Writing from 3.387° S, 36.683°
This past year seemed to be big for a lot of people. Monumental changes — both positive and negative — took place all around the world. On a smaller scale, this year affected me more than any other before, and I ended the year the happiest I’ve ever been.
During my recent solo trip to Zanzibar, I had a lot of alone time to reflect on everything that happened this year. Clearly, my love of lists did not stay in 2017.
What I did:
- Turned 22
- Lost my first grandparent, one of my favorite people in the world
- Spent 10 days relaxing in Mexico with my best friend
- Graduated from Indiana University
- Enjoyed my last summer at home with family and took a “goodbye tour” across the US to see friends
- Moved (short-term) to Tanzania
- Volunteered for the last three months of the year with two different NGOs in Arusha
- Launched my blog
- Worked a lot
- Relaxed a lot
- Dreamed and schemed about trips for the upcoming year
- Enjoyed my life more than ever before
What I learned:
- Volunteering is hard. You can’t fix everything.
- I am my own worst critic.
- Flexibility is the most important
- No matter how hard I try, I will probably never stop biting my nails.
- Deciding to do something and figuring out how to make it happen after is the best motivator.
- The importance of mosquito nets should not be underestimated.
- Potential friends are everywhere.
- There is a lot of good in the world. There is also a lot of shit.
- Being separated from the news in your home country is incredibly refreshing.
- Solo travel is still the most empowering thing I do.
- It is possible to have every inch of one’s legs covered in bug bites.
- Leaving home doesn’t mean losing the closeness you’ve built with family and friends.
- Sarcasm is not universally understood.
- Education is a gift I will never take for granted again.
- Ice cream is hard to find in a country with frequent power cuts and very few freezers.
- Alone time is precious and not common when living in a hostel.
- Anything can be learned on the internet.
What I regret:
- Paying $800 for a rabies vaccine I probably didn’t need.
- Not solo traveling in the US when I had the time.
- Forgetting sometimes that I am my own person and can say “yes” or “no” to whatever I want.
- The situations where I didn’t trust my instincts, which are almost always right.
- Eating some questionable seafood in NYC.
What I would change:
As an added bonus, I took a one second video every single day of 2017. The result makes me nostalgic and so, so grateful. See it here!
Another year over and I’m thrilled to be starting 2018 here in Tanzania. More to come on what’s up next for me! Here’s to all of us doing exactly what makes us happy in these next 12 months. We’re worth it. Cheers!