2017 has been a year of making big moves (literally) and trying new things that I’m afraid of doing. There were lots of big life changes and decisions made, but I think and sure do hope I made the right choices to be where I am right now. From moving to the west coast to several international trips, starting a new job at Facebook to shooting engagement photos, I think I can safely say that I made the most out of this year and accomplished more than I would have imagined.
I celebrated the new year in LA hiking to the Hollywood sign and biking down Santa Monica beach. I was also in SoCal for a dragon boat race and met so many paddlers from all over the country. Then February came along and I turned a quarter century old! It was also when I quit my old job and accepted an offer with Facebook at the Menlo Park office! I was super excited to move to the west coast, something I’ve always wanted to do since high school, but at the same time terrified of leaving what I was familiar with and starting fresh somewhere new.
Funemployment in March was amazing. I spent time on the east coast with friends and family and flew to Cuba for a few days to see classic 1950s cars, smoke Cuban cigars, and learn about the Cuban culture and heritage. At the end of the month, I began my 9-day cross-country drive from Washington D.C. to San Francisco – another item checked off my bucket list! Some of my favorite parts of the trip were hiking on glaciers in Colorado and watching the sunrise at Canyonlands National Park. 13 states and nearly 4000 miles later, we finally reached the Golden Gate Bridge.
It didn’t take long for me to feel settled in in SF thanks to the new friends I made at work and through my new dragon boat team. I began to take advantage of all that California has to offer soon after moving here. I flew to Long Beach for a dragon boat race and went to Yosemite to hike Clouds Rest and Half Dome – they were amazing but would not recommend doing them back to back.
The latter half of the year was marked with many trips, both domestic and international. In October, I went to Egypt and Lebanon for work and I rode camels around the Pyramids of Giza and saw ancient cities in the outskirts of Beirut. I also went to Merida and Playa del Carmen in Mexico for Day of the Dead. The beaches there were amazing and the food was even better.
Before the year wrapped up, I did two weekend trips – one to Portland and one to Salt Lake City. It was so rainy in Portland but we managed to explore the city and see some of the outdoors. Salt Lake City was freezing but hiking in the snow was more exciting than normal hiking. I want to do more weekend trips in 2018 because they’re easy to plan, not expensive, and a lot of fun!
Lots of ‘first times’ this past year that made life so much more exciting. I’m now in a new city, at a new company, made a ton of new friends, picked up new hobbies, and saw so many new places. There were times I doubted whether I made the right choices or not, but then I tell myself it’s natural to think like that when things are unfamiliar. Nobody’s knows it all and it’s okay to not know what I’m doing sometimes. It’s most important that I’m learning, experiencing new things, and enjoying what I’m doing – both at work and personally.
As 2017 comes to an end, I’m grateful for the people who has made this year such a blast and for the opportunity to travel (23 flights and one road trip!). The people I met while traveling made me feel like I can do so much more in life, and the hardest part is just getting started on the next new adventure. I want to take what I learned from 2017 and apply them towards my adventures in 2018.
Things to Remember for 2018