I tend to get extremely sentimental and nostalgic this time of year (who am I kidding, I am always nostalgic). My emotions are running higher than ever because I have never not wanted to say goodbye to a year as much as I don’t (do?) this year.
To put it simply, 2014 was a year of pure happiness for me. It was a year of living my dreams and I cannot imagine life getting better than it was all year for me. As amazing as it was, it’s also worrisome to think that 2014 could very well be the best year of my life. Am I capable of topping that? Can I possibly continue this happy streak? I sure hope so.
I visited 6 new countries and 3 new continents in 2014.
I started the year being very brave and quitting my job so I could travel the world. The amount of anxiety I had over this is impossible to explain. I literally had many sleepless nights due to having panic and anxiety attacks wondering if I was making the right decision. I sold my car (huge step for me for anyone who knows how much I loved my Lydia!!) and many possessions including my DSLR camera. On March 1st, I left Florida on an epic journey. I imagined going on a round the world trip would be absolutely incredible and life changing, but I never imagine it could be that incredible. I travelled 38,000 miles around the world in 4 months and saw sights I never thought I would see, ate some delicious food and met some truly incredible people. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself.
I spent 6 months of this year without a phone and it was the most glorious 6 months of my life.
New friend in Bundi, India
I imagined that I would have been very sad going back to Florida at the end of my trip, but I had no reason to be because I had the most exciting day of my life to look forward to. Of course, I was sad that my trip ended but not overly. I got to spend an amazing 6 weeks at home with my family and friends and for the first time in my life, got to see my hometown as a tourist. And it was glorious. I never had much of an appreciation for Florida until then. It’s beautiful and has a lot to offer and I now know that I love visiting, I just don’t want to live there long term. I spent this 6 weeks eating all of the amazing crap food that America has to offer. I don’t even want to know how much weight I gained, but I don’t care because it was worth it. I enjoyed every second of my 6 weeks at home, even though it was summer and I hate the heat. Before travelling to Thailand in April, I used to think Florida was the hottest and most humid place on earth in summer (specifically July and August). Boy was I wrong. Thailand in April is like living in a wet oven (?), only worse. This time around, Florida in July and August didn’t feel so bad compared to what I experienced in Thailand. My tolerance changed – something I never thought would happen.
I became an expat for the 2nd time.
On August 16th, I boarded a one-way flight to Dublin, something I had been dreaming of since early 2011, when I decided that I definitely wanted to settle in Ireland. Leading up to this day, my theme song for this day in my head was “Best Day of my Life” by American Authors. It was, in a way. There are no words to express my pure happiness and excitement over moving back to the one place on earth that feels like home to me; however, I was leaving a big, important part of my life behind: my family.
I was reunited with old friends in Ireland and quickly made new friends. I signed a lease for my very first apartment. I registered for my Master’s program at my dream university and became a student again. I saw 3 of my favourite musicians in concert. I have a part-time job that I enjoy. I am so excited about my future career and (hopefully) my future in Ireland. Since I arrived, I have been really trying to not take any moment for granted. When I do something as simple as walk down the street, I smile at the sky or the cute coffee shop on the corner and constantly remind myself that I am here, this is my home and I am exactly where I want to be. How many people can say that?
My tolerance for the heat reverted back to its old ways. I now once again sweat when it reaches 65 F/18 C.
I successfully co-hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people (and was so happy to introduce my favourite holiday to 8 non-Americans). I spent Christmas in a country I’ve never spent Christmas in before (Scotland).
Christmas in Edinburgh
What do I have to look forward to in 2015 so far? My sister is flying to England in January to study abroad. My whole family will be together for 2 weeks in Ireland when they come visit me (I’ve never been so excited for anything in my life). I will hopefully be doing a road trip around Iceland in July.
My goals for 2015: I don’t want to sound cliché but I really do want to be healthier. I am going to hire a personal trainer and start an exercise regime again. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, this is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile – just coincidental timing. After eating myself sick on Christmas, I’ve decided it’s time (even though I enjoyed every second of it). I want to buy a blender and start making smoothies/shakes again.
I aim to visit 3 new countries in 2015.
And lastly, I want to continue this happy streak. I want to continue to not take little moments for granted and I want to continue loving life. I want to write more letters and cards and use my phone less.
2014, thank you for the memories that are guaranteed to last my lifetime. Here’s to 2015!