2017 in Review

My 2017 goals and reflections:

  1. Learn to drive stick (#everyyear)
    I had ONE lesson!
  2. Professional Development: Orff Level III course
    Sadly, my Orff III was cancelled this summer, so I was not able to complete my certificate this year. 
  3. Travel to five new countries: Croatia, Slovenia…(CHECK)
    See details below in the next section. 
  4. Take Turkish Clarinet Lessons (CHECK)
    After 3+ years in Turkey, I finally found a teacher and have started lessons!
  5. Lose 30 pounds by summer – I’ve done it before. I can do it again.
    Definitely not. 
  6. Level Up: Crochet a granny square blanket (1/2 CHECK)
    It’s not done yet, but it is started!
  7. Transfer memories from travel journals to my blog
    I only got as far as bringing my journals back to Istanbul…
  8. When in Istanbul for the weekend, spend at least an hour at a cafe reading (1/2 CHECK)
    I can’t say I did this in cafes, but I read 9 (and a half) books this year. That’s REALLY good for me. I even joined our staff book club!
  9. Likewise, spend more time exploring other neighborhoods
    If I’m not abroad, I’m a hermit. 

New Countries/Territories in 2017: Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland
Countries Revisited in 2017: Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, England
Running Tally: United States, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Scotland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Lichtenstein, Vatican City, Monaco, Malta, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Canada, Israel, Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Hong Kong, Ukraine, India, Seychelles, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland

The best thing new thing I did this year was learn to dive in Dahab, Egypt. I feel like it opens up a whole new world of travel opportunities.

In addition to all my travel adventures, I was able to go home and see my family four times within the last calendar year. I’m thankful that this remains possible despite the obvious challenges of being an expat.

So what’s in store for 2018?

I will turn 30 in June, so I’ve been looking at all those “30 Before 30” lists. They aren’t much inspiration because many of them are like, “Fly across an ocean,” or “Buy a house.” Those would be great goals for me if I wrote my list when I turned 20 or 25, but it doesn’t feel right to put something on my list now at age 29 that I have already done.

What are your most creative “Before 30” list ideas?

Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Read the first Harry Potter book: I know that for my generation it is absolutely criminal that I haven’t done this yet.
  2. See the Northern Lights. I didn’t see them in Iceland this winter, but I still have high hopes for seeing them in Norway this February. That said, nature will be nature and it just may not be in my cards just yet.
  3. See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan. I booked tickets for my April break with my airline miles to go visit my friends serving in the Navy. Again, I can’t control nature, but hopefully I’ll catch the colors.
  4. Participate in a Color Run. There’s a 5k in Istanbul. I can’t promise I’ll run because I hate running with a burning passion, but it would be fun to participate anyway.
  5. Get involved in a cause. More and more I’m finding myself troubled by problems in the world such as pollution, climate change, overuse of plastic, humanitarian needs in Yemen, Puerto Rico, and so on. Beyond sending financial contributions, I’m not sure how much I can do to help, but it’s time I start helping.

Here’s what I WANT to do but I know are likely not to happen:

  1. Lose 30 pounds by the time I turn 30. I just… Let’s look at my track record. I really want to be healthier when I dive and I want to start preparing to hike the Inca Trail.
  2. Fast for the entirety of Ramadan. Every year I fast for a bit of it, but I’ve always made a point that I will only fast until the summer holiday begins. I’d love to try fasting the whole month (which is all before summer this year), but unless I have people fasting with me, I probably won’t make it. Anyone want to try?

Here’s what I want to accomplish in 2018, but may or may not be related to my turning 30:

  1. Finish Orff Certificate (Level III in July)
  2. Attend Orff Afrique in Ghana as part of my professional development
  3. Sell my house in Illinois to pay off my house in Michigan.
  4. As always, 5 new countires. Russia, Norway, Japan, Ghana and… that only brings me to June. I have ideas, but no set plans just yet.

What’s in store for YOU?

Do you have any suggestions of things to do before I turn 30?

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