2019: The Travel Year That Was

I have just finished my decades-old New Year’s Eve tradition of reviewing the goals I have set for the year and I can see that I have failed miserably in almost a half of them. Foremost and the only one I am ashamed to admit was that I was not able to visit a single Philippine province the entire year. Another failed goal – run in a foreign country – got derailed because of external forces. Meanwhile, the other goals of cleaning up my phone’s photo gallery and being more diligent on social media and my travel blog, well, they all just got neglected due to old-fashioned laziness.

But the year was not all bad. It was actually quite wonderful. I do have a handful of regrets, mostly stemming from not seizing the moment and throwing caution to the wind. Fortunately for me, I have a newfound optimism that I would have the opportunity to do these things in the near future.

Anyway, the ending year has been a really incredible one for sure. I have seen people complain that it felt as if it lasted 10 years and, well, it sure did, too. It saw me reach several milestones, cross out bucket list items but still left me alive enough to look forward to the next decade (Mother Nature permitting).

The year 2019 was the year of the travel.

I remember spending the first day of 2019 planning and booking hotels for my upcoming travels. I was able to reach three other continents because for the first time in my life, the elusive combination of time and money suddenly made themselves available to me. I was able to reach South America and visited Colombia and Peru – the farthest I have been from home. I returned to Europe and finally found myself in Italy and surprised myself by venturing to Portugal. While in the Old Continent I revisited some favorites, namely France, Spain and the Netherlands. During my birthday, I went to Australia and let kangaroos feed from my hands. In Asia, I finally used my expiring Korean Visa and visited Seoul. After that, I had the luck of revisiting Hong Kong before the demonstrations started. And all that happened during the first four months. The latter half of the year I took the chance to revisit Bangkok and Osaka. My trips to both cities let me check out some places that I previously was not able to visit. I was extremely happy for the opportunity.

And grateful.

The entire year I have been grateful for all the things that happened.

I’m grateful for the redundancy, not only for all the financial boost, but you know, holding your breath is just paralyzing.

I’m grateful for all the people who let me reconnect with them, even just for a short period of time.

I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met this year. I will always say they are godsend because God will give us what we need when we need them.

I’m grateful for all the time I was able to spend with my family, esp. with my niece and nephew.

I’m grateful for the new job I am starting next month. Finally. Although, contrary to what my mother would have you believe, I haven’t been unemployed for a year now. I consider my unemployment to have started in June because I traveled in April then grappled with jet lag the entire May. Yes, jet lag gets worse as we age, and contrary to what my face would have you believe, I’m already old. In June, I wasted away in the heat – the hottest June on record for 140 years, mind you – so maybe I should also not count June.

In any case, my pseudo-sabbatical was not wasted on just watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I also took the time to get started on one of my long-time goals of learning another language. It wasn’t a complete success… yet. But I am not giving up on this one and I’m optimistic that 2020 will help me with it.

Speaking of 2020, I feel like it will be a real tabula rasa year. Both 2018 and 2019 feel like a couple of lifetimes ago and I am ready to start this new life next year. How about you?

Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

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