33 lessons I learned in 2015 and 11 best and worst experiences
Life is like a rollercoaster. It contains ups and downs, turns and twists that can mess up our emotional being.
When I look back, 2015 was a year when many times I had no idea what to do with myself personally, physically nor work-wise. At times I felt lost and I don’t really have that feeling very often…
In the past years I have learned to be usually 100% positive about my next step.
However, as unpleasant as it may seem, I am meant to have difficult experiences so that I can grow even more.
We are all aware of it, right?
So I will start off with those ”worse” experiences first …
Worst of 2015:
1. I got injured
I got injured when practicing yoga in Bucharest, Romania in April. It was my fault as I just came from India and went straight from super hot and humid weather to snow. And then did a few difficult yoga poses without any warm-up. I heard very loud when something broke somewhere in my butt. The same thing happened just a few days ago on the plane from Kerala, India and in the very same place. So I knew there was something wrong …
The worst thing about it? As I have never had anything broken nor torn in my body, I trusted my body to deal with it within 2 days. I did not take any rest and kept practicing yoga even though half of my right leg hurt like hell with each move.
Yoga teaches you to be less reactive to whatever the Universe throws at you. I also did have trust in the Universe … but what if I could not do yoga because it was exactly what was bringing tears of pain in my eyes? What should I do to keep my mind and body balance instead in that situation?
What I learned:
1. Listen to your body. It’s wiser than you think.
2. Do not do any difficult moves without warming up first.
2. I did not feel like blogging any more
Since January 2015, I felt so disconnected and was not sure which direction to take on with my blog and work life in general.
After 4 and a half years of blogging it started to feel like a real job to me with too many places to visit, too many things on the to-do list, too many people waiting for my articles, too many deadlines, too many emails (usually around 1,000 important emails to answer within a week.) What human being can do all this without going crazy?!
I lost the muse and for a couple of weeks I had to force myself to keep writing.
Everyone thought I’ve had the ideal job after all, but deep inside I hated it.
It made me think…
Wasn’t passion one of the main reasons why I even started blogging?
Was I blogging because I loved it so much?
Because it came natural to me?
Because I could be my own boss not having to do something when I didn’t feel like it?
But for a while blogging felt as a job I did not enjoy any more …
It all started when I just got back home to Eastern Slovakia after a month and a half in India and Romania and trying to update a Facebook status, I noticed something odd.
I could not log into my fanpage and just saw an unusual facebook screen with 3 weird emails that I’d never seen until then. It took me a few hours to take screenshots and realize someone hacked my fanpage.
I somehow managed to delete 2 of those emails so they could not enter my fanpage but as they deleted me as admin there in the meantime, I was scared to try anything else to delete the main email address there, too, if it meant my work of 5 years would disappear completely.
I could not lose 45,00o fans, no way!
To make a long story short, I received hundreds of messages from my fans and friends (my personal facebook still worked most of the time) asking what happened that my fanpage disappeared (I was the only person together with that weirdo who caused that problem who could see the Facebook page.)
My fans’ support meant the world to me and I realized how much I motivate others with my life.
I could not quit blogging.
Who even came up with that stupid idea in the first place??
The worst thing was I was speaking at 2 very important conferences in Bratislava when my facebook did not even exist to others. And my blog I was going to talk about looked all weird as they inserted some strange codes into the html when hacking it.
And my email account was also hacked …
Can you imagine how desperate I was?
I had no idea what to do and definitely did not want to spend thousands of euros paying someone to fix it.
On the other hand, ”was this the sign I asked for?” crossed my mind over and over again.
Maybe it is supposed to show me I should change what I’ve been doing.
Maybe I should start doing something different and find a ”real job.”
But then, one of my blog fans I have never met in person send me a message offering me his help. He is a graffic designer making websites. I trusted my gut and gave him all the power to fix everything. He changed my blog from scratch, used a new template, changed many codes, uploaded different plugins and took all the possible security steps.
He basically saved my ass like no one ever before!
The best thing about it? He did not want anything in return! And he really spent weeks working on it. I am SO grateful for him! 🙂
Another friend gave me an email of a Facebook employee and after some super nice, but also very negative emails I managed to get my fanpage back working again.
What a relief!
What I learned:
5. Always back-up everything you can.
6. Never put all your eggs in one basket (e.g. one social media account.)
7. Use different passwords for each account. Security is the key.
8. Trust your intuition.
9. Trust people who are willing to help. Accept help.
4. Injury got worse
Somehow I managed to struggle through a month and a half with the injury when visiting Spain, Czech republic and Russia. But then when I coud not even sit for longer than 10 minutes and do all those easy exercises with my right leg without any pain, I came back to Slovakia to do something about it.
Injury really got worse in those 2 months I passed waiting for it to improve by itself. In the end because of my stupidity I had to spend two weeks at doctors, getting injections, acupuncture, massages and some strong pills (took pills after more than 2 years as I really could not move, sit nor lie down!)
Then I realized it all happened because I needed to take time off, I needed to slow down instead of pushing things.
What I learned:
10. Take time to slow down.
11. Do not push things too hard when some signs are telling you otherwise.
12. Nothing ever stops changing; pain neither. It will disappear once I give it a chance to heal.
5. No yoga teacher training
Not many of you know I want to become a yoga teacher and lead yoga + raw vegan + positive attitude travel retreats around the world. But to start doing that I need to become a certified yoga teacher.
But when I planned to do a yoga teacher training in Bali, it was canceled last minute and nothing in Bali seemed to work out, no matter what I tried to organize instead.
At first, I was so angry as it was really postponing my plans for 2016 maybe for another year or even more.
But then I sat down, looked into a mirror and told myself I had enough money to pay for anything I’d like to do in Bali so no matter what, I could just go with the flow and enjoy my holidays there instead.
Only once I realized that, everything fell into place and some plans and places started to work out there.
What I learned:
13. Anger and fear are the easiest emotions that can eat us up. Thinking positively requires more energy but it is exactly what moves me into the right direction.
14. Sometimes also plan B or C can be loads of fun and teach me something.
15. If I have enough money for accommodation and food, and people I love are doing fine, there’s NOTHING to worry about.
6. ”Single lady” topic continues
Getting a guy I wanted seemed mission impossible and everything ended before something could even start. So in 2015 I tried not to spend much time thinking about guys and even turned down 99% of relationship/sex/whatever-you-call-it possibilities (and if you don’t believe me, read the truth about sex when traveling.)
I honestly spend more than half of the year with ZERO guys on my mind, in my heart and in my pants focusing on myself, family, friends, yoga (when it did not hurt like hell), meditation and travel.
But then it all came when I least expected it …
And I took a chance on love.
After years I gave a chance to a guy I’ve deep down there knew I’ve been fond of for like 5 years. But I would completely avoid him when he was dating his (ex) girlfriend as it seemed to me they had a perfect relationship.
But then they broke up while I was traveling…
However, I do not want a long-distance relationship and after my 2 huge previous mistakes with guys I would not change my travel plans because of a penis person any more. I learned my lesson.
But as this time I had no travel plans for the first time in 12 years, which together with a few other ”signs” lead me to decision to try it out with him.
At the time when we started something, I was 100% happy and content with my life in every single way.
But then… I have to admit I broke all my personal and relationship ”rules” I’ve followed over years but it was all in vane as it all ended up very quickly anyway.
The worst about it??
After 6 years of listening from all the guys around me ”Alex, you do not need me. You do not need a man.” I took courage to finally show someone I do need him and want him in my life.
But my ego really suffered when he smashed it against the wall with ”I do not want any serious relationship right now.”
I think it’s not necessary to put into words how mad I was when I found that out.
A week before Christmas was the second time I cried from sadness in 2015.
Now I wonder … What makes us to switch from completely happy when single to a wreck when a ”relatinship” does not work out?
16. The only thing I can be sure of 100% in life is that everything changes; both bad and good. So hang on in there as the change is on its way.
17. Give time time.
18. Cry when you feel like it. Everyone has days when you feel like the only thing that can help you to carry on is to cry it all out …
19. Sometimes trying to do things differently than always before does not work out either.
20. There was a time when I would live in pain or depression for a few weeks or even months, would beat myself up not really ”wanting” to move on. I still have some demons inside me, and can get upset once in a while, but I have won many emotional battles and over years my mental health improved loads. So respect, accept, forget, learn from it and move on.
Best of 2015:
1. Family trips
2015 was the year of trips with family (I mean way more than just the usual summer holidays.)
First, I spent the whole March in India, on a blog trip and then with dad in Amritapuri ashram. I learned a lot about myself and finally after a couple of years I became closer to my dad once again. And most importantly, dad became a brand new person there. He surprised himself and also myself in all the possible ways!
In India, we had to deal with the extreme poverty, dirty roads, too much attention that drives me crazy, different culture and treating elephants as pets which being a vegan I strictly disagree with (but it’s an important part of the culture.)
In the end of May I was invited to explore Russia on a cruise so I took my mum along giving her this experience as a birthday gift. I wanted to give her a chance to grow as well, to get out of her comfort zone as she is not fond of ships at all. In the end we deepened our relationship, had fun exploring Russian towns and forests and laughed like crazy sunbathing on the top deck.
In July I decided to take a break and went on holidays to Egypt with dad and 7-year-old half-brother. I taught him English and how to eat healthier. I’ve never ever shared so much quality time with him and it turned out we both loved it.
He even tried meditation with me and kept asking me many intelligent questions. The best thing about it? He once looked at me smiling and said ”You are different to my other siblings.”
What I learned:
21. Stereotype kills me.
22. Different cultures make me appreciate more what I have.
23. Walking barefoot and in simple clothes is a very liberating feeling.
24. I’ve always been scared that one day, one day when I become a mom, I would have no idea how to treat my child, how to let him grow. But there on holidays in Egypt I realized I can have a good relationship with a kid and explain him things in a natural, let’s say ”adult” logical way that he can understand. I learned the way I definitely do not want to raise a child, and some ways that I would like to follow … one day…
2. Time with friends
In 2015 I attended two travel blogger conferences again (after a longer break) where I had a lovely time with other bloggers out of which many are my very close friends. The first conference was in Lloret de Mar, Spain in May and the second one in Bangkok, Thailand in October.
In May I also spent a couple of days in Spain with my best girl friend. She is such a kind person and truly calms me down each time she opens her mouth to tell me something. And you know what? Kindness is contagious! We explored Salou and I had a chance to show her my favorite city Barcelona.
And twice this year I visited Romania, like I mentioned above Bucharest and Transylvania castles, in April and then mountains and smaller towns in the Neamt county in August. super cool people
In 2015 I enjoyed many very deep conversations with my best friends. They do not get my bullshit, I cannot lie to them and sometimes just talking to them makes me realize what I really want/do not want or how I can solve the situation. Sometimes they do not even have to say anything, or I might not listen to their advice, but just the simple act of putting all my thoughts and feelings into words makes it all clear when getting them out of my chest.
What I learned:
25. Relathionships are extremely important. This year was maybe more about strengthening my relationships with family and friends than anything else. Investing time in people you love is always a good thing.
26. I need my friends no matter how happy I am. Meeting new people is awesome and I am super grateful for them, but no one can listen to me the way my best friends can.
3. Personal achievements
Late August and early September I spent in Israel and Palestine. It was such a deep experience for me when it comes to religion and politics, two topics I’ve always tried to avoid. I realized how many times the same thing can be seen differently by different sides who are not giving any chance to the other side to express their opinions, feelings and attitude. Saying I LOVED my trip there would be a huge understatement!
One of the unique moments not only of 2015 was checking the Dead Sea floating in Israel off my bucket list. It was even more precious being there with friends, but also visiting during a very unusual sand storm made it more magical.
I overcame my biggest fear and tried scuba-diving for the first time ever in November in Bali. It was definitely the most challenging experience of my life but so worth it. Watching the fish so deep underwater was priceless. Unforgettable!
What I learned:
27. I do not want to get into any deep religious nor political discussions.
28. I can achieve anything when I really put my heart/head/everything into it.
I decided that in 2015 I would relax as much as possible. Many situations were more stressful than I could handle and keep on working online and moving from one place to another did not help.
That’s why I stayed at home in Slovakia more than usual, and then also spent a week doing nothing in Phuket, Thailand and in super luxury hotels The Laguna and Samabe in Bali. It was all about massages, sauna, swimming, yoga, sunsets, music, meditation, coconuts, fresh juices, beach and anything else I needed to fully regain energy.
What I learned:
29. I deserve time off, too.
30. Sometimes you need to slow down first to be able to keep moving with full power.
5. Detox and body time
As the yoga teacher training in Bali did not work out, I managed to participate on two retreats to take care of my body instead. You know, I turned 31 in November which was my birthday present from myself – get healthier.
I did a 10-day Pure raw vegan chef and detox training in Bali where we learned many raw vegan recipes and then just drank liquids for 5 days doing yoga, swimming and sweating out all the toxins in sauna etc. It was one of the most important days of the whole year.
Afterwards, I did a Yoga and Ayurveda week course which I dedicated to myself, my body, my inner health. As it was the last week before going back to Europe in December, I used it as ”holidays” with very little online work.
During the two courses I got centered with myself after a long time and felt everything was happening the way it was supposed to (even though NOT I wanted it initially.)
I was not stressed out about too much work waiting to get done.
Plus, it was the first time after years I came home from a trip with 2 kilograms less instead of putting on weight and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
What I learned:
31. I finally learned how not to feel guilty about my food choices and try to balance it with many raw vegan meals, more walking and yoga. I started to love my body the way I’d never done before and even when I would eat something I maybe ”should not”. I learned to look at it first, say a mantra ”My body likes the food I feed it with; it’s helping me to grow healthier and stronger.” And then simply accept my decision of eating it.
32. It is extremely important to take time to stop, contemplate and let go of things you don’t need.
33. It’s important to spend time with myself.
But you know what?
I do not want to treat some experiences as the worst, and the others as the best. They all equally teach me what I need to learn at that time when they happen.
Sometimes I need to get injured in order to give myself time to slow down.
Sometimes, I need to go on holidays with my family to open their eyes and get closer to them in the most uncomfortable situations.
Sometimes, I need my blog to be hacked and completely messed up to understand my job is still one of the most important things I am grateful for in my life.
So let’s not judge some experiences as better, and other as worse. Let them just go through me doing what is necessary.
I realized I still get very low and then very high on life. Sometimes even daily. I am a super sensitive person but I finally have accepted the fact that I don’t have to hide it or try to change it.
It’s not wrong to be sensitive and express my feelings and emotions. Life is all about feeling something …
And I feel that 2015 was definitely a good year to feel 🙂
PS: I spent 7,239.29 eur in 2015 for all my trips and a new camera …
Wishing you all many great experiences in 2016. Happy New Year, dear ones!
Alex is a crazy Slovak girl who made traveling the reason of her life. In March 2011 she quit her stewardess job and hasn't stopped ever since. Her motto is ''I live to travel, I travel to live.'' She writes about crazy travel, fun adventures and sexy photos.
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