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A Tribute to 2015

January 1, 2016

My bday in Chiangmai elephant ride and tiger etc

2015…what can I say? It was AMAZING. When I look back over the last 12 months, I can’t believe all that happened! I knew a year in Australia would be amazing but I really didn’t have any idea just HOW amazing it would be. I am so, SO thankful that I did it while I had the chance. I highly recommend the experience! There is no way to summarize in just one post all that this year held for me but here are a few highlights:

  • Celebrating New Year’s in Sydney overlooking the harbor with our feet dangling over the water and watching fireworks and a firefall off of the Sydney Harbour Bridge [beautiful!]
  • Hiking around the Blue Mountains and other Sydney sightseeing with my Dutch friend.
  • Spending a fabulous several months living in Brisbane and getting to know so many wonderful people there.
  • Missions trip with my CA church to the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
  • Playing with tigers and riding elephants in Thailand on my birthday
  • Finally getting to Bali and enjoying daily (cheap!) massages and mani/pedis and yummy food.
  • Climbing the hundreds of steps to the amazing Batu caves in Malaysia and seeing the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
  • Running through a torrential downpour in KL and streets that had turned into 8 inch high rivers and arriving at our hotel completely soaked
  • Singapore – finally!
  • Road tripping New Zealand with my Estonian friends and getting to hear Russian again. =)
  • Finally crossing blackwater rafting off of my bucket list [craaazy experience because contrary to popular belief I am NOT brave and having to jump backwards off of TWO different waterfalls into the inky black darkness of a cold cave river while clutching an inner tube in a death grip is definitely crazy!). But I will never forget when our guide turned off his flashlight and we turned off our headlamps and we floated in total darkness looking up at thousands of brilliantly glowing blue glowworms on the ceiling of the cave above us. Incredible.  Definitely an experience of a lifetime.
  • Whitewater rafting class 5 rapids (eek!)
  • Flying from NZ directly across Australia to move to Perth on the west coast.
  • Road tripping up the coast to Monkey Mia and crazy camping adventures with a French girl. Getting to feed one of the wild dolphins that come up to the shores most mornings in Monkey Mia and watching them swim close to shore every day. Getting to stop at so many stunning and deserted beaches along the way.
  • Spending 5 amazing months living in Perth and getting to see so many fabulous places like Rottnest Island.
  • Learning to play the didgeridoo
  • Roadtripping down south to Albany and Esperance [incredible coastline and beaches!] and Wave Rock.
  • Getting to show my parents around Perth for a few days and getting to show off Australia’s incredible wildlife and scenery.
  • Getting to hold a baby crocodile
  • Getting to see SO many animals in the wild: dingoes, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, snakes, quolls, quokkas, fairy penguins, dolphins, whales, stingrays, lemon sharks, flying foxes, eastern water dragons (that can stand up on their hind legs and run like men when fighting!!), lorikeets, many different kinds of parrots, corellas, tawny frogmouths, kookaburras, emus (and many more amazing birds!), tiny frogs the size of a thumbnail, Australian possums (that are adorable!) and probably more animals that I don’t even remember right now.
  • Spending 10 days in Japan during typhoon Chan-hom and trying sushi for the first time
  • Doing a solo trip to Hong Kong and staying in the Chungking Mansions (what an experience!!! Would totally do it again though.). Even though I went solo I ended up meeting up with a girl I met through a Christian backpackers site, a guy from couchsurfing, and a Canadian girl who was staying in the Chungking Mansions as well. It’s so fun being able to just make new friends wherever you go. Thanks, social media, you’ve revolutionized travel!
  • A crazy last minute trip up to Broome before saying goodbye to Australia. What an amazing trip! The Kimberley region is SO expensive, so I only got to see Broome but I am thankful I at least go to see that. Someday when I’m rich I’ll go back and do the Kimberley properly. 😉
  • Getting to see the Staircase to the Moon while in Broome!
  • A whirlwind day layover in Honolulu and the adventure that was me trying to rendezvous with a friend of a friend who was going to to show me around for the day. If only a camera had followed me around the airport that morning…it was a comedy (which kinda reminds me of a date I had a few weeks later…both were comedies of the same sort!!)

Those are just some of the many, many highlights of this year. God spoiled me rotten this year. I don’t take for granted that I got to do more this past year than a lot of people will get to do in a lifetime and I am so thankful for all the places God let me travel, all the friends He let me make, all the experiences He let me have, the churches he let me be a part of and the memories He allowed me to make. I will cherish those memories forever.

2016 will be different in a lot of ways (mostly because I’m not planning to do much traveling), but similar in some: A new country to live in, more chances to live by faith and watch God work, a new culture to learn… I’m excited to see what happens!

I hope you all have a wonderful 2016. Let God lead you this year. I know you won’t regret it.

Happy New Year!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2016 3:56 pm

    You had a amazing year. I hope the same for 2016.

  2. January 16, 2016 5:47 am

    The Whitsundays weren’t a highlight?? 😉

    • January 17, 2016 8:16 pm

      Yes, they were, but I did them in 2014 – soon after I arrived in Australia. =)

  3. January 21, 2016 10:40 am

    I didn’t even know you DID a few of the things on your list. What a jam-packed year! 🙂

  4. January 21, 2016 1:25 pm

    Haha. I know, it was insane. I don’t think any year can ever top it.

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