2008 is over. Wow. I can't even begin to collect all the happiness of this year into one thought. It's been a truly incredible ride, with more color than exists in the visible spectrum and more stories than can fit into a book of any publishable size. So how could I possible wrap it all into one neat little package of "Whitney's Life, 2008 Edition"??
I can't. But I can attempt to cluster the main sections into bite-size pieces for easy consumption. Let's see, the easiest way will be to just start at the beginning.
Highlights of Whitney's 2008, now in Fun Size!
Jan thru mid-Feb: Hanging out in Corvallis, with no school, no soccer, no obligations, just enjoying life and preparing to leave for Australia. This period was characterized by:
- concerts - house dinners - snowboarding - a warm and lively Corvallis house with friends coming and going (warm only in the metaphoric sense, as we kept our heating bill to a minimum!) - hanging out in the living room playing home-made didjeridoos - spontaneously breaking out in a funk dance-off with the roommates - brewing beer - ordering American Dream Pizza for delivery - generally sharing buckets full of laughs with close friends and a great Corvallis crew
In short: I lived the beauties of college life without actually having to worry about classes or work or obligations, and without feeling like I'm just a bum... there was a shift coming in the near future. Can you ask for a better situation??
The Last Supper at the Corvallis house before I left for Australia. What an incredible group of friends!
Mid-Feb thru mid-July: life in Townsville in general. My months in Townsville were incredible. To paint a picture...
- Sunshine every day - bicycling all around town - Friday night beach volleyball - ultimate frisbee - a light class load - rock-climbing on Mt. Stuart - relaxing in the hammocks with my roommates almost every afternoon - camping trips into the bush/on the beach/into the rainforest/to nearby Magnetic Island - diving the Great Barrier Reef - Sunday night group dinners - Monopoly nights - easy living, no worries, just full-on happiness.
Camping trip on a riverside with a group of friends from Townsville
Late March: Byron Bay Blues Fest. A mega music festival, 5 days, 5 stages, in a gorgeous, sunny beach setting, with 80+ musical bands/artists/etc, inluding some huge names and some of my favorite artists. Standouts were G Love, John Butler Trio (and John Butler solo!), Maceo Parker, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Xavier Rudd, Angus and Julia Stone, camping on the beach, visiting Nightcap National Park, and generally being surrounded by live music and beach life.
Blues Fest fun
Early May: mid-semester break in New Zealand. I travelled to New Zealand for a quick 11-day visit to the south island. I was a full trip of gorgeously dramatic cliff faces of the glacial fjordlands, jumping off high ledges for the Canyon Swing in adrenaline-rich Queenstown, and hitch-hiking across the island's drastically different landscapes through all whole array of weather, from warm and yellow sunshine to blustery, freezing snow.
Cruising through Milford Sound in the fjordlands... incredible!
Late June: Voyage up to Cape Melville, the tip of Northern Queensland. My roommate Scott and our friend Peter and I embarked on a camping trip into the far reaches of Northern Queensland, through gorgeous rainforest, into the bush, and up through the dry, red, dusty landscape of Cape Melville. We got a closer look at the incredible wildlife and rich character of this part of the world, and while we didn't end up making it to the top, the abrubt ending to the trip was a rich experience in itself.
An all-around experience in Northern Queensland!
Late July thru August: Random, last-minute trip to Europe for 6 weeks (Scotland and France).
- exciting annual 3-week Fringe Festival in Edinburgh (all sorts of acts - music, comedy, theater, dance, and everything in between. Really fun atmosphere!) - camping in the gorgeous Scottish highlands - relaxing in the peaceful French countryside enjoying WONDERFUL home-cooked meals and supurb wine - exploring the lively city of Paris, its unbelievable bakeries, and all its fascinating sights and lights - relaxing in Bordeaux, enjoying the sunny weather, beautiful parks, friendly people, and wine-tasting, preparing for my next step - traveling Southeast Asia with Nik.
Mid-Sept thru mid-Oct: Staying on the Thai island of Koh Tao for a month. Just as the happiness of this year is difficult to wrap up in a blog, the happiness of our month on Koh Tao is impossible to wrap up in a paragraph. Life on Koh Tao was beautiful. - Relaxed lifestyle - friendly community - incredible diving - amazing food - incredible views that even Bob Ross couldn't dream of depicting - happy memories - exciting adventures - fun-filled days - gorgeous sunsets - all around bliss. The month from the September full moon to the October full moon was pure, concentrated happiness.
Incredible Koh Tao
September thru present: The entirety of my travels with Nik through Asia. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia - it's all been an unbelievable experience of culture, lifestyle, people, stories, and experiences new and rich. It's been 4 months of just going with the flow and seeing where the world takes us, and it has been a chapter of my story that I will value and carry with me for the rest of my life.
Simple living in Indonesia
2008 has been a year of living. 365 days of carpe-ing the diem. Describe the year in three words? Happy. Colorful. Rich. There you have it. May the year 2009 continue the dream.
Posted by Whitney 12/29/2008, revised 12/29/2008 by Whitney