Looking Back on 2017 and Forward to 2018

Meet Christina – founder of CreateHer Empire. She built CreateHer Empire to arm you with the step-by-step strategies, community, and support needed to grow your very own online empire that no 9-to-5 could ever compete with.


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I think everyone has a few years in their lives that they look back on and realize how truly pivotal they were. Maybe they get married, have children, start a new job or experience loss. Whatever it may be, it’s a year that changes the course of their lives. 2017 was one of those years for me. Not only because I achieved things professionally that I never thought I would be able to, but also because I developed personally in ways that will be a total game-changer for my future.

Looking back… (briefly, because I prefer to look forward 😉 )

In 2017, I achieved.

  • I transitioned from a 9-to-5 office job to working full-time for myself
  • I pushed my physical limits hiking in the Pacific Northwest and in Peru
  • I created a life of travel & online entrepreneurship that I once spent hours per day, every day, dreaming about
  • I worked with reputable, big brands like Ritz-Carlton and The Westin, and tourism boards like Visit Spain and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
  • I created The Instagram Boot Camp and have over 200+ intelligent, dedicated, badass students

In 2017, I learned.

  • How to compose, shoot and edit incredible photos with zero prior photography experience
  • How to navigate the online influencer space, make money online and operate my own business
  • That human beings are universally good, regardless of country, religion, gender or beliefs
  • That I can do anything I set my mind to
  • That making friends with common goals and ambitions is endlessly important
  • That life is too short to not spend it doing what you love

In 2017, I grew.

  • I found true happiness and, for the first time ever, because of only myself
  • I eliminated some of the most toxic parts of my life and in doing so, became lighter and happier

In 2017, I traveled.

  • I rode a camel at sunrise at the Pyramids of Giza
  • I swam with sharks, stingrays and pigs in the Caribbean
  • I saw Machu Picchu and hiked Huayna Picchu
  • I flew over NYC in a doors-off helicopter
  • I celebrated a good friend’s birthday in Mykonos
  • I slept at a camp in the Moroccan desert
  • I tried guinea pig and alpaca with locals in Peru
  • I hiked a volcano in Nicaragua
  • I drove a car through the mountains of Morocco and was helped by non-English speaking locals when my car broke down (lol)
  • I rode in a hot air balloon at sunrise in Cappadocia
  • I visited the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
  • I salsa danced in Havana
  • I traveled to 25 different countries on 4 different continents, bringing my country count up to 40!


Looking forward to 2018, I have loads of professional and personal goals, but I’ll spare you “find a cute boyfriend” and “learn to pose better in photos.” 😉 Here are some of the biggest ones:

Practice more self-love.

I mentioned this a little earlier, but 2017 really has been a year of serious personal growth and self-love for me. Happiness is something I have always struggled with and I think this year, I finally cracked part of the code. Creating my own business from nothing but passion has given me a sense of pride, self-worth and self-love that I’ve never experienced and a happiness that I’ve never thought possible.

Still, as there always is with self-love, there is progress to be made and in 2018, I strive to keep fighting those inner demons, to forgive myself for more and to go a little bit easier on myself.

Focus more on my personal life.

In 2017, I became a really big fan of saying “my job isn’t just my job, it’s my life.” Which is true, yes, but what that has meant a lot of the time in reality is not hanging out with friends & family as much as I should have. Pushing away romantic relationships for lack of time. Not spending as much time taking care of myself physically as I should have.

In 2018, one of my goals is to find a better balance between what I do for a living and all of those other, really important, things. And maybe find that cute, fun boyfriend (…that can operate a camera) I mentioned earlier??

Continue cultivating a loyal community

It’s incredible to me what a loyal, wonderful community I have formed on Instagram in such a short period of time. In a year and a half, I have a large group of people (mostly women – WOOO!) following my every move around the globe, awaiting my next photos and engaging with the content I post. That is downright insane to me and I am not ignorant of the importance of you guys – all of the opportunities I am given are because of you.

So, I want to keep growing and fostering this community. Exposing more of myself to you. Being as inspiring, but honest, as can be. Engaging with you daily. Maybe even finding a way to get you all together and chatting with one another more… I have some ideas brewing. We’ll see. 😉

Stop the comparison game

I realized last month that, on most of the “off” (read: uninspired, unmotivated, etc.) days I was having, I had at some point scrolled through Instagram for, like, an hour.

You know the drill – you’re scrolling through social media and start getting sucked into the perfection of all of the images. (You would think as an influencer, I would be immune to this and know how disparate from reality these images are… apparently not.) This is a rabbit hole even the most confident of people fall into at some time or another, but in November I decided I was done with it.

So, I changed my habits. Believe it or not, nowadays, I rarely spend more than 1 minute scrolling through my Instagram feed. Yes, this has kept me from seeing some of my best friends’ photos on occasion, but it has also kept me motivated, focused and heads-down in my own business. Everyone has to do what works for them and for sure this Instagram-oblivion technique might not work for a lot of people, but it’s been great for me to this point.

In 2018, I want to get to a point in my self-confidence where I don’t play this comparison game with myself.

Be me.

This piggy-backs a bit off of my previous goal. I want to stay more focused in 2018 on cultivating my truest voice, being real with my audience and doing what feels the most authentic to me.

Lean into ‘bold.’

Even though I recently changed my Instagram name from @theboldbrunette to @christinagalbato (in the name of that “BE ME” goal), there is another part of my business that I want to lean into more and it has to do with my blog name: The Bold Brunette.

When I first started this blog, one of my missions (aside from inspiring others to travel) was to inspire others to be bold with their lives. To pursue dreams with ambition and passion. To never passively flow down a path that others have carved, but to always be in the driver’s seat.

I want to get in touch with that goal more.

Part of what that will look like is with a complete re-launch of The Instagram Boot Camp, an online e-course I launched in May. For having literally zero prior experience with launching online products and zero teaching experience, The Instagram Boot Camp was a resounding success with close to 300 sales and incredible reviews from my students.

(It’s still a bizarre feeling that any human being would buy something that I created, but it’s a pretty damn awesome course and I pat myself on the back daily for it.)

However, as with all things social media, things change fast and I want to keep up with it all by offering my students the latest & greatest. SO, I’m re-launching a version deaux in Feb/March with many more videos, tutorials and helpful strategies. It will also be more of a community of women that can support one another and rise together.

Where else this BOLD mission will extend to… Hmmm…

Perhaps more motivational Instagram captions? #MotivationMonday? More YouTube videos on entrepreneurship? Let me know your thoughts by commenting on this post! Any ideas on how I can encourage all of my lady boss followers to get bold in their lives?

Live in a foreign country.

Moving to a foreign country, knowing little to zero people, making friends, learning new customs, eating delicious food, slowly morphing into a local…

Living in a foreign country is something that I’ve been pining to do, but have been unable to because of my good-old NYC lease. My lease finally ends in May 2018 and from there, I’ll more than likely head to Bali for the summer, and who knows after that? Italy? Australia? South Africa?

See more of the world.

I’m not sure this even needs to be on my list, since I’m sure you know this is a given. 😉 There are a ton of places on my bucket list, but next year, I hope to visit Iceland, Jordan, Israel, Namibia, South Africa, the UAE and the Philippines. Maybe Australia and New Zealand. Definitely more of Southeast Asia.

And for sure the Middle East.

Aaaaand more of Africa.

… Basically there’s no point in making specific country goals for next year because everywhere is on my list!



If you like me and what I do, and want to keep seeing my content online, here are the top two ways you can support me in the New Year:

Follow me on all platforms

The easiest way for you to show support is by following along on all of the places I live online. 🙂

If you’re not already, follow me on Instagram. I share inspirational travel & lifestyle photos, and post lottttsaaaa candid InstaStories.

Subscribe to me on YouTube! I post travel and lifestyle videos there weekly.

Head over to the right sidebar of this page to subscribe to my blog. I send out emails maybe once a month, and only with fun giveaways and exciting news!

And finally, like my Facebook page!

Muchas gracias.

Show love

It’s really easy as a follower of an influencer to see a photo of his/hers and think, “Oh he/she doesn’t need my like or comment – he/she already gets so many.”


Your likes, comments, messages, emails, DMs, etc. etc. ALL matter so much to me. I see every single one and respond to most – seriously.

So… if you like a photo, throw it a like and leave a quick comment letting me know! And if you have a question about a destination, a hotel, a clothing brand, anything!, slide in my DMs. 🙂

Well, that’s all for me. Let me know your thoughts on all of this – your feedback means everything to me. And, tell me your goals for 2017 below!

Peace out 2017 – you were good. 2018, bring it on.

With lots of love,

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  1. Courtney says:

    You are amazing!! Cannot wait to see your 2018 journey. Not only are you amazing, you are inspiring – I think I started following you maybe 80,000 – 110,000 followers ago… not sure but I’ve been so inspired by you and the community you’ve fostered. AND that you taught yourself everything about photography thus far.

    • Christina says:

      Aw you are so sweet!! I really appreciate you following along from the beginning – your support means so much to me! xx

  2. Christina, this is absolutely wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to really dig deep and share with us all! It is so exciting to see all of the amazing things you have accomplished this year and it’s all because of your hard work. I’m feeling so inspired to really sit down and evaluate all that I want to do this year! xo Alex

  3. Vanessa says:

    Wow! I didn’t know you learned to do all those things only in 2017!! Congrats to you. <3 I’m starting my RTW trip next month beginning in Nicaragua. I’ll have to look through your blog / IG to get some inspiration!


  4. Stephanie says:

    Love your blog and aesthetic!


  5. Love this post Christina, 2017 was a big year for you. I think we can all focus more on self-love, social media can be positive and simultaneously detrimental for us. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing great and are extremely inspiring! Go for that big move-if it happens to be in Italy I may meet you there for some pasta and vino. Haha. 😉

  6. Kelly says:

    Wow! What a successful 2017! Can’t wait to read about your 2018 adventures 🙂
    I’m still working on my Travel Bucket list for this year, do you have any recommendations?

    Kelly xx

  7. Jessie says:

    Ever since listening to your recent episode on Beyond Influential podcast, I was inspired to put my nose to the grind stone and develop my blog and brand into the targeted, super specific niche I had always dreamed of it becoming. Your IG Bootcamp, even within the very first Module, helped me narrow down and I always feel a surge of confidence and optimism reading your inspiring blog posts like this. Congratulations, Christina, you are such a sweet, kind, generous soul and deserve all the happiness and success in the world! Much love from the PHILIPPINES! I’d love to give you some recs 🙂

  8. Justin says:

    Its always good to see you past and improve from your past.

  9. David says:

    Thanks for writing such an insightful post, it is really motivating to us readers. Makes me really motivated to see what other people can achieve and to set big goals. Truly impressive list of achievements, well done.

  10. Jenny Wood says:

    Thanks For Sharing! This is Awesome and Fantastic Post!

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