A Fond Farewell To South America and 2012

As the world was saying its goodbyes to 2012, I was saying adios, chao, and hasta luego to South America and the first half of my year-long volunteer-travel honeymoon. The last six months have gone by at lightening speed. In 2012, I left my job for the opportunity to travel the world with my husband. It was our dream to experience new cultures together while broadening our horizons, both personally as a couple, and professionally as individuals. The experiences we’ve shared, the memories we’ve created, and the lessons we’ve learned in these six short months are countless, but there a few that stand out above the rest.

For me, 2012 will be remembered as the year I sold all my belongings and left my job to go traveling. It is the year I learned a new language and rekindled my love for street parties and parades. 2012 was the year I made my first ever bucket list and applied to graduate school. I went skin diving for frogs in Bolivia’s high-altitude lake and was reborn as a meat-eater. I hiked Machu Picchu, climbed a 20,000ft volcano, and swam with sea lions and sharks in the Galápagos Islands. In 2012, my marriage hit rock bottom, but then rick-a-shayed to astounding new heights (hopefully in a one-way direction). I met some amazing people, many of which will be friends for life, and had some life-altering revelations. And, it was in 2012 that I started this blog, a hobby which is growing into a passion.

My time in South America taught me that nothing in life is perfect – nor is it meant to be. No place is perfect. No person is perfect. But you are given a choice: you can either take people and places for who and what they are and love them; or you cannot and succumb to the disappointment of unmet expectations and be miserable. In 2012, I learned how to choose acceptance and love and lose the expectations – an outlook I will carry with me forever.

Saying goodbye to South America was sad, but I felt ready to leave. I was ready for something new and looking forward to bringing all that I had learned with me into the future.

So bring it on, 2013. I’m ready, open-minded and willing, to take on anything and everything you’ve got! Next stop: THAILAND.