 2017. On New Year’s Eve I published my post My Favourites For 2017: Travel, Street Art, Films, Exhibitions, Books, but today I’ll be sharing with you some of the things that happened to me on a more personal level.

So what does the life of Dutch Girl in London look like? Most of the people I meet seem to think I’m a fulltime blogger and tour guide who jets across the globe a few times a year. Although I have been on some amazing trips and had some great blog-related opportunities, reality is a bit less glamorous than it seems. To be completely honest, I was initially quite disappointed about all the things I had not done over the last year, but when I was scrolling through my photos of the last 12 months for my previous post, I realised it’s actually been a pretty good year. Although I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted, didn’t write my collection of short stories as planned, or rang my family as often as I should, I feel fortunate to have met so many new inspiring people and made some magical memories. So, to close off 2017 on a positive note, here’s an overview of some of my personal highs (and one low) of the year.

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From the lowpoint to the Highlight of my year

Coincidentally, my first blog post of 2017 To Blog or Not to Blog was the most personal and also most popular post I’ve ever written on my website. I felt glum and disappointed in the world and unfortunately this feeling has lingered on for most of the year. The whole Brexit mess didn’t really help in this either. It often keeps me awake at night – but then again, I’m a professional worrywarts.

My 6-week artist residency in the home of late Robert Rauschenberg on Captiva Island, Florida, early spring could therefore not have come at a more perfect time. My stay at this magical place seems a lifetime ago and feels almost too good to be true. Surrounded by peaceful nature, the soothing presence of manatees and dolphins right outside our doorstep and a bunch of wonderful people, I managed to shake off the stress of daily life and focus on trying out new possibilities for making art. Although I went there with the idea of focussing on writing and photography, I ended up stepping away from the computer and trying my hand at transfer printing, collage making, jewellery making, welding, woodblock printing, a flamenco-inspired electronic music project with hubby, and much more. Upon return I’ve been buying materials and even a wood drill hoping to follow my newfound artistic inspiration. Making time for this will be one of my priorities for 2018, together with transcribing the interviews I did with some of the artists during my residency!

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Making a collage with transfer prints

‘She Works Hard for the Money’

After my return from Captiva it’s been full on with editing projects. I’ve actually never been busier than in the last year and as a freelancer I feel extremely grateful for this (though also a tad exhausted). Besides my two editing projects for the renowned Dutch educational publishing house ThiemeMielenhoff, I’ve been working on travel guides that will be published on Tix.nl later this year. Following the travel guide I wrote on London a few years ago, I was asked to edit English-language guides written by locals from all around the world before being translated into Dutch. Not only have I discovered some fantastic insider tips for various fabulous destinations I hope to visit one day, I also ‘met’ some wonderful people from all around the globe through it. You can find the first (Dutch-language) travel guides here.

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My new website: Done That Been There travel blog

From the travel guides it’s an easy link to my new travel blog, Done That Been There, that I launched last spring. Due to lack of time and energy I haven’t marketed it properly yet so this is another important item on my to-do list for 2018! It does have lots of content though, categorised by City Trips, Eat, Street art and Photography, so do have a look on there!

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Dutch Girl in the media

Despite not being very active on the Dutch Girl in London website, my east London walking tours did get mentioned in a popular Dutch travel guide and I was even asked to give a tour of London’s highlights to the Dutch Speaker of The House of Representatives! Also, last December two of my street art photos from Done That Been There were featured in the easyJet in-flight magazine! You can see my original photos here: Málaga Street Art: Maus.

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Dutch Girl in London tours in the Dutch ANWB travel guide on London!
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My photos in the December 2017 edition of the easyJet Traveller magazine!
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Showing London’s highlights to Mrs Khadija Arib, Speaker of The House of Representatives of the Netherlands

Looking forward to a positive 2018

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, so I won’t bore you with that, but I do intend to have a more positive outlook in 2018 (hubby will be glad to hear this ;-)) and to make more time for blogging. I have some dream holidays coming up very soon which you’ll hopefully read all about here and on Done That Been There of course!

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2018!
Zarina x