Our lowlights and highlights of 2016

For us 2016 was mostly about transitioning back to life in The Netherlands. Our wish to travel longterm, but not being able to, made it a pretty difficult year. Now that the year has come to an end, I realize we aren’t making ourselves any happier if we continue thinking in limitations. So it’s time to start looking at possibilities instead! To gain some perspective, let’s look back at all the fun things we did do this year.

On 21 January 2016, we returned to The Netherlands after having traveled for 10 months. We came back early from our year long Big Adventure because of my mother in law’s progressing illness. Parkinson’s Disease saw her moving into a nursing home this past October. I’m sure that those who have been in a similar situation know what I mean when I say this was difficult but at the same time offered some peace of mind.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - view of Haarlem
Lovely view of our hometown Haarlem

Dreams on hold

Our big dream still is to slow travel around the world with our son. Mau as a dive instructor and me as digital nomad, following the dive seasons and homeschooling our little one. But because of my mother in law’s poor health we’ve now put our dream on hold so we can be here in Holland. My youngest aunt died unexpectedly this year and we’ve seen a lot of illness, which is making it even more clear to us how important it is to live our life to the fullest en don’t wait until it’s too late. The urge to go but not being able to is causing us sleepless nights. We really need to start looking at what we CAN do.

New Year’s Resolutions

  • To see possibilities instead of limitations
  • To travel more
  • To spend quality time with our son as much as possible
  • To increase our online income

Positive things

Even though we had some issues staying positive, of course 2016 wasn’t all about negatives. It’s been good for both sets of grandparents to spend time with their only grandson and our little world traveler really enjoys his time with them too. We can learn a lot from the way he lives in the moment, not thinking much beyond what he wants RIGHT NOW. Even more than before our trip we’re consciously spending as much time with our son as we can. After all, he’s growing up sooo fast. We’ve both decided to work minimal hours so we have more time for him. Of course this is not helping us grow our travel budget. Short term travel usually requires more budget, so we need to find a smarter balance for next year.

Playing with water
Jace playing with his water table at his grandparents house in Friesland. He loves water!

Lots of firsts

2016 was, not surprising with a child, another year with a lot of ‘firsts’. The biggest one was that Jace stopped napping. Those of you who have kids will know what a major difference that makes. That I had no more me-time in the afternoon took some getting used to, but how much fun it is to be able to go out all day! Our little man also started going to kindergarten two afternoons a week. A big lesson in letting go, and at the same time fantastic to see how much he enjoys it. This also enabled me to start working a bit more again.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - At the movies
Ready for the movie to start!

Jace learned to ride his balance bike and there was one not so nice first thing too: he had chicken pox. He and I went to a play in a small theater together for the first time, recently he saw his first movie in a movie theater and last week we went to the circus for the first time. Also this year was the first year he was really aware of Sinterklaas (Dutch tradition at December 5th, with gifts), Christmas and New Year’s.

Highlights of 2016

One of the highlights of 2016 was our 2-week trip to Vienna, Prague and Berlin in May. At this point Jace had already stopped napping, so we could spend all day exploring. It was a big difference compared to our time in Asia. Of course with him getting older, we needed to factor in more playtime and we saw A LOT of playgrounds in all three cities. But we experienced a great amount of freedom even if it was only a short two-week trip.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - At Berlin's Mauerpark graffiti wall
My two favourite men at Berlin’s Mauerpark graffiti wall

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Dinopark Prague
Look daddy, a dinosaur! The Dinopark in Prague was a big hit with our toddler.

Of course the biggest highlight was Jace’s 3rd birthday. He’s much more conscious of what’s happing now, so it was really fun for him to be able to celebrate with his best friends. I had made him a nice Paw Patrol birthday cake and of course he got lots of presents.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Paw Patrol birthday cake
Home made Paw Patrol birthday cake for a very special little boy 🙂

Our visit to Sprookjeswonderland in Enkhuizen was another highlight. The weather was fantastic and we had a blast. We love seeing our little world traveler enjoy himself.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Sprookjeswonderland - Puss in Boots
Encounter Puss in Boots and other well-known fairy tale characters in the enchanted forest

The three of us went to see the bulb fields when they were in bloom in April. The colours were amazing. Of course Jace only wanted to pick flowers.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com -Picking tulips in a bulb field
The bulb fields are lovely. No wonder they attract so many tourists.

End of August our German friends Jenny and Basti of 22places.com came to visit us. We met them during our trip and shared a house with them in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka for a week. It was great to see them again. We did a nice boat trip around Haarlem.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Boating in Haarlem with our friends Jenny and Basti
Haarlem is lovely from the water. We enjoyed the afternoon on a boat with our friends Jenny and Basti

Jace and I really went exploring, choosing different sites to go to every time. We went to see some ruins nearby where Jace could dress up as a knight, we went to the dunes, to the beach, to various petting zoos and had lunch together in lots of different places. So to end this post I’ll add a selection of our favourite pictures of this year.

We were doing a rabbit scouting route in the dunes when someone offered to take our picture. Thanks!
We were doing a rabbit scouting route in the dunes when someone offered to take our picture. Thanks!

Tree hut in the dunes
Playing in a tree hut in the dunes. Good memories.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Fun things to do in and around Haarlem: Animals
Lots and lots of goats at Goat farm Ridammerhoeve. So much fun to feed them a bottle of milk!

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Picnic in the forest
Enjoying a sandwich on one of our exploration trips in the forest

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Lunch at Meneer Paprika
One of our favourite places to have lunch is Meneer Paprika. The wooden train tracks are great fun to play with.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com -We love doing art projects together
We love doing art projects together

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Dressed up as knight at Brederode Ruins
It’s fun to dress up and pretend you’re a knight at Brederode Ruins


4 thoughts on “Our lowlights and highlights of 2016”

  1. It certainly has been a rollercoaster of a year for you, I so hope 2017 brings lots of positivity into your life x
    Thanks for linking up with #TuesdayTreasures x

  2. It’s amazing how a little change in perspective can make a word of difference. The photo’s of your travels look amazing what lovely memories you have to look back on. I’m dreading my little boy dropping that afternoon nap as I relish the peace and quiet so I can relate. Thank you for linking up with us for #TuesdayTreasures

    • Yes, no more naps is a big change, but it’s actually much easier once you get used to it! Less me-time though… Another big one I completely forgot to mention is that he is potty trained now. He’s growing up soooo fast!

  3. Totally understand why you think your life was on hold this year. Good thing though you put lots of effort in turning it into something positive. It seems like you do so many fun things with Jace! Great resolutions, 2017 will be your year!

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