The day I’ve been dreading since I first started making memories, and realized just how much you meant to me. The day that I can no longer come for a visit over strong black coffee and talk for hours about nothing much except life.
February 15th, 2017.
I will remember this day until my day comes, the day you passed away.
It’s that time of the year again. 2016 is already coming to a close, and I’m preparing for a new 12 months of goals, travel, and life. When I look back on 2016, I see a year that was difficult, challenging, and a whole lot of fun too. I based myself in North America this year and had many wonderful adventures starting from the Pacific Northwest.
This was an epic year of travel for me. I traveled to more US states than I thought possible in a year, and, to my glee, I finally added Canada to my destinations. In fact, I visited Canada four separate times throughout the year. I just couldn’t get enough of the Great White North.
No matter which side of the American election you were on this November, you’ll have to agree that where America stands on the world stage is a bit uncertain right now. My country has decided to put someone in power who has no previous diplomatic or political experience. We have decided to choose a leader that wants to close America’s borders, and increase the ethnocentric mindset that already exists in this country.
This has caused alarm for a lot of American travelers and expats. I’m unsure if visa regulations will change for the worse in the next few years. I’m dreading how much anti-American sentiment I’ll get from other foreign travelers for simply being from a country who elected someone like Trump. I’ve already received backlash from other travelers in the last couple of weeks and I didn’t even vote for the guy.
I’m tired you guys. Exhausted might be a better word. I try my best to spread positivity on this blog and to focus on the good, but sometimes, sometimes, I have to be honest and talk about the negativity too.
The America I left 3 years ago, is not the same one I cameback to last March. Perhaps I was blinded by my love for my country, never having spent a decent amount of time away from it previously. I know this was not a sudden change, it’s something that has been building throughout the decades, probably, to be honest, since America was born. But the America I came back to last March, the one I’ve been living in for the past year and a half is unrecognizable to me now.
It’s official. I bought my plane ticket two nights ago. The start of an adventure I know all too well, I’m moving abroad again to a new part of the world. I’ll be leaving for Hong Kong in October and traveling around multiple countries before possibly settling down in the Philippines or another place that my heart likes.
I’ve been so busy with catching up on posts from months past that I haven’t had the chance to talk to you guys in real time in a while, and I think it’s about time to fill you in.
I’ve been in Portland for less than 2 weeks, and so much has happened since we moved up to the Rose City.
I got a job at a craft beer bar (surprise, surprise!) before we had even properly moved up to Portland. We were just in the city for the day passing out resumes at different bars, but still based down in Veneta, outside of Eugene, Oregon.
My boyfriend found a job within a few more days. Most importantly, he found employers who are willing to sponsor him and trudge through all of the yellow tape and the long process of applying for a work visa as a foreigner. I still don’t know how he swung this, but I’m going to put it down to his craft beer savvy, Kiwi charm and accent (seriously, it goes a long way over here).
In any case I’m so incredibly excited by this turn of events. There was a moment just a few days ago when we thought for sure we were going to have to move up to Vancouver, Canada for the summer so he could work full time. He’s also a Canadian citizen, so he can work up there with no problem. But alas, his employers are awesome and patient, and willing to work with him to process the work visa as quickly as possible.
Then, before I even had a proper shift at the craft beer bar, I quit. That’s right, I still can’t believe I gave up a perfectly good job that had good beer, but I did it swiftly and without a regretful look back.
And let me tell you, I’ve been so much happier since I put in my early resignation. I came back to the States with a lot of goals and aspirations for what I want to do with my life, and continuing to work in hospitality is not one of them.
I love beer, I’ve enjoyed (for the most part) my many jobs in hospitality, but I’m ready to take a chance and take on a challenge to try and make my writing a reality. If things don’t work out completely, I can always pick up another part time bar job, but for now I’m just excited and thankful that I can spend my days focusing solely on my writing and this blog.
I’ve jumped head first into the world of freelancing. I’m writing every day, whether it be for this blog, guest posts for other websites, or applications for paid writing gigs. In the short time I’ve been in Portland, I’ve secured 3 partnerships with local companies that I’ll be working with this summer, and my head is clearer than it has been in ages.
I have to admit, we haven’t even had a chance to properly explore Portland yet. We’ve spent a few days around the city, but with the focus on getting our lives together and our jobs figured out, we haven’t had much time to just relax and enjoy all that the city has to offer.
And I can tell that Portland has a lot to offer.
Things are finally coming together, my boyfriend loves his job so far and I’m loving my new self-employed one. We’re moving into a share house on Friday that has its own yoga studio and greenhouse. It’s located in Alberta, the arts suburb of Portland.
I’m ready to settle down for a little while, and I think Portland is going to be the perfect place to write and find the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the beauty of the little things.
So, once again, thank you for reading. This blog has made me realize how much I love writing and it has given me a glimpse into what could make me happy in the future.
I turn a quarter of a century old tomorrow. I’m in the Oregon countryside with my family and I’m just as happy as I was when I turned 21 in San Diego, 22 in Las Vegas, 23 in Melbourne, Australia, and 24 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Funny enough, this house in the country is actually where I first started this blog. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, my immediate future is staring at me from around the corner. That future that determines so much of how my life will go.
25 sounded so old to my teenage and younger self. To my 24 year old self I still feel young, I’m at the cusp of many an exciting endeavor, I’m also in the dark of what the next year will entail.
I decided to not go straight into an intellectually stimulating (or probably more accurate, a mind numbingly) entry level job from my college graduation.
I’ve always been a worrier, someone who doubted and second guessed things. Then I took a chance and did something I always wanted to do: I moved abroad. I did it without an idea of what job I would find to keep me afloat, with which friends I would find a new perspective, with what inspiration I would find throughout the course of my two years away from home.
And in the end, it worked out just as it was meant to. As I’ve traveled up the coast of California and Oregon for the past two months, I’ve found how much I still appreciate and love my friends I knew from college, from past travels, and the new friends I’ve met through them.
How it feels like no time has passed at all. This initial veer off the idealized path has created a domino effect in my life. My passions come back to me, knock the breath out of me, I’m in love with so many things. But that’s always how I wanted to spend my life.
To me, it shows how genuinely happy I am going into this milestone birthday, how content and even excited I am with how my life is going even though I may not know exactly what I’m doing with it, or even what I’m doing tomorrow or the next day.
All I know is that music and writing have popped up time and time again through the years, and I don’t believe in coincidence.
I want to finish a master’s degree, I want to record an album and play at open mics or on the street just for the fun of it. I want to start a stellar record collection and become even broader with my music tastes. I want to write a book, to write full time for this blog. I want to become fluent in Spanish and travel to South America, go to Argentina and learn how to properly tango.
I want to take a cross country road trip with my boyfriend in our beat up van through the States and Canada. I want to settle down in Portland for awhile. I want to teach English in Japan, and live in London just to write for a summer. I want to go to concerts constantly, and festivals as much as my bank account allows.
I want to continually learn, to grow and find out how many ways I can enjoy life in the process.
In my (almost) 25 years I’ve earned my open water scuba certification, took culinary classes in Italy, traveled to 20 countries, completely started over in 4 different cities, received my bachelor’s degree in psychology, skydived over the middle of New Zealand, traveled on my own, volunteered at music festivals in Australia, fell in love with guitar, and lived.
I’ve dealt with loss, sadness, loneliness and self doubt. I’ve gone through the spectrum of emotions and come out on the other side with a sunnier disposition and an attitude that I can face anything I put my mind to.
I don’t see why I can’t do the rest of it as well, because all of those plans I mentioned before, I truly hope to one day do.
I’m finally figuring myself out: my confidence, what I love and what I don’t, what I want and what I’m willing to do to make sure my ambitions become reality.
25 is a year to not only get things done, but to enjoy it and embrace any fears or reluctances I may have. I can only imagine it’ll just get better as I get into my late 20s. So, here’s to a quarter of a century of living, and a quarter of a century to figure out where I really want to go is where I am in the present.
As Ben Howard once wrote, “Climb out. Out enough to see the curl of the world.” I’ve taken that to heart ever since.