If I had to sum up this past year in one word, it would have to be PROUD. I have gone through massive changes and accomplished some big things. I went through a lot of growth this year, and am so proud of myself. I’ve learned to ignore the naysayers around me and to surround myself with caring friends and family. I also learned how to open myself up to new opportunities and experiences. Without much ado, here is a look back on 2017.
I rang in the New Year with some close friends and we all fell asleep before midnight! I loved the low-key entry to 2017, because the rest of the year made up for all the excitement. Two days later and I was on a plane bound for Hong Kong! It had been six long years since I had last stepped foot on Hong Kong soil, and all the familiar feelings came back to me. I spent two glorious weeks revisiting old haunts and exploring new places. I was able to meet amazing people from all over the world. Lastly, I rediscovered my love for travel and committed myself to traveling even more. I went back for my second semester of obtaining my MBA, and was enrolled in some awesome classes including project management and ERP systems.
I was knee deep in my classes, my new business, three part-time jobs and three hour commutes. February was about buckling down after I realized I was graduating in September instead of December. I also worked more on this blog, and discovered more and more about myself and what I wanted out of life and for my future.
I traveled to a new continent and new country, Brazil! I was blown away by Brazil’s landscape and people. This country is HUMONGOUS, and it’s personality is fabulous. I spent time in Sao Paulo, Paraty and Rio de Janeiro, and loved my time exploring local businesses, learning about the culture, and eating delicious food all week long. This is definitely a country I am willing to go back to soon, especially since I paid an exorbitant amount for a Visa that lasts ten years. So i have to get my money’s worth, right?
We’ll call this the month of Jessica spraining her ankle, somehow still working and going to school ( thanks Mom and Dad for all the pick ups and rides!) and figuring out her life. I didn’t do a whole lot in April in terms of travel wise because of my ankle, but I did manage to spend a lot of quality time with my friends and was able to welcome to the world my adorable niece whose personality is just as big, if not bigger, than her mom’s!
I finished up my last semester of grad school, I turned 26 with low-key celebrations, and I drove six hours to get my global entry pass (definitely worth it!). My ankle was almost fully healed, and I got to spend time with friends and do some relaxation!
I spent most of the month lazing on the beach, working my part-time retail job, eating way too much ice cream from Haywards and spending infinite amounts of time with my best friends. I also made a trip to Seattle at the end of the month, and Tazmanian Jess left the city demolished.
July was much of the same as June, and it’s safe to say this was the best post-college summer I had. I was only working a part time job, I only had one online class, and I had a great group of friends to go on crazy adventures with. I also rediscovered my love for New England and all the natural beauty it has to offer.
In August I spent more time at the beach, exploring old haunts in New England, and spending time with some awesome friends. I also started my full-time retail job because, benefits, and started to really explore and figure out what I wanted out of life. I knew corporate life wasn’t for me, but I still wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do besides travel and learn.
This is when all of my half-assed ideas started to actually form and take shape, and I’ll be sharing those in the next couple of posts! I started planning my Ireland trip, I started studying for a ton of exams, and I started my relationship with my best bud, Kevin.
I went to Ireland and fell in love with backpacking, the country and the people. It was my first official backpacking trip and I fell in love with the backpacker lifestyle! I spent time in Dublin, Cork, Cobh and Galway. I loved meeting people from all over the world and loved the hospitality of the Irish people. Getting to watch the beautiful countryside roll by on the train was an added bonus!
I was supposed to head to Chicago for a long weekend. Instead, I foregoed the trip in order to study (and PASS) my Quickbooks Online certification exam! I successfully cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. I drove twelve hours round trip to see my best bud in Northern Maine. It was also the first time I faced scrutiny at a border crossing in literally the middle of nowhere Maine and New Brunswick. On the upside, I got to see Canada’s longest covered bridge, so thats a win in my book!
In December I took the massive leap from a full-time corporate job to self-employment. I am currently running my own business and consulting business for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Safe to say this is the scariest, most exciting and liberating thing I have done in my life thus far. I’ve spent a crazy amount of money on flights for the first half of 2018. I’m already plotting some crazy adventures for the second half of the year. I’ve been busting my butt off to pass the TEFL exam so I can teach English as a foreign language.
2017 was a crazy year; and one I am most proud of. Every decision made has brought me closer to my goals of owning my own businesses and being location-independent. I’ve solidified some really great friendships and learned what it means to be a true friend in return. I’m finally doing what I want to do, and it feels amazing. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be a jam-packed, adventure-filled year!