Looking back on 2013

Looking back on 2013

2013 was a good year. I feel secure in the choices I’ve made, content with my relationships and environment. My mantra has forever been peaceful, grounded, stress-free; this is the year that I’ve finally felt it all come to fruition. I’ve found peace through meditation and yoga and turning my phone off before I go to bed. I’m grounded in my work, my friendships, this city. I’m not always free of stress, but I’m better at managing it.

Christine Amorose in New York City

I found a balance between fixed life and wanderlust, a glorious combination of entrenchment and excitement. 2013 was all I could have hoped for, and more–and just as I said at this time last year, “it was an absolutely brilliant year–as always, better than the last.”

Without trying to invent the wheel, here’s a look back at what I did, where I went and what I felt in 2013:

January // New York City

I’m starting to realize that perhaps you don’t have to travel across the world to discover yourself, to realize what you’re capable of accomplishing on your own. Self-sufficiency does not exist solely in 16-hour plane rides, daylong bus adventures in Vietnam, successfully giving directions in a second language. It exists whenever we stop saying that we can’t do something and simply do it, when we push out of our comfort zone into new and unfamiliar–and ultimately, the most rewarding–territory. When we struggle through something, tears and hopelessness and all, and come out on the other side: perhaps not unscathed, but knowing that the scars will fade.”

You don’t have to go across the world to find yourself

Christine Amorose in the Berkshires, New York

February // The Berkshires + New York City

“Mostly, though, I was struck by the question: If you knew you’d meet the love of your life in a year, how different would that year be? If I knew that a year from now, the man of my dreams would breeze casually into my life: how would I feel about these hours wasted on anxiety and loneliness? Would I be disappointed that I didn’t spend more time speaking Spanish, whipping up pad Thai, working on my unassisted headstand? To that extent, would I pack up my bags and head off to backpack South America or do a working holiday in New Zealand or yoga training in India? Those are still things I really, really want to do: what guarantee do I have that I’ll find someone who shares those dreams?”

If you know you’d meet the love of your life in a year, how different would that year be?

Feet in Las Vegas

March // Las Vegas + New York City

“It’s a good reminder that being quiet and still with ourselves is just as important as “getting things done.” It’s a reminder to meditate, to set aside time for a yoga practice or a long walk–or, perhaps, just to let yourself sleep in and spend the morning reading magazines and drinking tea in bed without any guilt. It’s also a moment to reflect on what we’d like to be remembered for: I absolutely want to to be recognized as a reliable, creative, hard-working employee. But more than that, I want to be known as a cheerful presence, a person who always showed up, someone who appreciated her family and her community.”

Remembering to live, not just work

Camels in front of Petra in Jordan

April // Jordan

“The one thing I didn’t expect it to be was so beautiful in so many different ways: Jordan does not come to mind when you think of beautiful beach sunsets, spectacular desert scenery, luxurious and remote resorts with hot springs and waterfalls.”

The best of Jordan, via Instagram

Feet in Las Vegas

May // Jordan

“My first thought when my trip to Jordan was confirmed: what to wear? As it was my first trip to the Middle East, I knew that it would be not only much warmer in temperature but much more conservative in style. I wanted to be as respectful as possible while still being comfortable and on trend–and be carry-on only!”

How to pack stylishly for Jordan

Christine Amorose in Iceland

June // Iceland
“We quickly realized that Iceland’s public pool culture was the key to campervan living. Almost every town in Iceland, no matter how small, has a public pool: it usually consists of two hot tubs (hot and hotter), a swimming pool, a steam room and public showers. Instead of paying to use campground showers, we would pay $4-5 for admission to the public pool: go for a swim, relax in the hot tubs, chat in the steam room and then take a nice hot (communal) shower. Granted, you have to be comfortable with same-sex nudity in the locker rooms–but if you are, it makes living out of a campervan feel super luxurious. And when you’re not in a public pool, you’re swimming in natural hot springs: file under best thing ever.”
Portland Theater

July // Portland

“To preface this entire post: the biggest thing I learned at World Domination Summit is that I don’t like conferences. I don’t like large crowds of people and I don’t like schedules. Small talk drains me. I prefer exploring a city on my own, by myself. I also have a hard time with audio learning: give me the transcript to read of the presentations I heard, and I promise I’ll retain about 409% more information and likely be more inspired. Oh, and it cost the equivalent of a cross-country, round-trip flight.”

Dominating the world (or maybe not)

Steve Cohen magic show

August // New York City

“Once we went up to Steve Cohen’s private residence, we joined about 30 other people in chairs in the living room and the show began. I don’t want to give the whole show away (!), but I will share the act that totally blew my mind. As soon as you sit down, you’re asked to write your absolute favorite drink on an index card and then pass it to the side and down so that one person in the front row has a stack of all the cards. Then someone from the audience randomly pulls out five of the index cards, and another audience members give four out to people in audience and sticks the last one in his jacket pocket without looking. Then Steve pulls out this silver teapot, and proceeds to pour out the drink on the four cards–a shot of mai tai, ruby red grapefruit juice, merlot. And my card read margarita–I can totally vouch that I drank a shot of tequila, lime and triple sec that was magically poured from a teapot right in front of me (the same teapot that just poured a mai tai, grapefruit juice and glass of merlot). Then the guy with the card in his jacket pocket went up and poured out the drink that was on his now-revealed card: an iced vanilla latte! Absolutely mind-blowing.”

Date night: magic show! 

Sacramento River, Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

September // Sacramento

“To me, home is my mom’s apple pie straight out of the oven and the three-bedroom on Hiddenspring with a pool and a driveway and watching Christmas movies with my parents. But it’s also this innate sense of peace, this comfort born of confidence. Home infused me with the belief that the best-tasting food grows on trees, that no one will bother you as long as you mind your own business, that the best way to spend an afternoon is fresh air and sunshine and your own two legs and a book.

And I guess that’s the thing: when home is always with you, it makes it easier to leave.”

when home is always with you (guest post on Where My Heart Resides)

New York City Skyline

October // New York City

“I’m of two minds about playing tour guide. Half the time, I adore showing my friends the parts of New York City (especially Brooklyn) that I absolutely love: my local cafe with the perfect lattes, my favorite restaurant in West Village with the twinkly lights on the sidewalk, the best place to get a photo of the skyline. The rest of the time can be exhausting: going to the same places, seeing the same things, watching the same street performers, and trying to stir up the same enthusiasm of seeing it all for the first time. Luckily, I’ve come up with a fairly solid three-day itinerary that I’ve put in place for quite a few friends: a mix of the tourist-musts and my local favorites.”

The “perfect weekend in New York City” itinerary 

Montreal in the snow, Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

November // San Francisco + Montreal

“Montreal in the winter isn’t recommended for the faint of heart or the thin of skin: it is bone-chillingly cold. Even though temperatures rarely hit above 20 degrees Fahrenheit while we were there–they generally hovered around 10 degrees–we still fell in love with the snow-covered squares, cobblestone streets and incredible foodie scene.”

The best of Montreal, via Instagram

Christine Amorose in Miami, Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

December // Miami + Puerto Rico

“To me, the spirit of solo female travel is still there: it’s about not letting the fear of doing something alone stop you from doing something you want to do. I didn’t go backpacking around Europe after I graduated from college alone because I wanted to become some sort of independent woman crusader. I did it because I wanted to backpack around Europe.”

2013: the end of solo female travel? 

As always, THANK YOU for another year of reading! So grateful for another year of doing what I love and sharing it on this little slice of the internet. 

  • Happy New Year Christine! It’s so nice to see that you are feeling so content this year. Best wishes for 2014!

  • Your attitude inspires me, continuously. Love seeing your year in review like this, it’s so beautiful and adventurous!

  • Great end of year reflection both personally and travel – related. I love your “peaceful, grounded and stress-free” mantra – it is very similar to the one I hold myself accountable to and I have found that it makes for a more productive year. Looking forward to what you have planned for 2014!

  • Mia Mishek

    Great re-cap. I’ve been long-time lurker, first time commenter. I really enjoyed your Jordan posts (because I hope to travel there soon) and the “end of the solo female travaller”. I’m going on my first solo trip (I’ve done two backpacking trips, but with other people) and I’m super excited. Alone! Alone at last! Have a happy new year, and please keep writing! 🙂

  • Briel79

    Wonderful recap! I always get inspired by posts like this and look forward to the new year and what it will bring. I want to try to be more active, physically as well as in my own life, in 2014 and not spend so much time alone in my apartment. Hopefully I can motivate myself to get out more and enjoy the great weather that LA has to offer year ’round.

  • Happy New Year, darling! Congratulations on all you’ve learned and experienced. Here’s to more lived wisdom (and a chance to reconnect) in 2014. xo

  • I really enjoyed this recap, Christine! You’ve always had a way of painting wonderful pictures with your words. Truly a great year — and LOVE the quotes from your previous posts and letting us revisit some of your best moments in 2013. Here’s to, as always, an even better 2014.

  • Heather | Ferreting the Fun

    Congratulations on a life well-lived, and on some truly exceptional writing. This was just the inspiration I needed as I examine the direction I want my own life to take in the coming year.

  • Kari

    Happy New Year! I found your blog through researching about Nice where I plan to visit this summer. I’ve really enjoyed your blog as my goal for 2014 is to travel as much as possible. Its nice to get a real perspective on what it takes. I was wondering though…how do you find time to travel? I do weekend trips as much as I can but am the girl who never asks for time off work. I feel like I can only save for one big trip a year. Any advice?

  • camorose

    Thank you! I’m excited for a new year!

  • camorose

    Thanks lady! It was a good year 🙂

  • camorose

    Thank you! Hope you have a very happy 2014 as well!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Mia! I can’t wait to hear how you like Jordan!

  • camorose

    From someone who is trapped in the NYC snow–YES. GO ENJOY THE SUNSHINE! 🙂

  • camorose

    Thanks lady! Would love to grab a glass of wine in 2014 xo

  • camorose

    Thanks, Kieu! Looking forward to a new year 🙂

  • camorose

    Oh yay! So glad that it’s provided a bit of inspiration 🙂

  • camorose

    I’ve always believed that vacation days are there for a reason–to use! Taking time off work is really important for me to rest and recharge, and come back and be more productive. Don’t be afraid to ask for the time that you need–and deserve!

  • First, Happy New Year! I really enjoyed this recap, Christine! The stories like this inspire others to go travel and you photos have supported this post well. Year 2013 was good and contented for even me. 🙂 Do have a look.

    I wish you a more eventful 2014.

  • camorose

    Thanks, Nisha! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • McKenna

    Wow you’ve jet-setted all over the world! That’s great, and slightly similar to what we are planning to do: My boyfriend and I are about to go on a 2 month SE asia backpacking adventure and then move to NYC. It’s a huge jump for us, and I for one have had more than a few panic moments. It definitely puts some of those feelings at ease when I read that someone else shares the same passion of “going” and know that it’ll turn out ok in the end. Thanks! Any tips on how to pack for a cross country move?

  • camorose

    Ah how fun! Honestly when it comes to packing–less is more! I recommend selling things off–you can buy EVERYTHING where you’re heading 🙂

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