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At the beginning of this year, if someone had told me I would be where I was today, I never would have believed them. In January 2016, I came back to university after my Christmas break. I also started to plan a Eurail trip for my extensive spring break, which I was very excited about. But looking back at my travel year in review? Yeah, none of that happened.

The Bad

At the end of February, I was visiting a different university and strongly considering making the move from London to Scotland for the next school year.

looking down the pier towards east sands and the cathedral in St. Andrews, Scotland

In March, I was on a plane back home for the weekend, and once more a week later home for good. I canceled my Eurail trip and had no plans of returning to my London university. In the midst of a seriously low point in my life filled with and dominated by depression and anxiety, I was not fit to continue schooling – let alone travel around Europe on my own for six weeks. All of my hopes hinged on an application to a new university that very well could have been lost in cyberspace. We took a family road trip to Nashville, and I smiled for the camera.

Addie smiling in front of the Nashville Parthenon

The Recovery

Fast forward a month later and I’m slowly recovering with a trip to New York City. It was my first time since I was eight years old, and my eyes were still as wide as they had been eleven years before.

Spring in Central Park, New York City

From New York, it was on to DC for a few days to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday with him in his hometown.

When I got home, I received my acceptance letter, and couldn’t have been happier.

May brought a cross-country road trip and another trip to D.C.

Addie overlooking the Grand Canyon Mather Point Addie
Staring out at the Grand Canyon

June was a month of firsts: my first time in Canada, my first time crossing a country’s border in a car, my first time taking a trip with a significant other, and my first time using Airbnb. Everything went swimmingly and I couldn’t have been happier.

Bruce Peninsula National Park Indian Head Cove
Hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park

I spent my July and August in the closest place to home that isn’t home: northern Minnesota, working at a German language immersion camp. And I couldn’t have been happier.

The Good

In September, I moved across the pond for the second time and felt an immediate sense of belonging. Soon enough, I was completely head over heels with my little Scottish town.

Looking at the St Andrews coastline from St Andrews Castle

 October meant a quick train trip and two nights in the attic of a castle.

Pitreavie Castle in Dunfermline, Scotland framed by leaves

November was a big one, with weekend trips to visit an old exchange student in Germany and to Barcelona.

Addie Plaça Reial Barcelona Spain

Finally, in December I traveled 24 hours to get home and another 12 to make it to Panama. There, I rang in the new year to a sky filled with fireworks. And I couldn’t be happier.

Visit Panama Sign on the Panama City Causeway


Addie Gray is a recent college grad and a passionate solo female traveler. Having traveled to more than 20 countries, she now shares her knowledge on budget travel, solo female travel, and travel photography.

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