2018 was not my favorite year.
TLDR: Don’t expect new posts until February, and I have some exciting things coming up!
The US is still drifting towards a fascist, pro-white ethnostate regime and at a national level is fueling the coming climate apocalypse that we only have 10-12 years to course correct.
Despite having a travel blog, I only traveled to two countries, and just one was for leisure (the other was for medical tourism because we also put profit over people). I know that for many, this is still great and exciting, but traveling is a literal obsession for me. Contrast to my 2017, when I went abroad 11 times.
All the money that typically would have been my travel fund went to a mortgage (yes, on top of rent), a car, and medical bills. Plus, I had literally no time to travel. It was a sobering, firsthand lesson about the travel prvilege I had before. And privilege that I could do any of this in the first place.
But really, 2018 was terrible because my dad had cancer all year. One of my mentors committed suicide, and that was the first time someone I knew and cared about died unexpectedly. Then, my dad died too. You would think that this was the worst part, but to be honest, it’s tied with going through the cancer in the first place. I know they’re in a better place now (or at the very least, no longer in excruciating amounts of pain). It’s good, but it still hurts.
The positive part of 2018 was the people around me. I had amazing people helping me go through everything, that I am so thankful for. My friends were always there for me. My coworkers always had amazing advice and always listened. My boyfriend was always taking care of me. I have the most incredible support system, which I didn’t realize until this year. And most importantly, in 2018, I got to spend a lot of time with my dad.
I know everyone says this, but my dad really was amazing. He went from small village in Nigeria to “American Dream” in California. He was a veteran in the Air Force for 10 years. He had 5 college degreees, including an MD, and the week before he died, he was finishing his statistics final for his PhD. He had like three different hospital jobs at any given time, because the way that he showed he cared was with money and he wanted to be sure everyone had the things they needed while he was alive. Even if it meant working at the ER 16 hours straight and commuting for 3 hours each way. This was all while navigating through racism, class struggles, and xenophobia (Franklin, his stupid ass roommate from Oklahama, I will find you and your spawn).
Going through this, I learned some things firsthand. Like, seriously, check in on your loved ones regularly because they might, like, die. You might not know they have a terminal illness if they don’t open up about their life (I only knew because I visited my parents every month and one month my dad looked terrible. Technically, he still has never said the words “I have cancer,” just “I need to go to the doctor today for a checkup”). If they die suddenly from, like, car accident, you won’t have the chance to spend all your time with them in their last days, like with cancer. So, check in on everyone.
And make sure you say the things you need to say, like “I love you.” Get to know them if necessary (we had a weird relationship pre-cancer where all our conversations were “are you going to med school yet?” And during the cancer, since time was limited, that’s when we had the “this is my favorite food. This is what your grandma was like. I’m proud of you.”). Death can be very sudden, and post-death you will not have the chance to do these things. It will eat you up. I’m lucky that I had those chances (but, I would have preferred that my dad not have cancer).
One last (negative) lesson is people will come out of the woodworks to try to claim assets after a death. In this case, it was just funny since my dad didn’t have those kinds of things (do people really think middle class cancer patients in the US die with money?), but if you do have stuff that you own, make sure that gets figured out before the death, and if you’re not the one dying, try to save some emotional space for going through this.
So what will 2019 bring? I’m not sure. Hopefully no one else dies, because funerals are expensive and Trump’s not raising wages for federal employees. There will be a little more travel, to The Philippines for family and The Bahamas for fun with family and boyfriend. Peru and Germany with different girl friends are possibilities too, but it depends on money…
But, for blogging… tbh I haven’t written a new post since October because the last month of the cancer and the funeral were incredibly hard. Go the ability to schedule posts you wrote a long time ago! Another lesson- knowing indirectly what it’s like to have a loved one go through cancer is not the same as actually experiencing it. 2/5 of my jobs were working with cancer or cancer patients, so I thought I knew what to expect, but I did not.
I probably will still be on a new post hiatus for the next few weeks, and have run out of stuff I already wrote, so expect new posts in February. I’m going to be expanding my Vietnam and Ecuador sections next, which I’m so excited for because they’re two of my favorite countries! I also have some Europe posts coming that I started in 2018 but never finished. And I have some blog maintenance things to do, like getting a real mail service to keep in better touch with everyone.
Part of the hiatus is emotional (I only have the mental capacity for Pinterest marketing right now). The other part is because I started brainstorming a new app idea! Yes, it’s travel related, and yes it will be awesome, and I can’t wait to tell you about it once I have something demoable and functional! Stay tuned, because exciting things are coming.
For now though, I hope you all have a great New Year and that 2019 will be your year. I hope Trump gets the mental health service he needs. And I hope you don’t forget to show your loved ones that you love them!!