Highlights of 2015 and Goals For 2016

CXk1BrcUwAAeiCV This year was a year of more major life changes. It seems like for me that I have made at least one huge move in my life each year since college. I moved to Los Angeles in 2013 after a breakup to see what else was outside of my college town and ended up hating it. That spurred my drive to apply to grad school in London, for which I left for in the autumn of 2014. After an adventure-filled few months abroad, the thought of not being able to stay in my beloved London left me with figuring out the next step of my life, so in the Spring of 2015, I left the UK for NYC. This year has been one of a lot of new situations, jobs, friends and life experiences. Here are the highlights.


Right when I returned to London after Christmas break, I flew off on an amazing trip to Morocco to visit Marrakech and Ait Ben Haddou. It was my first time on the African continent and the most intriguing place I've ever been. I saw a new way of life, had the best couscous I've ever eaten and almost got abducted. I truly hope to go back someday and explore more of this country.

At the end of January, I was so lucky to get to go up to the romantic Scottish Highlands. This part of the UK is definitely the most beautiful and serene and I was greeted by lots of snow and friendly Scottish folk. I did a highlights tour, so I was able to see the famous Loch Ness and other gorgeous sights.

Halfway through February, I spent two crazy days in the cold to get to be in the fan pen for the BAFTAs Red Carpet. I saw more celebrities there than I ever have in my life, and it was surreal. I made some lovely friends, got a bunch of autographs and selfies and an adrenaline rush that kept me good through the cold.

After realizing that "Wandering Grad" wasn't a blog title that would apply to me much longer, I decided to rebrand in the Spring and Introduce "Sam's Fifth Avenue." It was a move from being a grad student to my fifth big avenue of life (as well as a play on Saks Fifth Avenue). It also allowed me to not strictly write travel, but open up to other lifestyle topics.

After a lovely few weeks back home in the PNW, I prepared to Move To New York City, and jetted off there at the end of April. For the last 8 months, I've made NYC my home and it's been quite intense trying to get used to this new city, but I think I've found my groove and rhythm.

How could I, a huge musical theatre fan, never had seen a Broadway show? Well, since I had never been to NYC before, I was unable to, but I finally got to See My First Broadway Show, and better yet, see once of my great friends from college actually perform in it. Book of Mormon was definitely a good choice for my first show.

I had heard tales of the Del Close Improv Marathon and how amazing it was, but couldn't wait for my first time to go. Although I wasn't performing in the festival, I got chosen as a volunteer and Attended My First Del Close Marathon at the end of June. It was magical and I saw some of the best and funniest improv in my life and got my first in-person glimpse of my queen Amy Poehler.

After being separated for 2 years since college, my best friend moved to New York and we finally Started Our Web Series that we had been planning for years. It's been hugely DIY and hard to find time to film, but we've created something, and it feels good.

This is so lame, but leaving London meant leaving my favorite store in the world, Primark. But I wasn't left for long without it because Primark made its American debut in Boston and I got a bus up there for my triumphant Return To Primark. It's so superficial, but it was great to go browse cheap clothes in my size again.

There's few times in life that you can say that you're in the same room with your idols and breathe the same air as them and watch their film. Well, that happened when I got to Attend The Sisters Film Premiere, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It was surreal watching their movie with them in the room.

Now it's time to revisit my goals for 2015 and see how I did.

2015 Goals

  • Receive my Master's Degree - I dropped out of grad school, so this didn't happen. However, I did at least get a Postgraduate Diploma, which means I took the course without doing the dissertation, so it still counts for something, at least in the UK.
  • Move to New York City - As of April 26, I successfully achieved this.
  • Perform stand up once a week (when in America) - I sort of lost interest in performing stand up when I got to New York, but I'm hoping to reignite that passion soon.
  • Take improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade - $800 later, I have taken 101 and 201 at UCB and hope I get a diversity scholarship so I can take more classes.
  • Photograph beautiful things - I didn't take as many photos as I would've liked, but I still got some great shots this year.
  • Get a job in Public Relations - After a two month job search, I totally got a PR job. I ended up not feeling though and found one even more fitted for my needs.
  • Eat healthier (without the main intention being to lose weight) - Um, this one was sort of completed, but then completely demolished. I lost over 27lbs the first few months of the year, but then gained it all back and even more after moving to NYC. I'm hoping that I can lose it all in 2016.
  • Start paying off student loans - My loans are deferred until the Spring of 2016, so no payments yet.
  • Work on as many creative projects as possible - I created two web series, appeared in multiple web videos, wrote sketches, freelance wrote as well as started some screenplays, so I'd say I did pretty well in that area.
  • Learn to be content with the inevitable - I think I'm still working on this.
  • Fall out of love - Never fell out of love with my boyfriend.
  • And hopefully fall in love again - Which is because my BF and I got back together and successfully did long-distance and we're more in love than ever.
  • Try not to get stir-crazy - I definitely did not succeed with this. I just don't think I'm meant to live anywhere for too long.
  • Make connections and new friends - For a shy person like me, it's been hard to make friends, but I've made more new friends in NYC than I ever have anywhere else so it's been wonderful.
  • Sing everyday (and not care if I'm being too loud) - I wish I did this, but it's hard to do with roommates.
  • Allow myself to go with the flow - I try, but I end up getting stressed about it sometimes.
  • Dance a lot (in classes or in my room) - I really meant to take dance classes, but they're expensive.
  • Throw irrational fears out the window - I think I'm still working on this too.

Goals for 2016

  • Dance a lot
  • Sing everyday
  • Eat healthier
  • Save money
  • Travel as much as possible
  • Be more active
  • Come home more often
  • Be willing to ask for help
  • Read more
  • Write out my memoirs
  • Perform often

What are your highlights of 2015 and goals for 2016?