I am not who I was a year ago: 2011 has been, for me, a year of transformation. Not only have I traveled more, I have seen more and learned more about the world and myself. This person that I have become is one that I am proud of. One that I enjoy being around. One that I recognize. The past few years of soul-searching have resulted in this person that I am today, but 2011 has been pivotal in that discovery of self for several reasons.
I have pushed myself to face my fears.
Getting into cages with tigers? Standing on moving elephants in the middle of the jungle in Thailand? Staying alone in a hotel in Bangkok? While traveling, my motto was “Sure why not,” which is why 2011 has been a year where I have taken a lot of risks and faced a lot of fears. There have been a lot of chances taken, sometimes bad and sometimes good. But, there have been many rewards based on my experiences, like learning that I’m actually a lot braver than I originally thought.
I have learned to live with less.
I always travel with only carry-on luggage. This has never phased me until this summer. Realizing that I could live on the same clothes for 4-weeks made me realize how little I really need in life. I used to be a self-proclaimed shopaholic, but now when I go shopping I can barely find anything I need. I have it all, and there are so many people who live on less. I began to get rid of old clothes, something I never used to do, and started to buy less. It has proved to make a significant difference in my life, and in my wallet, leaving me more money for future adventures.
I have learned to fit writing into my daily life.
After reading The Happiness Project, I started to realize that including writing in my daily life would make me overall a happier person. Finally figuring out that writing about travel would make me the happiest, I fully focused on my blog starting in May 2011. I joined Twitter and started participating in travel discussions and reading others’ travel blogs for inspiration. I wrote as much as I could every day, and posted as often as possible. With a little help from BootsnAll in November, it was a little easier to get myself going from the daily prompts in their 30 Days of Indie Travel Project. Writing every day has made me happier overall, and the positive feedback I’ve been receiving has given me a boast in confidence and allowed me to take more risks in my writing.
While it’s hard to put a name on exactly what else has changed and shaped me this year, I know that a lot of it has to do with my trip to Asia this summer. Life there was different, simpler than my life back at home, and yet the people were overall happier. I was happier too. The problem has been transforming that happiness back into my life at home when I constantly dream of leaving all responsibilities behind and traveling the world instead. Which leads me to this year’s resolution.
What lies ahead for 2012?
I plan for this transformation to continue into the new year and throughout 2012. Which is why I’ve decided to make a pretty big resolution for the year. It doesn’t have to do with traveling the world more or about losing weight, instead, it is a change in the way I live my life. This year’s resolution is to live my everyday life more like how I live my life when I’m traveling.
While traveling, I become the best version of myself. I wake up early, sit down to have coffee and breakfast, explore the amazing world that I am living in, have time to nap, to write, and spend my nights out making new friends. I take each moment, each breath, and I am grateful for it. I soak up the environment I’m in, take time to admire the scenery and meet the people around me.
At home, this is not what I do. I worry. I rush. I get angry easily. I complain. Not any more. While I realize that bringing this lifestyle into my life may be complicated, work and responsibilities can get in the way of fully enjoying life, I vow to work my best to live each day as if I am traveling and to fully enjoy life to the fullest.
In October, I wrote, “When you are traveling, Carpe Diem actually means something. You wake up each day ready to conquer the world, ready to learn something new. You take risks and chances. You live every day as if it’s your last. You try new things and immerse yourself in the world and different cultures. You live life the way it is meant to be lived.” And, so, this has become the goal for 2012; treat each and everyday as I would while traveling, as each day is my last and to fully immerse myself in life. I’m thinking it will make all the difference.