A Whirlwind of a Year: 2016 Recap

It is crazy how time flies. In less than 7 hours, I will be ringing in a new year. It seems like just yesterday that I was getting ready to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. 2015 was not the best year, so I was really looking forward to what 2016 would bring me. And it sure did bring me what has quite possibly been the best year of my life. This year has been one crazy roller coaster to say the least. I still find it hard to believe that I spent more than half of my year in a different continent, living in the country of my dreams. When I came back, I rekindled my passion for blogging and chased it, harder than I ever have before. 2016 was the year I learned to take chances, to embrace uncertainty, to live a life that I am proud of, and most importantly to chase what sets my soul on fire. When I look back at all the adventures, memories and experiences 2016 has brought to my life, I cannot help but be overwhelmed with happiness. I spent today looking through photos of my year--Instagram Junkie, I cannot help it-- I figured I would show you my whirlwind of a year through photos. Below, I've compiled some of my favorite Instagram posts from this year (at least one from each month):

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January January marked the start of what ended up being the semester of a lifetime. January was the month I packed my bags, moved to the other side of the world and built a new life for myself. It was a month of realizations, a month of stepping so far out of my comfort zone and embracing the fact that I had no idea what the next few months would be like.

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February February was a month of taking chances and spontaneity. It was the month I learned to stop worrying so much about the little details and just enjoy the journey. February was the month I took a road trip to hidden little cities and left the continent on a whim. I visited Africa for the first time and rode a camel on the beach as the sun set (bucket list: check).

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March March was a crazy month for me (you can read about it here). March was the month I took my first solo trip (read about it here). It was the month I started really learning a lot of things about my self, I started journaling more than ever and really reevaluated my life. It was also the month that I went on the Spring Break of my dreams and checked off the #1 item on my bucket list: Watch a sunset in Santorini. While to most people, it may have just been another city to add to my long list of trips, it held a lot more meaning to me. It taught me that I am capable of achieving even my biggest, most ambitious dreams--mind you I spent most of my life dreaming of one day visiting this place. Being able to accomplish this at 19 gave me a whole new kind of confidence and to this day is a reminder that no dream is too big. This trip was also extra special because I spent it with the beautiful people you see above. It created a bond between my friends and I unlike any other. From sleeping in airports, chasing sunsets, seeing some of world's greatest wonders and eating way too much food, it gave me what I consider till this day some of my bestest friends.

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April April was a month of trying new things and stepping even further out of my comfort zone. I paddle boarded for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea (granted I fell more than I actually stood, it was still quite an experience). I spent April exploring Spain even more and headed down south to Andalusía. April was the month I fell in love more and more with España.

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May May was a month of goodbyes. I'm never good at goodbyes, so this was probably one of the hardest months this year. Nothing could have prepared me to say goodbye to my soulmate of a city, the friends I made, the places that became home to me, and this new life I just spent 5 months building for myself. May also marked the beginning of one of my biggest adventures yet, my backpacking trip throughout Europe. It was the month I learned to pack my life in one tiny suitcase, give up the luxuries that I was used to and learn that I only own what I can carry.

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June  June, well the latter of it marked my return to the States and what possibly was the worst case of homesickness. I spent the beginning of the month visiting places I'd dreamt of my whole life and learned that the places we expect the most out of sometimes is not all that jazz (I'm talking about you Paris). It was the month I got my phone stolen and had to live over 3 weeks without it. I never enjoyed a place so much 

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July July was the month I rekindled my love for blogging. It was also the month I celebrated my 2 year Blogaversary. I was reinspired to start chasing my blogging dreams again, this time more seriously and more consistently.

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August August consisted of more photoshoots and sun hats! Oh how I love sun hats. It was also the month I took a trip back to the east coast and was reminded of my love for New York City and D.C. It was the month I decided that my travels did not have to stop just because I no longer lived in Europe. August was the month I vowed to make traveling a lifestyle rather than a far fetched dream. Quite an expensive lifestyle, though.

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September September marked a lot of memories and good times. My abroad friends came to Vegas and we did what we all knew best: explore new cities. September was when I decided to learn to find the ordinary in extraordinaryVisited LA so much that month. It was also a month of off-the shoulder tops: hands down my favorite trend this year--still is. 

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October October was a big month for me. I started my collaboration with Coach, the partnership resulted in my Instagram taking off. It was also a month of many, many photoshoots and exploring new locations in Vegas for my photos. It was a month of Over the knee boots and  breaking rules like wearing leather on leather.

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November November marked my first photoshoot with a professional photographer--out of town (San Diego to be exact)! It was a new and very fun experience! It opened the doors to a lot of future collaborations and projects for the upcoming year.

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December December was learning to make time for what I love to do amidst one hell of a schedule. It consisted of more photoshoots and even finally getting that dream desert photoshoot, thanks Fiona! I spent December visiting new cities for the first time. I started the month off in Boston and ended it in Vancouver, BC. It was also the first time I explored LA on my own and managed to be in 4 different airports, in 4 different cities in one day. Whew, thinking about it makes me tired all over again. 2016, you have given me memories that will last me a lifetime. I cannot wait to see what 2017 has to offer!

Till Next Year ;)

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LifestylePaula CastroComment