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Did you know the way you begin 2017 will set up how brilliantly you live the rest of it. January is like a compass for the rest of the year. Deep focus and strong passion in the beginning of the year, will set the standard for the remaining months.

I guess that’s why the beginning of a new year is always a typical time where people set good intentions. But honestly, I’m not really into that.

First of all, I believe you should set good intentions every single day of the year. That’s how I quit smoking on some regular day in December, and became a vegetarian overnight. If I want to change a habit, I change it whenever I can. For me the first of January has nothing to do with this.

Secondly, most people setting good intentions on the first of January, will already have failed about half way through the month.

That’s about now. So tell me, how are things going with your intentions?

So this year, together with some friends, I decided to do it differently. Instead of setting good intentions for the year, we took a jar and put in ten small notes with things we would like to experience, change, do or feel throughout the year. Sort of a bucket list for the year.

The fun part will be, to sit together again around the end of 2017 and look at all our small little wishes and dreams. What have we accomplished, what are the things we didn’t get to do, and what else has happened that made 2017 a year to remember.

I made a list of 10, here it is:

1. Enjoy quality time with my precious god child

Since I’ve been travelling for three years and living abroad for another year, this is the first time I’m spending proper time in my home country. On the one hand it feels weird. Being back home I’m missing adventure and profound experiences.

It’s missing some OOMPH.

On the other hand, it’s amazing to spend quality time again with friends and family. The more time you spend together, the more shared experiences you have.

Most importantly, I’m spending much more time now with my 2.5 year old god child, and I feel absolutely blessed to have this little princess in my life. And what’s best: she’s expecting a little sister in March, so it’s gonna be double fun.

As long as I’m still in the Netherlands, I’ll enjoy these precious little creatures to the max. (Photo is a bit unsharp, but little princess is practising her photography skills.)

Spending time with my god child

2. Volunteering

I must say I have been volunteering quite a bit already in my life, helping out wherever I can. Over the past few weeks I’ve created websites on a donation basis. And I’ve done lots of writing and design work for free.

Just because I believe it’s nice to help people where you can, even if they can’t pay you for it with money.

I truly believe if you do good, good will come back to you.

That’s what karma is all about!

Volunteering at Arhanta Yoga Ashram

Next to that in 2017 it would also be really nice to volunteer somewhere. In regards to this the year already started well.

I’ve been spending over two months in a Dutch ashram, volunteering in return for food, shelter and yoga and meditation classes. At the same time, I’m contributing with working on the website and creating brochures, ads and beautiful designs and infographics. A very humbling experience.

3. Zero sugar challenge

Chocolate

Over the past couple of years I have made several big changes in my diet and lifestyle. From partying many weekends to distract myself from my unsatisfying job, a very unhealthy smoking addiction and not eating as healthy as I wanted to, I changed into a healthy and happy non-smoking, conscious eater.

I’ve been a vegetarian for over three years now, and it has done me nothing but good.

My next challenge on the food path would be to completely skip sugar from my diet, just to experience what the effects on my health will be. That also means no occasional crisps and no chocolate. Say whhaaaat?

4. Learn the primary series of Ashtanga yoga

I’ve been practising yoga for almost ten years, but for the past four years it has been a major thread in my life.

I attended several intensive trainings in Thailand, Bali and India, I graduated from a yoga teacher training in India and I have spent several months in a yoga ashram in the Netherlands.

Yoga practice

Yoga has become a lifestyle for me and I can’t imagine a life without it. It has done me so well in so many areas of my life.

In 2017 I would love to challenge myself a bit more and start practising the Ashtanga yoga primary series.

Hello back bends, hip openers and arm balances!

5. Walk a pilgrimage

Hiking and walking a pilgrimage

This has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. Of course one of the most famous pilgrimages would be walking to Santiago the Compostela in Spain. I’d still be up for that one. But also I found out there are some beautiful pilgrimages in Italy. Or one of these beautiful hikes that got me mouth watering by just writing about them and staring at the photos.

Honestly, I don’t even care that much which pilgrimage I’m gonna walk. But I definitely want to take a ridiculously long walk this year, to get rid of emotional baggage and clear my soul.

6. Workations with Mana Creative Studio

The last months of 2016 have already been of increasing success for my portable creative studio. Aspiring a location-independent life, doing the things I love in beautiful places around the world, I’m working hard on establishing my creative studio.

The number of clients is increasing, and this will only get better in 2017. As long as you focus on what you want, take small little steps toward that goal and just never give up.

Mana Creative Studio

In the beginning of 2017 I’ve printed my business cards, created my website overnight, and made my first bleasure trip to the Vakantiebeurs. I have also finished two websites.

2017 is the year where I can finally take off with my location-independent creative studio. Let’s see what beautiful adventures I’ve undertaken by the end of the year. I will keep you posted during my journey.

#Update: second bleasure trip of the year will be ITB Berlin 2017 in March. Who wants to join?!

7. Take at least one long soul-searching journey to a far away destination

I’ve travelled abundantly over the last four years. However, in 2016 I haven’t moved a lot.

My new passport is still virgin empty. I’ve still seen quite a bit, but since I didn’t take a flight, it feels like I didn’t move. Which is quite frustrating for a wandering soul like me.

Travelling to far away destinations

So for 2017, next to making everything I do a feast and celebrating the little things in life, I also want to travel at least once to a far away destination. For some soul-searching, sunshine & serendipity.

Considering number 6, you see I’m being quite humble here: At least once. Everything else is just extra – and all the extras are for good luck. Many ideas and wishes, but let’s see where life takes me this year.

8. Celebrate friendships

Friendship

When I was travelling fulltime, I must admit I have neglected my friendships at home a bit.

I bet everybody knows I love them to bits and pieces, but I just got caught up in travelling, and all the adventures I took with new friends from around the globe.

For 2017, next to meeting more beautiful souls, I truly, madly, deeply want to celebrate my current friendships. Because they’re worth it!

9. Mucho random acts of kindness

Random act of kindness

It’s amazing to see how your life can change, when you live from an optimistic and compassionate perspective. It’s such a beautiful experience to make kind and sweet gestures to others.

Even a smile to a complete stranger in the street, can have a huge impact on that person’s day. And on your own!! So let’s add plenty random acts of kindness to 2017.

10. More intimacy

Intimacy

Tucked away in the back of this list – I know it actually deserves a far higher place – is my all time favourite for 2017: More intimacy.

Both of my friends (you know who your are!) included ‘more sex’ in their wish list. I agree, but still I prefer to rather wish for intimacy instead of ‘just’ sex. Ladies, be careful what you’re wishing for.

I’m not looking for more sex.

Inspired by this piece of pure art by Kate Rose, I’m looking for my magical wild-eyed warrior, the one that possesses the courage that every other lover lacked.

With this man, I won’t have ‘just’ sex. Sex without intimacy just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.

So 2017: Bring. It. On.

I want to stumble upon a man who deserves my love, who just can’t seem to get enough, who will be my sole reason to carry on, who makes me throw out the rule book for love, with whom I experience magic like never before.

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