Another year has come and gone. 2015 was very much an inspiring year for me, opening my eyes to the world.
My love of travel has ignited into a healthy fire. My awareness of mind and body has been awakened and I feel fully in control of my life. My dreams are limitless: I can and will do anything and everything I want.
Highlights of 2015.
In February and March, I backpacked Central America by myself. I spent five weeks exploring Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It was then I fell in love with solo travel, the nomadic lifestyle, and foreign places. The people I met along the way were fascinating and inspiring. Their stories of years of continuous travel opened my eyes. Anything was possible.
Not to mention I swam with sharks, sea turtles, and sting rays, climbed and camped on a volcano, and went bungee jumping.
When I returned, I moved to Pacific Beach and finally began to feel at home in San Diego. I started a new job at a rooftop, beachfront restaurant, and made solid friends. Summertime in San Diego was a blast: while I worked long nights, 6 days a week, I also spent much time exploring the city: paddleboarding Mission Bay, cycling 130 miles up to Los Angeles, and adventuring the many beaches and hiking trails of Southern California. I worked hard and played hard. And all while saving.
I was able to party in Las Vegas for my 24th Birthday! And then reunited with my 4K for Cancer team in Baltimore before returning to my Philadelphia roots for a week.
After living in San Diego only a year, I was ready for more adventure. In the fall, I set my sights on SouthEast Asia, researching and talking to friends about it. I was inspired by long-term travel, reading blog after blog about round-the-world trips and traveling for a living. With nothing holding me back, and huge dreams, I booked a one way ticket to Thailand.
I’ve spent the end of 2015 backpacking Thailand, with sights set on Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. So far, I’ve played with elephants, played in waterfalls, and experienced the beautiful culture of Thailand.
What I’ve learned…
Anything is possible. Never did I think I could quit my job, sell my possessions, and travel freely. Never did I think I was strong enough to let go of everything I knew and create a life of travel. But reading books and blogs and listening to other travelers’ stories opened my eyes. I took a leap of faith, believed in myself, and am now flying high.
We are in control of our own happiness. As I’ve been introduced to Buddhism and meditation, I’ve reached a sort of awakening. Life is all about perspective. We can’t control other people or events, but we can control how we respond to them. We can choose to wallow in self-pity, or we can use every negative experience as a chance to grow, as a learning experience. There’s always a positive in every negative, we just need to choose to see it. So no matter what life throws my way, it’s always a positive, a chance to appreciate and learn.
Life is about love. This past year has seen even more hatred: mass shootings across the United States, Donald Trump, the surge of ISIS, and more. There’s no doubt we live in a scary world. But what if we chose to counter each act of violence and hatred with just as much love, or more. Why not try to understand others instead of judging them and deeming their beliefs or lifestyle wrong? Love must win, love always wins.
And here I am, looking back at 2015. I’m 2 months into my travels with the whole world in front of me. My head spinning with possibilities for 2016; I’m already planning 6 months from now, where I’ll be next. India? Australia? Europe? All I know is that I’m ready to experience the world.
Cheers to 2015: the good, the bad, and the chance to live it.
Here’s to 2016: peace, love, and an adventurous spirit.