Well, the New Year is finally here + I gotta say, I’m gonna miss 2017. As a 25-year old recent college graduate still finding my way, it’s been a pretty tumultuous journey. There have been peaks and valleys, moments I’ve emptied my tear ducts over burnt risotto thinking I’m a complete failure and what am I even DOING with my life. But also moments of complete + utter bliss. Moments where for the first time, I just felt whole.
At the beginning of this year, it was time for a change. I was desperate to feel something again. To have something to look forward to and know that I belong. To have something that challenged me and something to learn. So I traveled. And I can’t express my gratitude for this journey enough. I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve developed, the cultures I’ve experienced, and the pastas I’ve consumed. But most of all, I’m thankful for perspective.
I’m thankful that in 2018, I’ll be able to start each day with a grateful heart and positive spirit. Confident in myself and joyous in the present. Transitioning back to the US has been tough, y’all. Really tough. But one of my biggest takeaways from last year was to appreciate everything. From a warm cup of coffee that starts your day to another driver that pauses to let you through. Every day can be an adventure, and simple moments can have deep meaning. It’s all about how you look at it. And it’s up to you to make sure your mind is free from all that negative clutter.
One of my favorite movies is About Time (which if you haven’t seen it, you’re doing life wrong and this needs to be your top 2018 resolution). The overarching message encompasses these same ideals – that you should make every day the best it can be. We can never control what happens in the world, but we can control our state of mind. Once you stand up to negativity and say, “No, I am stronger than this,” that’s when you’ll be set free. Grieve when you need to grieve and vent when you need to vent, but learn to find a balance that lets you live without regret.
In reflecting on 2017, I can’t help but think of my travel highlights and lowlights. So enjoy (and suffer) with me, and I’d love to hear your own in the comments below!
H I G H L I G H T S
1. Jumping fearlessly into the Adriatic Sea during my visit to Croatia
2. Hearing Galway Girl live as I walked into a Dublin pub with Guinness in hand
3. Relief + awe as I set foot in the most beautiful beach I’d ever seen: En Vau
4. Dancing on the tables at Oktoberfest as they played Country Roads by John Denver (the socially acceptable dirndl + leiderhosen looks were the cherry on top)
5. Exploring the white tented market in Aix and then being serenaded by a French accordion at our outdoor lunch
6. Hitching a ride with
strangers new friends from one village to the next in Lake Como
7. Dancing to Despacito in Barcelona after tapas+sangria
8. Solo exploration of HallstattHallstatt as the village stirred to live (AND SCHNITZEL)
9. Riding a Vespa with an Italian man to the Trevi Fountain where I finally got to toss in a coin
10. Drinking the freshest water from a Norwegian fjord
11. Riding a bike for the first time since I was 6 in Amsterdam (and not dying!)
12. Watching two of my best friends get married at an ivy-climbing estate in Somerset
L O W L I G H T S
1. Getting a lobster red sunburn after a 4 hr hike to the Calanques
2. Almost getting stranded in Amsterdam because all trains to the airport were cancelled for the day
3. Marseilles TSA nearly losing my house keys
4. Rain — we had to cancel all our plans in my favorite destination (Amalfi) and didn’t make it to Capri because of the surprise storms
5. Almost missing my flight to Italy because of a conditioner fiasco
6. Nearly dying on Flybe airlines (but it’s fine, I’m fine)
7. Scalping some not so great tickets at the Vienna Opera House + having to miss the first Act in order to move to the standing section
8. A close call with a crosswalk + a motorcycle in Paris
(Can’t even think of 10 because how can I complain?)
Here’s to the future + all the adventures it brings. I hope your New Year’s Day provides the R+R you need to step into the work week like Beyonce at the Super Bowl.