Reflections On Turning 26

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Today is my 26th birthday.

Every year, I like to look back and evaluate the past year — especially when it comes to travel.

At first, looking back over the past year, I was disappointed in myself — there was hardly any travel at age 25.  I went to Cancun last August, mainly due to low fares during swine flu hysteria, and I did a few weekend trips to New York City and Philadelphia, plus Troy, New York.  Not much.

No Vegas trips.  No big trips.  And I still haven’t made it to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket!  Not that good for someone whose Twitter profile describes herself as a travel guru, Vegas expert, adventurer and vagabondress.

But you know what?  Age 25 has been AMAZING.

This is the year that I decided to move toward my dream, even though I didn’t quite realize it at the time.  I began by travel writing and publishing some pieces, then moved toward starting this blog in February. I’ll talk more about the blog later in the week.

But nothing defines the past year like what happened this past January.

Within two weeks of each other, my long-term relationship ended, I lost my job, I lost a plum freelance writing gig, and Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat went to a Republican.

It didn’t matter that I had always been ambivalent about the relationship, or that I already had a new job lined up when I lost the first.  It was tough to be hit with those four things in rapid succession — boom, boom, boom, boom!

Now, if this happened to you, would you take it as a sign?

I did.  It’s time to move on.

I’m incredibly grateful for my life and for the wonderful people who are part of it.  At the same time, I know that this isn’t the life that I want for myself.  My dreams have been taking a backseat lately and I almost feel like I’m killing time.

After all, do I plan on staying in Boston, meeting someone, getting married, buying a house in the suburbs, having kids?  Um, no.  Nothing wrong with people who do that, but it’s not for me.  I want adventures.  I want the world.

So I started taking steps toward creating the life I want.

1. I paid off my credit card debt.

2. I began saving more money than ever before.

3. I built a web site and now spend all my free time improving and promoting it.

4. And — first and last time I’ll mention this — I lost 20 pounds.  (Not really travel-oriented, but hey, I’m DAMN PROUD of that!)

Age 25, despite the lack of travel, was actually pretty productive.  It’s been great being so focused on working toward making my dreams come true.

Age 26 is going to be my most adventurous year yet.  And I’m not being facetious…I truly mean it!  I am currently planning like mad, saving money like crazy, and getting ready to move out of my apartment and in with friends and family.

This year is going to be AMAZING.  I can’t wait to share the details with all of you!  As I turn 27, I’ll be writing about how I just had the best year of my life.

My favorite picture from the past year: best friends since middle school, and closer than ever.

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27 thoughts on “Reflections On Turning 26”

  1. Congrats and happy birthday!

    I must admit I’ve had strangely similar feelings – I’m 25, and have decided that its time to cut loose and enjoy probably the best years of my life. I will be heading off on a 2-year trip soon after my 26th birthday, and I was thinking exactly that – 26 will be my best year ever!

    Good luck with the year ahead – I found your blog recently and am enjoying following it

  2. Happy birthday! Sometimes it’s good to have some of those earth-shattering experiences to get us on track toward what’s important. Sounds like you’re doing just that. Cheers!

  3. Happy birthday, Kate! I love this post and what you learned from a series of less-than-stellar experiences. Way to turn it around! Here’s wishing you an amazing year – it sounds like you’re starting it off with one helluva P.M.A. Go get ’em girl! I’m rooting for you to take on the world.
    (* positive mental attitude)

  4. Happy birthday–a day late! You’re definitely on your way to a great adventure–can’t wait to see where 26 takes you! (And congrats on paying off debt/saving money/losing weight–it always feels good!)

  5. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

    Great blog Kate – you did some great things last year, so can’t wait to see/hear what you have lined up for this coming year!

  6. Kate,
    That is so fabulous! There definitely comes a point in life where you ask yourself “Why am I doing what I am doing and How do I get where I want to go if not?” I’ve been there a million times, and I feel like that is something I am constantly reevaluating. Props to you on the roads not taken! Visit Colorado soon, okay?

    1. You’re an inspiration! You’re always going after what you want!

      If I can find a cheap flight to Denver — perhaps from JetBlue Cheeps? — I am SO visiting you and Cyn and Ryan!

  7. Happy Birthday, Kate! Its been great fun tuning into your blog and tweets – you’ve got the talent and HEART that will take you a long way! Have a great 26 – and beyond!

  8. Happy Birthday!!!!! I’m a Leo too! You know sometimes life kicks us in the @ss to get us to change direction–looks like that happened and your new direction is awesome. Enjoy 26!

  9. Oh, come on, a Republican winning wasn’t SO bad! ; )

    I definitely wish this year is your best and that each year is better than that. But this year probably WILL be the best cuz you’re in my wedding 😀

  10. Happy Birthday! I’m turning 26 myself in October, and looking back trying to evaluate this year. It’s been pretty similar to yours: not a ton of travel, but a ton of getting myself in gear so that 26 is a lot more eventful. I’m excited for our 26 year old selves to meet up somewhere this year!

  11. Dear Adventurous Kate,

    Hi from a fellow Kate! I just found your blog yesterday when I googled 26th birthday and was amazed to find a kindred wanderlust 20-something Kate with a love for Paris and all things travel 🙂 Today is my 26th birthday and as I leave for Paris in a week with only a meager savings and a bag of dreams, I am encouraged and inspired by you. I hope my 26th year is as adventurous and wonderful as yours. If you get a chance, I’d love for you to check out my blog Peacocks & Moonshine. I’ve lived in Milan for the past year and love to travel too. Hope you have a great day and happy travels-


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