At the end of each year, it’s nice to look back and take stock of what happened the previous 365 days. It’s pretty shocking how much happens in a year and it is so easy to forget them, even if they’re memorable. It’s so weird for me to think that 11 months ago I was in Budapest for a visit, or that I was in Hong Kong just over a month ago. My normal day to day just seems like that – normal. It is so easily fall into a pattern of repetition. While 2013 was mostly filled with dissatisfaction, 2014 on the whole has been much better.
2014 has been a year of adjustment in both a physical and emotional sense. Somewhere in the middle of this year, there was a mental switch. A realization that I won’t be moving back to Budapest. I transitioned from feeling like an expat to a part time globetrotter – it’s even reflected in how I brand myself. I permanently said good bye to a life abroad, I said goodbye to a relationship, and I said goodbye to a lot of physical things to the past as I try to downsize my belongings. In place, I said hello to new friendships, new work opportunities (hurray freelancing!), and new toys (woo GoPro!). 2014 was a year of trying new things, keeping active, fulfilling dreams and of course, travel.
As I look back, there are definitely adventures that stand out in my memory. While they’re not always travel related, here are my most memorable moments of 2014:
Achieving my dreams of skiing the Alps
Years ago, on a whim I had put together a list of 25 things to do before I’m 25. Most of them went unfulfilled by the time I turned 25, but this one always stood out to me as something I definitely wanted to do. I had the opportunity to go skiing at Valmeiner this year during my visit to Hungary. I learned to ski at a fairly young age. While I was a timid child and not a risk-taker, I loved skiing and dreamed of skiing the Alps. While Valmeinier isn’t one of the famous ski slopes in the Alps, the mountain is still a part of the Alps and in my books that counts.
Eating at my first Michelin star restaurant
I’ve always loved food and during my trip to Budapest I made it a priority to go to Onyx, one of the Michelin star restaurants in the city. The experience was everything and more. I felt really awkward for most of it, but the food was good.
An appearance in the local paper
At my day job, I work in marketing for local food manufacturer and this spring we ran a contest inviting students to submit ideas for a new gyoza flavour. It was my project from beginning to end and I managed to get some media coverage for it (aka me in a funny hat printed in the newspaper). There’s even a video of me being awkward!
Scoring a killer deal on airfare allowing me to go to Hong Kong
You know that feeling you get when you buy something at a huge discount. That thrill that runs through you? It’s even better when it comes to travel. My friend and I spotted a great fare for Hong Kong and booked it within an hour. Normal fares run at least $1000+ CAD and we scored ours at $650 return. Fingers crossed something similar happens next year!
Doing a reading of some of my traveling writing
In general I am a fairly shy person. I don’t like being the centre of attention so when Debbie Wong approached me about possibly doing a reading of some of my traveling writing at her book launch I was a bit apprehensive. That said, I try to live life in a way that constantly challenges me and to push my comfort zone so I agreed. It was probably one of the most rewarding experiences this year.
Playing another year of Ultimate Frisbee
I’m actually quite surprised that I really like this game. If you know me, I’m the laziest person ever and the idea of me willingly want to run around on a field in the rain and mud is enough to make me laugh. And yet I did it again for a second year. I’ve definitely gotten better in shape because of it. It’s fun and you get to meet some pretty cool people.
Sand dunes tour
Seriously. As if I haven’t gushed enough about this. So much fun. Do it when you’re in Oregon.
Going paddle boarding for the first time
My paddle boarding experience was a lesson in how not to do it for the first time. Regardless, I had a lot of fun, used my GoPro for the first time and also didn’t manage to fall into the frigid waters of Vancouver. I also tried a surf ski earlier in the year too. While not as memorable, it was definitely something new!
Giving back to the community
This happened recently and has nothing to do with travel, but is a moment that I will remember for a long while and hopefully propel me forward. I had signed my company up to be a part of a campaign run by a local blogger called 30 Days of Kindness. We ended up selecting a local family support centre to be the recipient of our kind act. The hour that we spent at their facility touring the place and meeting with the staff was amazing and I really hope that my work will be able to continue its relationship with this important community facility.
Visiting Hong Kong
The whole time I was in Hong Kong I was so incredibly comfortable. Going back to that list of 25 things I wanted to do before 25, was this item: “Go to Hong Kong and Taiwan.” Of course, I didn’t accomplish this before I was 25, but I’m still happy that I made it happen. I was so excited to visit Hong Kong because of my family’s roots. I was curious to know if I could survive there. It was a test of how Canadian or how Chinese I am. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that yes, I could survive there, and no, people won’t laugh at my abysmal Cantonese abilities. I haven’t written much about my time in Hong Kong, but that will change soon.
2014, you weren’t so bad. Here’s to another great year in 2015! Wishing you and your family a happy new year! Go kick some 2015 butt 🙂
P.S. For those of you bloggers, I’ve put together a list of 12 lessons learned from a year of blogging over on my personal site. Check it out!
What are some of your memorable moments from 2014? Share them in the comments.