I find it hard to believe that not only 2019 but also the 2010s is coming to an end tonight! At midnight tonight, we will be starting a brand new year and a brand new decade. I am still amazed how quickly this past decade has flown by. Although it went by fast, a lot of things have happened in the past decade. Out of all the decades I have lived so far, this has been the one which has been the most memorable and the most life-changing.
As you already know, I absolutely love to travel. Ever since I was a kid, I have yearned for traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world. At the very beginning of 2010, the start of the past decade, I had only been to 8 U.S. states and 2 countries (the United States and Canada). As of today, I have now been to 37 U.S. states and 13 countries. As I am writing this post, I am currently in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which is my 37th state. I absolutely would like to visit the remaining 13 states and many more countries!
At the start of the decade, I was still attending university to get a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology which I earned in 2011. With the degree I was able to get hired into a great company which I have been working for ever since. Work has been able to help me fund not only my everyday expenses at home but also all my different travels throughout my home state of Michigan, the United States, and the world. As I did not have a lot of money at the start of the decade, I only could afford to travel around the state of Michigan and do one trip a year to visit my aunt and uncle in Colorado. I always enjoyed going to see them in Colorado as I liked spending time with them by hiking and enjoying some great food! At the same time, I probably spent more time playing video games than traveling. Also, I started out the decade about 90-100 pounds (40-45 kilograms) heavier than I was now. I started a weight loss journey back in 2013, and I lost a bunch of weight by the middle of 2015. Ever since then I have felt so much healthier and better about myself!
Although I had started my YouTube channel in 2009 with creating travel content, it was this past decade which really had the most impact. With this experience I have not only gained a huge passion for wanderlust but also many great friends along the way. I have been able to experience new cultures in European countries such as the U.K, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina as well as discover Asia for the first time with my unforgettable trip to Bali this past September. Travel is a way which all of us can become closer together. Stepping out of our comfort zones and interacting with one another is one step closer to achieving peace in our wonderful world. At the same time, travel is so much fun, and I enjoy exploring!
Through my travels I have gained such an amazing community and friends. Although I love to travel to experience new cultures, try new foods, and make great memories, it is the friendships I have made which has made this past decade the most memorable. I really enjoy everyone who has been following my YouTube videos of my travels. It feels like they are with me along the way. A lot of my travels earlier in the decade were due to different video game conventions such as PAX East in Boston and MAGFest in National Harbor, Maryland where I got to meet up with people whom I have met online. Although I have been slowly exiting the gaming community for the most part (MomoCon in Atlanta this past year was probably the last gaming-related convention for me) as I have lost most interest in video games recently (I still carry a Nintendo 3DS on airplanes however and I might get a Nintendo Switch Lite for plane rides), I have made a lot of new friends in the travel community in the past few years. I have met other travel vloggers and bloggers not only online but also in person. The BvS video and photo retreat in Bali this past year was quite unforgettable as I got to meet many people whom have the same interests I do with travel as well as videography and photography. In addition, the retreat was run by some great friends I have met online through YouTube. I really hope I get to see everyone whom I have met again someday for more travel adventures!
Although the 2010s was mostly positive, I did have a few negative things happen in the past decade. For example, I learned this past year that I have very mild food allergies especially to dairy. Fortunately, the allergies are very minor as it only causes some inflammation in my esophagus if I consume too much dairy. Therefore, I need to only consume dairy sparingly (I enjoyed that fruit salad my mother made for Christmas Eve dinner). It has made a big impact on my Travel Delights videos starting this year, but I have been finding different twists on them! Some of the biggest negative points this past decade were when I lost both of my maternal grandparents: my grandfather in 2012 and my grandmother in 2018. Both of them were always interested in my travels and always enjoyed going for a drive throughout different places in Michigan. My grandparents have also traveled too: my grandmother had been over to the United Kingdom a couple times and my grandfather was in the Air Force for a year in Germany right after World War II ended. They had also visited different places in the United States in Canada too. The passing of my grandfather hit me really hard back in 2012 to where I even had bouts of depression throughout the rest of the year. I almost even quit YouTube, but I decided to jump back into it in March 2013 when I wanted to film my trip to Boston. Travel really does help improve my well-being! Last, although I have gained so many great new friends in the past decade both in the travel community and even some locally in Michigan, a few strong friendships I had in the 2000s had either ended completely or faded away this past decade due to how our lives changed into the 2010s: I wanted to go more into travel where they were more focused on starting families or doing their own thing. However, it is a part of life, and it is always great to see people enjoy doing what they enjoy. I would not trade the friends I have made this past decade for anything in the world!
Overall, this past decade has been very exciting and one of the best experiences in my entire life so far! It has helped make me who I am today and has started to push me into a path which makes me happy. Although the sun has set on the 2010s, a new decade is upon us. The 2020s will bring new experiences, new challenges, and new memories. I would like to continue making new friends in the travel community as well as meet up with everyone whom I have met this past decade for more adventures. I also would like to visit more countries (even revisit some) and see the remaining 13 states I need to see still. As travel makes me really happy in life, I would like to see if it would be possible to do more full-time traveling where I am not always in the same spot 90-95% of the year like I am now. Traveling always keeps me focused and thinking with a positive attitude. For the foreseeable future, I would like to keep Michigan as my home base still as Michigan will always be home to me. After all, I still enjoy those day trips up to Frankenmuth! At the same time, I am always thinking of new video ideas for my YouTube channel as well as ways to build onto my current style.
Thank you to everyone whom has made the 2010s such an unforgettable one! I would not trade any of my friends, family, and followers for anyone or anything in the world! I am looking forward to 2020 and the 2020s. Let’s continue this journey and make it an exciting and positive one!
Although this post is about the past decade in general, if you would like to see my reflections back on 2019, check out my 2019 Year in Review video!