I didn’t intend to write one of these “year in review” things. I usually find them braggy or overly positive. No one’s life is perfect and I don’t like to pretend that mine is. That being said, I had a pretty great year.
Some people may judge my 2019 as “worse” than my 2018, when I visited 14 countries in 8 months. But I disagree. Sure, I went to less places, but I was happier.
And to me happiness is greater than counting countries.
It’s Not All Sunshine
That being said, there were downsides. I started the year nearly broke (or barreling towards it) and scared in New Zealand. My anxiety was getting out of control, I felt trapped and I couldn’t find a job to fix the whole broke thing – which just made the anxious and trapped feelings worse.
Even when I found a job, I had days with crippling pain from tension/sinus headaches that doctors couldn’t cure. I pulled muscles, got sinus infections and somehow bruised seemingly every part of my legs through hiking and yoga.
Then, terrified, I left my brilliant life in New Zealand to go back to school – a decision I was seriously dreading. School had never gone well for me before – especially with my anxiety.
Why on earth was I deciding to subject myself to that again??
Going back to school in the UK was even scarier. Last time I was there, I hit my emotional rock bottom.
School in a degree I desperately wanted was petrifying. What if I didn’t like it? What if I couldn’t hack it? What if I’d given up law school and New Zealand and so much money for something that wouldn’t work?
I still can’t answer all those “what ifs”. But I can say that, looking back, it was all worth it.
I don’t just mean in that whole “the journey matters more than the destination” way. I mean that I genuinely enjoyed many parts of the year. So many, that I’ve decided to use an old therapy technique: listing the positives.
So please indulge me as I rant about how amazing my 2019 was!
Places I Visited
- New Zealand
- …and so many more!
- New York
- London (again, and again, and again!)
My 2019 Highlights
- Living in New Zealand (even though that technically started in 2018)
- Recognizing my growing anxiety and figuring out ways to fix it (mostly a TON of yoga and walking until my shoes broke)
- Hiking volcanoes and beaches in New Zealand
- Getting a job at the Commerce Commission where I met 3 of the best friends I’ve ever had, fell in love with the work culture, and spent WAY too long reorganizing the office
- Seeing traditional Maori hakas at Te Matatini
- Going on my first ever work trip – even though it turns out I don’t really like them
- Meeting my mom in Singapore after months apart
- Eating at my first Michelin starred restaurant (which I will definitely do again once my bank account recoups!)
- Seeing wild blue penguins (seriously, I still can’t believe I did that!)
- Learning to cook a ton of delicious food – both in classes and on my own (and overfeeding my office friends with it)
- Choosing to move to a country I’ve always loved for a degree I’ve always wanted to do
- Visiting my family for the first time in almost a year (and spending hours on couches and floors petting our dogs)
- Celebrating my baba turning 90!!
- Starting my Masters in Publishing (I’m still waiting to wake up from the dream world I’m in!)
- Falling back in love with reading after my undergrad degree and my anxiety had sapped the joy from it
- Enjoying a ton of amazing performances by hilarious people, like Trixie Mattel, James Acaster and My Favourite Murder
- Going to my first book fair (even though it was overwhelming)
- Getting chosen to go to a publishing conference
- Sharing true crime podcasts with my prof (when did I become an expert on this stuff??)
- Visiting London – one of my favourite places in the world – time and time again
- Designing a book (it was Hamlet. It sucked while I did it. But it looks so awesome!)
- Completing my first semester of my MA – and enjoying it! (Especially since I wasn’t in emerg before every due date like last time)
- Starting my first publishing internship (and not feeling totally unqualified!)
- Meeting amazing people from around the world
- Eating delicious food – and gaining the weight to prove it!
- Getting better at accepting my body and allowing myself to do what I need to to feel ok. Eating, exercising and taking time for myself. Working on being a better me
- Developing laugh lines from smiling so hard
Some of my 2019 Favourites
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson.
I devoured the book in a day – well, 5 hours. It’s one of the first things I’ve really enjoyed reading in a long time.
This is where I show my inability to pick favourites.
My Favourite Murder is still my #1 Favourite, but I started listening to it in 2018.
My new favourite podcast is Off Menu by Ed Gamble and James Acaster. It blends my love of comedy, Britain and food all in one!
I used to say Iceland was my favourite place to go and nowhere else would ever top it.
Well, that changed in 2018 with my visit to Marrakech. And then again when I got to Budapest.
And then AGAIN when I got to New Zealand.
Seriously, this world is so fricken fantastic, how can you ever choose??!
So I’ll choose this with a HUGE asterisk and fully reserving my right to change my opinion (over and over and over again), but my current favourite place is New Zealand.
After living there for nearly 10 months, travelling to nearly every nook and cranny of the country, and falling in love with the people, my heart is 100% kiwi. Well, maybe a maple-tinged kiwi.
I can’t say enough good things about New Zealand. It’s beautiful. It’s full of interesting history and nature. The people warm your heart. The food is incredible.
And it feels like home.
My Top 10 Posts of 2019
Since this post is already all about me, why not make it a bit more so?
I originally titled this section “My Favourite Post of 2019” but that unravelled the moment I started going through all my posts (when did I write so many??).
I’m terrible at choosing favourites, and this is my blog so we’re playing by my rules, which means you’re getting an unordered top 10!
These aren’t necessarily the most popular posts, the best written or the ones with the nicest photos; they’re the ones I like best for a myriad of reasons.
- 8 Things I Learned from 8 Months in Europe
- What to Eat in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Cuisine
- The Pros and Cons of Solo Travel
- The Tongariro Crossing: Why You Should (Maybe Not) Hike 19.4 km
- Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia: From Fairy Chimneys to Flying High
- 10 Fun Facts About Singapore
- Hobbiton: A Movie Set Adventure
- Must Try New Zealand Food: A Comprehensive Guide
- 10 Pros and Cons of Living in Canada
- Is Marrakech Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
Here’s to 2020!
I’m not one for resolutions or really planning ahead in any major way. I figure if you want to make a change, just do it. You don’t need to wait for the new year. And planning too much leads to disappointment when things inevitably change.
I prefer to be excited by possibilities.
So here’s to possibilities in the new decade!
What was a highlight of your year?