What 2017 Taught Me – The Recap

So the first month of 2018 has come to a close and I’m finally ready to recap 2017.

 

Every year I reflect and examine what I have learned about myself and what more I can improve. I believe in the “self” prefix. Self-reflection, self-improvement, self-care even selfish. 2017 brought all of that to the surface.

 

Iceland: Going to Iceland, where it’s freezing cold, was a testament to my wanting to push myself to learn more about me when I have zero expectations. Although cold, I survived. I never thought I’d enjoy intentionally freezing. And yes I did sign up for the snorkeling between the continents in 34 degree water. Still I survived! I was extremely proud of myself for accomplishing this.

Snorkeling between the continents in Iceland
A little Eiffel Tower

Paris: This was a stopover for the Iceland trip. Honestly I had no desire to go to Paris. I always thought it was overrated and I was told it was a dirty city that I wouldn’t like at all. Well, during this short visit I was enamored with Paris. Things I’d never paid attention to or really cared about were drawing me in! The shopping gallerie was fantastic, the architecture was amazing, the neighborhoods were comforting and I wasn’t expecting that. I was not a huge fan of French food. Mainly because it seemed like presentation was more of a priority than taste. Well Paris proved me wrong!!! I did not have a bad meal there at all. Yes, pastries included! My visit to Paris taught me that the unexpected could be just what I need. I’ll no longer say I don’t want to visit a city or country based on popular culture.

 

Cuba: This was a return trip which should probably be a good indication of how I feel about this country. The art, the culture, the history, but most of all the people are what gives Cuba a special place in my heart. I wish travel from the US there was simple and inexpensive still. I would return again and again without a doubt. Cuba taught me that you have to experience things for yourself to see the truth.

Experiencing Cuba
Enjoying Zanzibar

Tanzania: Since my inaugural trip to Africa back in 2011 I’ve wanted to explore more of the continent. Zanzibar was high on my list of priority locations to see. At first I was interested in a sailing vacation in Zanzibar but that fell thru for me so a land trip in Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar took its place. From beach safaris, visiting and donating in the townships, city tours and dhow sailing Tanzania taught me various things about my emotions and understanding what incites them, giving is always always always better than receiving, routines and rituals are powerful and sometimes you have to let go of physical things that you thought you valued because they can be replaced.

 

Italy from a different perspective

Italy: This was a quick inexpensive trip to Rome and Florence. I brought my father along with me on this trip. We shopped, we ate, we walked, we cooked we got lost and we got drenched. I wanted to slow down on this trip and not fill every day with some packed itinerary so most of the activities were loosely planned. My father loves to cook but i don’t recall much Italian food growing up except lasagna on very very special occasions. I signed us up for a cooking class in italy and crossed my fingers that my father would go for it……what’s that saying about new tricks? My father thoroughly enjoyed the class and learning new tricks to use in the kitchen. Italy taught me that there is always something new to learn even if you think you know all you need to know.

 

Reflecting while sailing in Martinique

Martinique: I like to travel for the New Year because as the saying goes “how you bring in the new year is how your year will be”…..or something along those lines…..so traveling it is! This was an interesting trip. The primary language spoken there is French and i know no French, so challenge #1 presented itself. Our hotel wasn’t the greatest experience so there’s challenge #2. And the final challenge #3 was understanding that New Years in a foreign country is meant for quality time with family…..not running businesses…..like restaurants. So, I managed with the help of Google translate, the sliding door of the hotel room allowed some coolness since a/c wasn’t functioning properly and eventually I was able to find an open restaurant on New Years day on the other side of the island. This trip taught me that although challenges will occur, it doesn’t have to affect a vacation….challenges prepare you well for the next time.

 

Outside of my travel time in 2017, I faced situations that changed the course of my life. When a loved one passes away unexpectedly the day after you speak to them, you immediately develop a new perspective on life, living, love and self-care. My priorities have shifted so I’ve started learning to code in order to look at changing my career path and my primary focus is on being happy. If it doesn’t bring joy or happiness to my life, I’m not going to participate. Yes, i’m at the “mid-life crisis” point of my life but I also believe it’s never too late to learn or self improve or change tracks completely.

 

I admit I wanted 2017 to hurry up and be a thing of the past but looking back, I do appreciate how much I grew in that year. And now, it’s time to continue that in 2018. I’m looking forward to a continuously happy 2018 to be filled with more changes, challenges and growth.

 

What did you life lessons did 2017 throw your way? Feel free to comment below.

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