My 2015 Review

`Life Lessons from 7 months travelling in asia 12 @2x
Written by Magoz
6 min read 12.9k views 18 comments

Today is the last day of 2015 and, as every year, I love doing a simple but powerful exercise.

I sit down, away from distractions, and I focus on what happened that year.
I try to remember where I was or what I did from January to December.
I use my calendar to help me going through the year, and I also check my project folders, tracking spreadsheets and emails.
I write down a list of the highlights, and it ends up being kind of a story of my year, where I get surprised about how many amazing things have happened.

Reviewing the year is one of the most pleasant things of the year.
I realize how many things happen in 365 days and how I evolve.
It also empowers me to start the new year with all my strength.

It’s the first time I make my list public.
I’m publishing it to encourage others to do the same exercise.
You won’t regret!


  • I traveled a lot
    More than ever. I started the year in Malaysia, and I traveled non-stop across Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines and Indonesia until June.
    After that, I returned to Europe and after the Summer, I rented a flat in Madrid, where I’m living now.
    I’ve also traveled a lot around Spain since then, mainly for giving talks.
  • I gave six talks and one workshop
    I’ve always been terrified of the idea of public speaking. But this year I changed it.
    I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and faced those fears.
    I don’t consider myself a brilliant speaker, but now I feel capable of doing it.
  • I’ve produced a lot of illustrations
    I’m not proud of all of the images I’ve made, but I’m very pleased with a few of them. That gives meaning to all the effort and hours invested.
  • I started to produce animations
    Since I met Jose working for the cover for Muster, we have worked together a lot. We’ve already created seven animations, and we have big plans for the next year. I’m extremely excited about it.
  • I got a lot of recognition
    I received several awards, and I’m immensely grateful for it. Two of them make me feel especially thrilled and honored.
    The Society of Illustrators awarded me with a Silver Medal for the animated cover I created with Jose. I’m going to New York in February for the Opening.
    Gràffica, the most important design and creativity media in Spanish, awarded me with a Gràffica award. It’s an award you can’t apply to. The Gràffica Awards jury is made up of people I truly admire. It was a big honor.
  • I saved some money
    I worked a lot, and I live a frugal life. It also helped that I’ve spent seven months in South East Asia where the living costs are very cheap.
    The savings allow me to focus on the important things without being worried.
    It will allow me to work full time on a big personal project next year I’ve already started.
  • I started the Blog
    Even I haven’t had enough time to write as much as I wanted because a big assignment I got at the end of the year, I’m very proud having started the Blog. Not only because I love writing on it, but because you guys have sent me amazing feedback. I’m touched and grateful for every single comment, message or email I receive.
  • My English level improved
    My level is not improving as fast as it did when I was living in Bristol, but I’m still working on it. I’m using English as my main language in my day-to-day life, writing, reading, and I also speak it daily with Elina. My reading, writing, and listening have improved remarkably.
    Next year I will focus more on the speaking and pronunciation.
  • I met incredible people
    One of the best things about being a nomadic person is that you meet a lot of inspiring and great people. I’ve met more people and made more new friends than ever. One of the best things of the year.
  • I read a lot of books
    Since I got my Kindle a few years ago, I re-discovered my passion for books.
    This year I’ve enjoyed reading novels, essays, and biographies almost every day.
  • I’m healthy
    I don’t remember the last time I’ve been in a hospital.
    I didn’t have any illness, even though my 7-month traveling adventure in SE Asia.
    I’m very grateful for it.
  • I’m happy
    The most important one. Even I had some stressing weeks at the end of the year, 2015 has been my happiest year ever. A lot of marvelous things happened that I couldn’t dream about a year before.

When I look at this list, I can’t feel happier.
2015 has been the best year ever, and I’ll do my best to make 2016 even better!

For 2016 I want to focus on personal projects, start traveling non-stop again and enjoy every single moment without feeling stressed by any assignment or project. That’s my commitment.

Hope that exercise encourages you to write down your own list. I’m sure you will feel grateful, surprised and motivated to start a new year.
If you do it and make your list public, let me know!

PS: My online course Strategy & Business for Illustrators is now available for pre-order!


Nomadic illustrator. Thinker. Seeker.


  1. B
    Boots and dogs


  2. I will also try live my day to day in english. Congratulations for your year and your awards. I think I’ll make this reflection too. Happy new year colleague.

  3. I’m really glad for you ! You deserve it !
    Best wishes for 2016.
    I would be happy to work with you again.

  4. Thank you Magoz, as always you bring so much to the table, with a giant generosity of spirit which is truly inspirational. Cheers for now, Rollin

    • Thank you very much, Rollin.
      It’s an honour to receive touching feedback as your comment. That encourages me to keep writing and sharing.
      All the best!

  5. It’s been great following along. Inspiring blog and really useful content. Thanks!

    • Thank you very much, Tom!
      I love your work! I’ve just discovered your blog and immediately subscribed.

      All the best for 2016!

  6. C
    Carmen Díaz Marín

    Me ha encantado este anuario y creo que me animaré a hacerlo. Gracias de nuevo por compartir tus experiencias. Te deseo lo mejor para el inminente 2016 y confío en poder responder estos comentarios en inglés. Un fuerte abrazo,

  7. A
    Aaron Levin

    Congratulations for everything and I love the idea of the yearly examination of things done. Thanks for sharing! Aaron

  8. A
    Alberto Aldea

    Aparte de un magnífico ilustrador eres un tío inteligente. Me gusta mucho como te organizas y como ayudas a los demás a hacerlo. Enhorabuena tanto en lo profesional como en lo personal.

    • Muchas gracias por tus palabras, Alberto.
      Me alegro que te guste la forma en como me organizo.
      Hasta ahora he publicado solo artículos sobre ciertos temas por miedo a que los contenidos puramente organizativos no interesaran. Pero comentarios como el tuyo me animan a abrir un poco los contenidos del blog y publicar cosas más específicas.

      Ya me contarás qué te van pareciendo.
      ¡Un abrazo y que tengas un fantástico 2016!

  9. que libros has leido? que música has escuchado? aparte de tus éxitos profesionales, charlas y viajes has aprendido algo de tu profesión que no sea tratar con clientes o hablar en público? Por último agradecer que compartas tus experiencias. Normalmente los ilustradores somos mas bien escurridizos y parcos.

    • Hola Pol, gracias por tus preguntas.
      Pues destacaría varios libros. Me gusta leer distintos géneros y muchas veces los intercalo. Destacaría dos biografías, la de Einstein (Einstein: His Life and Universe) y la de Walt Disney (Walt Disney: An American Original). Ambas muy inspiradoras. También destacaría algunas de las novelas de Verne, en concreto El Viaje al Centro de la Tierra o La Vuelta al Mundo en 80 Días. Y para acabar los dos que más me han aportado, tal vez, el Tao Te Ching y Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti.

      Respecto a la música, soy bastante ecléctico. He descubierto mucha música nueva este año. Me gustó especialmente John Butler, Lullatone, Future Islands, Cuchillo, Los Pilotos, Tomorrow, Them, Grapefruit y Soko.

      En cuanto a la ilustración, he aprendido cosas muy importantes, aunque tal vez son de ese tipo de cosas que no se ven a simple vista porque tienen una naturaleza más profunda.
      He aprendido donde poner los límites y también a decir que no. Perder el control de los encargos lleva a dinámicas donde lo paso mal.
      También he definido muchas cosas que tenía pendientes, sobre todo de infraestructra. Reflexionar sobre qué papel juega cada herramienta que me define como profesional ha sido muy importante para sacar partido a cada una y eliminar muchas de ellas innecesarias. Me refiero a las web, redes sociales, Dropbox, y muchas otras que forman parte de mi día a día de trabajo.
      Y finalmente también he aprendido cosas prácticas como usar nuevas herramientas y flujos de trabajo específicos en Photoshop que me hacen trabajar más rápido y más a gusto.

      Me es difícil resumir todo en un comentario, aunque espero que responda a tu pregunta.
      ¿Cómo fue tu año?

      Un saludo

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