Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes
I couldn’t enter the new year without writing a quick post reviewing the whirlwind of the year I had.
It feels like just yesterday when I was writing my 2014 Year in Rewind post, which is a scary reminder at how fast and fleeting life can be.
So much has happened this year and so many of you have just started following along, that it’d almost be a disservice not to recap some highlights and crucial moments that got me where I am today.
Reflection is such an important aspect and component to growth, because without acknowledging where you’ve come from, you won’t truly appreciate the journey [and struggles] of where you’re trying to go.
Even if that path is skewed and constantly under construction.
But what I love so much about my journey is that it’s the furthest thing from perfect, and anyone who really follows my posts through social media know that I’m transparent about my highs just as much as my lows.
There’s no need to be embarrassed about our struggles or shortcomings in life when you know there’s another you, standing victorious on the other side.
I was always inspired by my
one too many mistakes, because I knew there was not only a lesson, but a stronger and better person at the finish line.
So through this chronological compilation, I invite you to stroll down memory lane with moi to recap my 2015.
THE GOOD: While trying to ignore various symptoms over time despite my outward happiness and flamboyant personality, coming to terms with it and seeking help were signs of progress in what could’ve easily turned into a downward spiral.
THE BAD: Dealing with this in a foreign country, and living with a host family that you couldn’t share it with in the case they might feel guilty or responsible.
THE AWKWARD: Not knowing how to publicly address this issue without feeling like I’m throwing a pity party on social media.
LOSING 30 LBS/14 KG
THE GOOD: When you get dead weight [literally] off of you, there’s an extra pep in your step and my outlook on life immediately turned upwards.
THE BAD: None of my jeans or skirts fit me any more.
THE AWKWARD: Coming to terms with the fact that pictures like these are still floating around on the internet. What up Chipmunk Cheeks! Blackmailers, have at it!
NOT RENEWING MY BASKETBALL CONTRACT
THE GOOD: I serendipitously got signed to play semi-pro basketball in Barcelona, Spain for almost 8 months (beginning in October 2014) and was given a sense of stability, both financially and mentally again.
I can also attribute a significant amount of my weight loss to playing, as I’d show up an hour before every practice to hit the weight room, motivated to get back in collegiate basketball shape.
THE BAD: Not renewing my contract meant saying goodbye to 80% of my income at the time and having to find a new way to support myself.
THE AWKWARD: Mentally checking out a month before season ended and scraping to find even the slightest bit of motivation to be anywhere near a basketball. Other teams were double and triple-teaming me, I was getting beat up, and I was just over it.
TURNING A QUARTER OF A CENTURY
THE GOOD: Making it to 25 with great
wealth health, and booking a self-made cruise through the French Riviera (with highlighted stops in Marseille, Saint-Tropez, and Nice) for a week that costed a total of only $100 for everything from transportation and accommodation to food! I shared my secrets on how I pulled that off on an old post HERE.
THE BAD: Because I used budget options, I took a 16-hour night bus back, all the way from Nice to Barcelona, with other passengers that had missing eyes, teeth, and reeked of poor life choices. I slept with three eyes open.
THE AWKWARD: The inevitable feeling of “am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing at 25?” put a damper on a week that should’ve been filled with celebrations, when in fact, it only posted more questions than answers.
HAVING MY FIRST ARTICLE GO VIRAL
THE GOOD: HOLY WOW. 2.5 MILLION HITS IN 48 HOURS!?! WHAT IS LIFE!?
THE BAD: Haters. Like, a lot. Like, a LOT a LOT. See some of their colorful comments HERE.
THE AWKWARD: Meeting someone on the road who randomly brought up reading an article, talking about how much she hated it, having no idea it was mine and I was the author behind it. Haha. Good times. The article in question was this one.
BECOMING FULLY NOMADIC AKA FASHIONABLY HOMELESS
THE GOOD: HELLO, FREEDOM, IS DAT CHU I SMELL!?
THE BAD: Dodgy hostels. Bed bugs. Fatigue. Adult decisions. Instability. Horrible Wi-Fi. Everywhere. Did I mention fatigue? Cold showers. Vomiting roommates. Constant confusion. Fatigue. More confusion. Doubt. Mistakes. Fatigue. Exhaustion. Tired.
THE AWKWARD: Not being able to visit a city without readers telling me that I “have to visit this!” or “must do that!” when all I really wanted to do was just catch up on sleep and get work done before my next travel assignment.
RE-DESIGNING MY WEBSITE
THE BAD: Having to individually transfer every blog post I’d done, word by word to the new layout, since the formatting was so off from being hosted on such an archaic platform prior.
Note: I still haven’t finished formatting and transferring all my older posts to this new design. But honestly, reading some of my old articles, I think they’re better left alone and forgotten, lol.
THE AWKWARD: With my new design came a new contact form where readers were sending me feedback and emails to an account I hadn’t yet activated, so over 400 fan mails went unreplied/unnoticed for three odd months until I discovered them.
MEETING THE SEXIEST MAN IN THE WORLD
THE GOOD: Heaven had a name, a face, and a body. #LAWDHAMMERCY.
THE BAD: Our travel plans inevitably separating us.
THE AWKWARD: Trying to explain our “situationship” to the few thousand social media followers who became invested in our future kids, LOL.
Also, apparently he went to jail for 2 months. We kept in contact for a bit, then fell out once I got to Asia. So I let bygones be bygones, until he randomly contacted me again a few weeks ago explaining he had just got out of prison. Ha!
Looks like I dodged a bullet in the end. I didn’t reply.
PLAYING SERENA WILLIAMS’ DOPPLEGANGER
THE GOOD: Several free meals, drinks, and VIP treatment all over The Balkans of Europe.
THE BAD: Never having my tennis gear handy when signing her autograph. Ugh. So many missed photo ops.
THE AWKWARD: Having a bar owner legitimately upload our picture to his social media and claim how proud he was to have “Serena Williams” visit his bar, while his friends commented for me to sign tennis balls and get more drinks on the house… as if I wasn’t already on my 12th cocktail. Psh! I ain’t no rookie. Another Tequila Sunrise, please!
LAPTOP CHARGER BREAKING
THE GOOD: THERE WAS NO GOOD ABOUT THIS. I REPEAT: THIS WAS HELL ON EARTH.
THE BAD: EVERYTHING. Imagine being a bus driver with no bus. Or a photographer with no camera. I felt so incomplete! My laptop is the powerhouse of my business; the writing, editing, and everything that goes into running this blog is done on my laptop and its software. Without it, I was on edge about unfinished work, broken contracts, and I had regular meltdowns watching my career and brand collapse before my eyes. I was so overwhelmed and it was horrific.
THE AWKWARD: Having to explain to a sponsor who was waiting on work that I was in a country that had literally no Apple stores and that my Macbook was so old that they stopped making the model of the charger I needed, so I couldn’t even find it online.
Rock, meet hard place. Then meet me in the middle.
GOING DEAD BROKE
THE GOOD: When you’re forced to use creative means to make ends meet, and friends understand these phases happen and help you out, there’s a glimmer of hope not only in humanity, but in the beauty of struggle, because it’s never permanent, and the core of you is built around it.
You see what you’re really made of. How much are you really worth when you have no money? Learning the hard way was such a powerful lesson.
THE AWKWARD: Have you ever been so broke that you had sleep for dinner? And then got woken up by your own stomach growling? Yeah, that happened.
FALLING IN LOVE
THE GOOD: Every woman deserves to get treated like a Queen at least once in her life. This was my “once” and hopefully not my last. Although he’s now in Switzerland and we eventually had to part ways as I knew my travels wouldn’t bring me to that side of the world any time soon, he reminded me that I should never settle for being treated like anything less than he made me feel. It was beautiful and sharing none of it on social media made it even more sacred.
THE BAD: One of the hard parts to this fully nomadic lifestyle is the instability in your relationships with both friends and love interests. C’est la vie.
THE AWKWARD: Having a total meltdown at the airport when we had to part ways in Serbia. I’ve never cried over a guy like that. I didn’t like nor understand why my contribution of salt water had to be exerted by the gallon.
VISITING A NEW CONTINENT: ASIA
THE GOOD: When I say nothing could’ve prepared me for this continent, I mean NOTHING! Asia is one of the most magnetic regions in the world and I was stimulated daily (dear gutter, exit mind).
THE BAD: Being nearly 12 hours ahead of most of my friends and readers and having to schedule and coordinate my blog posts to fit a schedule that was the opposite of my functioning one.
THE AWKWARD: Explosive diarrhea. #ThatIsAll
BEING A SPEAKER AT A TRAVEL BLOGGER RETREAT IN THAILAND
THE GOOD: Someone took me seriously enough to actually think I know what I’m talking about in this industry? COOL! I’ll take it.
THE BAD: Despite the raving reviews, my presentation was prepared 12 hours before I gave it. And all on my iPad which didn’t automatically load when it was time to give my talk.
THE AWKWARD: Laughing at my own jokes a few times out of sheer nervousness, and realizing I only said the punchline in my head, because what is adulthood for 500, Alex?
PUBLISHING MY FIRST BOOK
THE GOOD: Seeing a goal manifest into reality before my eyes.
THE BAD: Not setting up a better delivery system for the 150 pre-orders that came in 24 hours.
THE AWKWARD: Over half the orders got sent to people’s junk mails causing major confusion and even a bit of anger with some purchasers who thought I hadn’t delivered on my end 🙁
LEARNING HOW TO SWIM
THE GOOD: I can now join the rest of humanity in this basic skill of survival! Whoop whoop!
THE BAD: I taught myself in swimming pools around Thailand and tried to test my confidence in the ocean while in Vietnam, quickly realizing that without the safety net of a wall a few feet away, I couldn’t nearly let loose like I thought, and felt like I was back to square one.
THE AWKWARD: Getting so self-conscious about swimming in a pool vs. an ocean that I asked for two tires and a life jacket in order to jump in the ocean with the rest of my Busabout tour group. That’s a new level of pathetic I wasn’t ready to own.
GETTING HOMESICK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE
THE GOOD: Truly appreciating that home is where the heart is, and pulling off a pretty fun surprise when I managed to get back for the holidays.
THE BAD: Going into a spiral of depression again, feeling alone in one of the busiest cities in the world, and having to cancel a few meet-ups with friends because I couldn’t stomach the idea of them seeing me have a meltdown.
THE AWKWARD: Despite having so many awesome people in my corner, not really knowing who to reach out to about feeling homesick.
All in all, despite the highs and the equal amount of lows, life is such an amazing journey and I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding 12 months.
Only God knows why He gave me this life, this journey, or this platform.
I’ve yet to tap into my full potential of what I was put on this Earth to do, but it’s amazing to feel like I’m getting closer every day, even if I’ve had to trip, stumble, crawl, roll, and creep my way there.
Whatever goals you had for 2015 and whether you succeeded at accomplishing them or not, I hope this new year brings you all the inspiration, motivation, and clarity you need to get [back] on the path of your purpose.
However you found me (feel free to state where in the comments), I appreciate you all sticking around.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some wine to
bathe in toast to with my name on it. So I’ll see you in the new year. 2016 looks sexy already.