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Here is an update for you all: I FINALLY TURNED 22! Crazy, right? The event happened 8 days ago, on a very busy beach in the French riviera, in the same country of last year’s birthday and accompanied by the same two people.

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Here is a photo of me stuck in the electric mattress for old people with motion impediments, in our questionable AIRBNB

22 is a big number to me for a few reasons: firstly, 2+2 makes 4 which doubled is 8, which is one of the weird counts I always make because of my obsession with numbers and more precisely the number 8. Secondly, my couch surfing profile had been displaying “21” for way too long and I was just buzzing for that small change to twist it up a bit (because I am weird like that). Thirdly, I looked at it as yet another milestone in my life, so I was eager to get to it and look back on what I have achieved so far, which I am going to talk about in the next paragraphs.

By the age of 22, I like to think I managed to visit exactly 22 countries. I say “like to think” because the 22nd one would be Vatican City state, which let’s be honest we can’t really consider a country (although it has every right to be considered so – it is in fact a country. Hi Pope Francis). Either way, I really like the idea of 22 by 22, so let’s just put up this disclaimer and still say I managed to accomplish the mission. Woohoo.

That said, 2017 has been a year of achievements for me so far, after only 8 months (and 15 days). During this year, I successfully completed my Erasmus experience with decent grades and a bucket full of great memories with friends I made on the way. It was enlightening for me, as moving from a foreign country to yet another completely changed my mindset, as I previously explained in this post about not really knowing where home is anymore. They always say the Erasmus semester will be one of the best times of your life and, although I was skeptical of that at first, I have to admit it really did have that effect on me so I am eternally glad I made the decision to do it.

In this year, I also had my first proper professional internship which – although it wasn’t as positive as I was hoping it would be – made me realise a lot of things on “real life”, the work place and what my strengths and weaknesses are. It also gave me the opportunity to visit Glasgow a few more times, which I really appreciated as I am absolutely in love with the city (and always welcome an excuse to leave Aberdeen for a bit). Likewise, I (kind of) got an internship in Singapore which, although it fell through (I’m really unlucky with these things, aren’t I?), once again gave me the opportunity to understand what I am capable of and what I can actually achieve if I put my heart into it.

So far, the past year has also been a travelling wonderland for me. Since the start of it (so when I turned 21), I have set foot on 11 countries, 4 of which completely new ones and 3 of which I barely knew as I had only been to one or two small places and for just one day or two. The others were just routine ones (e.g. UK, Italy, France), but I am still glad I managed to see so much in so little time. It’s not really about the number as much as it is about the experiences it gave me, and I gotta say each one of these trips was special in its own way. I travelled in Poland on my own for a week (without telling my boss, who never realised I was outside the country), in Germany twice (again as my boss thought I was “away for the weekend”), visited Slovenia which I completely fell in love with and discovered many new places that I will mention in separate blog posts.

By the age of 22, I will also finally graduate from University, which will finally throw me into the dreaded “real world”, forcing me to figure out what I actually want to do with my life and which direction I wanna move towards. It’s safe to say that the thought of that is absolutely terrifying me, as I even have issues deciding what I’m going to eat for dinner (I still don’t know and it’s almost 9 pm). Either way, it’s a very exciting time as I feel I could literally do anything. The world is an open door and I just need to find out where it leads.

I am happy I turned 22 because I feel a new age is a new frame of mind to look at the world, a new land to discover and also another category of your life to look back on once the year has gone. Kinda like NYE but with a more personal vibe to it. The past year has been full of experiences and 2017 alone has been absolutely mind blowing, so I am really excited to see where the rest of it – and my first few months as a 22-year-old – will lead. In the meantime, I will do my best to keep you posted on anything happening, and I also promise to try and be more organised with the blog so that I can provide frequent, useful content for you all.

Thanks a lot for reading and see you all at the next post!!

Love to everyone,

(A 22-year-old) Elena


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