If last year I thought 2017 was one for the record books, I really had no idea what was in store for 2018.
Looking back at the headline I wrote to summarise 2017, it’s hard to even imagine how a year following it could compare. 2017 was one hell of a year.
1 international move, 1 new flat, 17 countries, 31 cities, 33 flights, 21 trains, 3 new tattoos, 1 half marathon, 96 blog posts and infinite venti cold brews.
If 2017 was about being excited for change and trying new things, then 2018 was about trying to find solid ground. There were many magnificent trips and adventures, but it was also a tough year in so many ways. There wasn’t necessarily a horrific event or tremendous loss, yet the culmination of dozens of smaller losses and upsets left me questioning just about everything.
There’s one quote in particular that really sums up how I felt in most of 2018- “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” -Zora Neale Hurston
It’s a year in which, despite the colourful photos I shared from places around the world, I felt the ever-presence of darkness. I continued to travel, but withdrew in many other areas. And, even the trips I took didn’t hold the meaning they used to.
August changed everything. My anxiety had gotten so bad, I had an attack in a public place, and afterwards, decided to see a new psychologist and psychiatrist. After only a few sessions with them came a depression diagnosis (resulting, they believe, from an untreated anxiety disorder).
I always refer to moving to New York City after finishing graduate school as the first time I felt sheer anxiety. At first, I wrote it off- speculating that all New Yorkers felt anxiety to some degree. I thought it was just a part of life in Manhattan. After a few years in the city, when things didn’t get better, I started seeing a therapist and while that helped manage the anxiety I felt to make it tolerable- it was still always present. Now, I realise I was learning tactics to help manage, but not necessarily treat anxiety.
Looking back, I realise I showed symptoms of an anxiety disorder for years- even in high school. I’m grateful the conversation about mental health is louder today. In part, because it is, I felt encouraged to see a different set of doctors back in August when I knew something wasn’t right, but wasn’t getting traction with my then-therapist.
I’m writing this post from a cafe in Tromsø, and will likely finish it closer to the new year whilst in Budapest. With the help of doctors and a few good friends, I’m doing much better as this year comes to a close.
I’m grateful for all the adventures, ups and downs of this past year, even though it feels like there were way more downs than ups. I’m looking to 2019 with excitement I’ve never felt for a new year. Genuinely, can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring.
And, because every recap post needs a headline- if I had to summarise 2018 in brief:
21 countries, 54 cities, 39 flights, 36 trains, 4 ferries, 1 half marathon, 88 blog posts, all of the cold brew, and finally beginning to take care of myself- all together, no small feat.
As with years past, have passport, will travel. As it stands, I don’t have any travel booked for 2019, but I’m starting to identify places I’m hoping to visit. I won’t make it to all of the below, but rumbling around for consideration:
- Wroclaw, Poland
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Switzerland- Lucerne, Bern, Zurich
- Kiev, Ukraine
- Santorini and Athens, Greece
- Singapore + Bali
- The Faroe Islands
- Scotland (esp. Glasgow, Isle of Sky and Oban)
- Florence and Rome, Italy
- Cape Town, South Africa
- St. Petersburg and Moscow
- Hallstaat and Salzburg, Austria
- Lapland in winter (thinking Finland or Sweden)
- Istanbul, Turkey
- The coast of Croatia
- Christmas markets in Germany and France
Where’s on your travel list for the year ahead? Which places are you most exited at the potential to visit?