2013 has come and gone, and a lot has happened, although not very eventful too at the same time. I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to do a little bit of traveling this year and have gotten slightly more adventurous. I’ve already mentioned that this is the year I found a new dream, and I’m finally taking steps to make sure it happens in 2014. But a lot of this year was also bad. Apparently, I don’t deal with life-changing decisions well, and it broke my heart that I didn’t get support from those closest to me.
Nevertheless, I want to share some notable moments worth mentioning and remembering (because I know I most likely won’t remember any of this years from now). I’ve narrowed it down to a few of the best moments, so here they are in no particular order:
1. Snorkeling with a sea turtle in Hawaii – on my 27th birthday, no less! All I wanted to do in Hawaii was to swim with a sea turtle, but I had no expectations whatsoever. But there he was – a mere 2 feet away from me!! It was a purely magical 10 minutes, as I floated next to him as he fed off the algae on the coral (I suck for not writing about this, so I guess this blurb will have to serve as my memory). Being a die-hard animal lover with a special affinity for sea turtles, this was the best gift I could ever ask for. (November 10, Hanauma Bay)
2. Learning to ski finally. I went to Mammoth for the first time in February and loved skiing so much that I went back in December (hope to share some pics soon). I forget how much I miss the snow after being in sunny SoCal for almost 2 decades. And any sport with a high chance of tumbling and breaking bones is always a thrill. (February 16-17)
Also, D would like to point out that he taught me (but not very well, I would counter).
3. Segwaying through the hills of Catalina. This is definitely one of the most interesting activities I tried this year… after getting over the dork factor. But riding a segway off-road instantly makes it cool. (August 16)
4. Horseback riding through the vineyards of Temecula. What do you gift for Christmas to the boy who has everything? After stressing for a few weeks, I finally decided on a horseback riding and wine tasting package. It proved to be a hit and I was able to introduce D to a new activity he’s never tried. Seeing the goofy, happy grin on his face made all the trouble worthwhile. (March 29, Temeccula)
5. Completing two 5K runs. I hate running. Most of the time, I’d rather do squats for hours than run a couple of miles. But this year, I completed my first two 5K’s – an accomplishment in my book. Pictured above is the more recent fantastically fun Color Run. And it’s accurate to say that I have not run since. (June 22)
6. Eating my way through Portland, Oregon. This was purely a foodie trip.., I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. We spent 2 glorious days eating absolutely everything in sight and I still maintain that some of the food we had there was the best I’ve ever eaten. (May 25-26)
7. Celebrating my first year anniversary with D. It’s also the first relationship I’ve had to last a year, and it’s a wonderful feeling to have found a partner in life, working together towards a dream, sharing adventures, and carrying each other through tough times. Our relationship is by no means perfect, but all it matters is that we are not giving up. (June? October? I guess we never set an official anniversary date…)
Freaking out about pretty much everything… which led to a lot of fights, tears, and an almost broken relationship. I can’t quit my job and travel without another income source! D and I aren’t engaged! My parents are unsupportive! It’s ok, I’m all better now. Except for currently freaking out about how to actually quit.
Best Pictures (according to Instagram)
1. Sunset over Irvine. The sky looked like a painting this particular evening
2. A taste of San Francisco in Orange County (at Boudin)
3. An ATV contemplating a dive off the end of the pier at Kualoa Ranch (Oahu, Hawaii)
4. A long boat on the gorgeous aqua waters at Kailua Beach (Oahu, Hawaii)
New Year, New Beginnings
I’ve never been good at sticking to New Year resolutions (but let’s be real, who is?!) Every year, more or less, my resolutions would sound something like “eat healthier, exercise more, spend less money, save more.” I’d start off the new year with a new budget spreadsheet and diligently keep track of every dollar spent. I’d cook almost every single meal and pack my lunches.
But as the months go on, my budget spreadsheet entries would become more and more sporadic. My work lunches would turn into runs to the campus cafeteria. And it’d be so, so tempting to swap that post-work workout for that yummy bowl of pho, especially when I’m already so hungry.
Hmm… maybe New Year resolutions never work because they are all built on a foundation of deprivation.
So this year, I’m revising my usual resolutions and am keeping it real simple.
I resolve to take control of my life and stop letting fear get in the way (ironically this is probably the furthest from ‘simple’). This includes fear of disappointing others, fear of confrontation, and fear of public toilets in other countries.
I still resolve to eat better… as in wine in Chile, macarons in Paris, waffles in Belgium, everything in sight in Turkey, and much much more.
And of course, I resolve to deliver great content regularly on this blog.
In this new year, expect this blog to pick up speed, as I plan to be in some pretty cool places around the world. Expect tons of tips on budget travel, photos of beautiful places, and in depth coverage of cities I visit. And sorry, I don’t think you will be able to avoid the copious amounts of foodporn that will surely dominate this blog.
Here’s to an awesome 2014!