Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I had significantly less time for this hobby after moving to San Diego, between working more hours and enjoying the sunshine. But here I am, reflecting on what this interesting has been for me!
Travel took a backseat
If you know me, you know I’m in this hobby for the travel. Last year, 2017, was probably my best year of travel to date. I woke up on Jan 1 in a panoramic harbor view suite in Grand Hyatt HK and went off the beaten path to places like Sri Lanka and Bosnia that sparked magic. I wrote a 2-part post (here and here) that only managed to cover a little more than half of my 2017 adventures.
2018 was different in 2 ways. First, I traveled slightly less in the total # of days and places covered. Second and perhaps more significantly, I didn’t continue the trajectory of exploring more remote places. Every previous year saw me going to increasingly difficult countries than the previous year, which I enjoyed immensely but required more effort to research and plan. Also, I was accumulating more and more hotel points that were just collecting dust since they were of no use in the off the beaten path places. I decided to burn some this year, which took me to less unspoiled places.
My favorite destination of 2018 was undoubtedly Luang Prabang, Laos. It’s unspoiled compared to something like (the touristy parts of) Bali, it’s super quaint, and I loved the guesthouse we stayed at and the people I met.
What I learned from moving across the country
I moved from Midwest to San Diego earlier in the year. The jury is still a bit out, but so far, I am sooooo much happier here! One of the reasons I became a travel-holic while living in the Midwest was that I didn’t really want to be there. I loved my job, but little else, so travel (including the immense time planning and earning points) became my remedy to overcome boredom. Traveling to many different places actually clarified what kind of environment I thrive in and belong to, and California fit that much more. My soul searching told me that while I love travel, I was using it as an escape from important aspects of my life that needed change. So when an opportunity came up in San Diego, I grabbed it – after extensive consideration, of course.
I’ll have less money in the bank due to the high cost of housing in CA, but I’m glad to make that trade off for the life I want. I only wish I made the move 10 years ago, so here’s my advice for anyone who feels stuck:
if you’re not happy, figure out what would make you happy, and give it your best shot to make it happen. Set goals early – it can take a while to get there.
The uncertainty from moving (or whatever it may be in your case) and starting a new life is scary. It will deter many people to not pursue their dreams. I was one of them. Now I wish I had been a little braver – and more disciplined in goal setting so I could have gotten here faster on my terms. When you do get there, you’ll be glad you did it. Even if not, what did you have to lose? (you need to think through this question beforehand). Don’t forget the experience you will have gained by just going through the process. Remember, time doesn’t stop. Make good use of the best years of your life.
On the horizon
2019 will be a year of establishing myself – professionally and socially – in my new place of residence. I do have some exciting travel plans, though nothing off the grid yet. Now that I’m in CA, I want to take advantage of the natural and urban resources here – the soul-stirring coast of Big Sur, the national/state parks, the food mecca of LA, etc. I am also looking forward to traveling more with friends and family. Most of all, I’m looking forward to my life here in San Diego! Happy New Year.