Reflecting on 2021

January 5, 2022

WandelustBeautyDreams, Latina Travel Blogger, Diversity in Travel

 It's that time of year where I reflect on the past year, let's get into it.

2021.

I wasn't to keen to writing up this reflection post this year but i'm pushing myself to do so. I think I've had more lows that highs in 2021. But flipping through my little notebook and planner and seeing what I did accomplish and what I didn't, my perspective changed. Many people can assume how someone's life can be like through the social media lens of what they post. Sometimes you just know know someone is going through. That's why I share these reflection posts every year because life can be a rollercoaster ride and isn't always just a highlight reel.

As mentioned in my reflection posts in years past, it's so easy to caught up what went wrong in a year but it's important to take time to look back on the positives. If you want to catch up on my past reflecting posts (click here to read 202020192018, and 2017 reflecting posts).  As we're in another year of the pandemic, give yourself grace. It hasn't been easy for many with so many ups and downs and all the uncertainty in between. Celebrate those wins big or small! So here we go...

Personal Growth.

I kicked off 2021 with a bit of optimism. The first few months were great and with the opportunities I was getting. I felt motivated and hopeful. Then things quickly took a turn. This year was one of the lowest in terms of my mental health. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety but this year it came back on another level I never experienced before. Last year I mentioned that I was finally dealing with past trauma. I'm not ready to go fully into details right now I never felt so broken, numb, fragile, and weak. I felt my feelings didn't matter and my voice wasn't being heard. I was at my breaking point. I felt like like I was going crazy from people gaslighting me. I lost count how many times I broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably.

I heard somewhere " No one talks about the strength it takes to keep getting back up and trying. Being resilient is hard." This statement is so true and I felt that very deeply. I didn't recognize myself anymore. There was a moment where I had enough. I wasn't going to let myself get talked down, screamed at and disrespected anymore. I stood my ground and stood up for myself. I will never be that girl anymore. I refuse to ever feel the way I felt this year ever again. I won't ever be back in that place where I don't recognize myself. 

Things changed and I started putting myself first again.

Towards the end of the year I joined the gym again. I haven't had a gym membership in years and I'm glad joined again, its such a stress reliever for me. I feel so much better mentally after going. Although I joined the gym towards the end of the year I tried to walk an hour a day throughout the year. I actually tracked how much I've walked and this year I walked 1,043.9 miles! That number is so crazy to me and it's cool to look back at that those walks every day make a difference once added up at the end of the year.

I believe my personal growth this year is what I'm post proud of. Getting out of a dark place is never easy. I'm glad I've been able to see the light of the end of the tunnel and feel like my old self again. I found this quote that not only resonated with me but if you're going through something right now maybe this help you as well. 

"You can't control every thought you have. But you can control what thoughts you feed and let live inside you. You can choose the thoughts you adopt as your truth and identity. Let the loving thoughts build a home inside your mind and treat the destructive thoughts as unwelcomed visitors. Speak life to who you are."

Blog.
I closed the year having readership from 175 countries and 5,142 cities. These stats blow my mind every year as I'm just grateful to have people discover and read my content from all over the world. My readership increased from last year even though I barely posted. 

I had posting paralysis. I have so many draft posts that I never clicked to go live. I don't know what it was but I started to second guess my content, feeling like it wasn't good enough or interesting enough. This weird feeling stopped me from posting not only on here but across platforms. I did work on somethings on the back end of the blog, re-edited a few old blog posts and added a tech page to my blog (go check it out). There's always a never ending to do list when it comes to keeping up with a blog but I'm back and feeling re-inspired. I promise to be more consistent in 2022!

Travel.

I didn't feel completely comfortable traveling internationally just yet so my travel plans for this year were just local and road trips nearby. I was able to discover new places around New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Although I was fully vaccinated and boosted, restrictions changed all the time it was hard to actually plan out a trip. There's so many places in the West Coast I want to check out maybe next year and hoping that more international travel opens up with less restrictions next year!


Youtube.

I filmed and uploaded 7 videos on my main channel and 7 videos on my spanish channel this year. I think this was a record low in terms of content I've uploaded to Youtube. But I ended the year with 207,304 channel views on my main channel and 67,050 channel views on my spanish channel.

As mentioned before,  I had a lot of posting paralysis where I just couldn't find energy to post. I had written so many video ideas down for the year but it didn't flourish into finalized videos. It was a mix of my environment of not having a place of non chaos of where I could film videos and my laptop hanging on a thread. My laptop isn't able to work with big videos files as it once did which slows down my editing flow so much and it stresses me out. My laptop would freeze and delete filed often which made me frustrated to even finish up a video. I'm saving up to finally upgrade my computer next year and pump out videos again more frequently!

Though I posted less, many of my past videos consistently get videos and are ranked on the first pages of search. Every time I look at my channel feed I'm always surprised to see those videos views increase. Both channels have a few viral videos and it surprises me all the time which videos get pushed out. I did gain more subscribers on both channels and hoping to grow more the following year. Having two channels, one in english and one in  spanish, I noticed a few things. Both channels talk about the same content (travel) but both have totally different audiences. I noticed I get more hate comments on my spanish channel than my english channel. Mostly from grown men with no profile picture on their accounts and no videos on their channels. At first it bothered me but now I just clap back and leave there comments on display so people can see how ridiculous they sound. I can't please everyone but thanks to those negative nancies who are still giving me a view and engagement.

Towards the end of 2021, I created a new channel for experimental purposes. Youtube has been pushing out (Shorts) a lot and I don't personally like how vertical videos look on main channel feeds. I finally decided to try it out.  I've seen many popular youtubers have separate channels for their Shorts content so I did the same. Although I started this project towards the end of the year and not ready to share my findings on it quite yet. I do find it interesting how that Shorts algorithm works compared to regular youtube videos. I'm still playing around to see what works and what doesn't but it's been so much fun experimenting on this new channel.

Social Media.

On Instagram, on my main account I started created more reels since thats the feature they kept pushing out. I still have a love/hate relationship with Instagram which ended up in 6 month hiatus. Not sure if it was a mixture of my mental state or that posting paralysis feeling I just didn't feel like posting. Although I still watched peoples stories and interacted with other accounts. Throughout my posting on-feed hiatus I updated ten highlights that I've been putting off. Towards the end of the year (November-ish) I gained inspiration and motivation to be back on the platform and posted my backed up content from (Spring, Fall, and the Holidays). I noticed a huge decline in reach and impressions but I was expecting that since I wasn't active for many months. I think before that would've bothered me but now I don't feel pressure. There has been so many algorithm changes, glitches, and new feature rolling out so frequently that you just never know whats getting pushed into algorithm nowadays.

My second instagram account (@wanderlustsuenos), I've grown a bit this year and been consistent posting on there. If you didn't know, it's a feature account where I repost Latinx travelers. Around Latinx Heritage Month I posted a set reels that showed Latinx travel statistics from various sources and articles. Those reels got a great response. I'm so passionate about diversity in travel and want to show that within the travel sphere, latinx travelers are spending a lot of money!

I also dabbled in social media management for a family members company. I was always intrigued by social media management. I've managed my platforms for many years and know how different platforms work. At first I was hesitant to do this type of work for a family member as well as diving into this role. Again the second guessing myself always creeps in. I decided to manage their social media for a month trial basis. They had no social media presence whatsoever to at the end of the month gaining 11,240 reach and impressions across multiple platforms (Google Business, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Tiktok). From setting up all accounts, logo design, color theme, creating a cohesive theme, posting every day, engaging with other accounts, optimizing bios, creating custom highlights and templates, hashtag research and strategy, planning out feeds, writing captions, editing photos and video.  I know the amount of hours and attention I put into this project and will be charging higher rates from now on. There so much that goes into running social media accounts and I proved to myself hat I could get results for not only myself but for others. When people understand the value of social media and respect what you do, those are the clients that will have no problem paying your rates. This was a learning experience but glad I tried it out and know what to charge if I take on other clients in the future!

On to Tiktok, this platform is very intriguing to me. I think I spend more time scrolling tiktok than I do Instagram lately. I'm also sending more funny videos to friends from this app than memes from Instagram. Seeing how this app has changed so many people's lives in terms of people changing careers, financially, and the opportunities that come from this app. There's something about it that keeps me on that platform and makes me want to create more there. I haven't grown that much on that platform since I went through phases of posting consistently than taking long breaks in between posting. But I ended up posting 73 tiktoks within the year. Towards the end I started gaining higher views on my videos which was nice to see. I'm still figuring out this platform but It's one of my favorites so far.

My Pinterest took off this year. A few months out of 2021, I hit 1.3 million monthly views. I never hit that number before on any platform and couldn't believe it! I was also invited to be part of the Pinterest Creators program where there were a few zoom calls talking about trends and how to be successful on the platform. Pinterest was also pushing their Idea Pin feature a lot so I focused on posting more idea pins. The last time I checked one idea pin hit over 100,000 views and consistently gets views every day! Idea Pins have been getting a lot of traction and eyeballs to my content lately more than regular pins so it's been fun playing around to see what hits or not. My following grew to 2k and hope to increase that in the following year.

Remember Clubhouse? lol I feel like that was a popular platform in the beginning of 2021. When it was still an invite only app, it was very interesting to listen into rooms and never know who will pop in. From celebrities, CEOs, brands, youtubers, authors, and artists. I did find some rooms to be very valuable with the information shared and a great way to network during the pandemic. I was able to host and co-host some rooms and it was a cool way to be interactive with different communities. I got to meet really cool people through the app and gained 433 followers. In the beginning of using the clubhouse app, I would spend a few hours listening in certain rooms but after a few weeks I stopped being so active since I wouldn't be so productive. The hype started to fade away from Clubhouse and I just ended up deleting the app from my phone. It was great while it lasted!

Achievements.

Throughout the year I worked with 10 brands! I told myself I was only going to work with brands that aligned with my values and saw the worth in my work. I rejected many opportunities that didn't align and I'm going to continue this into the following year. This was also the year I was invited to several restaurants in New York City to create content. This was something new for me since I mostly focus on travel but I love visiting aesthetic restaurants. These opportunities were unexpected but I enjoyed trying something new outside my niche.

I was featured in @wearelatams in May in story highlight which a community I've been part of for a couple of years now. I was also featured in my first printed feature for Brown Girls Travel Magazine in September! This is another community I support and love what the owner is doing to make a space in the travel industry that represents diversity. I was part of their BGTmini Vol 1: A Brown Girls Travel Issue (click here) if you would like to buy an issue and support her business!

I've attended over 20 virtual events within the travel industry, influencer marketing and destination marketing. I was able to connect with new people and learn more about the industry through these presentations and viewpoints.

Another thing I'm very proud of this year was tackling down my debt. This has caused much anxiety and stress over time but this year I've been very diligent in paying it off. My credit score increased a lot and almost at the mark where I'm almost debt-free. I usually don't talk anything financial on here but it's so important to be financially literate. I've listened to many podcasts that helped me and I'm so glad that I'm able to be focus on getting to the other side of being debt-free!

Towards the end of the year, I invested into myself. Last year I mentioned I use to shy away from investing in things I'm interested in because I didn't think it would be worth it. But my mindset quickly changed  and I ended up purchasing an e-book, two high level courses, a new phone, a GoPro 10, new tripod, and a bunch of memory cards. I plan to go full throttle next year and re-focus on my passions and up-level many aspects in my content. I've been eyeing these purchases for the longest time and finally pulled the trigger. I'm so excited to deep dive into the courses and see how next year will turn out.

As mentioned before I joined the gym again. I'm happy to be going consistently and feeling stronger and stronger each day. My mental state drastically changed after going and can't wait to continue in the new year. 


Thank You 2021.
Here's to wrapping up 2021 with a bow. With another year in a pandemic and still so much uncertainty hoping 2022 will be a better year. Through the tough moments, tears, laughs, growth, healing, discovery, and memories made, I persevered through to the end. I'm ready to bring in the new year with a clean slate, different mindset, and making my goals a reality! I feel a big positive change unfolding and I'm ready to ride that wave. I'm so grateful for health, my loves ones, and being able to be resilient. Most importantly, THANK YOU for keeping up with my adventures and supporting me on my platforms whether it's my Blog, Youtube or Instagram! It means more than you know when you comment, like, or send me emails/messages. Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022!


Comment Below,
What were your lows or highs of 2021?


 

46 comments

  1. It sounds like you went through a lot last year. It can take everything sometimes just to pick yourself up. The main thing is you did x

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  2. It sounds like you had quite a year! Here's hoping 2022 is even better!

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  4. I love the idea of doing a yearly review like this. I would have never thought to do this. Thanks for the idea! i think I'll do this at the end of 2022.

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    1. It's nice to see look back on the year and reflect on the good and bad!

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  5. I am sorry to hear that you suffer from depression. Hope 2022 brings new energy for you and you will be fine.

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  6. I love reading your 2021 recap. You quite been through from the past year but I know you get through it. I wishing you all the best this 2022. Always be healthy!

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  7. Congrats on all your achievements last year. I wish you all the best and may you achieve more this year

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  8. I love reflective posts like this. I hope you'll have a positive and fulfilled 2022

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  9. I agree that it is important to look back with balance and ensure you remember the positives. We too limited our international travel but were so glad we enjoyed more local travel. I must admit my social media attention waxed and waned through the year. Something to remember as we head into 2022.

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    1. It's been fun discovering new places locally! Cheers to a better 2022.

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  10. Here is to 2022 and many more opportunities to grow in so many ways. You did a great job!

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  11. I love how you spun the year around and focused on the amazing aspects of your blog and socials. Post paralysis is no joke! It happens to me all the time. And then I beat myself up for all of the "lost potential." Keep on keeping on! I hope 2022 is even better!

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    1. I feel you on that 100%! I'm going to power through and get those draft posts out anyway this year. Hope you have great 2022!

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  12. I love posts like this where people reflect!

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  13. 2021 was a recovery year of covid and 2020. You have amazing thing thought. Hope you have a wonderful year in 2022

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  14. That my blog gets read all over the world also surprises me every time

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    1. It's crazy to the reach a blog can get from around the world!

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  15. I have never thought about doing a yearly review, but after reading this I think I will start adding one in. Thanks for sharing and hope you have a great 2022!

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    1. Glad you liked it. It's a great way to document every year!

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  16. Yes! manifesting this. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. As travel bloggers both, you definitely have achieved more! Congratulations.

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  18. I think it's wonderful that you were able to look back on 2021 with fondness, despite the challenges you faced throughout the year. I know it's so easy to focus on the negatives (the lows, as you put it) but to find the good things takes strength and you did that! I loved hearing about those good things you experienced! I hope 2022 is wonderful.

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  19. What a great 2021 recap! I wish I can travel also. Love your blog. Keep it up!

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  20. Interesting and inspiring thoughts, busy 2021. And impressive numbers. Congratulations on your blog's success with readership from 175 countries and 5,142 cities!

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    1. Thank you, it's still mind-blowing seeing those numbers!

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  21. for me alot to reflect on as long as 2021 was concerned, the most exciting part doi ng the things i love most blogging.

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  22. Nnnniiiicccceeeeee...you did well for yourself in 2021! I love the fact that you decided to step out of your comfort zone, every once in a while and you did great!

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  23. I love reflective posts like this! Sounds like you've had quite the year! Congrats on all your personal growth - that's the best kind of growth :)

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