Oh what a difference a year makes. I can remember this time last year daydreaming about playing basketball again, pursuing something greater than myself, and traveling the world. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this roller coaster of a year it’s that life is simply to short to not go after what you want. It’s so easy to settle into a comfortable routine and lose sight of what sets your heart on fire and truly inspires you. While my crippling fear of complacency can sometimes drive me crazy, I recognize that it is also what has lead me to my greatest adventures. This holiday season I decided to not go home despite desperately missing my family and friends and instead travel across Europe. I traveled to five countries and seven cities with my roommate and fellow victory scholars, collecting memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Some of the highlights of my trip included; overlooking Amsterdam at night from the highest swing in Europe, satisfying my World War II obsession with a historical bike tour of Berlin, attending Christmas Mass at the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, falling in love with the town of Hallstatt, Austria, visiting all of the original Sound of Music filming locations in Salzburg, sipping coffee at one of the oldest cafes in Vienna, and attending a New Years Eve party at the infamous thermal baths in Budapest. There were some not so glamorous parts of traveling too, like sleeping in hostels, missing busses, realizing that I accidentally booked the wrong air bnb last minute, getting ripped off at the grocery store and by cab drivers. But these slight annoyances were all part of what made these past few weeks life changing. This Christmas I replaced material things with experiences and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
While New Years is meant to be about resolutions and making changes, I can’t help but approach 2018 with the same mentality that made 2017 so memorable. For me this year is about following my heart and never settling for a life I’m not proud of. It’s about taking more chances, welcoming uncertainty, and letting go of old traditions in order to experience new ones. There are countless things I hope to improve and work on this year, and that will always be the case. But this holiday season for the first time I’m choosing to celebrate what made the past year so fulfilling; making the absolute most out of life and this opportunity i’ve been given.
Cheers to the next 365,