One year of traveling and a lifetime of memories. Life is absolutely rad.

After looking at a few of my really old blog posts, I, number one, realized that I have been traveling for over a year! I left San Francisco on September 8th, 2011 and have been a-movin’ ever since! The second thing I realized is that my blogs as of late have just been playing catch-up. I did this, I went there, I ate that. While all of that is good to remember, I definitely want to remember to put some substance into what I write.

To reflect back upon an entire year of traveling and experiences (to reflect back on a year of anything is difficult!) and to think of all that it has contained is pretty wild. I heard a quote the other day that I think is probably my current mantra. I have no idea who wrote it but it says…Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. I absolutely agree with this whole-heartedly – and a lot of times the only thing you have to “buy” is a bus ticket(train ticket, plane ticket, whatever – or just hop in a car).

I know that it’s likely that eventually I will have to lead a normal life somewhere, and live off something other than a measly volunteer stipend… but I can’t even explain how fulfilled I feel in life right now. Maybe it’s partly knowing that you can completely uproot your life and everything that’s comfortable around you and then set up a whole new life, just as lovely (but obviously very different) as the life you had before. This leaves me feeling overly optimistic as I now see that there are absolutely amazing people, opportunities, landmarks, foods and experiences all over the world. There are also crappy people, bad situations, gross food and bad things as well, but I choose to see my glass as overflowing with some very colorful life liquid. And the best part about it, is you still have all the experiences, family, friends(if you’re good about staying in touch!), memories and knowledge that you gained from the last chapter of your life!

The older I get, the more I just look at money as a means to an end. It’s not that hard to make, and it’s not hard at all to spend, so I try to do a little combination of both. You can’t let saving for another day get in the way of living right now. You can’t make a list of things you want to do before you die and set it aside.  We all obviously can’t do everything we want to do all at once, but make little steps to get there, and do a little something that makes you happy every day. Don’t push anything to the weekend or say you don’t have time. If today is your last day on Earth, you damn well better enjoy it! Hopefully it’s not, though… 🙂

Anyway, with all that said, I am so happy to still be on this journey and get excited about what every new day will bring.

Now, to still play a tiny bit of catch-up… Since my last blog, I turned 28 and celebrated an amazing weekend with my awesome gringo friends, my Chilean family and some assorted Chilean and Argentinian friends. I went out to Viña and ate Thai food with my co-teacher and friends, had beers at a little bar in Quilpue with my awesome friend Hillary, got some amazing b-day packages and presents from my parents, sis and friends, and received many birthday wishes from my students and friends from afar. My host mom(along with the principal of my school) made me possibly the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen in my life, with dulce de leche(caramel of sorts), coffee, and chocolate filling and we had a little family gathering at the house. My 27th birthday I spent celebrating with my amazing sis, and great friends, speaking English in San Francisco, and my 28th, I spent in Chile with a second family, new friends, all while speaking Spanish. It’s truly amazing what a year can bring!

Recently, I also joined an all girls soccer team, took cueca lessons(the national Chilean dance) and have been continuing my half marathon training. It is seriously amazing how open and inclusive Chilean people are to a gringa coming in to play soccer with them, how willing they are to help you overcome your horrible dancing skills to learn their national dance and how patient they are when you’re struggling to get certain points across in Spanish. Needless to say, it’s been a lovely few weeks!

That’s all for now. I have many new updates and pics to come from this week, as we’ve been celebrating Fiestas Patrias or Chilean Independence – woo, but I’ll save that for another day!!! Kisses and hugs to you all! 🙂 And a very happy 30th birthday to my lovely and beautiful mom!!! XOXO

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