Happy New Year! What has everyone been up to since 2019 started? Personally, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with all the new work projects that will be starting up again on top of figuring out a good workout schedule, fitting in an active social life, and scheduling in my volunteering commitments and travels in between. I also want to make this blog a priority because I know I fell behind with posting regularly in 2018. The beginning of a year is usually a time where people set goals for themselves and seek out a fresh start. For me, I’ve become slightly disillusioned with the whole process of setting resolutions. While it is nice to have goals to reach, I always feel disappointed myself in the end of the year when I realize how far I’ve fallen off the wagon or that I’ve kept none of my resolutions. Sometimes throughout the year my goals change or unforeseen events happen and it just throws everything off because I promised myself earlier in the year that I would be on a certain other path. I’ve held back so far from posting a 2019 Goals post because I wanted to reevaluate what I truly want out of 2019. And I’ve decided that I want 2019 to just be spontaneous and flexible. I’m anticipating a few big changes in my life and I want to create goals as I go along. Instead, I want to share with yall some lessons I’ve learned this past year.
Lesson One- Intermittent fasting Isn’t that hard and it works MIRACLES
I’ve been trying to lose weight for a while now and it just seemed that the weight was never coming off. Restricting myself from certain foods (is. carbs, sugar, fat) was just too difficult. If I told myself to not eat pizza, it only made me crave it more and then binge eat it on an eventual cheat day. A friend recommended that I try intermittent fasting because eating less food seemed more feasible than eating from certain categories. At first, I cheated a bunch because fitting meals in an eight hour feeding window (noon to 8pm for me) was SO hard, but gradually it became easier and easier. Then one day I realized that it had become part of my routine to eat my first meal of the day at noon and my last meal of the day at 7pm. When I discovered I had lost 10 pounds from cutting down on the amount of food eaten, it became extremely motivating. My body felt stronger and all my old clothes fit again! If weight loss is something that you’ve been struggling with as well, I highly recommend intermittent fasting.
Lesson Two- Weather can mess up your travel plans and stress you out, but that’s ok
My 2018 started out pretty stressful because my January trip to Quebec City fell through due to bad weather in both New York and Canada. I waited at LaGuardia Airport for 6 hours in purgatory not knowing whether or not my flight would be cancelled- there was so much false hope given! And if you’ve ever been to LaGuardia, you know it is definitely not the best place to wait for a delayed flight- especially when the people around you are all having their flights delayed and eventually cancelled as well. I was really disappointed in the cancelled trip, but managed to make it out to Quebec City in December so all things considered it did end up working out. The whole experience made me a better traveler, one who is more equipped to deal with flight issues and know how to use the system to my advantage. At the end of the day there isn’t anything anyone can do if the weather turns on you, so just keep an eye on the travel advisories and if your flight is one that the airlines are allowing free changes on make sure you take advantage of that and change your flight to avoid the impending storm. The key to making it through travel stress is definitely preparation!
Lesson Three- Plan out how you plan to use your PTO days in advance to avoid running out
Limited PTO days is one of the biggest downsides of working a full time job. It’s what makes earning a good salary into a double edged sword because while I have money to travel and pursue my passions, I now lack the time to actually go anywhere. Over the years, I’ve learned how to take advantage of holidays by combining them with my vacation days in order to get the most out of my precious PTO. One of the smartest things I did this year was have an idea way back in January of how I wanted to use my days. I knew I wanted to take the entire weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas off to spend with family in Texas and I knew I had bridesmaid duties in Austin to perform so I properly allocated at the beginning of the year and planned out all other vacations around it. Many people ask me how I travel so much throughout the year while having a full time job and this is really my secret- plan, plan, plan!
Lesson Four- It’s ok to be fearful of traveling abroad, but don’t let that fear paralyze you
A common theme I’ve recognized in our media this year was the number of women who were murdered abroad while either traveling alone or with other women. In fact, Carla Stefaniak was assaulted and killed in Costa Rica at an Airbnb near the airport a mere 2 weeks before I was scheduled to go there with my high school friends and stay there in an Airbnb. It was actually one of the few times I questioned my decision to travel to a destination. I was so sure that something negative was going to happen to us and it honestly kept me up at night while I was preparing for the trip. After that first night in Costa Rica, however, I realized that my fear was preventing me from enjoying the beautiful country and soaking in all the goodness that Costa Rica provided. While it is ok to be vigilant while abroad (especially when you are traveling alone), letting it come between you and your experience of a country only wastes your time and impacts your view of that country. Why go somewhere just to lock yourself in a hotel room? Obviously, taking extra precautions and recognizing that it is not your home country and thus shouldn’t be as comfortable to you as your own country would be is a necessity. But constantly thinking about what can go wrong is not the way to go. I think having the right amount of fear is healthy- you don’t want to be so fearless that you’re no longer cautious- but you don’t want to have too much fear to the point where you’re afraid to try new experiences. I have several solo trips coming up this year and I definitely plan to remember this lesson moving forward.
Lesson Five- Go only where you are passionate
This past year I felt many times that I was spending money and time to travel somewhere that I wasn’t truly interested in. I was only going there to please someone else or check it off some invisible list. The end result was that I became a little worn out from the constant travels and wondered why I was even in some destinations. I simply don’t have enough time or money to be going places I don’t like at the end of the day. For 2019, I want to only step on a plane if I’m passionate about where I’m going and only if I’m excited to step off that plane at the end of the journey. I want to travel more for myself and be more selfish about my travels. Instead of taking many small trips I want to save up for more international trips to Europe, Canada, or maybe even Asia. Traveling only where my passion takes me may lead inevitably to more solo trips and that’s something I can’t wait for!
What are some lessons you guys learned in 2018?