If you’ve been following me on my travel journey on Instagram (@pictorialjournal), you must know that I have traveled a lot this year. It’s been an amazing year in terms of exploring new places in the U.S. either all by myself or with my friends. Each month has been unique and I wanted to look back and pen down all my 2018 highlights in this post. I hope it makes you feel like you’re with me on this journey.
I moved to Denver, Colorado with six bags in my airport cart and hope in my eyes. It was my second chance to start from scratch, to do what I want and achieve old and new goals. For those who don’t know, Denver is known as the Mile-High City as it is a mile (5000 feet) above the sea-level. Having lived around the coast for 23 years of my life, I had to adapt to this elevation and also get used to the cold temperature.
I started working at my dream company this month! I had been aiming to be a part of the Consulting world since 2016 and this was my moment. I was finally in it! This is also the month when I took my first business trip to Houston, Texas for my orientation at Deloitte. Being surrounded by Managers and Directors, I realized that I need to be at my best from Day 1!
I visited two new cities this month! In the first week of March, I traveled to Chicago, Illinois. I met my undergrad college friends, Savvy, Akshay, and Savio, while in Chicago. On another business trip, I went to Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first time I explored a new city on my own. It was a delightful experience and made me more confident about traveling alone.
I was working from home for most of this month as my business travel was very limited at that time. It made me sad to not travel, to be honest. And then came an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. I was SO HAPPY and EXCITED! It was the first time I ended up visiting a lot of places in just 24 hours – definitely one of the most thrilling trips I took by myself!
I also met one of the most successful YouTubers while in Denver this month – Prajakta Koli (MostlySane). If you don’t know her then you’re definitely living under a rock. She’s relatable, funny, cute and humble at the same time. I mean, what are the odds that I would meet her in Denver? The stars were surely in my favor. Thanks for being awesome, Prajakta. 🙂
Now this month had a lot of things going on. I was staffed on my second client engagement which required me to travel every week! I also got an opportunity to be a part of a thought-provoking competition called “StartUp Deloitte” at the Deloitte University in Dallas, Texas. I then flew to one of my dream locations, New York City, to meet my parents. I can’t tell you how much fun we had there! I met them after a year and it was nice to pamper them with food, travel, and gifts to take back home. 😀
My parents and I flew back to Denver this month. My family is big on travel and we love places that make us feel close to nature. Without a doubt, I had planned to take them to Aspen, Colorado. It was the best time of our lives! It was our first time there and we loved it. This was also the time I rented a car and drove my parents all the way up to Maroon Bells in Aspen. Of course, my parents were a bit skeptical because it was the first time they experienced my driving skills; but I’m sure I made them proud! They went back to Mumbai mid-June and it was upsetting but I knew I would see them in six months. 🙂 I also flew to Orlando, Florida at the end of June for another training.
This one’s going to be a bit long because it’s my BIRTH MONTH!! My family and friends know how excited I used to get for my birthday even six months in advance. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but I grew out of that excitement in 2017 itself. Don’t get me wrong, my birthday in 2017 was great but I was so used to being around my people all those years and knowing that nothing’s the same was hard to swallow.
My family, close friends in Denver and my best friends back in India surely did a great job at making me happy and I’m so grateful to just have them in my life! I also got to do a special something this year – it was my first time attending a music concert the night of my birthday! Thanks, Chaitanya. 🙂
This is also the month when I FINALLY did something that was long overdue. I published my first blog on my new website! A lot of effort, time, patience and creative energy goes into this. I hope you all like what I’m doing and it’s helping you plan your trips better. 🙂
Apart from my birthday shenanigans, my friends and I took a trip to Detroit, Michigan to watch Manchester United play a friendly match against Liverpool. My only live sporting experience before this was a cricket match in Mumbai which was such an amazing and unforgettable experience. This was my first time watching a football match live and it was SO GOOD!
This month was when I traveled for work the most to Richmond, Virginia which is a three to four-hour direct flight from Denver. Initially, I used to wonder what to do for such a long time because I can’t easily sleep on flights. I used to binge-watch Netflix shows and movies but decided I should do something more productive with my time. I started writing more, completed my project work and got into the habit of reading.
Apart from the usual work travels, my friend and I took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts for a long weekend. We saw the historic city with all its iconic places and ate some amazing food. I also met one of my long-time close friends Rynah after three and a half years. Nothing had changed and I was so glad about that!
By now, I was beginning to feel like December should be here already! I had planned my trip to Mumbai and couldn’t wait to meet my family and friends! “Patience, my child. Two months to go”, is what I kept telling myself. Another great opportunity fell in my lap this month. I was chosen to be a part of the Wonder Women Tech Conference as a Deloitte representative in Long Beach, California. The conference was great and I got to see some amazing places in Long Beach and Los Angeles with my friend, Mona. Coincidentally, one of my long-time best friends, Snehal, was also in town during the same weekend. It had been two years since I met her so this was perfect!
“One month to go before I go back home!” This thought kept me going, I swear.
My friend and I went to San Francisco, California this month over Thanksgiving weekend and met friends from our University. Now, I learned a very important lesson here – not all travel plans go the way you want them to. I’ve been lucky so far but not this time because the weather bailed on me. After creating the perfect itinerary, it rained for one entire day because of which I couldn’t really explore much and had to rush through things the next day. Well, always have a plan B!
It’s been 1.5 years but I’M HOME. 🙂
After a 20 hour journey alone, which included a 15-hour direct flight, I was happy to hug my family, eat home-cooked meals and sleep in my own room.
The past three weeks have been marvelous. I have spent time with my family, met my friends, ate at all the places I wanted to, shopped, and visited some memorable spots in the city. Would I change anything? Not one bit. 🙂
As I’m writing this, there’s still a week until I leave for Denver; but I really wish I could stay here longer. Nevertheless, I will be ending this year and starting a new one at home, with my family; and I couldn’t have asked for a better end for 2018 or a better start to 2019.
For once, I feel ready to start the new year on a much healthier, smarter and happier note. 2019, I’m ready for you. Are you ready for me?