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2012 Reflections: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times.

It was the worst of times…

2012 was a hard year. It was a year of change. It was a year of growth. It was a year of sorrow. It was one of the worst years of my life, as it marked the first of many things without my sweet mother, who passed away at the tail-end of 2011 (that was not a good year, either). It was: my first birthday without my mom to call and sing me a song…my first family trip without my mom to plan it in her extravagant way and to make it all so much fun…my first (technically second) Christmas without my mom to play Santa and to make sure the house was decorated and full of Christmas cheer…my first of many such moments where she was just…not there.

Such a significant loss brings about one of life’s most difficult changes, and I have had a very hard time adjusting to this new life without Mom. Like the other five members of my very close-knit family, I think I have done my best to survive and adapt. The journey is not done, as I am still learning -every day- how to redefine my life without Pegasus (Mom’s nom de plume).

My confusion, sorrow, and pain led me on a bit of a soul-searching journey and, ultimately, to ten different countries in a six-month period. I’m not really sure what I was searching for or if I just wanted to escape the world I knew, which didn’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe I was looking reasons to love life and motivation to keep on trucking…(see my initial post here).

It was the best of times…

So, 2012 was a year of very extensive travel and many adventures. In fact, I covered more territory (country-wise) in 2012 than any other year in my existence, save for 1999’s Semester at Sea voyage (ten countries in 100 days).

What have I garnered from these experiences? 

Indonesia– I experienced some of the best SCUBA diving on the planet, exploring the amazing under-world of the Banda Sea in Southeastern Sulawesi. I was also able to spend some time on the uniquely beautiful and cultural island of Bali.

Me and Muji, the best dive master I've ever had.

Me and Muji, the best dive master I’ve ever had.

South Africa– I shared the most fascinating road-trip of my life, driving the Garden Route, with my sister, Chandler. We tasted wine, road ostriches, hiked all day, and played with cheetahs and baby lions amid some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever encountered.

Chan @ Storm's River Mouth

Chan @ Storm’s River Mouth

Chan@ Cape Agulhas, southern-most point in Africa, where the Pacific and Indian Oceans collide.

Chan@ Cape Agulhas, southern-most point in Africa, where the Pacific and Indian Oceans collide.

Botswana– I witnessed the raw and awesome beauty of nature in the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park (including a pack of lions hunting/killing a buffalo and the buffalo fighting to protect their own).

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Photo credit: Sara Catella

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Zimbabwe– I met the most amazing people and learned of the mystical interconnection of all humans, starting with the very first- The Bushmen.

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Zambia– I visited one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls, and bungee jumped it!

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Namibia– I climbed the infamous Dune 45 and sat in awe of the marvelous Namib Desert. And I went skydiving.

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Climbing Dune 45 in Namibia

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Singapore– I explored one of the prettiest, cleanest, and most expensive city-countries in the world.

Thailand– I spent two weeks sailing Thailand’s Andaman Sea islands and exploring Northern Thailand with my whole family.

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My favorite place in Northern Thailand, Sukhothai

My favorite place in Northern Thailand, Sukhothai

Cambodia– I finally made it to infamous Angkor Wat and was humbled by the sobering Killing Fields.

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Trying the local delicacy: spiders

Trying the local delicacy: spiders

My hardships seem so small next to what Cambodians went through under the Khmer Rouge.

My hardships seem so small next to what Cambodians went through under the Khmer Rouge.

Tomb Raider Temple

Tomb Raider Temple

Laos– I discovered a new favorite spot of mine on this planet in the beautiful Laos.

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The ridiculously stunning view from our hotel restaurant in Vang Vieng.

The ridiculously stunning view from our hotel restaurant in Vang Vieng.

The year in travel

Above all, I’ve made the most amazing new friends from all over the globe with whom I’ve shared (what was for me) significantly life-altering experiences.

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I treasure my year of travel, the journey that has reminded me that life can be great again, and the wonderful people that I’ve shared these adventures with along the way.

May 2013 be less sorrowful and even more meaningful. Happy New Year.

Thanks for stopping by!

♥ Lindsay

Similar posts:

I’m Joining the Blogosphere

Remembering Mom

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31 Responses to 2012 Reflections: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times.

  1. Sara Catella January 3, 2013 at 4:23 AM #

    Dear Lindsay, I love reading your blog, you are a wonderful writer and you are able to make me feel always what you feel. I’m so glad that I was part of your journey and sometines when you meet someone you just know that they are here to stay in your life! I wish you a wonderful new year and hope that this year we will be able to share some travels together! Lots of love sweet friend!
    Sara

    • The Traveluster January 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM #

      Thank you for all of your support, Sara! You are one of my favorite people. I am so glad I met/traveled with you! I really hope to come see you in Bern (or somewhere else on the globe?) soon!

      • Sara Catella January 14, 2013 at 8:38 AM #

        You are more than welcome anytime! Looking forward to seeing you in Chocoland!

  2. l-jeezy January 3, 2013 at 12:59 PM #

    i love that you used our 2012 pic at the end! the other night some friends and i were talking about our NYE last year – this pic is the first thing that popped into my mind.

    2012 has been intense and you are a better person for it. congrats for making the most of the process. you are an inspiration to me.

    love you.

    • The Traveluster January 3, 2013 at 2:48 PM #

      I was about to shoot you a note to look at our 2012 pic… Love you too!

  3. The Mind of RD Revilo January 3, 2013 at 2:02 PM #

    Reblogged this on RD Revilo.

  4. Emily mccarroll January 3, 2013 at 7:49 PM #

    Wonderful stories. Your mother was with you I think and she would want you all to “make it a great new year” we love you all. Aunt Emily and family

    • The Traveluster January 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM #

      Thanks, Aunt Em! I had to explain to Mimi what a blog was. Love you!

  5. jillabon January 5, 2013 at 4:32 AM #

    Knowing your mom’s passion for travel, you know she is smiling now! What a wild year of ups and downs…and all-arounds (the world). I hope the blog is helping you feel connected again- I know we followers love this connection to you and your world. Bonne Annee, Lindsay! Hope we can travel with you soon.

    • The Traveluster January 5, 2013 at 9:49 PM #

      Thanks, Jill, for your support as always! It means to much to me! Happy New Year – Paris looked amazing via your photos! Can’t wait to travel with you! Maybe in June we can get Alan out there to Dubai and beyond- Sri Lanka??? 🙂

  6. Vicki January 6, 2013 at 2:23 PM #

    Hi Lindsay, I love reading your blog as well, you look like you have had a wondeful time and I am so glad I experiened some of it with you. I know one thing your mum would be so proud of all of your achievements and experiences. Hope you had and will have a fantastic new year. Lets make a new resolution and to met up and experience another journey together. Love you loads. Vicki xx

    • The Traveluster January 6, 2013 at 2:55 PM #

      Hey Vicki! I like that resolution idea for sure! I just started posting about Cambodia and would be interested in hearing your thoughts via commentary on the blog, since a lot of our two itineraries were the same! Although I think y’all covered more south and east Cambodia, missing Kratie and southern Laos, but covering all Vietnam instead (I think I would swap southern Laos for more time in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng anyway). Thanks for your supportive words! Hope you had a Happy New Year! (I may want to interview you at some point on your thoughts on long-term travel! What was it, 6 months for you?)

  7. KaZ May 1, 2013 at 11:10 PM #

    One of my favourite Dickens’ quotes. I’m sorry for your loss but at the same time, happy to know that you have gained wonderful experiences through your travel. Thank you for following, I look forward to reading more on your expeditions! 🙂

  8. Maximo May 2, 2013 at 12:59 PM #

    Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!

    • The Traveluster May 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM #

      Wow, thanks! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog! Thanks for the shout out!!!

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  11. Melissa July 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM #

    I’m rather late in finding this post. I knew that I’d met a kindred spirit at BlogHouse. 🙂

    Having a close-knit family must surely help get through all those firsts although it’s never easy. My dad and I aren’t particularly close and being an only child I found it incredibly difficult when my mom passed away in 2010. I suspect it has something to do with why my traveling frequency has amped up in the last 2.5 years. Mix of escape from normal life and trying to see everything I can.

    I hope your 2013 has indeed been, and continues to be, more joyful.

    • Lindsay July 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM #

      Thanks for the message Melissa! That was a hard but rewarding post to write. I struggle with wanting people to really understand me and where I’m coming from while still maintaining some since of privacy (I’m a pretty private person, which is funny, since I blog!) It’s been helpful for me to connect to others who have been through what I have and can really empathize. Loss is the worst part of life and unfortunately so unavoidable. I think I’m doing ok. I’ve struggled, as I’m sure you have, but I’m making the best of it. The travel in the past year has quite literally saved my life. I felt like I was on the edge of a deep, dark, bottomless pit, you know? I needed a way to snap out of it- something to push me back from the edge. I didn’t know what else to do. I look back with total appreciation and gratitude that I was able to do the things I’ve done (Africa, Asia, South America, BLOGHOUSE!) and meet such amazing people over the past year. People like you! I’m sure it’s been so hard for you, being an only child. I can’t imagine, although my siblings and I have all grieved and processed this in such different ways, that sometimes it seems even lonelier. Anyway, thanks for sharing. I hope we can meet up soon. I can’t remember. Are you planning on TBEX Dublin?

      • Melissa July 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM #

        It’s always a bit of a relief to have something new and exciting to look forward to though isn’t it? That’s part of what travel does for me these days.

        Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make it to TBEX in Dublin this year. 🙁 But I’ll be in Alberta (for the first time!) hanging out with my two BFFs who I only get to see about once/year and my “niece” so it’s the best reason to have to miss the conference.

        And if you ever need to escape Nashville heat, I’ve got a spare room here in Newfoundland.

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