2016 was the year from hell. So many absolute legends have passed, and the political landscape worldwide is quite grim. This Earth is on a life support machine and Donald Trump’s very small hands are hovering over the plug, eager to pull it.
Yes, this year has been dismal in the grand scheme of things. But some pretty amazing things have happened, and we must take the time to recognize and cherish those moments too!
2016 was a great year for my bucket list in terms of achieving things I have dreamed of since I was a child. Let’s take a look back at my favorite adventures from this year!
This is the first time since I’ve been of the legal drinking age that I rang in the new year in a new city! I may have lost my ID, but we’ll just blame that on 2016’s bad juju.
Petty thiefs aside, Chicago treated my cousins and I so well. I’m not usually a fan of the cold, but I absolutely loved this city. We walked a good amount of the downtown area and saw some of the best sights, including the infamous Bean, the Skydeck, and the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights.
Oh, and let’s not forget the pizza. My mouth still waters just thinking about Lou Malnati’s deep dish!
Single for Valentine’s Day, I headed to Washington D.C. to spend some quality time with my cousin (my valentine!) in her new city.
I’ve been to Washington D.C. before, but this was my first trip when I was of the legal drinking age. Let me just say, the district did me dirty! It was such a blast going out with my cousin and her friends, even if stumbling home in the snow was a bit different than what I’m used to in sunny California.
It was during this trip that I was introduced to the total body workout that is bouldering. I was able to watch my Los Angeles Kings take on the Washington Capitals in the Verizon Center and eat some pretty amazing ramen. I caught up with family in Virginia for a night before heading back to DC to watch (and learn!) How To Be Single. Overall, a successful trip!
I returned to my alma mater for alumni weekend and spent night and day frolicking around beautiful, sunny Santa Barbara! Wine tastings and alumni events aside, as fun as they were, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my best friends under my favorite starry night sky.
I would return to Santa Barbara once more before the year’s end, in November, for a day trip. That trip was also filled with great company, sights, and food!
From my adolescent bucket list, item no. 16. was to visit Greece, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants style. Thanks to a suddenly open work schedule and some incredibly cheap Air Canada flights, my mom and I found ourselves on our way to Greece to join my aunt and cousins for a girls trip! We booked just two weeks in advance! That kind of spontaneity is what I live for, and I was so thrilled we were able to make it happen.
By ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants style,’ what I really meant was riding donkeys up white hillsides and fawning over Kostas’. I rode a donkey up from Amoudi Bay after throwing myself off a cliff, and I admired the Greek men in Athens from afar. Who knew I could think scruff was attractive?!
All girly silliness aside, the history geek in me was having a blast. All of the temples dedicated to the Greek gods were fascinating to see in real life, and I thought it so important to see them all now before they’re potentially ruined (considering the current state affairs.)
A friend of mine from England came to California to visit on his way home from his time abroad in Australia. For nearly two weeks, I played tourist in my own city with him, going on hikes, eating at new places, and even going to Disneyland!
I love exploring Los Angeles with friends and family from out of town because there’s always something new to discover in a city this big.
Toward the end of his stay, we travelled up the coast to visit San Francisco for a University of Cambridge alumni event. There we spent time catching up with all of our friends from study abroad. I also had the opportunity to spend time with a bunch of my great friends from college!
For my birthday, two of my cousins joined me on a day trip to Catalina Island! It was a quick trip, where we kayaked for a short period of time (I’m weak!) and also took a glass bottom boat out to spot some fish. All the inland tours were booked full, so we’ll have to return at a later date to see some of the more notable Catalina residents: the bison!
Also, I still really want to go to the Catalina Wine Mixer, so I’ll definitely be making a return trip!
This was my first time ever in the state of Hawaii. Being from California, friends and family alike were always surprised whenever I had told them that I’d never been before and now I am finally able to say that I have!
I joined my generous aunt and uncle on their family trip to the big island and experienced the Hawaiian beaches, waterfalls, and experiences with some of my favorite people. My favorite part of this trip, hands down, was swimming with manta rays. I’ll never forget the fear I felt as I lowered myself into the water, and how happy I was once I was settled in the ocean, watching the manta rays feed.
My mom and I flew standby to Australia to celebrate her 50th birthday. Since we didn’t know for sure whether we’d make the flight out, we ended up having to book everything last minute! We visited Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney. Thankfully, I was able to tick off two more items from my adolescent bucket list: 17. Scuba dive along the Great Barrier Reef; and 27. Hold koalas and feed kangaroos in Australia.
Our excursion out to the Great Barrier Reef was my favorite part of our trip. In catching up with a friend after my trip to Australia, I actually started to tear up out of sheer happiness just recounting my reef experience! It was absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t change anything about our entire experience.
Overall, I visited four absolutely new places to me in the year of 2016 and marked off a few incredible things from my bucket list! Not bad for a shit year.
How was your 2016?