Bringing in the New Year with positivity and determination

Every New Year’s since I was little my mother encouraged me to write down my New Year’s Resolutions. Now as I’ve gotten older, I’ve not only written them down, but kept them close to me and visible so throughout the year I can see the progress I’ve made and the goals I have yet to achieve or work on.

For me, 2015 is a big year. Its the year I finish my college education, possibly schooling forever, and move on to a big kid job. And as excited as I am to enter the “real world” with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy, I can’t help but feel this aversion to following this predictable path that has been mapped out for my generation. When I graduate, I’m expected to know what I want to do, but truthfully I don’t. Well I don’t know the answer society wants to hear anyways.

If you really want to know what i want to do when I graduate its this: I want to travel the world. I want to meet people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, sexualities, and different stories. I want to have the pleasure of getting to know the backroads and explore the landscapes of untamed horizons. I want to drink nice bottles of wine in foreign places with people that make my heart sing. I want to play in the waves of different oceans, shower in thundering waterfalls, and jump off bridges and out of planes.  I want to bask in the beauties and riches of this world– both nature and humans alike. But aside from the dream world I envision as my young adult future, I also understand that traveling comes at a cost.

So for this year my motto is as follows:

“Always remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose.”

As long as we are able to acknowledge our dreams we can begin to do the things necessary to achieve them. For me, this means finishing school and doing it well while maintaining jobs and internships on the side. This way, I’m bettering my future, appeasing societies markers of success, and saving money for a lifetime of adventures! But aside from my wish and deep craving for travel, there are things I can do everyday that will help me find a deeper level of happiness, authenticity within myself, and overall peace with myself and the world.

So here are my goals for the 2015:

1. Accept that change is inevitable and embrace it. 

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” -Max Depree

2. Positivity enhances everything we do and shines through us. Embody it.

“Positive minds. Positive vibes. Positive life.”

3. Fear is truly the only thing that has the capacity to hinder our lives if we allow it. Acknowledge your fears and then push fear out.

“If we would only see that all limitations are self-imposed and chosen out of fear, we would leap at once.”

4. Practice gratitude daily, multiple times a day. It will bring happiness to you and those around you.

“The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.”

Dr. Steve Maraboli

5. Don’t settle for the ordinary and don’t limit your life by living within the norms.

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

6. Learn to let go of things that weigh down your spirit.

“Dear Self, you can only lose what you cling to.” -Buddha’

7. Spend time truly connecting with others and with nature.

“Connection is a result of authenticity.”

8. Do everything with a searing passion. 

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life…if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – Roald Dahl

Please share with me in the comments section some of your resolutions this year! Thanks for reading 🙂

Reflections and Memories: South Africa

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

The funny thing about studying abroad and I suppose travel in general, is that you treat the entire experience as if your mind and heart were an open passport; just waiting for the city and people to make their mark. Then, after returning home, looking at those stamps with a smile and fond memories rushing through you. But then, for some people, they suddenly realize one day while laying in bed or strolling through town, that this foreign city isn’t just a mysterious cool place they pointed to on a map a couple months ago. And those people they met aren’t just friends. This city, this “foreign” place, has become your home. And those friends have transformed into family. That’s what happened to me. I fell in love: with the city; with the environment; with the culture; with the people; and with a wonderful person. And I think the hardest thing I’ve experienced since returning home isn’t so much missing the place or the people or the cheap price of good quality wine (which is A LOT by the way), but more so acknowledging this feeling that my home and my heart will never truly be in the same place anymore. There will always be a part of me missing. Then, an even more daunting thought comes to mind: these are the only two places in the world I’ve really lived/travelled/known for a “substantial” amount of time in my adult life. What about the rest of the world? What do those magical places have o offer? And what then can I give in return to the people and the places that have given so much to me?

I’d love to dive into my hopeful travel plans but I know I’ve neglected to finish sharing with you all the rest of my experiences in Cape Town. In order to spare you all some time, I will bullet point some memories and leave it up to you to ask me any further lingering questions you may have.

-shark cage diving

-hiking lions head for sunset and picnics

-eating weekly sushi at Beluga

-watching sunsets with a bottle of wine over Camps bay

-seeing penguins at Boulders

-exploring kirstenbosch gardens

-shopping in the waterfront

-visiting Robben Island twice

-Viewing District 6 museum

-Having a braai and a jol at mzoli’s

-experience the townships of nyanga, langa, and mitchels plain

-going to a wedding from the township ( and meeting the bride and groom)

-clubbing on long street

-shopping on Kloof

-playing beach volleyball every weekend on Clifton and Camps

-trail running behind Rhodes memorial

-having fun at World of Birds

-Enjoying brunch at the Old Biscuit Mill

-Strawberry picking and wine tasting in Stellenbosch

-Whale watching

-Hiking crystal pools

-going on safaris in the bush in Botswana and Kruger park in South Africa

-Going on an ocean safari in Mozambique

-quadding through Praia do Tofo, Mozambique

-camping in swazliand (Seeing rhinos and listening to lions)

-Driving the Panorama route

-Looking through God’s window

-competeing nationally for beach volleyball in Kimberley and polokwane (best finish 4th place)

-kayaking down the Okavango river

-sunset cruise on the Zambezi river

-Flew over Victoria falls in a micro lite

-Hiked down to the boiling point

-felt the showers of the smoke that thunders

-Got bitten by a ridiculous amount of “mozies” (mosquitoes)

-Got hooked on Savannah dry

-basked in the cheap price of wine and other spirits

These are just some of the experiences I had while in South Africa, and while there are so many more, no list could ever properly sum up the memories I made over the past 6 months. Although I’m happy to be home with family and friends and extremely efficient and abundant wifi, South Africa has stolen my heart. Counting down the days until I come back to the Mother City. Look for my new years resolution blog in the next few days!