Another year older

I'm not usually one to make a fuss about my birthday. I am not yet to the age where I'm embarrassed to say how old I am. I am past the age where you wake up early on the morning of your birthday full of excitement, exclaiming your new age at the top of your lungs. For the past several years, birthdays have been pretty laid back. We go out for a nice dinner, eat some cake, and I get a gift or two. Usually, reminiscing about the last year and the things I've done doesn't happen until New Years. This year, however, is different. As you are reading this post, I am on a boat, sailing to Antarctica. It is a coincidence that my birthday falls during our cruise, but it will be one I never forget, nonetheless. Since there is no wifi in Antarctica - shocking, I know - I wrote this post the day of our departure. Instead of telling you about what I ate, who in my family sang to me first, and what I did (since at the time of writing, it hasn't happened yet), I want to tell you how happy I am. We have shared our ups and downs from the trip, and we certainly had our share of "downs" to struggle through in the beginning. There was the uncertainty of whether we made the right decision to leave our lives at home in the first place. There were arguments, language barriers, and a hospitalization. We've come a long way in the last five months, and I can now say with certainty that it was all worth it.

In the last year, I have done a lot of things. I was successful at work, I followed a budget, I saved my pennies, I made new friends, and I ran a marathon. I had a few yard sales, I sold my possessions, I left my job, I sold my house, I sold my car, and I changed my permanent address to that of Daniel's parents. I bought a one way ticket into Bogota, Colombia with absolutely no idea what I was going to do once I got there. Since I've started traveling, I've done things that I didn't even know I wanted to do before.

I've visited a flower farm, been to local markets, learned a language, and found a new hobby in hiking. I've been on more busses than I care to count, eaten three course meals for $1.50, hitchhiked, and played with some great kids. I've seen the sun rise over Macchu Picchu, boarded head first down a giant sand dune, walked on a glacier, watched a women's wrestling match, slept under a mosquito net in the jungle, hiked down (and up!) a giant canyon, and seen dozens of condors gliding overhead. You always hear inspirational quotes with "live life to the fullest" sentiments, and I am doing just that. Living.

Eventually, the money will run out, we will return home, and get new jobs. We will have to start over again, from scratch. Before we started our trip, this was the part that scared me the most. What if we can't find jobs? Where will we live? Will we be happy? I can finally say that I no longer feel afraid. Life is an adventure. We will make it a priority not to float aimlessly through life, and to try not to get too lost in the daily grind that is "normal life". We will make living a priority.

Sometimes, I get irritated when people say how lucky I am. I have not won the lottery. I have worked extremely hard for what I have. But today, I feel lucky. I have had the best year of my life. I've done things that people dream their whole lives of doing. I am the happiest I have ever been.  And the best part is, I know that 28 will be another year full of adventure. I am looking forward the ride, happy birthday to me!