Instead of wondering when our next vacation is we should set up a life we don’t need to escape from. - Seth Godin

In less than twenty-four hours the year that is will finally become the year that was and for most of us this fact can be equally exciting and terrifying. A new year is like a new page in our lives that we can fill with new memories and experiences. On the other hand, a new year also makes us question whether we did our best to make the old one count. Whichever way it is, it's never a bad thing to look back and reminisce.

I started the year with an annual get together with my friends. We spent a weekend in an exclusive mountain resort - Kaykayo - in Bauang, La Union and had the whole place to ourselves.

The fish pens on the river We also got to try out the food from Riverfarm Seafood Restaurant in Bacnotan which was about two towns away from Bauang, La Union.

The trip ended with a quick stop over somewhere on the way up to Baguio.

February is a busy month in Baguio because of the Panagbenga Festival. Truth be told, most of the residents of Baguio try not to go out especially during the parades because of the crowd and traffic. We, on the other hand, straight up decided to avoid them completely by going out of town.

On the first day we went to Hundred Islands Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan where we spent most of the day teasing and encouraging non-swimmers in the group to conquer their fears.

Hundred Islands

We then traveled to Anda, Pangasinan and spent the night in a resort near Tondol Beach. Sadly, we arrived late and rushed to leave the next morning so we didn't get to enjoy the beach as much as we would have wanted to.

Bolinao waterfalls also got scratched off the list since we were already running out of time. We just decided to visit one of the caves (for the first-timers) and then went straight to Patar Beach (with some customary photo ops at the lighthouse) so that we could start preparing for lunch and then pack up for the trip back home.

March was a special month since I was finally able to do a birthday getaway and got to spend my special day watching the sun rise from the sea. The rest of the day was spent touring around the place accompanied by amazing people that I met at the hostel.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with my aunt who was rushed to the hospital just a few days before my arrival. Sadly, it was also the last time I would ever see her again. She passed away a few weeks later. I was unable to attend her wake so I just offered her my prayers instead.

At the middle of the year I had the opportunity to move to a better, albeit, more expensive room at the dorm. The room had big windows unlike my old room which was basically a cave. The natural light and fresh air was worth the extra expense.

Since the room didn't really have that much space to put things in I also had to declutter my stuff and gave away a lot of my belongings to people who needed them.

A new and spacier room also meant that I could restart my fitness journey. I also encouraged some of my friends to pursue their own fitness goals. I'll be stepping up my fitness game by 2017 to inspire others to do the same.

Inktober entries

October is a celebrated month for artists around the world because of the Inktober Initiative by Mr. Jake Parker. Artists create one ink-based artwork every day for the whole month and then share them in their own social media accounts. Creating a themed drawing daily is very challenging but it also helps improve one's drawing skills.

Reading challenge Reading is something that I really love and books are something that I could never live without. Most of my down times were spent reading books and online articles about any subject that piqued my interest. With that said, I have recently rekindled my love for science and technology and have been devouring as much knowledge as I can.

I also continued to improve myself on playing the piano and have added new pieces to the list of songs that I can play.

I didn't get to travel as much as I wanted to but that didn't stop me from making everyday of the year count. Travel let's us escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives but using it purely as an escape comes with a consequence - we begin to dread our 'daily life'. When we start daydreaming about where to go or what to do on the next weekend even though it's only the first day of the week we end up neglecting the present.

If you can't travel due to financial constraints or other unforeseen circumstances you can spend your time on other fruitful activities. Take up a new hobby, learn a new language, enroll in an online course, or treat yourself to a massage. The possibilities are endless but it also doesn't mean that you need to be doing something all the time. Such activities are equally as important as spending time with your family, catching up with friends whom you haven't seen in a while, meditating, or just catching up on that much needed sleep.

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