2017 – The year IngridZenMoments grew wings

Zanzibar Island| IngridZenMoments

It is not very often that I focus on the personal and step a bit further away from my main focus on the blog (travel, of course), but since another year is rapidly getting closer and closer to its end, I can’t help but look back at what 2017 has meant to me and what it has brought.

   This year has been the stepping stone for this blog, my little “baby”, the project of my soul, the place where tens and hundreds of hours of 2017 have vanished. I think it was somewhere in January or February of 2017 when fate made me stumble upon Ioana and her wide open heart willing to help and support people like me. At that point, I was only exploring the possibility of doing something more with this blog, but I was lacking maybe two of the most important things: information and self-confidence. And this is what she offered.

   I got motivated and understood the only person who could do something was me, so I decided to start educating myself and to do what I love most: travel and share my experiences and knowledge gained through it with the world. Sometimes it is easier said than done, especially when you are not a very technical person (trust me, the world of the internet turned out to be more complicated for me than I was expecting it to be), but with perseverance and many small steps, I managed to grow and learn.

  And what is more rewarding than growth? The feeling that another day has passed and it hasn’t passed in vain, you worked at a better version of you. Since I honestly look back at 2017 and feel proud of my achievements (maybe small in some other people’s view, but very big in mine and that’s all that matters), I decided to put it all on paper (ok, not real paper) because having targets and analyzing the progress always helps.

   The places I’ve been to in 2017

   Yes, my travels are part of my life and contribute to its beauty. I am so grateful to have had the chance to travel to so many places, meet so many great people and learn along the way about different cultures, enlarge my historic and cultural knowledge and gain priceless memories that will last forever.

   January – We started the year in style, spending the New Year’s Eve on the beach on the distant Zanzibar Island. And I would not exaggerate if I would say this place is Paradise on Earth and my favorite place so far. Everything from the warmth and friendliness of people, to the incredible beaches and activities available both on the island and in Tanzania, made me fell hopelessly in love with this little corner of Africa.Zanzibar Island| IngridZenMoments

   February – Since I had a trip to Munich for work I managed to link also a Saturday and explore the mountain surrounded city of Innsbruck in Austria with a friend.  Just a few hours away from Munich, we woke up early in the morning, caught the bus and spent one full crispy cold day exploring Innsbruck and the Swarovski Museum of course. Many coffees later we got back to Germany with a very good impression on this rather small Austrian city.

Perfect day trips from Munich, Germany| IngridZenMoments

   March – It was early Spring when I returned for the third time to London together with my mother, only to fall in love even deeper with this incredibly bubbly European city. I don’t think there are enough words to describe the lively British Capital but I surely fell in love with it over and over again, rediscovered every corner and every colorful building, while enjoying the magnolias in bloom. I think it is safe to say I will never get enough of this place and I will always come back here with a smile on my face.

London | IngridZenMoments

   AprilIt was Easter time and we spent it as usual in Oradea, discovering the new highlights of the city, relaxing at the thermal spring water pools and eating a lot of local specialties. I am baking a post about this beautiful city in the North-Western part of Romania because I really think it’s worth paying it a visit for a city break.

Oradea, Romania | IngridZenMoments

   May – late May was a month full of activity in my travel area and it started with a great trip for a friend’s bachelorette party on the island of  Cyprus.  With the very valuable tips of a local friend, we managed to spend 4 perfect days on the hot island (even at the end of May), catch a tan while also partying, taking great pictures and making full use of the delicious traditional cuisine.

Cyprus | IngridZenMoments

   June – Only a few days after my return from Cyprus, I hopped on another plane, with my boyfriend this time and headed to Munich where one of my best friends lives. Since it was his first time in the Bavarian capital, we kind of crossed all the things on my 10 things to do in Munich, only that we have exchanged the closed beer house with an open-air one since the weather was so nice and the beer gardens are all over the place. We also took a trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to get a nature overdose and spent a full day at Erding Therme for a full-time relaxation treatment. Oh, and don’t let me forget, another dream came true on the 5th of June when I attended the energy packed show of Coldplay at the Olympia Stadium.

Perfect day trips from Munich, Germany| IngridZenMoments

   July – July is my month! And this year was even more special since I turned 30, which to my surprise did not affect me at all. As a matter a fact, I even felt more at peace with myself and conscious about how much I can achieve with what I have and I know now. Consequently, July was another full month, and don’t I love this kind of months? I had a long weekend in Bulgaria at the lovely Kaliakria Resort, explored my favorite place on the Black Sea (Balchik with its dreamy Botanical Garden), searched for lavender fields (maybe next year will bring more luck) and enjoyed the sweet summer sun by the sea with a friend.

Bulgaria | IngridZenMoments

         Next stop was Munich for a business trip for a few days, the perfect occasion to gather some useful information from a Dutch colleague for my next big trip: Holland. The trip was a gift from my boyfriend and I have to admit it was the most amazing gift I could have ever wished for! First of all, because it included 2 tickets at the U2 concert I had dreamt about all my life. Second of all, because we took advantage of the opportunity and made the best out of the long weekend and visited other places apart from Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans swept me away with its chocolate filled air and old windmills, the walk on the seafront in Volendam on a sunny rainy day topped with the flavourful gauffre I made myself, the boat trip on the narrow canals of Giethoorn flanked by fairytale looking homes.

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill and Chocolate City | IngridZenMoments
Crossing over the bridge in Zaanse Schans
3 of the most beautiful places to visit in The Netherlands | IngridZenMoments
Volendam’s small and elegant city center
3 of the most beautiful places to visit in The Netherlands | IngridZenMoments
Giethoorn canal

   AugustEven though this is the month when everyone goes on holiday, we usually try to avoid it because all the destinations are packed with people and everything is very expensive. Unfortunately, this year we could not avoid it and we had to plan a week of vacation in late August and I can say I don’t really regret it (apart from the price) since we managed to make the right choice for our stay. We went on and discovered the queen of destinations, Santorini Island. Though some towns were really crowded we chose the perfect place for our stay and I could go on and say it was even relaxing. With its downsides fairly pointed out in my article, I honestly think Santorini should be on everyone’s bucket list to see once in a lifetime, just not in August.

SantoWines view

   Also in August, I had two smaller trips close to my hometown: one at Comana Natural Park and one day trip in the mountains, at the Cantacuzino Palace in Predeal.

Comana Natural Park Restaurant
Cantacuzino | IngridZenMoments
Cantacuzino Palace

   September – A more tranquil month when I only took a trip to my favorite place only one hour away from Bucharest, the royal town of Sinaia. Ever since I was 7 years old my parents used to bring me here once or twice per year and I love keeping this tradition and taking them every year on a short weekend here. Many people don’t really know what Romania hides and might be surprised by its natural beauties.

Sinaia, Romania - where you will feel like royalty | IngridZenMoments
Furnica restaurant in Sinaia

October – hmm, I don’t think I did anything in particular in October, apart from plans for the next year 😉

   November – I was back in Greece in early November, exploring with another good friend the hidden gems of AthensI liked the old Capital and we managed to live it to the fullest in only a few days, not skipping any touristic attraction, view from the top or food course.

Acropolis

December – the last month of the year found me once again on the run. I managed to see not one, but two very beautiful Christmas Markets, one in Munich and one in Oradea. And of course, it found me making plans for the year to come 🙂

Munich Christmas Market | IngridZenMoments
Munich Christmas Market
Oradea Christmas Market | IngridZenMoments
Oradea Christmas Market

   Blog achievements 2017

   When it comes to the blog, one thing is clear, I am starting to see the results and impact all my hard work and time spent in working at it had. I have managed to more than double the monthly views from August until December, mainly based on SEO optimization and Pinterest. There is still plenty of work to be done, but I feel that I am on the right path and that I am not working in vain.

   Moreover, I have managed to grow my following on Instagram from roughly 300 in March to around 4150 today, without having any nervous breakdown because of the follow-unfollow games people play. Have worked hard also on engagement and I am planning to continue on this path. I also have managed to grow my DA and PA from practically 0 in March – April to 19 and 21 now, which for me is a big thing!

   As a direct result of my work, I have managed to have two beautiful partnerships with two hotels in Athens and in Bulgaria, with great feedback from both parties. On the other hand, I have managed to have my work published in various Romanian hard copy and online publications, making me even prouder.

   What will 2018 bring?

  I am certainly not sure about that, but I know for a fact I will continue to work hard and to reach more people because I honestly think that I can help you achieve a better life, at least when it comes to traveling. I have a lot of tips and tricks in my hat and a few ideas for beautiful projects as well and I am thinking about involving you as well this time.

  I will want to continue learning and of course, putting it all in practice and at good use in 2018.

  2017 has been one full year and my nose tells me 2018 will be even better! And the first of the adventures will start in January in Sri Lanka. So if you are curious, don’t forget to keep an eye on IngridZenMoments and on my Instagram where I am planning to share the adventures on a daily basis.

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