When I look back on 2012 collectively, I feel like the year has been good to me. It is only the perspective that one can get at the end of 12 months that at times seemed laden with challenges.
It was a year that I set out to try to become my best self. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I decided to try in earnest to find out. As it happened, this journey took me to seven countries. I wasn’t so naive to think that I would find myself in Paris, Rome, Amsterdam or any of the other cities I visited. It was more about living up to the promises I had made to myself.
It will always be easy to find reasons not to do something. Sometimes it is scarier to live the life you want, so we let it give way to what we think we are worthy of or just what is in reach. 2012 was about opening my mind to the idea that I could be a fuller person.
In some cases it took me traveling half a world away to realize that I needed to make changes to my life in San Francisco. The confidence and experiences I gained from my travels made it possible for me to make these bold and necessary moves.
Travel is important for the mere purpose of challenging our minds, our beliefs and our notion about who we are. I learned a lot in 2012 and had my share of fun along the way. These are my top travel moments of the year.
New Years in Paris
As I stood on the Pont de l’Alma, watching the reflection of the twinkling Eiffel Tower bounce off the Seine and look back at me, there was a sense of hope for what was to come that can only be captured in a city like Paris. Revelers clanked their glasses and I held my Kronenbourg 1664 beer to the sky, and we all yelled bonne année! It was the most perfect way to rein in 2012. (See: New Years Eve in Paris)
The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City
I don’t know what I expected to get from visiting the Vatican. I hoped to experience some amazing art – all the major pieces I studied and only dreamed about one day seeing. I just didn’t expect the Sistine Chapel would evoke such emotion. The Creation of David was divine in every sense of the word. (See: My Visit to Vatican City)
Call Me Maybe in Rome
I love to meet new people, and I appreciate a creative introduction. So, when a hand scribbled note with “Call Me Maybe” and a phone number landed on my table while dining out in Rome, I knew it was to be a good evening. That night, I had dinner with my six new Italian friends. Most didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak a lick of Italian, but somehow we understood each other.
Gondola Ride in Venice
One of my top travel dreams came true when I got to take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. There were stories of Casanova and other historical figures that had inhabited the narrow alleyways and the romantic canals. My serene gondola ride turned into its own adventure when I got to try my hand at rowing. All ended well and I even got the added bonus of dinner with my gondolier. (See: A Girl. A Gondola Ride. And a Rapper.)
Oktoberfest in Munich
The thing about Oktoberfest is that you don’t remember much about the day, but you know you had a good time. When I was offered a place to stay for Oktoberfest, I leapt at the opportunity. I already had the dirndl and my first experience at Oktoberfest had been such that I couldn’t deny myself the chance to go back.
What are your most memorable travel moments of 2012?