2018, Thank You

2018 was an absolutely extraordinary year.

This year was filled with more laughter, adventure, growth, and love than any year before.

I traveled to 7 countries, 17 US states, moved to a new home, started a new job, and made so many new friends.

I solo-traveled for the first time ever. I learned how to be independent, out-going, and alone. I made so many new friends from different countries. I learned how to go-with-the-flow and to always say “yes” to new adventures. I drove a moped for the first time in a foreign country without any accidents! I ate the best food my taste buds have ever tasted…I even ate a scorpion! (It’s salty and crunchy:))I ate a sit-down meal for the first time ever by myself. This was probably one of the most terrifying experiences when I was solo-travelling, however, I learned how to love my own company.

I learned how to be a travel companion. Honestly, I believe it is harder to travel with someone than to travel alone. I traveled parts of southeast Asia with my best friend from college. Yes, there were a few times we wanted to kill each other. But, we grew as friends and have so many great stories to share. We learned to compromise and act as a team. We learned (kinda) how to make decisions. We explored foreign countries without getting lost, stomped out hundreds of fire ants, spent a night sleeping on a beach, became expert bargainers, and somehow remembered to put sunscreen on every day!

I moved to a new state and did not know anyone within a 4 hour drive. I am living alone for the first time ever. Living alone can be difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes even terrifying, but oh so great! The hardest thing about living by myself is that I have no one else to blame when my apartment is messy! I learned how to get my life in order. I’m a big girl now! I lay my clothes out before I go to bed. I pack my lunch in a cute lunch box. I drink way too many cups of coffee. I even make my bed in the morning! I learned how to be responsible. I even have a few plants that I have kept alive!

This year I made new friends and maintained old friendships that will last a lifetime. I have hiked throughout North Georgia with random strangers that turned into great friends. The year was filled with drinking many bottles of wine, dancing like losers, playing too many card games and so many dumb inside jokes!

Throughout all of the crazy changes this year, my family has been an absolute rock in my life. My parents have been insanely supportive of my dreams. They pick up the phone always on the 2nd ring. They helped me move to a completely new place. They encourage me to life live to the fullest and to enjoy this beautiful world God has created. My siblings have been the best role models. My brother has shown me that I can teach myself anything and to enjoy all the tastes in life. My sister has taught me how to be loving and patient.

A few other experiences that made this an absolutely amazing year include:

I shot a gun for the first time.

I rode a snowmobile for the first time.

I watched hundreds of beautiful sunsets and sun rises.

I celebrated the Lunar New Year.

I drove a moped around Southeast Asia.

I’ve slept outside in a hammock for the first time.

I jumped off a boat.

I explored caves and hiked to waterfalls.

I camped outside in a tent for the first time.

I fed and kissed elephants.

I swam in crystal clear water with white sand beaches.

I saw a traditional Vietnamese puppet show.

I created my blog.

I visited some of the most spectacular and famous temples in the world.

I squeeze through tunnels in Vietnam.

I ate so much new and delicious food.

I biked on beaches.

I learned how to cook local Thai food.

I drank a lot of fruit smoothies.

I snorkeled and watched an octopus change color.

I snow-shoed for the first time.

I was in my brothers wedding in Italy.

I biked through bright green rice fields.

I celebrated 3 beautiful weddings.

I hiked some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

I went to a local Cambodian circus.

I hiked through 3 National Parks.

I slept on night trains and buses.

I started my first full-time job.

I lived on my own for the first time.

I moved to a new state.

& I petted a lot of cute dogs.

This year has influenced my desire to do something BIG to influence the future of this world. I absolutely love my family and friends. And God is so good.

2018: You were beautiful, wild, and incredible.

Thank you.