While everyone is talking about why 2016 has been such a terrible year, I’m off in my own corner reflecting on why it ended up being one of the best years ever (for me).
I rang in the new year in Bangkok. I finished off the last half of my teaching contract in Thailand (which meant playing more than working). And most importantly, I finally found (and landed) my dream job – working on a cruise ship.
I get paid to party and travel. Now do you see why this year was fantastic for me?
This was the year I finally embraced the beauty of California and realised how fortunate I am to say that I grew up here. I managed to take a few roadtrips out to some of my favourite places in the state, and I’m hoping to drive all the way up to NorCal the next time I’m back. As terrified as I am of driving, there’s something quite therapeutic about just getting away and blasting music in the car along the coast.
I reunited with Melbourne (my favourite!) and Santa Barbara after spending a few years away from both cities. It’s a strange feeling, re-visiting places you used to live- everything feels so comfortable yet different. I didn’t get nearly enough time in both cities, but those two combined days ended up being some of the highlights of my year.
And my goodness, I will always feel proud to be a Gaucho. How gorgeous is our campus?! Our rinky-dinky beach town, Isla Vista, may have gone slightly metropolitan in the past years (sigh… construction of apartment complexes and businesses is inevitable in California), but it still remains one of my favourite places in the world.
I even crammed in a full day of adventures in San Diego, trekking to La Jolla Cove, Torrey Pines State Reserve, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, and Gaslamp Quarter – all to test out my new camera. I was successful and full of happiness that the trip cost me $0 (aside from petrol).
It felt really neat to explore parts of California after travelling for so long. There are definitely parts of Orange County and places in general that I can appreciate now, especially at nighttime when I’m usually stalling for time to avoid traffic back home.
And yes, I had my fair share of struggles and anxieties throughout the year. We always do – we just choose to only share the good stuff on social media. And, for some crazy reason, everything always worked out in my favor.
I cannot say enough good words about REI (my seasonal job that I usually pick up in between travels since it’s so fulfilling and fun to be surrounded by like-minded, wanderlust people. Cheers to my Tustin team for always keeping me sane and for funding all of my travels during my stints at home. I love you guys more than you’ll ever know, and thanks for always having me back!
The main reason why 2016 was so good to me was because of the people. From girl talks on the balcony and night market food runs in Thailand, to all the late-night shenanigans we’d get up to after hours on ships, I was never at a loss for good company. It ended up being the most social year ever for me – both because of my job and everything it entailed afterward. I chose to socialise over sleep, and I created a thousand more memories because of that. I couldn’t have been happier to have met everyone that I did. While I was used to the concept of saying, “See you later, not goodbye,” to friends, it was much different from other friendships abroad. These friendships were like family bonds held together by Super Glue. I can’t wait to see what next year holds and all the new people I’ll meet on future ships.
And hurrah for all these spontaneous, happy reunions with friends that I hadn’t had a chance to hang with in awhile. Cheers to y’all!
Stats for the Year:
- 223 days at sea (which means only 142 days on land)
- 2 cruise ships
- 6 countries (Thailand, Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea)
- 30+ ports (estimating – I’m too lazy to go back and count)
- 4 jobs
- Countless friends made throughout the world <3
I can’t wait to celebrate the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 in London, England. That’s something I only DREAMED of saying when I was 6 yrs. old. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this year – it truly was one of the best. <3