WOW. 2017 has been freakin' amazing. In thinking back on the year when I sat down to write this post, my mind was exhausted. It was a year on-the-go for sure, and filled with some 180 degree life changes. As always, I love to reminisce on the year before heading into another new year. It's always great to take a step back and look at your life through a different lens. What have you accomplished? What didn't you accomplish that you set out to? It's great in goal setting for the new year. Here's my highlight reel, followed by some 2018 goals at the end of the post. I'd love to hear your new years resolutions and goals as well!
1. WE MOVED TO AUSTRALIA
Holy moly this fall (or rather, spring in Australia) was a whirlwind. Joe and I packed up our entire life & moved across the world to the opposite hemisphere. We are absolutely LOVING Sydney, Australia & our new life here, even more than we dreamed of. This was the biggest life change for us in 2017 as we said goodbye to San Francisco, our home for the last 5 years, and our friends and family. It's been a goal of ours since we met to move internationally together, so we made a pact that we'd make it happen once we got married. This year, we did it - a year after our wedding! Another bucket list check mark in the books. This means new roles in our careers, a new home, new friends, new hobbies, new restaurants, new everything. Joe got an amazing job at Adobe & is loving it, and I love my new aussie team at Okta. More details on the how, what, why's of this big adventure here & a little bit about the Aussie life so far here.
2. MORE TRAVELING
Ensenada, Mexico (January)
Havana, Cuba (May)
Sydney, Australia (x3 - June, August, October)
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (July)
Bali, Indonesia (December) - blog post to come soon!
To-date I've traveled to 22 countries, 89 major cities, and 12% of the world. LOTS TO GO!
3. 1ST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Being married is the best. In true adventurer style, we went white water rafting & glamping for our 1 year wedding anniversary. We were planning to already be in Australia for it, so we planned this little rafting getaway at the very last minute & still had the time of our lives. I can't wait to go rafting again - it's a blast! Here are a few notes about what we've learned in one year of marriage:
We don't adhere to gender stereotypes by any means. We do most things in life as a team, including household responsibilities.
We agree to have separate lives & lives together. It's important for us to have our own time sometimes - both alone, and with our friends, & to grow on our own as we grow together.
We love to tease each other, have millions of inside jokes, and make each other laugh. We are joking around at least 50% of the time. We don't take ourselves to seriously and never have, but even more so now. We don't sweat the small stuff that we maybe would have in the past.
We aren't always in constant communication. We used to text all day in the early years, but now there's days we are so busy at work that we haven't spoken once & that's ok. We are learning that as we get older, life also gets busier with various things. For us now, it's careers, but there will always be something as we get older. It makes time together even more special as we have lots to catch each other up on from our days.
[Joe's addition] We like to support each other when trying new things. Back to #1 up top (moving to Aus), everything for us is new, so it's important for us to get behind each others' new hobbies, friends - our whole new aussie world.
4. SCUBA CERTIFIED
Just 2 weekends ago actually, Joe and I finished our scuba certification in Manly (Shelly Beach) & are already itching to get so many dives in! During the training course, I saw 3 sharks, some rays countless cool fish. I'm already obsessed. We just went again in Nusa Penida, Bali on the Indonesia trip that we're currently on & it was fabulous! We saw turtles, octopus, crabs, and tons of bright fish. The visibility in Bali is amazing.
5. LEARN(ING) TO SURF
I'm nowhere near good but absolutely love being out on the water. It feels amazing when you actually stand up. We took our first lesson in Byron Bay, then immediately bought a board and have been practicing all over Sydney. We just took another lesson in Bali yesterday! We're both loving it. And it keeps us tan! :)
6. TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Spending time with family and friends is always important to me. I'm lucky in that the majority of my family lives in Sacramento & does everything together, from holidays to birthdays, to random get togethers. My parents, brother, & in-laws mean the world to me, as family is such a core value for both Joe and me. My nieces and nephew are actually an obsession at this point. I love them to pieces & make sure I get to talk to them over Facetime a few times a week - some weeks every day!
My cousins are also some of my best friends, and I'm really lucky I get to spend so much time with the majority of them! Did you know I have 17 first cousins, not including their (now) spouses and children!? Spending time with my grandparents every time I go home is important too. It's going to be of course harder to see them living over here, but thank god for Facetime, texting, Instagram (yes, my grandparents are super tech savvy).
I pride myself on putting in a lot of effort to maintain friendships, near and far, new and old. Distance makes it harder, definitely. 2017 was important for me to spend as much time with family & friends before moving overseas. I got to celebrate countless birthdays, weekend trips, holidays, bachelorette parties, and 2 weddings this year, and was honored to be a bridesmaid in both weddings. Time with family and friends is so sacred, and I recognize that now more than ever, being so far from loved ones.
7. FLYING TRAPEZE
This is more random & a fun fact than a "highlight", but it's something out of the ordinary & I really enjoyed trying something new that freaked me out. This was setup as a work event and I was scared $H*TLE$$, but ended up having SO MUCH FUN! I'm glad I sucked it up and participated. Random as hell, but it's such an awesome adrenaline rush and was an absolute BLAST. I'd definitely do it again. Do something crazy that freaks you out in 2018. I'm planning to do more too!
8. 10K FOLLOWERS & LOTS OF BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
2017 was a good year for my blog. I go in and out of focusing on it when life gets busy (as you can imagine it was hard to maintain constant content when I was in the process of moving), but I've been heads down a lot again lately & really enjoying it. Working with some amazing brands in 2017 was a great opportunity, and reaching 10K followers on Instagram was a big accomplishment for me as I've been working hard on my blog & photography over the last 2 years. It's great to see progress and growth. Read more here about why more Instagram followers is important to turn a blog into a business & how bloggers monetize their blogs.
GOALS & DREAMS FOR 2018
1. TRAVEL, DUH.
Always eager to go out & see the world. Although I’m sure this will change 20 times, here are the spots on my shortlist this year:
New Zealand - Auckland and Queenstown
Cairnes, Australia & the Great Barrier Reef (before its dead!)
Tel Aviv (again for a wedding!)
2. MAKE NEW MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
This is definitely a new goal on my list. I have lots of besties who I miss so much back home in the states, but making friends in your late twenties definitely takes time. It's not as easy as having a drinking buddy in college where everyone has the same agenda. In your late twenties, everyone is busy with work, significant others, travel, etc. and has their own life going on so it takes more effort. I definitely miss having a go-to girl gang to do everything with & know I can spend more time investing in that to make sure I leave Australia with some lifelong friends. Sometimes it’s so easy to stay in and cuddle up on the couch with Joe on a Friday night after a long work week, but making great friends takes work & PATIENCE. It doesn’t happen overnight. I plan to spend more time meeting new people and spending time with the people I've met even more, both with Joe and on my own too! ❤️
3. COOK MORE
Cooking (healthy) has always been a passion of mine and I used to post a lot about food, but we’ve been lazy at home lately and still settling in so have been eating out more. I can always notice the difference in my energy levels & how my body feels when I eat out too much. My plan is to be more diligent in 2018!
4. SEND MORE CARDS
Who doesn’t love getting mail? Handwritten notes seem like such a personal touch in this day and age. Although it takes 2 weeks for a letter to get to the US, I’m hoping to send more handwritten cards for birthdays, celebratory occasions, times of sympathy, and maybe some for no reason at all. Since I can’t be at all the special times in my friends’ and family’s lives while I’m down under, it’s the best alternative to show I’m thinking of them.
5. ACQUIRE LESS THINGS
Buy less things. Simple as that. I’d rather spend my money on travel & experiences anyways. And it definitely wouldn’t hurt to save more. Since I did a big purge when leaving San Francisco to move over here, I’m off to a good start. I’d like to keep it that way. #wannabeminimalist
6. LESS TECHNOLOGY (...AT TIMES)
Major parts of my life revolve around tech — my career, my second career (blog!), and keeping in touch with friends back home. I need to do a better job of staying away from my phone when I’m chatting with Joe at home & out and about. I can do a better job of staying away from technology at the times it makes the most sense. Especially after 9 pm. Nobody from the states is awake anyways. PS: this is something that’s on my list every year (ugh) & I might not always succeed completely but... baby steps & progress means something!
Happy new year everyone & cheers to taking on 2018 with a full heart & big appetite for adventure!
Where are you traveling to in 2018? Check out my travel guides for some inspiration, if you're in need.