Nine countries (six of them finally outside of Asia!), countless memories, and with all my trips combined, at least an entire month out of 12 that I was on the road, traveling. While I always try to write these year-end posts with optimism, always try to end the year on a high note, this time around, there is little effort needed to try and put a positive spin on the year that was - because oh my gosh, has 2015 been good to me. Hashtag blessed.
2015 actually started on the road - in Seoul, Korea, where I spent my first ever New Year's away from home. And it was a blast! There would be three more trips to Korea towards the end of the year. Because Seoul is officially my favorite city.
Next came a long weekend of eating in Singapore and another food trip in Taiwan (my first time there - and I really must come back!). Nom nom nom. Good times.
And then there was the mother of all trips - the adventure I said I would take before I turned 30, which I did! Our nearly month-long cross-country adventure in Europe took place in June. I've yet to write about any of it because I just don't know how to start - there's so much to rave about! All the beautiful places we went to, all the history we experienced, the food we ate, and of course, the company - the amazing travel buddies on the trip with me.
I can talk about all the tourist-y places, the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum and the Gaudi buildings, but I doubt I'll do a better job than Wikipedia or Lonely Planet. I can write about all the food we ate, but my friend Rissee would certainly be much more credible in matters of taste (see what I did there? Haha).
Instead, every now and then when I find myself daydreaming about our trip, I would be going back to those little moments - Ics, Rox or Rissee behind the wheel as we drove around Provence and Tuscany in our rented car; walking around Paris with Mabs to go to that church that housed the remains of an incorruptible saint; doing burpees by the bay in Barcelona with Ics and Ris; going for an early morning solo run in quiet Rome, and seeing the coliseum before the flocks of tourists came; exploring Avignon with Ris on an early morning run; sitting back and enjoying the view in our quaint and incredibly adorable B&B in Chianti; surprising Mabs for her birthday in aforementioned B&B; going on a beer tour in Prague and meeting other people from our hostel; trying out funny brownies (that had no effect on us whatsoever, hmp) in Amsterdam with Ics! The list is nearly endless. The best travel moments are always bittersweet, aren't they? They exist in one's memories to remind him of a happiness felt in the past that he will never be able to recreate again.
Someday, maybe I will write about all of them. For now though, here's a video of our epic trip, edited by our resident (nutty) videomaker Mabs, also known as All The Cray We Had In Europe, Told Through A Passion Pit Song About The Year Rissee and I Were Born:
My travels this year would've been more than enough to fill up this year-end post, but the amazing thing is, so many other things happened beyond those trips, serving as further proof that 2015, the year I turned 30, was a year on steroids.
Career-wise, I'd have to say I had a pretty amazing year. It wasn't easy, it wasn't always fun, but it was definitely fulfilling. Working with the team who launched a great campaign, with a powerful message that I personally believe in and live by - I couldn't have asked for a better corporate gig. I could only hope for even greater things in 2016.
Then there's the rekindling of an old passion, explored in a new way. I pretty much abandoned this blog in 2015 - but not because I stopped writing. In fact, I abandoned this travel blog because I was writing - it's just that I was writing something else.
The idea came to me some time during the summer, but really, it had been stewing in my head for a long time - it was only then that all these little bits of details came together to finally make sense. It stayed as random notes and doodles on my notebook for a little longer, until I attended a few writing classes towards the latter half of the year. It took the month of November - and the push of NaNoWriMo - to help me accomplish something I had never done before, but had always wanted to, always dreamed of doing. By the end of November, I had written draft zero of my first novel.
There's still a lot of work that needs to be done - and editing, as I am finding out, is a little bit of a bitch - but I'm optimistic. I already wrote 50,000 words, there's no turning back now.
Just as there is no turning back from 2016 - another year of possibility, another year to do that which brings us joy, another year to explore places we never thought we'd go to. There is not much else to say except I can't freaking wait. Let's do this. 2015, you've been so freaking amazing, and 2016 will be just as great. Hashtag positivity.