It’s that time of year when everyone is reflecting upon their last year (or decade as it seems this year), so I thought I’d do the same.
I guess. Sigh. Honestly, I think these are kinda cheesy. But… I guess peer pressure works, so here goes. I guess I also feel as though, for a self-proclaimed “travel blogger,” I didn’t travel much this year – at least not in the latter part of the year. That happens, I suppose, when you’re laid off so I’m going to be kind to myself.
I started this year with a semi-free 8-day trip to Israel thanks to one of the Birthright organizers. I sneaked in just before I aged out of the new maximum age (32) and I’m glad I did! The trip was a whirlwind and absolutely exhausting. But I learned a lot, met a lot of awesome people (including my current partner), and I spent a good two days eating around Tel Aviv after that before flying home. I got to experience the uniqueness of an El Al flight, too. I saw a lot more of Israel than I would’ve had I gone by myself, like Tzfat and the Golan Heights (whether or not the latter was procured under legal means is up for debate, I realize) and I’m really glad I went. It was also my first time traveling with people in YEARS. That was a learning experience too.
Memphis & Nashville, Tennessee
Once Nick and I started dating, we realized we’d both wanted to visit Nashville so visit it we did. I’d also wanted to see Memphis so I started out in Memphis and we later met up in Nashville. I enjoyed both of these cities but they’re just not really tourist-friendly as their public transportation systems don’t simply don’t exist. I ate a lot of good food and learned the history of these cities though. Additionally, I learned how to travel with another person who doesn’t have the stamina or desire for 14-hour non-stop days. I guess you could say that I learned patience on this trip.
If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen to go to the most expensive country on the planet while out of work, but I’d rescheduled this trip to June of 2019 after needing to cancel it in September 2018 so off I went. I used credit card points to pay for about half my plane ticket there and then when I got to Iceland I realized that it wasn’t all that expensive and that there was a ton of amazing vegan and vegetarian food to eat. It was really interesting to be in a place where there was daylight 24 hours a day. I also enjoyed the feeling of feeling one hundred percent safe in a large city. And I admitted the hype was real for the Blue Lagoon because I loved it. While in Iceland, I put myself on a budget for the first time and although I still spent a lot, I didn’t spend nearly as much as I could’ve had I not been keeping such close watch.
Catskills, New York (Upstate)
My annual yoga retreat in the Catskills is something I look forward to every year. It’s SO relaxing. (Especially given the fact that I wasn’t waiting to hear if the co-op board had approved my application to buy an apartment this time around.) I learn so much from my yoga teacher Chrissy every year and although I can’t remember any of those lessons at this very moment, this trip is always a reminder to slow down once in a while, watch the morning mist, and sip my coffee slowly.
Beacon, New York (Hudson Valley)
In lieu of a trip to Maine, Nick and I scheduled a quick weekend away in a little town in the Hudson Valley called Beacon. I’d been there a couple of times in the past but Nick had never been there. My memory of this town was that it had the best thrift shops in the world. (Not the world, but, you know, whatever.) We visited Dia:Beacon, Storm King, ate a lot of great food (including the best donuts ever), wandered around the town going to a whole bunch of events to which we were definitely not invited (yay small-town life) and slowed down for a bit. But again, like in Tennessee, Beacon and the surrounding towns are sorely in need of a public transportation system like whoa. (This could be said for any town outside of New York City in the US, so I know I’m biased.) I learned how to relax on this trip.
2019 was definitely all about learning how to relax, slow down, and get along with others. It’s still a work in progress. I’m still a work in progress. As always, the universe gives you what you need.