Why does everyone hate 2016?
Is there anyone else that thinks that New Years Eve is a big stressful situation? There are so many expectations of making the night ultra memorable and getting a midnight kiss from the one we love, and somehow this will make it the best year.
Last year, I got all those things and so much more. It was the first time that New Years Eve delivered all of that to me. Germany is a truly magical place to ring in the New Year, especially with friends like Christine, Astrid, Alex and Paolo. 2016 without a doubt was the most exhilarating year of my life.
For the first time ever, I took a year to myself and did what I had been aching to do - travel. Before this year, the most travel I'd ever done was a week long cruise with my family at the end of my senior year of high school. We sailed the Western Caribbean, swam with sea turtles and overall had a magical trip. There was one thing missing, though. It lacked an authenticity. I alway imagined travel as more than just an itinerary and a time line. I wanted to meet the locals. Try odd foods. Listen to people speak in foreign languages. I think most of all, I wanted to prove that I could go out into the world and do it all on my own.
A one-way ticket in hand, I set off for London. For anyone who knows me, they'd call me a bit of any anglophile. London has always been #1 on my bucket list. The gloomy rain clouds, sarcastic Brits and a large pint of Strongbow was my ideal vacation. I clumsily navigated my way through London for a week and it gave me such courage to continue on this path of my gypsy lifestyle.
Next was Italy in a more permanent capacity. It was a lot of uncertainty and one of the hardest transitions I've had to go through, but I am so happy that I got to. 2016 allowed me to explore the north of Italy, the east of France, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Greece in my time abroad.
I've been seeing so many memes about the train wreck 2016 was, and I can't help but feel a little sad for everyone looking to a new year for a new start. If 2017 holds even a quarter of what 2016 did, I am in for one memorable ride. I have met so many incredible people that I will have in my life forever. I have learned new things, tasted different foods and listened to a beautiful language that was not my own. Through tears of joy and sometimes frustration, 2016 taught me that no matter where you are in the world - time will keep on marching whether you participate or not. The world will not cease to spin because you took a risk. There is an excitement in the unknown.
If you can change anything this year, change how you think of travel. It's not unattainable. It's not only for the rich. It's not something you have to wait until the right time to do. Just close your eyes, and take the leap.
What will you change in 2017?