An Open Letter of Reflection

Long time no see, huh? What can I say, other than life caught up to me in ways I couldn’t escape? School and work have been rough lately, forcing me to take an unplanned and unwanted hiatus from this little project.

2014 is coming to a close soon, and as I look back on everything that’s happened this year, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the experiences that I’ve had. Travel, especially world travel, is one of those things that not very many people have the chance to experience. It’s a privilege that I’ve been granted due to the financial and emotional support of my friends and family, and I owe them so much. Travel is something that is very key to my person, something that helps me grow and learn in ways that are totally unique. I always thought the term wanderlust was clichè, but I find myself daydreaming about far-off places and looking up airplane tickets in my spare time. And I think this means I have the bug.

I can’t remember where I learned this quote, maybe from a friend or from reading another blog, but I came across the idea that the experiences gained while traveling is what makes one rich, even though you may be spending a small fortune in the process. I couldn’t agree more. In spite of the astronomical cost of my trip to the Middle East this summer, the first-hand knowledge I gained about archeology, history, politics, religion, and human rights issues made it one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.

But on that same note, I think that perhaps one of the greatest values I learned this year is to appreciate the idea of home. As much as I long to see the world, nothing can replace the sense of belonging I have when I get back. Usually when I am on some great adventure, a part of me is always thinking about the place I came from and the people I left behind. And I’ve also learned that “home” is sometimes fluid, not always a permanent place, but just a feeling of absolute comfort and stability that comes with knowing where you are and who you are with.

I hope that 2015 will bring even more opportunities for me to travel and expand my knowledge of the world. I’m applying for internships in New York and LA and Chicago, and I’m excited for the opportunity not only to visit but to live in a brand new place for several months. But before I get too caught up in the future (as always), I wanted to reflect on what has happened in 2014.

In terms of travel, this year, I:

But I also did a few other things that were memorable:

  • saw one of my favorite bands in concert
  • wrecked my bike and went to the hospital in an ambulance
  • officially adopted my first pet
  • got engaged (!)
  • took on a huge new position at work and learned about leadership
  • made A LOT of videos for work
  • started writing a book

So what’s next? I hope everyone will be excited to hear that one of my resolutions for 2015 is to post here once weekly. It might be a bit ambitious, especially with my class and work schedule, but I still have so much to say about my study abroad trip and other travels. And of course, all of the trips before 2014, too! So don’t give up on me just yet. After all, we’re really just getting started.

Happy New Year,

And I'll see you on the road!

And I’ll see you on the road!

-Ingrid

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