- Best Country I Visited: Bulgaria, by far. I cannot express enough how much I fell in love with this country. My favorite moment in this beautiful country was standing on top of the rocks at the Belogradchik Fortress and knowing I got here all by myself.
- Not My Best Destination: Nis, Serbia. This was not in any way a fault of Nis, it was my own. You can never blame a city for someone who lacks the ability to read a map. Or who did not learn basic language so that when she ordered an iced coffee, she was presented with a cherry milk shake. I am very fortunate that the least best time I had still cannot rightfully have the word “worst” associated with it. I don’t regret that I went. I will go back. Plus, I got a fun anecdotal story about ordering iced coffee in Serbia!
- Bus Ride From Hell: Overnight from Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria to Istanbul, Turkey. Using a squat toilet with spiders as big as my head lurking over me, while developing a fear that the hot florescent lights would cause them to be burned to death and drop into my hair. Yeargh. It was totally worth it. Anecdotal story aside, ISTANBUL.
- Getting My First Visa Stamp In My Passport: Hello Turkey, thank you!
- Taking My First Steps on the Continent of Asia: I was so excited to visit Istanbul because it meant I could cross the Galata Bridge and be walking on ASIA. This was one of the top thrills for me in 2013.
- That Time in Rome When… I went to Rome this year. Why? Because ROME! How can you not go to Rome? It was while I was in Rome that I finally had the realization that I need to stop going to places you are supposed to go to and start going to the places you want to go to. Yes, it is a MUST for anyone traveling to Italy. I went here was because it is a MUST for anyone traveling to Italy. But you know what? I did not enjoy it as much as everyone else does. Sure, it is beautiful. But I honestly would have preferred spending more time in Eastern Europe. I’m sorry Rome. It’s not you, it’s me.
- Naples, Italy: Oh how I fell in love with Naples. I could have used an extra day here. I had the best room here, with a terrace that was bigger than the majority of rooms I had on this trip. I had easy access to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii (and Mount Vesuvius, where unfortunately, I never made it to) I also got my boob grabbed by a crack head. Anecdotal stories all over the place!
- Capri, Italy: I can’t sum this wonderful place up in one paragraph or with one picture. Here is the picture post I did on Capri. I fell in love.
(Okay here is one picture, I can’t resist)
- Bucket List Item I Finally Crossed off: Niagara Falls. It is beyond me how it took me so long to get here. You can actually still find bus fares from New York City to Niagara Falls for one dollar (YES. ONE DOLLAR) Or you can fly for as little as $60 each way. So why did it take so long? I don’t even know.
- Biggest Hotel Mishap: Falling in my bathtub in Paris. It is hilarious to look back at, but I thought for sure I was going to die as it was happening
- Did someone say “Rila”? Oh Rila. You are magical. I traveled here with a tour group. It was my first time joining one. I slept the entire way there to avoid talking to anyone. Introvert GO. As it turns out, traveling with others was not the nightmare I envisioned it would be. Plus, I got to see the Rila Monastery!
- Greatest Hotel View: Taken from my balcony at Lucky Hotel in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
- www.iputmylifeonashelf.com That’s right! 2013 saw the debut of my blog. I have a friend who had been telling me for a couple of years that I should start a blog. (Hey YOU! Pay attention to me! I am friends with YOU from OUR FRIENDSHIP) This year, I took his advice. At first I figured it would just be my friends reading it. Then I quickly learned that most of my friends actually do not read it. Or at least, they don’t want anyone (including me) to know they read it. I felt like I was close to begging people to please acknowledge I have a blog, to PLEASE I AM BEGGING YOU PLEASE JUST SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT. FEEDBACK PLEASE. CAN YOU PLEASE JUST CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON. IT’S FREE. To times where I was trying to not be a whiny psychopath crying about “WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY LOVE ME?”
But then I began getting feedback from complete strangers. That was when I realized that just because I am friends with someone, does not mean they automatically have an interest in reading about me traveling to places they aren’t interested in. I was now getting traffic from people who found my blog because they were looking for information on places I have written about. People were saying nice things about me, to me. That made me feel a lot better.
I ended up just $1 short of making enough ad revenue to cover the costs of web hosting for one year. I don’t think that’s too shabby for a brand new travel blog written by someone who is not a full time traveler.
I had a goal of getting 300 Facebook followers, I am still just under 200. Oh hey, like me! www.facebook.com/iputmylifeonashelf
To everyone who has ever commented, shared a post, hit the like button, emailed me, messaged me, retweeted me, I thank you. It means a lot to me.
2014 is going to be even greater than 2013. I know this because it is my life and I will make it so. I look so forward to writing about it.