31 December 2012

2012: Achieving dreams, overcoming challenges

2102. What a rollercoaster it was. I am not sure how it is the end of the year already, yet at the same time the start of the year seems so infinitely long ago. I'm just tired I guess.

This was the year of immense challenges, meeting new people, countless new experiences, tremendous highs, devastating lows, and of course, achieving dreams. Years ago I had the idea of moving to a different country for 1 year, then in 2011 I set myself the challenge to turn that idea into a reality by declaring that by March 2012 I was to leave behind my home of Melbourne, Australia and set off for New York City.

And since March 2012 I've been traveling around America ever since.

Arriving in Los Angeles, America with not the slightest idea of where to go, what I am doing, and the fear that I have just made a huge mistake, was one of the scariest times of my entire life. But, I survived, and then thrived! To think that 9 months later I am still traveling. Looking back on it now makes me feel the proudest I have ever felt.

I've had some awesome experiences that I will remember for years to come, like the time I climbed the Hollywood hills with some amazing new friends, accidentally attended a movie premier in Los Angeles, camped by this beautiful lake in upstate California, went on a great wine tour in the Napa Valley in California, got a cool job as the host of a hostel pub crawl in San Francisco... well, there is too many to list really.

I saw some incredible places. The Grand Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park, Lopez Island (off the coast of Washington state),Vancouver, Canada, Central Park in New York City, and just countless more.

Then, of course, there have been the absolutely incredible people I have met along the way, many of whom I have remained great friends with. Not to mention how cool it is to now have friends from literally all over the world too. There was Vincent from Holland, Isabel from Portugal, Mardy from Taiwan, Chris from Switzerland and Clare from Taiwan, and just so, so many more. They made this year, and trip, truly memorable.

But above all else, this year was all about following dreams and overcoming challenges.

The day I arrived in New York City was one of the greatest days of my life for it signified so much to me. As I type this now, I am actually sitting in the offices of where I work, in the heart of New York City, and I even somehow got lucky enough to have accommodation in the heart of the city too! This was exactly what I had dreamed of doing all along, and to think that I have actually achieved just that and more is... pretty special.

There certainly has been more than my share of challenges and trails, as this trip was far from simply making great new friends, seeing amazing sights and having good times. I've hobbled through raging storms on an injured ankle, visited hospitals, had my backpack stolen and wine spilled on my MacBook Pro (killing it), and quite often questioned why I am even doing this and if it was all worth it. The important thing however is that I tackled them all head on, and ultimately overcame every obstacle thrown my way without once giving up. It certainly hasn't been a breeze, but I guess it would have been foolish and unrealistic of me to expect it to be anyway, and what's more is that it makes you appreciate the good times that little more, and prepares you for whatever challenges the future may hold too.

This is the year that I will look back on for the rest of my life as an insight into how great life can when I am not afraid to take risks, a reminder of what I am capable of (often being far more than I ever imagined), and the starting point of a completely different life path due to all the friends I've made and lessons learned, a life path I certainly wouldn't be on now if it wasn't for this year.

Now, I guess there is only one two things left to do. Firstly, to finish off this trip and return back home to Australia, see all my friends and family again whom I miss so very much, and relax for a while. And secondly, well it is obvious isn't it? With this dream now complete, it is time to get to work on the next, even bigger one!

Happy New Year everybody =)


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