Just like many people, I often use the New Year as a way to reflect on the previous year. But because of my recent adventures abroad, I wanted to use this time to not only look back on personal achievements and failures, but also to focus on the experiences and people I’m grateful for. That’s because I recognize how lucky I am that I was in a position and a place in my life where I could drop everything (so to speak) to experience living in a country on an entirely different continent on the other side of the world – that’s a huge deal and I tend to forget that from time to time.

I know I’m a little behind in posting this, but, hey, who likes overachievers anyway? Plus it is still a good time to reflect on some of the highlights of 2018 now that it’s nearly two months into 2019. One thing I initially noticed is how much I challenged myself  to go out of my comfort zone and how empowered I feel because of that decision.

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I’d love to share ALL of my favorite moments, but no one has time for that, so here are my highlights of 2018:

  • Australian sunsets
  • Experiencing living in Sydney (Note: This was my first time living in a city this large!)
  • Living in two different countries
  • Seeing my friends in Signals Midwest play to a massive crowd in Melbourne, AUIMG_1504
  • Getting tattoos with Anne, my past roommate and friend from the Netherlands
  • Walking across the Harbour Bridge
  • Hiking some breathtakingly gorgeous spots in New Zealand (But let’s be real, this isn’t a surprise as a good chunk of NZ is breathtakingly gorgeous!)
  • House and pug sitting for a welcoming and hospitable Kiwi couple in Christchurch, NZ
  • Taking a much needed break from writing and journalism
  • Meeting so many wonderful people in both Australia and New Zealand
  • Volunteering at the Christchurch Vegan Expo
  • Challenging myself with hikingIMG_2430
  • My personal growth over the past year
  • Getting published in a few different Kiwi publications
  • Visiting home in September
  • My first-ever sound activation session
  • Moving back to Richmond in November
  • Experiencing my first snow since I’ve been back in the States!
  • Getting to spend Christmas with my family

2018 was another year of big changes that helped me learn even more about myself while still living abroad. I’m really proud of who I’ve become over the past year and a half and I owe a lot of that to my experiences abroad and the people I met there.

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