A year of whim and wanderlust

A year of whim and wanderlust

I was supposed to spend New Year’s Eve 2010 on the beaches of Honolulu. Then I broke up with my boyfriend a few days before Christmas, endured the nightmare of cancelling an extremely expensive and non-refundable flight, and booked a cheap flight to see my best friend in Orange County.


After riding a tandem bicycle on the beach and kayaking in San Clemente Harbor, we lounged on the couch with her triplet sisters, other friends and parents that night, her mom suggested we make predictions about where we’d be in 10 years. My friend’s dad insisted I’d end up living in France; my best friend, all too used to my making grandiose plans and promptly forgetting about them, laughed and I said I’d never do it.

I booked a plane ticket 28 days later. And that kind of sums up my 2010. A touch of spontaneity, a little bit of blind faith and a heck of a lot of confidence. I picked up and moved to Nice, a place where I didn’t know a soul, didn’t have a job, wasn’t fluent in the language.

And somehow, I found myself lying on the beach, staring at the Mediterranean and soaking up the sunshine, wondering how exactly I got so lucky. 2010 had me crossing off my bucket list left and right: La Tomatina in Spain, staying in the luxury hotels in Barcelona, learning how to bartend in Nice, eating meatballs in Stockholm, staying up all night in Amsterdam.


2010 taught me that anything is possible if you’re willing to take a risk, work hard and be smart about saving and spending. Living as an expat or a traveler isn’t as glamorous as it sometimes looks–or, more accurately, how we work to make it appear. I have bouts of homesickness, doubt, fixed-life envy. Somehow, though, the little travel joys always manage to make me smile.

Looking back at New Year’s Eve 2010, I never could have predicted how this year would turn out–but I can certainly assure you it was much better than my heartbroken self would have envisioned.


So now I’m looking toward 2011 with that same sense of whim and wanderlust: I’m moving to Australia in a matter of weeks with nothing but a visa and a “no worries” attitude.

I fly back to Orange County tomorrow to ring in 2011 with my best friend, without whom I might never have found the guts to follow my dreams. I’m sure she’ll laugh when I mention my plans to sky dive over the Great Barrier Reef or get my paragliding pilot’s license–but that might be just the push I need to book it.

  • That’s incredible! I hope your 2011 was even better than 2010!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you!

  • “2010 taught me that anything is possible if you’re willing to take a risk, work hard and be smart about saving and spending.”

    I love this line – of course it could apply to any year, but glad it turned out so well for you! Imagine what would have happened if your friend’s dad hadn’t said that to you? And that your friend didn’t think you’d do it? Amazing where we end up, isn’t it?

    Hope 2011 is even better!

  • What a great year you had. Kudos. And here’s to more happy travel adventures in 2011!

  • Joelle

    love it.

  • Heres to an awesome 2011!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Good for you! It’s always refreshing to hear about people turning a bad situation into a fantastic life experience! I’m in Melbourne and would love to hear all about it in person, so when you arrive Down Under, I am happy to be your designated tour guide of Melbs πŸ™‚
    Keep me in touch with your plans – laura@travelbugholidays.net.au
    Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

  • Wonderful post. Welcome to Oz next year–it’s a great place.

  • All the best for 2011! Enjoy your time in Oz and we’ll share a few of our Melbourne secrets if you give us a few local tips for California. πŸ™‚

  • Garreth

    Great Post! All the best for Oz and 2011!

  • Anonymous

    It’s not always the best quality, but as soon as someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m even more determined to do it! Happy New Year’s!

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Thanks lovely πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely! I’m best with Northern California, but I’m in So Cal now and know a few of the secret spots πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Aw, thank you so much! I’ll definitely be in Melbourne, so I’ll look you up–it would be great to have a tour guide! Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much! Best to you as well!

  • And I definitely recommend seeing Melbourne before you decide to settle in Sydney! A lot of my american friends made the mistake of getting a place to stay and finding a job in Sydney, and then when they came to visit Melbs, they were thoroughly disappointed that they weren’t able to stay here instead. Not saying there is anything wrong with Sydney though! Just a warning is all πŸ˜‰

    When do you get here? I’ll actually be in Sydney visiting friends on the weekend of the 21st/22nd of January… Anyway, email me so we can swap better details and I can give you loads more info! πŸ™‚

  • Aussieland is awaiting your arrival πŸ™‚ Yay 2011!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks lady! Looking forward to meeting you in person and picking your brain for some Australia wisdom πŸ™‚

  • Sounds like you had a great year in 2010!

  • Anonymous

    It was awesome–but looking forward to 2011!

  • I hope that the coming year continues to exceed expectations and that you’ll see and experience things you could have never predicted (in the best way possible).

    Hope that somehow, someway along my road trip we’ll be able to cross paths!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the kind wishes! I’m certainly crossing my fingers it all goes even better than I could hope–and obviously, it would be great to meet you! I’m sure something will work out πŸ™‚