From Ha Long to Hwaesong and everything in between: reflecting back on 2014

In the final weeks of 2014, I find I’ve been reflecting back on all that has changed in this past year. This year has involved more than one trip across the Pacific: I backpacked around Southeast Asia, settled into a spring and summer in Canada, and finally packed it all up again with my sights on South Korea.

This year has been full of learning experiences, new adventures and wonderful people. Without further ado, I’m happy to share with you…

My favourite moments of 2014

  • Ringing in New Year 2014 among the noise, colour and energy of a coastal Cambodian beach party, in the company of two wonderful humans. I guess you could say I was off to a good start!

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  • Spontaneously getting off a southbound train a few stops early to rent motorbikes with near-strangers/new friends and visit the incredible Phong Nha cave system of Vietnam. The spontaneity of our trek and the verdant, lush countryside made our journey that much more memorable.

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Pictures truly can’t do this massive, stunning cave system justice. Go discover it for yourself!

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I was not the one driving this bad boy. Fear not, family!

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  • Simply appreciating a cool, calm morning in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Such a stunning part of the world!

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  • Renting bikes in stunning Luang Prabang with Stefanie, a friendly Dutch girl (have you ever met a Dutch person who wasn’t friendly?). We biked out of town, eventually resting on a dirt road on a sunny afternoon, watching locals go about their day on motorbike, bicycle and foot!

Returning to Canada in the middle of a neverending winter wasn’t an easy transition…

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  • Reuniting with close friends, and doing the kinds of things that Canadians do best- drinking beers on a frozen river after an afternoon of skating! IMG_4424
  • Having the result of 4 1/2 years of hard work culminate in me walking across the stage and seeing the smiles on my parents’ faces. Step one: B.Sc., step two: the world!

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  • Completing a half-marathon on a drizzly June morning. Favourite moment: At one house we passed, a guy was shredding guitar in his doorway, while on the sidewalk a couple was handing out cups of beer to runners. BEER! I jogged past, reconsidered, jogged back and grabbed a cup. How could I have passed that up?

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  • Enjoying the sun at Pride 2014. I’m fortunate to have such wonderful friends. 10352897_10152439416530040_6166215035523094192_n
  • Discovering the fish bridge, and biking over it at least a dozen times over the summer. IMG_4932
  • Finally making it to Folk Fest! A solid made-in-Manitoba festival, around for over forty years, and something I’d been longing to experience for several years. Like many festivals, it’s hard to truly appreciate the degree of creativity and love that goes into such an event until one experiences it for themselves.

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  • Biking across the city in full medieval garb to attend a Game of Thrones themed dinner! I couldn’t stop cracking up, imagining people’s reactions to Arya Stark on a bicycle.

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  • In over four months of living in Korea, hiking Namhansanseong Fortress stands out. The heavy, foggy air muted outside sound and stimuli, creating an otherworldly experience.

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Another worthy mention- Hwaseong fortress and my good luck in seeing this sunset.
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One thing is certain- I’ve made a lot of incredible memories in 2014. What’s to come next year? It’s almost impossible to say with certainty, but there is one thing I know- I can hardly wait!

What are your standout moments of 2014? I’d love to hear them. If this post can inspire one thing- let it be to inspire you to take the steps towards your next adventure!

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3 thoughts on “From Ha Long to Hwaesong and everything in between: reflecting back on 2014

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