In 2014, I set some travel and personal goals for myself. Though I didn’t receive a gold star for every resolution, I’m counting 2014 as a win.

I accomplished my goal of using only cloth napkins at home quite easily. I had a stockpile, and I found that the habit was economical, inspiring, and did not add to my housework significantly. I had bought fabric to make napkins, but I have yet to even begin that project. Close enough.

Book QuoteIn 2014, I also planned to read 20 novels. I reached this goal easily in August and stopped counting after that. It’s difficult to pick a favorite book from the year. However, I recommend Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Lexicon by Max Berry, The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. (The Happiness Project has inspired several goals for myself in 2015.) This year, I have decided to challenge myself to read a few more academic/challenging books. As an English major, I get the urge to torture myself with literature every few years. In 2009, I read the unabridged Don Quixote, 2011 was unabridged Les Miserable, 2013 was Ulysses (yuck). 2015 will be Proust. I want to read at least Swann’s Way from In Search of Lost Time. I’ll probably read another 20 books as well, but Proust will be my major challenge for the year. Wish me luck!

I also vowed to make photo books as Jared and I have been married for seven years and taken countless photos, but didn’t have a single album. While I didn’t complete every album, I made three beautiful books, and have organized and selected all of my photos for the remaining albums. My challenge now is going through Jared’s photos. However, I have three albums that I didn’t have last year. Small steps.

As far as travel, these were my goals for 2014:

It was a very exciting planning session. Though nothing is booked yet, we are hoping to visit Hong Kong, Bhutan, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in 2014! (And a trip to the US!) As we were able to visit three countries in 2013, I think this list is completely possible. It’s a bit daunting to think of all the planning, but we are early enough in the planning stage that I’m full of hope and optimism rather than panic and frustration. I’m also trying to squeeze in Mongolia and Singapore/Malaysia, but those are slightly less likely to happen.

  • Hong Kong ✔️
  • Bhutan ❌
  • Australia ❌
  • New Zealand ❌
  • Japan ✔️
  • USA ✔️
  • Mongolia ❌
  • Singapore/Malaysia ❌

And not from the list:

mapThis list is difficult for me to talk about. Bhutan was “the trip that almost was.” We had the dates, we had researched the flights, and all we had to do was respond “yes” to our travel guide. And we said no. We said no to going to that happiest country in the world. The trip to Bhutan was going to cost us at least $6,000. With flights around Asia being so cheap, we realized that we could visit three other places for the same price. And we spoke with a travel friend who had been to Bhutan and Nepal, and recommended Nepal instead (which we want to visit anyway). The Philippines and our epic SCUBA trip took the place of Bhutan (for a third of the price and a lot more sunshine).

Jared took a new position at work that makes it a lot more difficult to take leave. Therefore, Australia and New Zealand were postponed a year. Mongolia and Singapore were maybes anyway.

So, 2015? My travel dreams include:

  • Japan (skiing again)
  • Nepal
  • Vietnam & Laos
  • Mongolia (hello, again)
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • With a few hops around to Osaka, Tokyo, and Taiwan.
  • And, maybe Singapore.
  • Oh, and China.
  • And more places in Korea.

I want 2015 to be epic. High standards, perhaps? I turn 30 this year (which seems momentous), and we are scheduled to leave Korea in January of 2016, which means we have one year left in Asia. I have no idea what our future looks like, so I feel the pressure to get the most out of the time I have. It might be a bit optimistic, especially considering that Jared will have his difficult-to-take-leave job for the majority of the year. I keep reminding myself that we are so blessed to have visited as many places as we have (Kyoto, Cambodia, Thailand, Niseko, Philippines, Hong Kong). It’s true that I can always visit these places once we move away from Asia. Though, I doubt I’ll ever take a 16 hour flight from the USA to Singapore.

I just hope 2015 is ready for me!



  1. Reply
    Amber 3 February, 2015

    I’ve never read Proust. Do I need to?

    • Reply
      Bethany 18 February, 2015

      Probably not… :)

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