It’s the time of the end of the year emails again. My inbox is piling up with emails such as: best books of the year or a year with the Kardashians or 2014 in pictures or 2014’s most memborable YouTube videos. While I could care less about what the Kardashians have been up to for the past 12 months, these emails made me pause for a moment and look back on my own year of 2014. What have I done? Where have I been? What have I learned? I see a year full of family and friends (old and new), a year that bursts with plenty of travel adventures, a year of growing and a year full of love. I am filled with gratitude, as I realize how lucky I am. A big THANK YOU to my parents, friends, loved ones (one of them especially), and all the wonderful people that have made my year so joyful. I love you all! You are all a big part of what made the last year so wonderful, so I want to remember as many beautiful moments as I can by taking a look the rear view mirror of my 2014.
Kicking off the year in Medellín, Colombia.
The first and almost only time in 2014 where I took 4 days off work and just enjoyed this beautiful place (Parque Tayrona, Colombia). No internet, no phones, just sun and waves and good vibes. This is what paradise must be like!
Ecuadorian rain forest. The overabundance of nature made me feel very humble and sad. I realized that we are just one (small) part of this beautiful planet, but we are also constantly destroying it,without appreciating what we have.
Arriving in Spain. Back in Europe. Back “home”. If I have ever had a feeling of belonging, this continent is it.
Morocco. The biggest culture shock of my life. I feel out of place, a fish out of water: Uncomfortable and at all times aware of being different. A fellow traveler once said to me “I don’t like traveling to places where everything feels so easy and comfortable.” You never learn more than when you’re out of your element. Most shocking, but also most memorable and one of the most beautiful travel experiences.
Discovering that Southern Spain can look like North Dakota.
Turkey. Country of the friendliest and most hospitable people, country of amazing food and even more amazing landscapes and cities. One of the biggest highlights of this year’s travels.
Woodstock Festival, Poland with 30.000 people. My biggest festival experience so far (and yes, 30.000 is a crowd).
Exploring the Balkans. A month of heavy history, from the Ottoman Empire to the heaviness of the Balkan war. Even though you can never quite escape the sad recent past, you can still feel the hope and joy through the fine veil of melancholia.
Albania. As I expected a ravishingly beautiful country, I was somewhat disappointed by a landscape of gas stations, car washes and a constant cloud of grey dust. But the friendly Albanians, the best Turkish sweets I have ever had and a gem called Girokaster made up for it.
Back in Cincinnati with family and friends, and I don’t exaggerate if I say that I spent probably 70% of this month sleeping.
Ending this eventful year with the joys of Christmas.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!