Looking back on 2014 and looking forward to the year to come.
Happy New Year from New York City! I rang in 2015 with my best friends at a house party in Manhattan.
I’m going to skip the preamble and get right to the meat and potatoes of this post.
2014: A review
On a personal level, 2014 was awesome. If I had to choose one word to sum up the last 12 months, it would be love. I started the year off on a high, having just gotten engaged in Berlin a few days before the end of 2013. Then, later on in January, one of my amazing friends from Toronto came to visit me in Hong Kong, so the all-encompassing feeling of being loved up persisted well into the first quarter of the year. In the summer, I got to reconnect with family in Toronto and then headed to New York City where I convened with my besties — we partied the warm city nights away and they even threw me a surprise bachelorette party!
If that wasn’t enough, at the end of the July I married my partner/homie/roll dawg in an intimate ceremony in Berlin. Then we went on not one, but TWO honeymoons (as us crazy wanderlusting folk are wont to do: to Austria in August and then to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in October). 360 + days later, it’s the end of the year. December now finds me back in New York and Toronto, spending some much treasured quality time with family and friends.
So you see that there was a lot of love in my life this year, all around. And it was splendid.
However, from a travel point of view, 2014 was way quieter than in previous years. While 2011, 2012, and 2013 saw me travelling to to many new destinations and with break-neck frequency (when I lived in London, 3 weekends out of 4 I was out of town), I scaled back and instead made a conscious effort to revisit the destinations and people near and dear to my heart. While perhaps detrimental to the blog, it was in fact it was something I needed — the older I get, the longer I’m away, the more I need to reestablish my roots and surround myself with places and people who are familiar. Places I know. People who know me and “get” me.
Still, I managed to get around a little bit (new destinations included Japan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives). The wanderlust in me is still strong though the motivations in which it is grounded have perhaps changed. I tried to travel deeper this year, endeavour to have experiences in the places I visited as opposed to just checking off touristic attractions. Gosh, it sounds so highfalutin’ and cliche! But it’s true. For this reason the memories from this year of travel that have stuck with me most are mostly comprised of encounters which range from the random/comical to the moving: the time I went to a reggae dancehall club in Tokyo and vibed with Japanese reggae emcees was definitely one of the most unique travel experiences I had in 2014.
I also was presented with some cool opportunities this year. In February, I was featured in a Buzzfeed article citing 27 reasons one should go hit the road (take a look at #27!), then in July I was interviewed about my world travels on BBC Radio. In October and July I also began writing for Conde Nast Traveler, a huge honour! You can see my articles for them here.
Blog more. Ever since I moved back to Hong Kong in mid-2013, I have let this blog slide to the back burner. And I’ve regretted it, because travelling and blogging are my passions and make me happy. However, the unfortunate reality is that my day job as a teacher is busy. This year I assumed a couple of roles in middle management so my plate is full; after a long day teaching pre-teens and meeting with other teachers the last thing I have wanted to do is blog. Sometimes I feel bad for not putting up more content on a consistent basis: as much as I allude to having another career wholly separate from blogging, there are always readers who assume that travelling the world and writing about it is indeed my full-time gig (oh, how I wish!). I feel as though I am letting them, and myself, down when I let a month pass without logging anything on this site. In 2015, I want to get back to writing on a more regular basis, not only to grow my audience, but also because it really and truly is something I enjoy.
Vlog. I made a vlog when I was Thailand last month and it rekindled my interest in filming my travels. I am mostly known for writing, but way back when I was a young whippersnapper I had big dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist. I love being in front of the camera and find it way easier to express myself verbally than in written form. As such, more dabbling in Youtube is in my near future! Stay tuned!
I’ve already booked and paid for a few trips in 2015! This is going to be the year that I explore more of Latin America. Some of you know that I lived in Monterrey, Mexico for a year: my stay ignited a love for Latin American culture that continues to burn strongly and brightly. So where am I going? So far I’m confirmed for Costa Rica (headed there with Liebling at the beginning of the year) and, wait for it… Colombia and Brazil with my girlfriends this summer!
…and a Big Announcement
There are some HUGE changes on tap for mid-2015. I’m just going to spit it out: I’m leaving Hong Kong for good in June and moving to New York City!! Liebling recently got a new job in NYC and we couldn’t be more thrilled. He’s already moved here and started work (which is why we’ve been in New York over the holidays — sneaky, I know) and I will join after my teaching contract is all finished up in six months. This means that we will be doing super-duper long distance once again (Hong Kong is a 15 hour flight from NYC) but the end game is totally worth it. I am all kinds of excited: not just to have the opportunity to discover the city, but also to be in closer proximity to family and friends. We recently found an apartment so the last couple of days have been spent scouring the IKEA website and planning logistical stuff for the move (we’re lodging temporarily in mid-town). Everything is coming together swimmingly though.
2014 was great, but 2015 is shaping up to be even better. What are some of the things you accomplished last year? What do you hope to achieve in 2015?