It’s time to look back on 2016 and sum it up with my top ten favourite moments and best decisions I’ve made this year. Who did I meet and what was my favourite place I’ve visited?
Earlier in the year, around the end of April I told myself that once I finish my second year of university I will do as much as I can to travel, and so I did. My overall goal for this has been four ‘brand new’ countries due to the fact I have started my placement a few days after my final exams but sadly I haven’t had a chance to fulfill that. However I’ve been to four new places: two spots in Spain as well as Norway and Finland. What made these adventures different and even more special than before was the fact that this year has been the first year I ‘properly’ travelled with my friends as opposed to family and took the initiative to step out of my comfort zone further, which in my case took a lot, a lot of courage.
Getting My First Big Job
I was really picky and specific when it came to deciding not only what I would like to do for my placement year but also where I would like to do it. I decided I will get into marketing as I’ve always been interested in how advertising activity has affected my buying or in particular travelling behaviour. I have also decided that I would like to go back to my (second) home, Northern Ireland and get to know it a bit better. Therefore, after a six month process of my self-sourced application I have been accepted to work for a destination management company in beautiful Belfast, which only proves persistence really does pay off!
Finnish Sauna experience
…speaking of travelling – trust me when I say I have absolutely loved every minute of my travels, but if I were to choose my favourite moment, the Finnish sauna experience would definitely be my number one this year. I have no idea why I find it so spectacular to the point of not being able to stop talking about it, but it really, REALLY caught my heart.
As you may have already know if you have read my resolutions post from 2015 (check it out here) my reading goal for 2016 was a total of ten books. To many people this might seem like very little reading, unfortunately many of us aren’t great at time management and therefore suck at prioritizing reading. I am delighted to announce ( 😉 ) I have read 14 books as of now (but the year has not finished just yet!). I use the daily commute to squeeze in more reading as it is the perfect time to invest in yourself in the mornings. It helps me to unwind and if I am having a hard day, it also helps me to delve into another world far away from worries, which definitely makes me more positive and in turn happy.
Getting a Ukulele
Because I come from a very creative pair of parents, I have always been drawn to art both in terms of drawing and music. My dad has been playing guitar since he was sixteen and although I tried to pick it up throughout the years, six strings are just a little too much for me at this stage. So I thought hard about it, and as I didn’t want to try anything completely new, I decided to learn a similar skill and play the Uke. What I have found later however, is that yes, ukuleles ARE cute and only have four strings but they are also hard things to master (at least for me). I still struggle a lot with the strumming patterns but as with everything – practice makes perfect!
Becoming a Vegetarian
I have always been interested in a vegetarian diet however it has been an on and off process for the last two years. My household has always eaten a lot of meat and a meal without it couldn’t even be imagined. However as I started university I wasn’t fond of cooking meat for myself predominantly due to the fear of poisoning. As months gone by I have made a further connection in relation to the ethics of the process of obtaining the meat which further affected my decision of stopping eating it altogether. I have now been vegetarian for eight months and have absolutely no desire to return to a carnivorous diet anytime soon!
Meeting the Game of Thrones Direwolves
The funny thing is when I was doing the GOT tour I was totally clueless what I was getting myself into and had no idea who the Direwolves were. I thought they were just some cute fluffy, really cool looking dogs. I am now however very much into my Game of Thrones and am ecstatic I got to meet the cast! 😉
Quite frankly, I’ve been through a little bit of a roller coaster with my personal life this year, but because of a period of a really hard time I have gained so many life lessons. With help of great friends, courage and hard work I have overcome a really deep dip in my life and learnt to live for myself, love myself and step out of the comfort zone a lot, lot more. So to say the pain was worth the lessons is an understatement.
Another one of my favourite travelling experiences was a ride on a glass-bottom boat in Benidorm, Spain. What a coincidence it is that this trip has also been with the same best friend I had such a great time with in Finland! 😉 I was always (and still am) afraid of deep waters and fish, but being able to see it all without getting into the water itself was right up my alley. It was as fascinating as it was scary!
Becoming 20 (!)
…and let’s also not forget about me turning 20 (can you tell). It is a little scary, I must say, but also makes me excited for the next decade of my life and how many more ‘Top 10 Moments of…’ I will be able to share with all of you!
The most important thing that I’ve learnt is that as we all look back on our years it isn’t the things we bought or the money we spent that is important, but the moments and positive changes we have experienced. It gives some food for thought and really encourages me to be more minimalistic in terms of possessions and focus more on investing in experiences, as well as sharing them with the people I care about most.
How about you? What were your favourite moments of the past year? I would love to hear about them!