Oh yeah! Back in black.
Except for not. I avoid wearing black, otherwise I'm a close match for Wednesday Addams.
Anyways. Here I am, and I plan to stick around for a while. But, we'll get to that later.
So, I know everyone and their brother does a post on '2013 in review,' buuuuuut, my 2013 was probably the most influential year of my life, so I feel like it's worth reviewing.
Since last January I've visited six different countries. I don't know about you, but that's kind of a big deal for me. Prior to last August? I'd never even been to Mexico or Canada. I lived in Egypt till June, then went to Jordan for a week (highly recommend that one!), made a 24 hour stop in Munich, Germany, came home to the states where I visited five entirely new states, then headed back out for eight days travelling through Belize and Guatemala.
Whew! I've been away from home travelling more than I've been nestled up in the Pacific Northwest, in 2013.
And the best (/worst) part about all this travelling? I have no plans of stopping. I'm almost in competition with myself to see how quickly I can fill up my passport. But, that's ok with me.
PS - I'm applying for graduate school now (scary), and all the schools I'm looking at are in Europe (awesome). If anyone has must-see places in Europe I should visit, pipe up and let me know!
Second up (and I'll keep this one brief): I fell in love.
*Cue simultaneous murmurs of 'awwww' and 'eewww'
Now, although I could ramble on for days about how Phil has been the most perfect boyfriend I could have stumbled upon, I'll limit it to this:
1) We travel the world together. Can it get any better?!
2) No one has ever made me laugh harder, especially during tough times.
3) I'm constantly becoming a better person because of him.
Ok, I'll stop with this one. But, you know, you get the picture.
Alright, #3. This one is almost a given, but it deserves mentioning anyways. 2013 brought with it a group of amazing new friends that I am ecstatic about, and helped me to purge out unnecessary people and negativity in my previous friend group. I've become closer to those who help me grow, who give me inspiration, and who love me unconditionally.
That's pretty fantastic, and not something everyone can say.
On the top of my list are my roommates from Egypt; Mary and Sara have remained two of my best friends, even now that we're back in the states. (spoiler alert... I'm going to be in Sara's wedding this summer!). I also grew to be seriously close with several Egyptians, students and staff alike. On top of all that, I've met tons of people through my travels that I value and cherish immensely.
All in all, my friends list rocks after 2013.
Finally. I want to give you the top 5 most important things I learned in 2013. This one isn't the happiest, but it was important for my last year of life. I was forced to learn a lot of really difficult lessons through personal experience. On the list included:
1) Take nothing for granted (Rest in peace, my beautiful student Sandy)
2) You're definitely not perfect, or excellent at anything (even the things you THINK you're perfect or excellent at)
3) Personal growth should never be hindered by self doubt and fear
4) The more you travel and experience others, the more you realize how limited (and sometimes offensive) your own perspective is. So, start travelling already!
5) There are WAY more important things in the world than your own personal success.
|Joking with my teacher's aid and student, Sandy, a month before she passed away.|
Keeping all this in mind, I go into 2014, not with 'new year's resolutions', but with added vigor to improve my life and others' in any way I can.
I sincerely hope that any of you reading will consider my 'top 5 life lessons from 2013', and take advantage of them. Need a little help staying on course? Contact me!
If nothing else, I'm full of some pretty great travel tips and conversation.
Wishing all the best for 2014! Happy new year!