So, who knew. Apparently retroactively blogging about all the countries I went to while starting my first semester of law school is more difficult than blogging about all the countries I went to while I was actually in them. I really must admit, I sort of saw that coming. It was really my ambition though to create an informational sort of resource with my brash commentary mixed in (or maybe the other way around) for people who were looking for travel ideas/advice/tales and the like while creating sort of an online travel journal for myself … and I do want to finish that because I have a bunch of stuff written for different countries, it’s just a matter of getting it on the site. Point of the rambling: I am going to fast-forward to the present and pretend that I have indeed written about the remaining 8 countries I have yet to post about becauseeeee it
is was (ha! andddd 3 weeks later 8 weeks later) my 25th birthday on January 29th and I want to commemorate the BEST year of my life thus far.
Seriously. My 24th year of life kicked ass. Let me run it down for you: I spent my 24th birthday in San Francisco with Jeremiah, my super-sexy boo, and then the next day I left for my 3-month solo round-the-world trip. I had spent the 10 months leading up to January 29th, 2012 working, studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT, working on my law school applications, and sending in my applications, and when January rolled around all I had left to do was wait to hear back from schools … and travel the world. And what better way to take your mind off the agonizing waiting game than to be in a different country every couple of days or weeks? I couldn’t think of any.
So off I went, to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany (the motherland!), and the U.K. And then back to the U.S., obviously, on May 1. Traveling alone was the most amazing experience and it was so amazing because of all the people that made my trip what it was … people that I probably wouldn’t have met if I had a travel companion. I made so many new friends and had so many unforgettable experiences—they were the best part of my entire trip. I gained so many new perspectives, new levels of understanding, and learned so much more than I ever thought possible about myself and the world. To all my worldly friends, whether you were in my life for a couple of hours or a couple of days, you have no idea the profound impact you have made. You could have been a new perspective, a friend when I needed one, someone to push my limits, or a reflection of myself I wouldn’t have seen without you there. Thank you for opening up to me, for including me in your life even for a fragment of a second, for giving me experiences I couldn’t have had any other way than through random acts of strangeness with random strangers, for giving me memories that I will look back on for my lifetime, for making going around the world worth the ride. Travel is a journey, not a destination, and my journey was of the once-in-a-lifetime variety. Here’s to you:
Manel, my first international (New Zealand soccer(futbol)-player) friend and Spanish companion through half an evening with 2 other people who spoke absolutely no English in Auckland … this could explain why the night ended with shots and my toothbrush making a debut at the bar;
Chewy, Eirian, and Hanna, my awesome English bunkmates in Sydney who taught me what Makkas was and fine-tuned my English ear (that shit flies right past you if you’re not paying attention, butttt sometimes, I still had no clue what they were saying);
Gemma, my Scottish adventure partner on Wally the Wonderbus in Cairns, Australia (who, by the way, used to work with one of my Scottish friends that I met in Munich when they were back in Scotland—how crazy is that?!)
Colleen and Byron, my Krabi bucket buddies;
Suzi, Stuart, James, Pierre, Marcus, and Eric–The Canadian and Swedish loves of my life, Koh Phi Phi had no chance of survival once we showed up … oh shit, and Fiona!;
Julia, my German friend I made in Koh Samui who ate a lot of crepes with me!;
Feng, Emma, Rina, and Sebastiaan, we conquered Angkor Wat and an Angkor What?! bucket so I could get an awesome t-shirt;
Or, my very sweet Israeli friend that lent a shoulder while I had a mini-meltdown outside the Vietnam War museum in HCMC;
Hal, my American bunk-mate in an otherwise-abandoned 12-bed dorm in Athens who was traveling before he joined the armed forces to be something really intense but I can’t remember what exactly it was … ;
Sheraine, my friendly Greek travel guide who advised me on some awesome spots to visit before I made my way back to Athens;
Hayner and T.J., a couple of Tulane dudes I met in the airport in Budapest and we explored the city together;
Adrian, one of the coolest people to work at a hostel ever, who made Krakow one of my favorite stops, and Josh and Tani, my Australian friends in Krakow who explored Auschwitz with me;
Johanna, my American friend I made in Paris when I directed her group to the screw top wine in a supermarket (I love you because you thought I was Parisian!!) and we explored Paris together;
Luis, my friend from Seville I met on the train in Greece, ran into again on the same train 10-days later (crazy! and we had an argument about the number of continents … Europeans had a different geography class than us, that’s for sure!), and then was my local host when I showed up in Seville;
Beth, Ben, and Michael, some awesome Americanos I met in Seville and then rendezvoused with in Madrid and we explored the Spanish nightlife;
Leon, my awesome English hostel host in Madrid that gave me the best advice on where to go when I got to London;
Shara, a SoCal chick I befriended in Barcelona—we were best friends and a blonde tourist attraction for a day!;
Callum, Micheal, Jenny, my awesome (aforementioned) Scottish roommates in Munich—I don’t think I have ever had such insightful conversations on topics such as: Wouldn’t this park we’re in right now be the best place ever to be a duck; there are literally no natural predators … I am so glad that I got to learn what a kite was and the Scottish version of Makkas: Maulks;
Along with the amazing people and the pure awesomeness of being in all those different places, I managed to do a lot of things I REALLY wanted to do and crossed a bunch of stuff off my bucket list like: bungy jump;
see Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque;
see the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus, Ancient Delphi, and Meteora;
go to Auschwitz;
go to Germany;
go to the Eiffel Tower;
see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower Bridge in London;
anddddd the Making of Harry Potter in the London WB Studios.
Then, once I got back to SF on May 1 and saw my love bug and knew that I was attending Santa Clara University School of Law I made plans to pack up and move back to my beloved city in July. But before that I roadtripped to Denver to party with KV for his birthday, was a bridesmaid in my cousin Mandi’s wedding,
and road-tripped across the US with my besty, stopping to see the Grand Canyon on the way to SF (another thing off the list!).
Then I moved in to my new apartment (living alone for the first time) in July and started law school in August.
Since then I have been enjoying the satisfaction of doing something really challenging and mentally stimulating … and I love that it kicks my ass sometimes, because it makes doing well that much more rewarding. Law school has succeeded in swallowing up most of my social life but I went to JJ-BayBay’s family’s Thanksgiving in SoCal and went to the Notre Dame/USC football game,
over Christmas break I got to go home and see my awesome fam and besty,
and I went to Dallas for NYE to see my babybootyshake lovaaaas.
THEN I came back to SF, started my second semester of law school (only 4.5 left to go!!), and on MLK weekend my lover boy took me on a super romantic 3-day getaway down south,
on January 25th I got a new nephew who is absolutely ADORABLE,
and then I celebrated my 25th year of life with an overload of cupcakes.
So to sum it up: my 24th year of life kicked some SERIOUS ass. I said I was going go to law school, travel the world, and move back to SF … and I did it all this year. There isn’t anywhere else that I would rather be, doing anything else than what I am doing, spending my time with the people I get to spend my time with. I love you all, and thank you so much for everything. I am truly blessed and eternally grateful.