How to top the most amazing year of your life


We welcomed in the new year in a new city – Bogota. While everyone rushed out to parties and clubs to celebrate, I decided to honour a tradition I started several years ago.


I like to find a quiet space and spend time reflecting on the past year, celebrating my successes and learning from my failures. Then I dream about the new year and take time to feel what it would be like to live my ideal life. What am I doing, who am I with, where do I spend my time.


I journal and write it all down – everything I’m feeling, everything I’m longing for, everything I love. Then I close off the old year with gratitude and welcome the new year from a place of excitement.


2017 was obviously a big year for me. I lived in ten different countries, made 50+ new friends, tried new experiences and pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone I can’t even see the lines anymore!


So now everyone asks how I’m going to top that in 2018.


Truth is, my idea of topping it is probably very different than most expect.


Yes, there are so many more cities and countries I want to visit, things to try and adventures to have. But success for me in 2018 doesn’t involve any of those things.


Success looks like celebrating my nephew’s seventh birthday with him, going to his baseball games and watching him in the school play. It means cheering on my niece as she learns to ride a bike, laughing as we splash in the pool and baking cookies together.


It means watching the sunset with my sister, as we talk late into the night. It means having a weekly dinner date with my baby brother and welcoming his first child into the world. It means planning adventures with my mom and reassuring my dad we’ll be fine.


Success is reconnecting with dear friends, seeing how their children have grown, listening to their stories of happiness, sadness and joy from the past year, sharing my journey and embracing it all.


Success is continuing to follow my passions, it’s doing something every day that I love, it’s dreaming big and knowing that I can achieve it. It’s telling my story and inspiring others. It’s believing that anything is possible.


It’s month 11 of this crazy year-long adventure and I thought I’d have mixed emotions about the end quickly approaching.


I know I’m going to miss the friendships I’ve built, I know it will feel strange to walk away after spending 24 hours a day together for one year. I know I’m going to miss the adventure and excitement of exploring new cities. I’ll miss the freedom of choosing how to spend my time every day.


I’ll miss the community we’ve created. But I know we’ll always be there for each other, that I can travel to nearly any city or country and have a friend waiting for me. And I’ll know they’ll come to visit me too.


The end of Remote Year isn’t the end of the adventure, it’s just shifting.


My next adventure is returning home and seeing family and friends, living in the home I bought just before leaving, exploring the changes in my hometown, rediscovering favourite restaurants and hiking trails and beaches.


I’m excited about this next phase! There are people to meet, experiences to be had and plenty of love and laughter to go around.


Will I get restless? Maybe.

Will I want to plan another trip? Probably.

Will I experience the full range of emotions? Definitely.


But isn’t that what life’s about? Letting ourselves feel everything, trying on new experiences, finding what we love and pursuing more of it.


At least that’s how I choose to live my life – go all in, play full out and love every minute of it!


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Showing 6 comments
  • Laura Cull

    Looking forward to having you back home! xoxo

    • Michelle

      Thanks Laura! xo

  • Karen

    Nicely put. I c9mpletely understand that feeling of “shifting” and reconnecting to friends and family after a year abroad. Enjoy your last month and see & speak soon xoxo. It’s been fun following you, thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Michelle

      Thanks Karen. Looking forward to seeing you soon! xo

  • Ralph

    What an amazing girl. What a challenge you have taken on, one most people wouldn’t and some couldn’t do. But as I recall this girl is the one who always said
    “I do own self”.and that you have done. Can’t imagine all you have been through both the good and the bad as yes probably even the ugly. However you have don it while others may have gone home you were committed and stayed. While you have had quite a cheering crowd behind you here at home and everyone is so excited for you to be back home to do some home adventures. Ryder is so excited that Auntie will be home for his birthday he has talked about that all year. Your little niece has grown up so much but she is still a little lady and talks about her Auntie all the time.. Her character reminds me of her Auntie as she says no I do it…..What a delight they both are. Avery is growing so fast and is as smart as a whip. Never wants to be picked up just down and going hard.. Talking lots and counting even saying his ABC’s.
    New niece coming in April will be so close to you I am sure she will be an aunties girl after day one..
    Even though I was excited for you to do this adventure I am looking forward to you being home.and hearing so much more about you experiences.

    Love you glad you are my girl..
    Love me xoxo

    • Michelle

      Thanks Dad. I really appreciate your support and cheering me on this year, and always. See you soon! xoxo

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