This is it, folks! It’s the end of 2022, yet another great year to be alive. If you don’t mind the world being hotter than last year, a tad crazier and a bit more war-prone. Rather than that, this past year has been incredibly transformative. I literally changed my ways in terms of work and will continue to do so in the year ahead. I got a job, which as a freelancer is both great and scary. Yet so far I’m happy with my decision and cannot wait to do more for my new family!
Besides the work change, which by the way will continue in 2023 as I’m still adjusting to the new schedule and a new city, I’m happy to report that I’ve had an amazing year travel and work-wise. I travelled so much, not as much as in 2019 when I’ve been in more planes than in all of the past 3 years combined but still a ton! I’ve made my way through my work easier. I’ve also been fortunate to work with some incredible people and to develop a great deal on a professional level.
2022 has been a great year, without a doubt. Still, it had its ups and downs as with any 12-month period. This is why I’ve decided to rekindle a new yearly tradition. Every last post of the year from now on (the last one will be the usual blabbering about the year that’s about to end) will be a “best and worst” in all that counts for me and was important throughout the year. I’ll cover everything, from travel to work, fun, food, and everything that matters.
In this guide:
Best and worst freelancing projects
For some reason, the best and worst freelancing projects of 2022 are one and the same. It was this big company from my country but with overseas offices. This is usually a great sign but when the office is made out of mostly Romanians, things are not very pleasant most of the time as a freelancer. Why? Respect, and the lack of it from one side. Communication with this client was a burden, bringing me tons of stress, for the very first time in my career as a self-employed content creator.
They paid really really well but… it is never worth it.
Best and worst platforms
LinkedIn gets the trophy for the very best platform in general in 2022. Not just for jobs but also for posts, info, great networking and so on. This was the platform that got me a full-time job that I really enjoy right now, after 10+ years as a freelancer. The worst platform was Upwork. Filled with fake jobs and hustlers asking 1000 words for 50 cents, I finally decided to close my account of 4,8 stars, over 50 projects and $20k in revenue over 5 years. It was the best decision of 2022.
Best and worst personal projects
On a personal note, things have stagnated this year. I was still making money with my projects on the side, such as the website creation agency but not as much as I’d have wanted. Still, the agency was my best side project of the year, bringing in good money and a steady flow of new and returning clients. I’m not sure if any of my other projects stood out as good or bad. Again, it was a year of slow growth or no growth, which after two years of ups was to be expected.
Best and worst new projects
I strongly believe that the best new project for me this year was revamping my CV, from a headless, formless piece of sh*t to a simple, elegant, direct one-page presentation of my entire career. I worked for months on it. And then put the damn thing on LinkedIn, started to apply for a few jobs (like, five) and then got a job! Upwork is the worst new project of the year. I also revamped it the best I could but in the end, I made no money on it and decided to quit the site.
Best and worst new cities
Stockholm is the most amazing new city I’ve been to in 2022. This is one of those cities that stay with you forever. The temperature was just perfect in the middle of summer, which makes it a cool city, perfect for my liking. I always say this about new cities I visit but I’d move to Stockholm in a heartbeat if I could afford it. As usual, I have no worst new city this year. I only got to a handful of new cities like Edinburgh and Paris, and all of them were absolutely great!
Best and worst food
Skagen on toast, or toast Skagen, is the absolute best food of 2022. This traditional Swedish salad is made out of little shrimp that are cooked and then put into a mayonnaise sauce and a few other things. And then you eat it cold on fresh toast or very good rye bread, Scandinavian style, right in the middle of the city on a park bench somewhere. The worst food of the year? I paid about 20 bucks on a “truffle” pasta dish at the Marriott in Bucharest… yeah, no.
Best and worst transportation
The worst transportation award goes to Ryanair for not transporting me to Milan back from Stockholm, as per our contract. And then doing nothing to help me. Not even having staff on the ground at the largest airport in Scandinavia. A second place is given to FlixBus, who almost forgot about me at Budapest airport. The best transportation award goes to Wizz Air, who flew me home for 300 bucks the next day, to Budapest, after Ryanair didn’t do its part of the deal. The Irish…
Best and worst attractions
By far the best attraction I’ve been to this year was… Disneyland! I know, I’ve been to Glen Coe and Edinburgh in Scotland, to Paris, and to other amazing places but nothing beats Disneyland. I felt like I was in a dream with all my childhood heroes. And the music? AND THE RIDES?! The worst attraction, I have to say, was probably Loch Ness, just because we had an hour there and then we spent another 11 to get from and back to Edinburgh for the day.
Best and worst tourist traps
I think Loch Ness is also a bit of a tourist trap. Especially if you are going on a tour. There are gift shops EVERYWHERE, including in the smallest gas station or toilet along the way. How many Nessie keychains for $10 a pop can one buy? I was expecting a little Nessie with a $15 price tag to come out of the loo when I was doing my business. The best tourist trap was this old restaurant in the middle of Stockholm selling meatballs. Crazy expensive but extremely delicious, I would’ve paid double for the food and spectacular service. I felt like royalty enjoying those balls.
Best and worst airports
Let’s start with the obvious: Budapest airport is HELL, especially during the summer months. There is nowhere near enough seating, the air conditioning is barely working, the prices are ridiculous and the internet works like a charm if you have data! A well-deserved second-worst award goes to Arlanda airport, for zero help given to abandoned passengers. The best airport I’ve been to this year was my local airport in Timisoara. Fast, easy, $2 water, new security scanners, awesome!
Best and worst restaurants
Without a doubt the best restaurant I’ve visited this year and with the best food was this little place in Stockholm called Mom’s Kitchen Nybrogatan. The neat fact here is that this place is actually a catering business with a few tables and a small terrace. The meatballs here are TO DIE FOR. And it comes with very good prices for central Stockholm. The worst restaurant of the year has to be the new Popeyes from Bucharest. Absolutely terrible chicken, almost inedible.
Best and worst hotels
For some reason, the best hotel keeps being the same hotel for me, year after year! I’m surely talking about the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. For a bit over $100 per night, you get 5 stars luxury, a smashing location, incredible amenities and modernized rooms like nowhere else. Honourable mention is for the Excelsior Hotel in Mamaia Nord, a superb gem in my country! The worst hotel of the year has clearly been the one in Paris. 80 euros for a matchbox room with no soundproofing, Lidl croissants for breakfast IN FRANCE, and an en-suite bathroom with no crapper…
Best and worst incident
Being left stranded at an airport almost 4.000 kilometres away from home is the worst incident of 2022. At least Wizz Air saved the day by taking me back home the next day for $300 otherwise the 26-hour train ride alternative, with 7 changes, would’ve been… The best incident of the year was I casually made two new friends after booking some tours on GetYourGuide. I’m happy to report I’m still chatting with my friends, even planning trips together for 2023.
Best and worst $10 ever spent
I love food so yeah, the best $10 ever spent in 2022 was on the Skagen seafood salad bought from the Stockholm central market. A delicious blend of baby shrimp, salmon fish eggs, fresh mayo and a little green for good measure. The worst 10 bucks ever spent in 2022 was for a piece of carrot cake and a “coffee” at Budapest airport. I will not go into details as the trauma is still fresh. Let’s just say I had to pull out a tooth after eating that. Can still feel it in my throat…
Best and worst TV series
This year I finally got to see the entire Euphoria series and yes, it is one of the best, most brutal TV series I’ve ever seen. Good job HBO, I know my money is well spent when paying for that extra feature on my cable subscription. On the contrary, Netflix… what the heck are you doing?! Season 2 of Inside Job, the only cartoon I could ever be interested in this year, is a wreck. A wreck as big as 99% of the stuff you put out this year. Is this the end of the ‘flix?! Sure Wednesday was very good but that’s one series in a whole year. You can’t do that, my friend.
Best and worst movies
I remember seeing Morbius at the cinema early this year and it was just.So.BAD. Nope. How is Sony putting out movies as bad as this one in 2022? Don’t they have research people who can tell them how bad of an idea a certain plot is? In terms of the best movie of 2022, The Pink Cloud wins it for me. I don’t know why but this movie has settled in my heart and will stay there forever. Just loved everything about it… including its simplicity! Great, just great!
Best and worst Youtube channel
Just Alex is a Youtube channel I just discovered weeks ago and it is the best channel I’ve subscribed to in 2022. It’s a channel about Alex, who just does things like living in a cabin on top of the Alps, or picking mushrooms. Simple and relaxing. Rosie Maio gets an honourable mention, a Moldovain/Italian living in Canada who shares her life on the web. No channel has really disappointed me in 2022 so I don’t have the worst Youtube channel. All efforts were decent!
Best and worst apps
WhatsApp has been the best app in 2022 for me. It was the app I used the most for keeping close to friends and relatives, as well as for work and other things. The worst app of 2022 was Instagram. Extremely buggy, zero motivation to keep posting, if it weren’t for the Stories I’d have deleted that app a long time ago. Facebook is in the same realm, just boring and useless stuff.
Best and worst games
STAR WARS Squadrons was… just okay. I was very excited at first learning the moves of how to control the starships, and was able to but the more I tried, the more impossible it became. So yeah, I don’t have a best or worst game for 2022. Squadrons kind of make it for both awards because of its strong start and even quicker letdown. I still play Counter-Strike, GTA V and the occasional World of Warcraft on a fake server but that’s about it for gaming…
Best and worst moments of 2022
Without a doubt, the worst moment of 2022 was when I was left stranded on an airport thousands of miles away from home with change in my pockets. There’s a certain kind of panic that envelops you the first time you see your flight has been cancelled. Especially if it never happened before even if it had the chance about 100 times. Your legs simply give up. And then you breathe through the huge golf ball in your throat, sit down and book another flight.
The best moment of 2022 for me is a tie between seeing and hearing 20 Formula 1 cars roam away at the start of the race in Hungary, and the moment I got an amazingly creative full-time job after more than a decade as a freelancer. I know it’s a bit anticlimactic, me preaching about how great freelancing is and how you should never get a job but, after so much hustle and bustle for every single dollar that I made, and I made a few… a regular job brings the freedom I lost on the way.
I’m grateful for 2022, with its good and bad. For the misfortunes, heartbreaks, letdowns and putting on a few pounds. Heck, I have room to lose some weight the next year, and be trendy! I’m also grateful for the people who’ve stayed with me through it all. Some I had fights with, some I even cussed at but the ones who mattered are still here, regardless if in person or online. People, my family and friends, and colleagues, are the best things 2022 has brought.
Thank you for making me (somewhat) comfortable, in an uncomfortable, crazy world.