One Year in Life & Travel

Dunes of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Walking along the sand dunes in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Today is my 27th birthday. As always on my birthday, I reflect on the past year and assess where I am in life. I marvel at the course of events that got me to where I am now. My path is a sequence of “if-then” statements, like the Microsoft Excel formulas I used every day in my last finance job.

If I hadn’t chosen to travel alone to parts of South America in 2011, maybe that trip wouldn’t have sparked my wanderlust. Then I wouldn’t have traveled to Southeast Asia, which really got me thinking that maybe the beaten path of 9-5 life just wasn’t for me.

Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro

Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro, 2011

If I hadn’t stumbled across a random article about Lisbon, I wouldn’t have decided to spend my two-week holiday in Portugal in 2013 instead of anywhere else in the world. If it hadn’t been raining in Porto when I was in Lisbon, I wouldn’t have been forced south to Lagos and then over into Spain.

If I hadn’t gone on that Madrid walking tour in which the guide told me about the program to teach English in Spain, I wouldn’t have decided then and there that enough was enough, time to start pursuing my passions. Then I wouldn’t be living in Spain.

What if it had panned out differently? I’m so glad it didn’t.

Göreme

The highlights of this year are easy to point out. I quit my job one year ago – actually, by now it’s actually been 13 months. I moved to Spain. I traveled to 15 countries spanning three continents. That’s more than some travel in their lifetime. I’m lucky, incredibly lucky. I’ve collected a number of experiences that I hold close to my heart, like spending two months in India, hitchhiking in the Balkans, and most recently, sleeping in the Sahara Desert during my trip to Morocco.

Sahara Desert Sunrise

Most importantly, this year has been about finding myself and rediscovering my voice. I do things now that I haven’t done since I was young, like write, for example. I love sharing my experiences through my blog. It’s a way for me to relive some of my most cherished memories. And I’ve recently taken up drawing – I haven’t done that in years! Using my creativity to see things with a new perspective, that’s really the most beautiful thing I’ve learned this year.

The lowlights are also easy to see. Life goes on at home, with or without me. Friends get engaged, married, they move away and move on. It’s hard to stay in touch with everyone all the time. You grow older, farther in part in both distance and time. It’s normal and natural, but it still makes me sad. I can think back on my time at home as if it were yesterday, because I’ve had so few moments at home this year that it feels so recent. In reality, a lot of time has passed.

Lavi at the airport

The day I left the US for Spain

My life now is a little less ordinary, and it’s more colorful than it’s ever been. At 26 I was just beginning this journey living outside the norm. Now at 27, I’m still trying to figure out where the next few months will take me. I want a life of travel, but I’m not sure if it’s sustainable in the long-term. But if you can dream it you can achieve it, right?

This past year has been the best year of my life. I say that every year. That means that every year of life keeps getting better and better. I’m so thankful for my life and so hopeful for the future. I can only imagine what 27 will bring. Cheers!

Hofbräuhaus, Munich

7 Comments

  1. April 23, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    Happy birthday, Lavi! I’ve just come across your blog, so it’s going to be interesting reading. Here’s to many more travel experiences!

    • April 24, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Stephen! I’m looking forward to following your adventures as well!

  2. May 4, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    So glad we met! You are such a beautiful soul inside and out. Love your pics and look forward to seeing you again soon! ❤

    • May 7, 2015 / 7:14 pm

      I’m so glad we met too! You are such an amazing and wonderful writer! Can’t wait to meet up again! xo

  3. Leonardo Godoy
    June 22, 2015 / 9:59 am

    Hello Lavi,
    Just read this and it is truely amazing. I to am thinking of teaching English abroad. I studied abroad almost two years ago in Barcelona and since then I have been itching to go to more and more places. Do you have any advice on teaching and traveling. I would to hear it. Thank you and safe travels

    • July 16, 2015 / 11:36 am

      Hi Leonardo! Teaching English is a great way to live and travel abroad. It was also a job that I loved and I was committed to helping my students in every way possible. If you want to return to Spain, I’d recommend the Auxiliares de Conversación language assistant program with the Spanish government (that was my job here). I have TONS of advice on traveling, what are your questions?

Comment on my experiences!