2017 was a big. fucking. year. I uprooted my entire life to have this crazy, once in a lifetime experience traveling the world with Remote Year. I’ve boarded 60 flights, 11 ferries 5 buses and one motorcycle to travel to 18 countries and 45 cities spanning five continents (Antartica, I’m coming to you in 2018 bb). I’ve checked things off of my bucket list that I didn’t even know were on my bucket list, and have enough stories from the last 365 days to fill a lifetime. I’m going to be that annoying 95-year-old woman who’s constantly talking about “that one time when I traveled the world living and working in a different country every month with 65 likeminded individuals,” and I am totally ok with that.
I’m not going to lie: Writing this post gave me a lot of feels. Scrolling through the old pictures and realizing just how much I’ve accomplished — and how much unbelievably cool stuff I’ve gotten to do in the last year — is both pride-inducing and humbling (… I know that’s technically impossible, but I feel how I feel okurrr?). I’m a completely different person today than I was on January 1, 2017. I’ve seen so much of this crazy world, met so many incredible people who span across it, and somehow found myself in the process. I’ve crushed goals and I’ve also failed a lot, both of which I am grateful for.
Remote Year is ending in a month (to answer your question: Yes, I am a hottttt mess over it), so I’m not going to do the whole “what I learned” thing, because that will happen at the end of February. Instead, here’s a look back at some of the most incredible moments from the best year of my life. 2018, I don’t know how we’re going to top this.
I packed up everything I owned, hauled it into my mom’s basement, and said goodbye to New York.
I moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to begin an insane year-long journey with a group of total strangers.
I went to Paradise (aka Langkawi) where we literally woke up to monkeys playing outside of our window.
I spent a weekend living on a commune in India, which was really something (… someday, I’ll write about it).
I climbed the rice terraces in Ubud, Bali, a place that has always been numero uno on my bucket list. And I didn’t even fall!
I caught a catfish with my bare FKING hands on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, a fact that I am bizarrely proud of and bring up frequently on first dates.
I cruised through Ha Long Bay, Vietnam — one of the seven wonders of the world — while sipping glamorously on a margarita.
I watched the sunrise over Bagan in Myanmar, and felt like I was living in an iOS screensaver.
I cruised down Inle Lake and met the One-Legged Rowers and the Long Necked Women, all of whom I was in complete awe of.
I saw the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
And got #blessed by a monk.
I DJ’d at a Cambodian nightclub (lol).
Then flew to Australia
… To see a guy about a kangaroo.
In Thailand, I survived the Full Moon Party,
Learned to scuba dive,
Visited approx. 7,000 temples,
AND GOT TO BE IN A FLASH MOB.
I went on my first ever solo trip — to Croatia — which pushed me very far outside of my comfort zone.
I learned to surf in Portugal (… ok, I didn’t actually learn, because I never stood up, but I tried!)
And took a selfie at the Western-most point in all of Europe.
I took a bath in a vat of beer in Prague.
And got to climb a glacier (and do a WHOLE LOT of other cool shit) in Iceland with my best friends.
I traveled to four countries with my mom (Vietnam, Myanmar, The Czech Republic and Italy), and can say with full confidence that we are closer than ever, despite the fact that I’ve been living 23803242 miles away from her and she’s still not 100% sure how to use WhatsApp. (Love you mom!)
I climbed for 8 hours to see this view in Bulgaria. I also went to a naked hot spring, which feels worth mentioning.
I learned how to be on my own again, which as it turns out is actually pretty fucking fun.
I also played polo, which didn’t help burn off the empanada/steak/wine calories, but was still really fun!
I went on another solo trip to Iguazu Falls, and finally got the point of the whole “traveling alone” thing.
I celebrated Thanksgiving with 60 people who were strangers a year ago, and who I’m now #kuBLESSED to call my family.
I fell head-over-heels in love with Santiago, and it’s stunning views, delicious ceviches and STRONG Pisco sours.
And motorcycled my way through Chile (tbh, I still cannot believe I did this).
In addition to the really high highs, I’ve also dealt with some of the lowest lows I’ve ever experienced. I’ve cried, felt like shit, had my heartbroken, struggled with my mental health, spent days in the hospital, and generally fucked up a lot of times. It’s been incredible, but it hasn’t always been easy.
I’ve also laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed, made friends from all over the world who I know I will have in my life forever, and accomplished things that I never thought were possible. I have lived more life in the last year than most people get in a lifetime. I am so, so, endlessly grateful for every single moment that 2017 has brought me, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.