My 23rd year didn’t get off to the best start. I had planned big things: a long weekend in Cairns would kick off with a skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef on my birthday. Then my flight was canceled and unable to be rescheduled, leaving me with the very boring birthday plan of working, gym-ing, sleeping.
However, that was probably the lowest point in a year full of highs. For my 24th (tomorrow!), I’ll be celebrating my birthday by kicking off an eight-day cruise of the Croatian coast
and checking Croatia off my 2012 resolutions
. But to cap off an amazing year, I wanted to share 24 things that made me happy:
1. Skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef. I didn’t give up just because I wasn’t able to do it on my birthday: I jumped out of a plane for the first time for 14,000 feet worth of incredible views and an unbeatable adrenaline rush.
2. Getting my open water certification on Gili Trawangan: this Indonesian island has a bevy of psychedelic pleasures on the shore and deep-water delights in the sea.
3. Scoring last-minute tickets (and an excuse for a new dress and fascinator!) to the Melbourne Cup, the biggest event in Australia’s Spring Racing Carnival.
4. Rooftop bars in Bangkok and Saigon: neon backdrop for delicious cocktails.
5. Starting off a new year with an intense yoga schedule in Bali: I have never felt healthier or more balanced.
6. Sunday mornings at Queen Vic market: buy all my fruit and veg for the week, sample homemade jams or cheese, and then enjoy a German sausage with extra spicy mustard.
7. Meeting Annie: I fell head over heels for my parents’ new dog when I visited home. We took walks every day, and this 60-pound lapdog was the ultimate snugglebug when I was sleeping, watching DVDs and even working on my laptop.
8. Exploring the MONA in Hobart
: still the most innovative and interesting museum I’ve ever visited.
10. Working for Great Dane Furniture
–especially the minute after the massive event I planned was deemed a success and I was able to enjoy a glass of champagne with my flash mob. That’s right. I organized a flash mob.
11. Saturday adventures in Sydney that ended at an oceanside pub.
12. Coming home to spend time with my always-fabulous grandmother: I learned how to make almond cookies, nut quiches and Tokyo Sunsets–and discovered where I got my eye for photography and knack for writing.
13. My “rock climb in the morning, lay at the beach in afternoon” schedule in Railay
14. Sunday sessions at The Branch: too many ciders, acoustic tunes and laughs to count.
15. My iPhone 4s: after two years of flip phones or my 3G, it was lovely to upgrade and subsequently become obsessed with Instagram
, Foursquare, on-the-go updates and the incredible camera quality.
17. Busting out the cowboy boots for Stagecoach Country Music Festival
. And then explaining to an English friend what a “Copenhagen ring” means: oh, the joys of American cowboy culture.
18. Going to a Rugby World Cup game
in Wellington, New Zealand: it was awesome to see such an outpouring of national pride on both sides.
19. Living across the street from Luna Park: it’s impossible not to smile when you wake up to hot-air balloons drifting over a roller coaster every morning.
20. My Monday through Friday ritual in Melbourne: early-and-nearly-empty tram to a perfectly frothed latte, friendly chit-chat, newspaper and window seat at Market Cafe.
21. Sunrise runs along St Kilda Beach with the lovely JC: they were always the best start to my day!
22. Riding motorbikes in Asia: absolutely chaotic and crazy, but such an adventure!
23. Champagne on the Seine at sunset: celebrating my early birthday, a friend’s completion of a massive professional test and the Jubilee.
24. Being back in Europe for my birthday: as usual, travel is the best gift of all!
What’s making YOU happy this week?