2016: A Year in Review

The violent shitshow that was 2016 came and went like a hurricane, leaving only destruction in its wake for what seems like the entire planet. However, at the risk of sounding snobby, 2016 was a pretty epic year for me. I traveled solo for the first time, moved to a different country, and met some spectacular people in the process. I visited 9 countries and flew a total of 53,954km, which is 1.3 times the circumference of the earth! Since Facebook’s ‘year in review’ montage didn’t do the most accurate job, I’ve taken the liberty of combining some photos of my favourite moments in 2016, and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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Swimming with a sea turtle off of Gili T, Indoensia

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Sunrise hike over Ijen Crater, Indonesia

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Discovering the beautiful Inle Lake, Myanmar

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Exploring the ancient temple city of Bagan, Myanmar

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Moved to Israel for a year

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The scenery on our roomie roadtrip to Eilat, Israel

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London at Christmastime

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Paris for new year’s eve.

What is even more astonishing to me than all of my traveling this year, is that 2016 was the only year in which I actually kept my new year’s resolution. Yes, that’s right, I did the impossible. Granted, my 2016 resolution as outlandish as previous years’ resolutions (PSA: joining a gym in or around January almost always means you will no longer be at the gym come Valentine’s Day). My 2016 resolution was simple: I wanted to read more, and I wanted to have more positive female voices in my daily life, so I resolved to only read books written by women for a year. I have to say, I’ve read quite a few kickass books over the last 12 months. Since I was, and still very much am completely travel crazed, most of the books on my list were memoirs about life on the road written by fearless females whom I now admire beyond words. These were some of my favourites, and I highly recommend picking them up:

A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout

What starts off as a travel memoir turns in to a gut-wrenching memoir of a journalist held hostage by Somali terrorists for 15 months. This book was a true page-turner, and as disturbing and it was in certain parts, I’m really looking forward to the movie version which is currently in production.

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

This one was legitimately laugh out loud funny. The kind of funny where you’re reading on your commute to work and you don’t realize you’re actually laughing hysterically by yourself in a metro cart full of other half-asleep commuters. Newman’s stories of her travels throughout her 20s and 30s are enough to make anyone want to buy a one-way ticket and pack their backpack. I even made my mother, who is notorious for starting books and never ever finishing them, read this and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre Deroche

Part classic love story and part sailing adventure, this memoir made me want to learn how to sail and set course for anywhere. The protagonist is a woman with a deeply-ingrained fear of the ocean, who meets a charming Argentinian sailor and ends up sailing across the world for 2 years stopping at scenic islands that I am now dying to go to. French Polynesia, anyone?

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin

This one was a recommendation, and I ended up reading it while traveling through Myanmar for two weeks, all of which was very surreal. It was incredible to read about the not-so-distant dark past of Burma, now known as Myanmar, through the eyes of Larkin, who was looking at the country through the eyes of Orwell. I loved being able to read about the country’s history at breakfast and then strolling through the very same roads in the afternoon.

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, Amanda Pressner

Anyone can relate to the pressures that come with being a mid to late twenty-something year old female: have a good career, find the right man, settle down and have the prerequisite amount of kids. And everyone fantasizes about leaving that ideal in the dust and traveling the world with your besties, however, few actually accomplish that. Reading about the adventures of these three women was inspiring and a refreshing view of what it means to grow in to womanhood in the 21st century.

All this brings me to the now, 2017, and this year’s resolution. I hope to continue traveling as much as I did last year, and I also hope to continue reading stories by amazing women, but more than anything, I will strive to write more. Whether than means articles, blog posts, fiction, or grocery-shopping lists, my 2017 resolution is simple: just write. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, my memoir will one day be sitting on a bookshelf somewhere next to those fearless women I admire so much.

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