Cheers to the New Year!

2015 was a hell of a year for me, and I mean that in the best way possible. This time last year, I was cramped behind a desk, holding back tears as I suffered through what can only be described as a quarter-life crisis. What was I doing with my life? It was the last week of my internship with a currency exchange company, and as I drummed out content and inserted photos of foreign money changing hands, my thoughts drifted to my family’s incredible summer trip to France. It had only been four months since I returned stateside, and already I longed to be back in the medieval villages and world-famous cities of my mother’s home country. I’d wanted to travel ever since I was young, but always felt trapped by financial or personal obligations. One trip to France had changed all that; had made it impossible to ignore my wanderlust for one second longer.

I stopped typing, my heart thumping as I realized I couldn’t wait any longer to live the life of travel I’d always wanted. I had to get back to France, the one place where I truly felt I belonged, and from there, I would see the world. I couldn’t last another day in this life, working for the proverbial man, paying bills, and counting down the days to retirement. I broke down in the car on the way home, wondering if I would ever be brave enough to break free of the “normal” life everyone seems to idealize.

It Isn't that Life Ends Too Soon Quote, Photo From World Travel Tribe
Image: World Travel Tribe

Well, I’m still here, albeit at a different desk. In February of 2015, after two weeks of anxious contemplation, I sat down and created this travel blog. I had not traveled extensively, nor did I expect a big following, but I had to do something to break the monotony. I had to take the first step in pursuing a lifelong dream: a lifestyle that allows me to travel. My blog name was inspired by a song that I’ve long regarded as a personal anthem, and it perfectly described the feelings which drove me here.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once, it might be grand, to have someone understand: I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

Belle Singing About the Great Wide Somewhere
Image: Disney Wikia

Over the last year, I wrote about my travels to France and California. I traveled to Washington State and Utah, hosted two siblings in Orlando, did some exploring in my own state, and best of all, I booked tickets to France and Italy with my boyfriend for this spring! I’m so excited to finally be able to say I’ll be back in Europe “this year,” and I’m heading into 2016 with renewed optimism that the lifestyle I want can be mine.

Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere 2015 in Review
A few photos from the past year or so of blogging.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but with a fantastic year of travel behind me, I decided to start this one by throwing myself back into my blog. I openly admit that my writing has been a little subpar lately. Saving for our big European adventure is incredibly draining on our finances, and with no domestic travel plans to tide me over until our trip in May, I’ve been feeling less than inspired. Orlando is cool, and I absolutely loved hosting family members in the fall, but writing about my favorite theme park attractions just doesn’t compare to re-living every gorgeous detail of a summer spent in France.

I promise I’m not whining. With the simple resolution to “make my blog better,” in 2016, I’ve been thinking over a few ways to come back with a bang, and I’m almost as excited as I was on the day I published my first post. I finally took the plunge and paid to upgrade my blog’s web address, a move that forces me to admit I don’t just want this to be a hobby anymore. I want to structure my life around travel, instead of fitting travel in whenever I have the time or the money. In an effort to post more consistently, I purchased a gorgeous wall calendar, which now hangs above my desk (sorry, my newly-christened “inspiration station”). Thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my parents, I have a new and improved camera, which means I no longer have an excuse for my crappy, blurry nighttime shots. And I’ve finally given into the obnoxious, writerly need to carry a notebook and pen around with me for jotting down places, names and ideas.

So what’s next for 2016?

Black and White Photo of Tourists Waiting to Enter the Towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
The line to climb the towers of Notre Dame de Paris, mid-August 2014.

As I’ve already said (or maybe gushed is the right word?), I’m traveling to France in just a few months. My boyfriend and I will be staying with my grandparents in the adorable town of Chaumont for a few days before spending some time in Paris, otherwise known as the city of my dreams. It will be Dan’s first time out of the United States, so we are both very excited for spring to arrive at last! After we’ve stuffed ourselves full of wine, cheese and croissants, we will hop a quick flight to Rome, spend a few days wandering the ancient city, and then spend the night near Charles de Gaulle before waving a sad “au revoir” to Europe…for now! I suspect it won’t be long before we’re back.

I have a few more posts about Orlando, my brother’s September visit, and general travel tips coming up, and then it’s time to create some gauzy, fairytale memories in France and Italy. Once Dan and I return to the states, I’d like to plan one or two domestic trips for fall and winter (I’m thinking Charleston and maybe Miami), and I’d love to fly home to Washington for a week or two over the summer. It’s certain to be an exciting year, and I’m bursting with happiness even thinking about all the good things that are yet to come. Not a bad way to start what I’ve prematurely dubbed the best year yet!

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