Winding down 2013: Embracing the Christmas spirit

Christmas Spirit in Stockholm, Sweden - Photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

The last few weeks have been a blur as my family makes the mad dash towards the end of the year. It’s been crazy trying to wrap up projects, purging the inboxes which I’ve been attacking like a Viking mercenary, chasing clients who still owe me money, and trying to get into the holiday spirit.

You know, twinkling up the place with lights and all that jazz.

But above all, 2013 has been such a blessing. I’m eternally grateful to be able to do what I truly love and feel is part of my calling. I fully realize it’s a gift and all I do is by God’s grace. Nothing more. Sure, hard work factors in. Real hard work, but it only bears fruit if God says so. So I’m grateful to be able to mark 2013 as another memorable year of growth in all aspects of my life.

Work

Swedish Lapland - Akerstrom

Work-wise, 2013 was a weird yet exciting one. I can’t wait to run the statistics and share my annual pitching pie charts. I’m curious to see how 2013 shook out. Broke into a few new outlets and also got radio silence from outlets I’ve written numerous times for before. Lots of fun projects like Slow Travel Stockholm which I can’t wait to grow and expand, loading photos into my Image Bank and National Geographic (massive ongoing tasks), as well as picking up a lot more local gigs such as an editorial consulting job for a large Swedish company and contracts with the Swedish Institute, Visit Stockholm, and Swedish Lapland.

Will share more once I break down and analyze those pie charts for 2013. They’re a fantastic exercise in identifying weaknesses and areas for improvement as well as trends and publications where I should be focusing more time on.
This is a task I truly believe every freelancer needs to be doing. Maybe not as crazily detailed but nevertheless, it is a wonderful assessment tool.

Last few features of 2013

Travel

Belgrade, Serbia (Lola Akinmade Åkerström)

2013 was a busy travel year and places I visited included the Netherlands, Morocco, Swedish Lapland, Germany, Nigeria, Ireland, Northern Ireland, USA, Canada, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, and then back to Ireland and the US. Been slowly loading photography into the image bank.

Places I would love to go in 2014 include Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, Russia, UAE, Qatar, Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Namibia, Tanzania, Gambia, Mozambique, Botswana, and Hong Kong. I have no idea how I’m going to make these happen – while factoring in other time commitments – so I’ll just leave this list out there. You never know how the universe works.

Already have trips planned for Jan & Feb and will share those once ready.

Wishes for 2014

Every year, I pick out a focus word. A word that governs various aspects of my life that year in lieu of resolutions. My previous words have been focus (2009), discipline (2010), growth (2011), and nurture (2012).

My 2013 word was “Surrender” and in many ways, I did and just let things, opportunities, situations, and challenges flow through my life without fighting them. Last year, I fought. This year, I surrendered.

I already have my 2014 focus word all picked out and will share it in the new year. In the meantime:

God Jul (Merry Christmas) and Gott Nytt År (Happy New Year)

Wishing you all dear friends and family a wonderful Christmas and joyous new year! May 2014 bring you the joy and blessings you desire and may 2014 be your year to let your light shine oh so brightly.

Thank you so much for your continued support which inspires, lifts, and humbles me completely.

To my dear husband, there are not enough words to describe the depth of my love for you and gratitude that God chose to bring you into my life.

Not enough words.

  • http://ellenbarone.com Ellen Barone

    Love following your success, Lola.

    Well earned, I know.

    But the gratitude, grace and immense talent that you bring to your work and life never ceases to inspire. Hope we meet Out There one day.

    Looking forward to journeying into 2014 with you.

    Continued blessings,

    Ellen

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      @Ellen – Thank you so much for your kind uplifting words and hope we get to meet in 2014! Wishing you the very best, continued success in all you do, and all your heart’s desires.

  • http://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com Victoria

    Jolly well done. Wow! You’ve really achieved a lot within a year. I wish you the best for the next!

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      @Victoria – Thanks and wishing you a wonderful 2014 too!

  • Monica-USA

    Lola I am so looking forward to what crazy adventures you will bring us next year!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Happy travels. :)

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      @Monica-USA- Thanks so much for your amazing support in 2013 and hope 2014 brings you all your heart’s desires!!

  • http://www.motravels.com Monique

    I remember your post about your word for 2013 and it left quite an impression on me. Though I didn’t choose a word for this year, I decided that I would do that in the future and am currently trying to decide on my word for next year. I may also try your pie chart as I’ve been pitching more lately. Congrats on a great year and Merry Christmas

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      @Monique – Great to hear from you and definitely look into choosing a word for 2014. It has been inspiring for me! Hope you have a wonderful 2014 and that our paths cross again.

  • http://sunandstilettos.com Lily

    So happy for all your continued successes my friend! And inspiring as always. I am terrified of trying that pie chart exercise (haha) but should. Wishing you much continued happiness and joy in 2014 and beyond. And may our paths cross again like they did this year! Much Love.

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      @Lily – It was wonderful catching up with you and can’t wait to see what 2014 holds in store for you!! Wishing you so many blessings and opportunities and every good thing your heart desires in 2014.