Best of 2017 and Goals for 2018
While the world was burning around us in all aspects, I have to admit, I had a pretty amazing 2017. Not everything was wonderful all the time, but for the most part, I'm ending the year extremely happy. Goals from last year changed as the year went on, and that was completely fine because it ended up all working out for the best.
BY THE NUMBERS
I visited 3 continents this year:
North America, Europe, and Asia.
I went to 9 countries (6 of them entirely new to me):
USA, UK, France, Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Japan
And I traveled to over 25 cities:
USA: NYC, Seattle, Portland, Lincoln City, Whidbey Island, Laguna Beach, San Diego
UK: London, Bath, Oxford, Edinburgh, The Scottish Highlands
Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra
Thailand: Bangkok, Phi Phi Islands
Cambodia: Siem Reap, Angkor Wat
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City
Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara
January, February & March
I spent midnight ringing in the New Year with my boyfriend on a hill in Queen Anne where we could see the Seattle Space Needle fireworks and kiss under the stars. So cheesy. Sorry, not sorry about that. It was the first time in all my years as a Washingtonian to actually see them in person and not just be watching them on a TV screen. After getting back to New York, I walked in the Women's March in the freezing cold, but it was worth it to be surrounded by a million people who all felt the same way about our commander in chief. In February, I wrote my first article that got pushback from people, and that was an eye-opener to how the blogging world can work sometimes. And in March, I discovered how much I adore the Nolita neighborhood of NYC and have since spent a lot of time there.
Our big trip to Southeast Asia finally happened. We'd been talking about it for awhile, and I found a flight deal for only $412, so obviously we had to jump on it. While it ended up not being the best trip in terms of me getting ill and having to deal with that for two weeks abroad, I still really enjoyed exploring a new part of the world. We spent a few days in the Phi Phi Islands, explored the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, enjoyed Songkran and temples in Bankok, and got a quick taste of Ho Chi Minh City.
I quit my job in May, which was a hard decision to make, but it needed to happen. After I gave my two weeks notice, I went off on my yearly birthday trip. I treated myself to afternoon tea at sketch in London, explored Paris for the fifth time, and took a quick trip up to Edinburgh to visit the Scottish Highlands. After I got back to New York, I started a new job, but I wasn't exactly vibing with it, which ended up being fine because in June...
June, July, August
This is the month I finally achieved my dream of becoming a digital nomad! I started working as a social media producer at Matador Network and gained the amazing perk of being able to work from wherever I want. In July, I went home to the Pacific Northwest for three weeks and spent some time wandering around Seattle and Oregon. In August, my sister came back to New York with me and I got to show her around the city.
September & October
I took my first extended digital nomad trip this month when I went abroad to London for the second time this year. It was my first time pitching accommodation for the purpose of writing reviews, which was a big blogger perk win for me. I took a day trip to Oxford (finally) and spent five days in Portugal, going to Lisbon and Sintra. After two weeks in Europe, I flew to Los Angeles to go to my company's work retreat in Laguna Beach. I got to meet my teammates and bond a bit, which was nice to do since we're all remote. I also went down to San Diego for a few days to see my brother and niece, which was a fun reunion. October was spent recovering from the trip because I got pretty sick during it and needed some downtime at home.
After dreaming about for the past 20 years, I finally got to go to Japan. It was the best trip I've had thus far in my life and I am so happy I got to experience it with my boyfriend. On the way over, we had a layover in Beijing and got to see the Great Wall of China. During our trip, we spent time in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. After leaving, I am already wanting to go back. I loved it so much that I would definitely like to live in Japan for a little while in the future if possible.
I went back to London in December to see Hamilton on the West End. It was incredible. It had been almost two years since I had first seen it on Broadway, so I was overwhelmed at the fact that I could see it again in my favorite city. I took a lovely day trip to Bath and took in all of the English Christmastime things I could. From there, I flew directly to Seattle to spend the holidays with my family and end the year on a positive note.
GOALS FOR 2018
I don't like to make resolutions because I hate thinking I have failed in some way each year when I don't complete all of them. Instead, I like to make goals that are a bit more attainable and things in general that I'd like to work on.
I want to work more on my videography skills this year. I've always been good behind a camera in terms of still photography, but I want to be taken more seriously as someone who can shoot motion as well.
In addition to that, I think more vlogging as a personality will be something I take on because I don't always want to be hidden behind the camera. There's a lack of representation of women of color in the travel industry and I should show my face to contribute to that.
To help create more representation, I want to write about and feature more diverse people in the publications I write for. I don't need to be famous, but I can help uplift other voices to fame.
I want to take on more freelance work this year to fill out my portfolio (and wallet). Now that I work remotely, my time can be used in a more flexible way and this means I can try to write, photograph, or shoot video more.
I always told myself I'd hit 30 countries before I turned 30, but it looks like I may hit 30 before I even turn 27. So far for 2018, I have plans to hit Egypt in January, which will make #26. In February I'll fly to London and from there hit the Faroe Islands, Copenhagen, Malmo, and Bucharest, which will be 3 new countries to add to my list (the Faroe Islands and Copenhagen are both parts of Denmark). At that point, I'll have hit 29 countries and need just one more to hit my first goal.
Speaking of bucket list locations, I'm not sure where else I'll be able to visit this year, but ideas floating around in my head include doing a road trip around America in either June or September. I'm dying to get to Cape Town in South Africa and Cartegena in Colombia. The dream would be to spend a month traveling around New Zealand and Australia as well.
During the summer of 2018, I'll be getting back to my theatrical roots and getting paid to sing in Porgy and Bess at the Seattle Opera. This means moving back to the Pacific Northwest for a little bit and saving tons of money by not paying rent in New York City. I hope during this time to take advantage of a summer in such a beautiful location and also be doing something artistic with my life again.
I say every year I want to be healthier, and I can't make any promises (since I fail every time), but I'm hoping I can make this a priority in my life. I also hope to work on my mental health. While I am thankful that most of the time I have things under control, I should definitely be doing more self-care to keep my emotions in check.
As a remote worker, I want to actually have some sort of set up in my apartment that feels like an office instead of just sitting on the couch all day. My eye started twitching in the Autumn, and I think it had to do with being so stressed out and staring at a tiny screen all day. I think I need some sort of larger monitor to make life a little easier.
I want to get my money situation in check and figure out how to do taxes like an adult. I put too many purchases on my credit card and then take forever to pay them off, so I need to stop that and find a way to build up a savings account. I also want to learn how to do deductions and make myself into more of a business so I can learn how to write off the stuff I put into my work.
Here's to an amazing 2018 and I hope it is wonderful for you as well.