Resolutions for 2015 and my Favorite Posts of 2014

Before I delve into 2015, let’s look back at the resolutions I kept (and dropped) in 2014:

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I did travel!

  • Learn French.
  • Take a class in web design and economics.
  • Find an amazing job in the USA (although it’s not very amazing)
  • Keep up the habit of going to the gym 3 times a week, aim to run for an hour nonstop (can do 30 mins now, up the score!)
  • Take the GRE.
  • Grow out my hair.  It looks good short I must admit, but I do miss having my long black locks.
  • Continue to write, and publish an article!
  • Volunteer!  Find an organization in Shanghai or the USA, sign up, and go help others! (volunteered on Thanksgiving and have joined a volunteer Meetup group in my neighborhood).
  • Practice J-E interpreting 3 times a week, C-E once a week
  • Learn how to properly, and effectively, invest money (I purchased my first stocks this year)
  • Travel somewhere new (have plans of Thailand in March, so this one’s definitely going to happen!) (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore–you were amazing!)

Alright, Time for 2015 Resolutions:

To more adventure in 2015!

To more adventure in 2015!

  • Lose 20 pounds–and more importantly, lead a healthier life.  I know.  It’s a typical resolution, but this year it means even more.  I gained a lot of weight since moving back to the United States.  I want to blame the unhealthy food, the portion sizes and the lack of physical activity (I used to walk everywhere in Shanghai–now, I drive).  But still, I can’t just blame America.  I already downloaded MyFitnessPal and I have a plan set in motion.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll join weight watchers.  Either way, I need to take control of my weight, my health, and my life.
  • Learn Italian and Sign up for an Italian Class.  I tried to learn French and my god, it just didn’t stick.  Since most of my friends are Italian, I’ll take this as a divine sign from heaven and just learn what I love: Italian.
  • Learn Advanced CSS, HTML, and Javascript; as well as Photoshop, Illustrator and In-Design.  I love drawing, coloring, and creating.  I have always loved web design and I want to teach myself more so I can make creativity my source of income instead of just a hobby.
  • Publish an Article (or ten).  While I did continue to write (as this blog so clearly showcases), I have yet to publish my work.  I want 2015 to be that year.
  • Update this Blog Once a Week and Really Commit to The Ruby Ronin.  I love this blog.  It’s my baby.  I love the people I meet through this blog, and I love writing.  I didn’t start to really invest time in this thing until 2014, and I want to go even further in 2015.  I know life gets in the way and sometimes I only update once a month–but that’s just ridiculous.  I need to show this blog, and my readers, that I’m serious about this thing.
  • Become an Irish Citizen.  I know, random.  I’ll write a post about how to apply for Irish Citizenship later, but for the time being, I just want to make this happen in 2015.
  • Pay Off My Student Loans.  After almost ten years of paying my stupid loans, this year will finally be the year where I write my final paycheck to the Federal Government.
  • Visit at Least One National Park.  Here’s lookin at you, Yosemite.
  • Run a 5k.  While this isn’t #1 priority, I’d really like to make it happen!

Realizations from 2014 to Push me Forward in 2015

I didn't just leave friends in Shanghai--I left a family.

I didn’t just leave friends in Shanghai–I left a family.

I will forever remember 2014 as the year of great change.  I moved back to the United States from my wonderful life in Shanghai and experienced some of the worst reverse culture shock to ever grace an American.  It was truly a painful and difficult experience.  Even a year later, I cannot say with confidence that I have fully adjusted.

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Is Living in Big City America Worth it?

photo credit: Pranav Bhatt via photopin cc

photo credit: Pranav Bhatt via photopin cc

Why Big City L.A. Sucks… Traffic

I apologize, I haven’t updated in almost a month. Aside from my terrible job and daily four hour commute (yes, you read that correctly, four hours), I have been busy with my favorite hobby:

Traveling.

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When I was younger, all I could think about was how to get out of the United States rather than travel in it. The arches of Moab are nothing compared to the Great Wall of China, I sighed. The Grand Canyon simply pales in comparison to the intellectual beauty of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysses.

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Beached Out in Thailand? Go to Khao Sok Jungle

Call me spoiled, but after almost two weeks of this..

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I thought: Enough.  I can only lounge on a beach and read a book for so long.  I need some exploration.  Adventure.  Excitement.  And besides, if I drink anymore cocktails on this beach I’ll turn into the drunk that passed out on the shore and washed out to sea.

I want to see more than the beach.  I want to see a part of Thailand no one else dares to explore.

I want to go to the jungles of Khao Sok.

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Khao Sok made it into my itinerary mostly thanks to the word of my well-traveled Italian friend:

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Thailand: Beaches, beaches, and more beaches

My best friend of over 20 years was in Thailand for a Pharmacy study abroad program, thus sparking the entire idea of me going to Thailand before my exit from China.  After her gruesome 30 day course involving lepers, TB, getting smacked in the face with a ping pong paddle and elephant “sanctuaries” that reminded her of concentration camps, she was in desperate need of some R&R on the beach–and that’s exactly what we got.

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Krabi, Just Go There

In southern Thailand, there’s few places that have escaped the wrath of tourism–Krabi included.  I thought that Krabi would be a quaint, little seaside town that housed a few hostels and maybe some 5 star hotels–but man, was I wrong.  Krabi is completely saturated by the tourism industry, with shady bars at every corner, hostels on every street and people trying to flag you down with cheap tours to go island hopping every 5 minutes.

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Biking Around Ayutthaya and Feasting in Bangkok

Thailand.  A backpackers haven.  The heart of Southeast Asia.  The land of smiles.  A country that all travelers know they must check off ‘the list.’

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I first became interested in Thailand in much the same way everyone else does:  The food.

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I mean seriously, when a country has food THIS good you can’t help but wonder about the rest of it.  There has to be something unique and special about a country that makes some of the best spicy soup, mind blowing curry, and fragrant dishes to grace not only all of Asia–but the entire world.

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When are you too old to solo travel?

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20 Something Traveling–Been There, Done That

When thinking of a female solo traveler, I’m sure the first image that pops into mind is a 24-27 year old girl simply sick of her 9-5 desk job and craving something more.  These women decide to toss the boring life of monotony and, instead, don a backpack and travel the world.  They’re young, they’re fresh, and they’re ready to make the most of their “younger years.”

As I near the dreaded 3-0, I start wondering about the possibility of solo female traveling mid 30’s and beyond.  I have found a slew of blogs featuring women that have braved the roughest frontiers with nothing but a bag on their backs–but I have yet to encounter a blog that has a 34+ something woman traveling the world.

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