So, here we are. Christmas is over and the new year is fast approaching. As I write this, I’m lying on my bed in a hostel in Munich. As the New Year comes in, I’ll probably be running to bar in Milan–looking for a cute Italian to kiss at midnight.

And though it may be cliche to say it, I can’t help but feel truly “This is the life.” For me, traveling truly is the best way to create a well lived life.

traveling truly is the best way to create a well lived life.

This Time

It has been an amazing year of growth for me, to say the least. I still can’t believe that I’m in the middle of a solo journey across Europe. Which, I am pleased to report, has been relatively bump free. It is such an improvement from last year’s trip, for which, I was totally unprepared and relatively underwhelmed by my experience.

This time couldn’t be more different, or more wonderful. At the risk sounding rather self-aggrandizing–I’m really proud of myself. I, like so many Americans, know how to work hard. What I’ve been bad at is learning how to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Lesson Learned

As a good American, I learned that the reward for hard work usually came in the form of a paper bag with a plastic handle.  With (insert the name of fast to mid-range fashion line here) written across the side. But as I strolled out of the various stores outside of the Marienplatz Station, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the fact that I didn’t want to buy anything.

I felt (feel) so happy, so content, so at peace that for the first time in my life, I no longer felt the need to consume something. Especially since I know that whatever it is will only get minimal usage anyway.

Keep it Moving

What I wanted instead was a nice cup of warm tea and a pretzel before my free walking tour of this 850 year old city. And it has got me thinking about my life goals for the next few years. I only expected my time abroad to last a year, but after another wonderful Christmas in Vienna, I can’t help but feel that I could never give it up.

Why fight through crowds at the mall, when I could be in a modern cabin in the Alps–complete with heated floors? So, for next year, my resolution is to continue to grow in the right direction. To keep moving but literally and figuratively in different places.  And not to buy anything along the way that won’t fit in my carryon suitcase.