“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
Seven countries, a serious romance, and a full belly. 2013, you’ve been good to me.
My mind was blown when I saw One Republic at The Olympia. I felt like a true local when I laughed at the Dublin jokes during the performance of Once at the Gaiety Theatre. I clapped and bopped along during the Jersey Boys Broadway production in London. I embraced summer while Glen Hansard and The Frames serenaded me at the Galway Arts Festival. With a glass or two of wine and bubbly I toasted Christmas with my love and wonderful friends at the National Concert Hall during the Baroque Christmas performance. I was frequently blessed by stumbling across great artist performances on Grafton Street. I stood in awe at Rodin’s sculpture of “The Kiss” in Edinburgh. I walked amongst glorious architecture in Barcelona, Paris, and Edinburgh.
2013 was the year I got a taste for traveling Europe. Here’s a quick summary of my travels:
Stockholm, Sweden was snowy and stunning, filled with warm memories in the hostel and laughter everywhere we went.
Brussels, Belgium indulged my taste buds, reunited me and my roommate from Gold Coast, and constantly surprised me at how wonderful a place it is.
Barcelona, Spain was sensory overload. We were shocked at how affordable wine was at restaurants, had a great night out on the hostel pub crawl, and were overwhelmed by Gaudi’s architecture.
London, England was a double trip destination. Both trips reunited me with old friends (one from Brisbane and one from university in Canada), both were filled with delicious coffee, never ending markets, an awe of how well the tube works, and leisurely strolls in Hyde Park.
Paris, France was a living dream.
Edinburgh, Scotland was also a double trip. Less than an hours flight and at about 20 euro round trip it’s too good to pass up. Edinburgh is an everything city — great food, beautiful hills, enchanting streets, art and culture. The variety of food was so good both times I was there it was like a trip for my taste buds. The Gothic architecture seems to be inspired by the natural landscape — the tall, dark buildings were made to stand amongst the black clouds and mist.
Sliema, Malta was the trip where I finally got my summer. Me and my wonderful 2013 travel partner gallivanted across the entire Island, drank a bottle of wine with each beautiful dinner, sunbathed just a little too much, and were mesmerized by the many colours of the crystal clear, sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
As for my token Before 30, here’s what I crossed off:
#19. Attend an orchestra performance
#44. Eat chocolate in Belgium
#61. Drink wine under the Eiffel Tower
#76. Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Dublin
#77. Visit Stockholm
In 2014 I’m hoping to cross off a whole lot more items and also experience things that I never even knew should be on my list. I like to have goals because it makes me feel like I’m working towards something, however a lot of the most spectacular things I experienced this year I never could’ve planned. The best thing about New Years is hindsight. You’re given an opportunity to reflect, appreciate, and understand the things you went through during the year as a whole rather than dwelling on individual instances. And of course there is the beautiful promise of a New Year, destined to be whatever you decide to make of it.
I think this excerpt from my favourite post of the year “Not all those who wander are lost” summarizes 2013 for me,
“There are so many countries to explore, coffees to drink, songs to sing, and people to learn from. I can’t wait. Life is thrilling and utterly unpredictable, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”