This year hasn’t been as full of travel as in years past, mostly because my travel was all squished together at once instead of being spread out. There are a variety of reasons for this! I was grateful to have as much as time as I did to travel, but I definitely had itchy feet throughout the first part of the year.
January – April
After the holidays last year, I started a web development bootcamp. Basically, you learn to code in a very short period of time. I started in January and went to class Monday-Friday from 9 to 5. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done! Many days I was exhausted after class. I also had homework and spent many hours after class working on that and projects. It was so intense, and many nights I dreamt of code!
Needless to say, I didn’t go anywhere during this time. We had a week off in the middle, but I spent it working on my personal project. However, I don’t regret it at all. Learning is something I really enjoy, and this learning was a challenge.
May was a quiet month. I was looking for a job, and that takes so much time! I always say that looking for a job is a job.
My parents went to Spain and Portugal for two weeks, and I got to take care of my nieces for two weeks. (Don’t worry the kids lived!) I was very excited for my parents as I had just been to Spain and Portugal the previous fall. I was able to give them tips on what to see outside of their scheduled tour and like comparing their opinions of things to mine.
In June, I had my first official pet sitting gig with Trusted Housesitters here in Dallas. I had been wanting to do this as a way to exchange my care of pets for housing while traveling. Doing a local sit was helpful so that I could get a review so I could apply for an international sit. I had a great time watching a laid-back dog and got to have a little staycation.
The rest of the month, I hung out with my best friend going to movies and eating out. We have some favorite spots around Dallas, and I hope to be sharing some of these spots with you soon.
By now, the feeling of needing to travel was getting bigger by the day. I told my family several times that if I didn’t get a job soon, I was going to run away to Greece!
After a regular check-up at one of my doctors, I was discovered to be anemic and had some other issues. I was very fatigued. I was put on many vitamin supplements and told to come back in three months. The vitamins seemed to help and hoped it wasn’t anything serious.
Pretty quickly after this, I decided I need to get away. As many of you know last year, I was devasted by the loss of my boyfriend, and I knew that getting away would help me. Of course, I knew I would head to Greece. It took all my willpower not to book a ticket for the next day after I made the decision! I spent the rest of July packing up what little I had unpacked the year before and prepped for my trip.
My family took a trip to Galveston the first week in August, and I decided to stay here to watch our cat and to pack. Them being gone helped me get so much done.
On August 7, I flew to London and had a short layover before I flew to Athens! Of course, I arrived in Athens the next day. My ultimate destination was the island of Naxos, which I headed out to after one night in Athens. While the ferry ride is a long five hours, I was so excited to be there. Plus, Naxos is an island I had never been to and was looking forward to exploring.
The first two weeks, I stayed in a hostel dorm. This was a first for me. It was great as I made some new friends and the location was really close to the beach!
September is the best month to be in Greece, in my opinion. The water is warmer than at any other time of the year, and the tourists start to leave. The beaches are also less crowded. I didn’t spend every day at the beach though. Many days, I explored Naxos even renting a car to explore where the buses don’t go.
Three months is a long time to spend just hanging out at the beach and sightseeing, so I decided to help with the Naxos Animal Welfare Society. I spent much of September feeding cats and going to the vet. At one point I was fostering a kitten! While it is a lot of work, I loved every minute of it. I am still getting regular updates on the kittens I helped. I am excited that a few of them found homes.
There was even more cat care in October! Some wonderful friends I made were leaving to go back to Italy for a few months, and I offered to feed some of the stray cats they fed. The daily walk to feed the cats was a great way to make sure I got out of my apartment every day. There were many days I was walking almost five miles or more.
Late in October, I started taking Greek lessons. I had been teaching myself, but it is so much better to learn from someone. I have caught on quicker than I thought I would but still have trouble with the pronunciation of some words.
However, the fatigue I had been experiencing was getting worse, and I was spending a lot of time laying down. I was getting very frustrated being stuck at home and having to take naps every day. I made arrangements to see my doctor right when I returned from my trip.
My time in Europe had run out, so I decided I couldn’t go all this way and not go see people in Qatar. Unfortunately, I got a cold right as I left Greece and I didn’t get to see as many people as I wanted to. Also, the week before Qatar had experienced massive flooding from a rainstorm that dropped a year’s worth of rain in 90 minutes!
It was surreal to be back in Qatar as a visitor and not as a resident. I had to wait at immigration, which I had not done since my first year in Qatar. Then I was staying in a hotel that wasn’t where I had lived before. The upside was the hotel was very full and they didn’t have a non-smoking room available in my choice of a room so I was upgraded to a suite! Being sick, I very much took advantage of this.
After this week, I went to London. I spent a whole month in London last year, I had a blast. I wanted to stay in East London like I had the year before. The first night, I spent in a new hotel called The East London Hotel. You can’t get much more East London than that! Then I got to watch two beautiful cats at my first international house sit. I loved these two cats and the location was great.
After this, I moved to an Airbnb in Hackney. Hackney is the neighborhood I stayed in last year and I fell in love. There are so many parks and cute shops to explore. Plus it is an easy bus ride into central London from here. Although, except for one day at the V&A Museum to see the Frida Khalo exhibit, I never left East London.
My time in London was quickly over and it was time to head home. I was so tired at this point, I was actually glad to be going home. The doctor figured out I have a slightly underactive thyroid and I am now on medication. So, hopefully, by the time 2019 rolls around I will feel much better.
Now, I am spending time with my family and looking for a job. That is the plan for December. I have no plans to go anywhere as Christmas is my favorite time of year mostly because my family hangs out a lot together. Even though I am gone a lot, I am very close with my family so I value this time very much.
As for 2019 travel plans, I only have one thing planned and I can’t tell you about it till it happens. You will see why then. I am focused on finding a job and then I will make travel plans.
What was your favorite thing from 2018? Any 2019 travel plans?