2018 in Review: The Highlights

I think I’m going to change up my 2018 in review a little bit. And by change it up, I mean revert back to a way I used to do my yearly reviews on my personal and study abroad blogs — by looking at the highlights instead of just kind of recapping the last year by month.

Life is full of ups and downs. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like this year had plenty of down moments, but I prefer to focus on all the good that happened. So, here they are!

2018 in Review

I went skiing!

Ohh yeah! For the first time since I was a kid, I went skiing! My friend, Autumn, invited me to go at High 1 Resort in Korea, and I almost backed out multiple times. Partially out of wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone and partially because I didn’t want Autumn to be irritated at my flakiness, I went and had a blast.

I really want to go again, I just need to figure out when and with who! I asked my friend, Ardelle, if she wanted to go in PA, and she very firmly said no haha.

I finally went to Taiwan

FINALLY! Did you know I’ve wanted to go to Taiwan since before I even gave Korea more than a second thought? I used to watch Taiwanese dramas and practice Mandarin in on my lifeguard breaks. And now I’ve finally, finally visited. Seventeen-year-old me is over the moon.

The weather was absolutely shitty for most of my 2 1/2 week visit, but I was in heaven. You can read about my Taiwan adventures here.

The Eagles won the Super Bowl.

I mean, I don’t really need a lot of text for this one. We could not have won that Super Bowl in a better way possible, and I’m forever internally waving my arms like Will Smith! I don’t care if we’re the worst team in the NFL for the next 50 years, that Super Bowl win is going to get me through the rest of my life!

Saw the Cherry Blossoms

I mean, this isn’t the first time I saw them, but they’re one of my favorite things ever, so each year I get to enjoy them, I consider it a highlight! This year I saw them in Suncheon, Hwagae, Gwangyang (plum blossoms), and a little bit in Yeosu. I also saw the pretty sansuyu blossoms in Gurye!

Went back to Jeju

Jeju, my love. This marks my third time back, and I don’t know how someone could get bored or not want to see every inch of this beautiful place! This time I stayed in the loveliest pension (though I should have rented a car), visited Udo, finished my Jeju waterfall check list, and went all the way out to a fun little cafe area in Aewol. The one BIG thing left on my list is the canola festival in the spring, so cross fingers I’ll be able to see it this year!

Chopped my hair off and didn’t die of regret

I actually like my hair short right now! I’m growing it out again, but I’m not so scared to chop it all off like I was before this year. I’m not vain about most things, but my hair…I’m obnoxiously vain about it :p

Went to My First Conference

I never thought I’d be the kind of person who went to a professional conference, but here I am! I went to TBEX in Corning, NY this last September, and I actually had a lot of fun meeting people in person and hanging out in the area.

Visited Canada for the first time

Finally! I went to Vancouver for a week to visit the area and, of course, visit my friends, Maggie and Nathalie! Besides wandering around the city, I got to see some of North Vancouver, Mayne Island, and Whistler too!

Went on My First “Press Trip”

I think the technical term is actually brand campaign, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call it a press trip. I tagged along with my friend, Rachel, on her New Orleans press trip, and then I got to experience my own with Kissimmee after my friend’s wedding in Florida! Professionally, that’s a big step for me, and it’s given be a bit more confidence going into 2019!

Cried a little at Harry Potter World

As someone who had a Harry Potter corner in her room well beyond childhood, finally getting to visit Harry Potter World was ahhhh-maazzzingggg. It was definitely made more fun because I went with a fellow Harry Potter fan (and Universal Orlando expert), so we both just geeked out the whole time. Not even a 3pm rainstorm dampened our excitement.

Read 52+ Books in a Year!

Of all the things I did this year, I think this may just be my biggest accomplishment yet. For years, I’ve been wanting to get back to that bookworm mentality I had as a kid, and now I find myself reaching for a book or my Kindle when I’m bored instead of flipping through social media or mindlessly binge-watching Netflix.

I had no rules this year on what I read or how I read (or listened to) it, but for 2019 my challenge is that the ONLY books that’ll count to the challenge must be set in a country other than the US. Who knows? Maybe I’ll work up the concentration to read a book in Spanish again!

Lived on a Van for 2 Weeks!

Got to hang out with two of my favorite people, Ryan and Stephanie, on their cute bus, Onward for 2+ weeks in Oregon! It was actually way more fun than I thought bus life would be, and that’s coming from someone who’s pretty princessy when it comes to comfort.

Got a hang of SEO

This is another, kind of boring professional accomplishment. Since before I published this blog, I knew I needed to know SEO. I took until the end of 2017 for me to do anything concrete about it. Now, I feel like I actually know what I’m doing! There are still technical things that frustrate me, and, of course, no one can ever know what Google is thinking, but my traffic as tripled since January 2018, and I can only see it improving into 2019! I’m definitely not at 100k PVs/monthly yet, but it’s still my goal!

I’m excited to see what 2019 holds. I have so many ideas and things I’d like to do both this year and 2020, and I feel like I’m constantly changing my plans or what I want to do for the next few years! Here’s to good friends, family, and more adventures.

What was your 2018 like?

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