On Turning 26

It’s crazy to think about what a difference a year makes. Last year, I was so work-oriented and out-of-the-loop socially that when I got scheduled to hostess on my birthday, I didn’t even try to find a replacement because at least working would guarantee that I would have friends to spend my birthday with.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a great day. The highlight of which was dominating a disco/rock themed Soul Cycle class with one of my favorite instructors and brunching afterwards with Becca Buell.

In the evening after hostessing, I had nothing planned. In an attempt to be semi-social, I ended up going to a random party one of the analysts at my company was hosting. I can’t remember why many of my closest friends were out of town. All I remember is the feeling of staleness that came over me that day.

To all the clueless men out there, here’s a tip. When a woman wants to “change” her hair, it’s not because she wants to “look” different, it’s because she wants to “feel” different. Cutting hair is about getting rid of all the negative energy and emotional baggage. Coloring hair is about bringing in more positive energy and feeling renewed. If she keeps the same hairstyle, it’s because she likes you 😉

So in an effort to mix things up, a week later I purchased clip-in bangs from Amazon to test drive how bangs would look on me.

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Two weeks later, I decided that bangs wouldn’t provide enough bang so I died by hair blonde.

(See -> Hair = Metaphor for life)

To be expected, it wasn’t enough. I mean you can only do so much to your physical appearance before your forced to face that you need more than a change in hairstyle. You need a big change in lifestyle.

Where to start when you feel lost? 

Get even more lost…

The easiest way to figure out what you want in life is to do a whole lot of what you don’t to do. Whether that be because it’s not your “thing” or your not “ready”, getting out of your comfort zone allows you discover, accept, and own who you are and what makes you happy.

And so even though I never imagined or wanted to travel before the age of 30, I joined a cult of traveling gypsies and the rest is history.

I want to take this time to appreciate what being 25 will forever mean to me and thank all the people who made it so memorable!

Here are my favorite 25 things that I did for the first time when I was 25:

1) I visited (not just passed through) 23 new international countries, 44 new international cities, 48 total new cities.

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Travel day with the #tramily is my favorite. Thank you to everyone for being the best human beans 😉 Special shoutout to @lbacks for turning it up on the way to Lisbon. That was the best travel day ever.

2) I took spin classes in 9 countries @ 14 studios, 25 total classes, 5 different languages. #SpinAroundTheWorld.

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Thanks to @stephnieman for inspiring me to #spinaroundtheworld just like you you did.

3) I adopted a plant-based lifestyle for 30 days straight. Loving the PT-Vegan lifestyle now.

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Thanks to Kara Mossesso for being my muse and inspiration! You’ve changed a lot of lives! My (one) happy place in Phnom Penh – Backyard Cafe

4) I jumped out of a plane.

21442818_10155951400297345_449377126_nCorrection: We jumped out of a plane…Thanks @jerks_inc for organizing the ultimate #tramily #trustfall.

5) I got my scuba diving certification. 

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Despite hating every second of the process. Thanks Zoe Weiner for being the best buddy check ever and keeping me alive.

6) I ziplined through a rainforest.

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Thanks @sonofasimp for making a sweet video so I can remember the day forever.

Thanks to our city team in KL for planning the track event!

7) I stayed up until the sun rose @ the Full Moon Party > Caught a flight, ferry, flight, transport to other airport, flight, flight to get to Australia on the same day.

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Thanks to a whole bunch of people who helped me orchestrate that day.

@paullymcman for being a sober and driving me on the back of his scooter to drop off my bag at the hotel that was 5 mins from the ferry the night before.

@vee_loney for leaving the party with me in the AM when everyone else wanted to keep partying.

@zoeweinerrr & @jrahj for making sure I got on the first ferry and waking me up when it docked to Koh Samui 30 mins later.

8) I had some #Level3Fun in strange places – Melbourne, a Serbian night club, etc.

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Thanks to those involved. You know who you are.

9) I rode on a motorcycle. Walked into a parked motorcycle and got a second-degree burn.

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Thanks to Emily Van Os & @kmo_onthegogo for the professional medical advice.

Thanks to Jason George for letting me borrow with no intent of returning your bandaids and expired Neosporin.

Thanks to the 10 sadistic people that appreciated that I got a second degree burn. I love you all dearly.

10) I went on my first solo trip. Ok the intention was there.

Thanks to @linseypeterson & @tanwithme for being #travelcouplegoals.

Thanks to @tanwithme for being the best night shift buddy in Split & Belgrade. I cherish our deep, quality conversations and can’t thank you enough for letting me have @chadwohlers room that night I was locked out of my apartment at 3 am.

Thanks to @drewbreon for letting me hang with the cool kids during your birthday week. I’ll always remember your advice to keep going with RY that last day we spent together exploring London.

Thanks to @jide901 for being super cool when I ate one of your last two bananas in Prague. 

11) I swam in an infiniti pool.

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Thanks to @drewbreon for taking pro-quality pics of me by the pool @ The Hanging Gardens of Bali. 

Thanks to the whole crew (Matt F, Pauly, Drew, Tan, and that random girl who came solo from Georgia) for a memorable side trip.

12) I did a professional photo shoot.

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Thanks to Cari Hill for making me feel beautiful. This is a very very small sample of our shoot, but I highly recommend going to her site to see more of her work!

13) I dined in the Dark, in the Sky, and in all White.

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Thank you @floppyhatadventures for capturing this moment and being an awesome friend. I’ll forever remember our rooftop sunrise adventures in Phnom Penh – robe and all.

Thank you Tue Le for planning the Dinner en Blanc! It was one of my favorite memories from HCMC!

14) I napped on the world’s steepest incline among other weird places.

Thanks @zoeweinerrr, @quesarito, @superninjafishy, @allofasuttonnn, @delneromia, @free_mason_20 for being the best napping buddies a girl could ask for.

15) I slept on a boat overnight.

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Thanks to @simonfoxe, @michael.morelli13, @delneromia, @rustygirlaroundtheworld for being the best flat mates/cuddlebuds (intentional or unintentional) a girl could ever dream of.

Special shout out to @djtinat for the anti-nausea pills. I couldn’t have made it through the experience without you.

16) I rode in a sea plane.

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Thanks @nowbecomingthen0 for letting me crash your romantic Maldives trip. We had an epic #girlymoon!

17) I junked and felt like junk after.

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This is us going out the night before the junk, before we felt like junk the next day. Thanks @lbacks for being the best Hong Kong partner in crime. There was no bar, no bun, no boat, no boy, no burger, no b-trampoline we left unconquered that weekend!

18) I got 4 certifications for work in 6 days.

Thanks @brandoncrowfeather for inspiring me to come to London and thus, getting the SIM card that allowed me to pass the third certification.

Thanks @zoeweinerrr & @jrahj for letting me use your spare room in Prague. Without your ironing board and awkward shallow cubby shelves, I’m not sure I could’ve gotten the right angle to be allowed to take my fourth exam.

19) I went to a punk rock music festival, 2 international music festivals, and two concerts solo.

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Day 1 @NosAlive was by far my favorite!

I have a serious Glass Animals obsession thanks to @brandoncrowfeather.

Thank you @christina.thelin, @kmo_onthegogo, @carinaroundtheglobe, Jason G, and Emily V for being the an amazing pre-game crew!

Special shoutout to @christina.thelin for taking the best selfies of anyone I know!

20) I kayaked…My first time was in Ha Long Bay – I’m spoiled!

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Thanks @floppyhatadventures for being my kayaking buddy. We were definitely the slowest rowers in the group, but we had the best beats and the most fun!

21) I played Laura Croft for two days at Angkor Wat…or Gigi Hadid…because I hadid take over 300 photos that day with my Texas babes.

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Thanks @theadav for all our heart to hearts on Australian men and daily travel lessons from the @purposeful_traveler.

Thanks @allisonbrookeahr for being the best mom ever and teaching me how to pose and be persistent to get the perfect picture. V important life lessons.

22) I went surfing for the first time in Sydney. Played “surfer” the second time around in Lisbon.

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Thanks @zoeweinerrr for ALL the memories in Australia. From Visa blunders in Phnom Penh > Surfing with Steve, petting koalas, bondi to coogee walking, wanderlusting, and going out in Sydney > getting Naked with Satan, Tindering, and wining in Melbourne, you’ve been the best friend a girl could ask for. Love you long time!

23) I paddleboarded for the first time…for 3 hours…on accident.

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Thanks @nicky_fran for pulling me to shore and then carrying my paddleboard.

Thanks @free_mason_20 for being a really cool dude and musician. Call your Grandma please ^ thanks!

24) I took trips internationally with my main squeezes. 

Thanks @xtinetuinenga for being spontaneous and always up for having fun. We had some good heart to hearts in Barcelona, Ibiza, and Formentara!

Thanks @beckawbuell for meeting me in Thailand to explore Chang Mai, Railay Beach, Ao Nang, and Bangkok. You were my rock during night shift those final weeks!

Thanks @sarahskatz for flying to meet me Month 1 in Toyko, Kuala Lumpur, and Vietnam and then in Month 5 in Barcelona, Ibiza, and Formentara! You have always been by my side through thick and thin, and I appreciate and love you for the caring person you are. I am so lucky to call you my bestie!

25) LAST BUT NOT LEAST – I LEARNED HOW TO RIDE A BIKE!

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Thanks to @jerks_inc & @chmccracken for teaching me how to ride a bike. I used to think the person who taught me how to ride a bike would be my future hubby, but I don’t think I’ll be marrying either of you. Again, thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike.

That went from #0to100 real quick, real quick.

I think this year has proven more than any other two things:

  1. That how you spend your days is how you spend your life. Live every day (even rest days!) with urgency, intention, and commitment to whatever you need to become your best self and amazing things will come to fruition.
  2. You can’t do epic shit with basic people (cred: Rebecca Thompson)…or by yourself! As you can see, I had a lot of help from my friends in making this year my best year ever!

And so with that, I’d like to also take the time to think about what I want being 26 to mean. I think the overarching theme is discovering adventure by going deeper. After all, you can only live this #snack life for so long before all you want is a proper meal.

Here are 26 things I want to do when I’m 26:

  1. Finish Remote Year and qualify for the Citizens Program.
  2. Teach a spin class.
  3. Visit a national park in the US.
  4. Go to Burning Man,and/or Coachella, and/or Octoberfest.
  5. Cook 26 Vegan Recipes.
  6. Go on 26 dates.
  7. Bedazzle/Paint vintage jackets & purses and sell them on Etsy.
  8. Take 26 Yoga Classes
  9. Run 26.1 miles in foreign country in 1 day. I think they call these things marathons.
  10. Write 26 blog posts.
  11. Practice golf 26 times.
  12. Get a tattoo.
  13. Learn to drive stick.
  14. Invest in Crytocurrency,
  15. Splurge and have a meal at one of the world’s best restaurants (Alinea or French Laundry)
  16. Volunteer for at least 26 hours.
  17. Read/Listen to 26 books.
  18. Be an invited guest to a wedding!
  19. Meditate for 5 min, 26 days in a row.
  20. Join the Mile High Club
  21. Ride on a camel in the desert
  22. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  23. Watch 26 movies.
  24. Go Camping – I’ll try anything once…
  25. Go to a Broadway Play, Ballet, or the Opera
  26. Visit atleast 26 new cities (maybe even countries). Here’s a rough outline of potential cities/countries – feel free to let me know if you want to plan a trip together!
    1. Poland – Warsaw – done
    2. Netherlands – Amsterdam, Rotterdam – done
    3. Belgium – Brussels – done
    4. Denmark – Copenhagen – done
    5. Sweden – Stockholm – done
    6. Finland – Helsinki – booked
    7. Switzerland – Zurich – booked
    8. UAE – Dubai – booked
    9. India – Bangalore – booked
    10. Sri Lanka  – (not sure which cities yet) – booked
    11. NZ – Auckland – booked
    12. Argentina – Buenos Aires, Cordoba – booked
    13. Chile – Santiago – booked
    14. Peru, Lima – booked, Cuzco – open
    15. Uruguay – (not sure which cities yet) – open
    16. Colombia – (not sure which cities yet) – open
    17. Brazil – Rio – open
    18. Iceland (not sure which cities yet) – See the northern lights – open
    19. South Africa – Cape Town – open
    20. Morroco – open
    21. Egypt – open
    22. Belize – open
    23. Cuba – open
    24. The Bahamas – open
    25. Turks & Caicos – open
    26. Jamaica – open
    27. Senegal – open
    28. Egypt – open
    29. Other (In countries I’ve already been to)
      1. Vancouver  – open
      2. Nashville – open
      3. Albuquerque – open
      4. Miami – open
      5. Reno – open
      6. Montreal – open
      7. Montana (not sure which cities yet)  – open
      8. Alaska – open
      9. Napa Valley (Cali wine country) – open

In conclusion – Thanks to everyone in my life. Each of you has made a significant impact in helping me “find myself”, and I am forever grateful to call you my friends. I am excited to see what 26 brings!

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Thanks @jay_dred for capturing all these special moments throughout this year! i.e. This picture of us at the top of the hike for my birthday 🙂

Thanks @nick_lanspa for the best comment on a picture ever – @jrahj taking a picture of @zoeweinerrr from the top of the Rila Mountains #boyfriendsofinstagram

 

 

 

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