If I were to describe 2017 in three words, I would use: chaotic, intense and transformative.

I set out to find myself this year and to accomplish one of my largest goals of traveling the world. When I got on the very first plane, I never imagined the whirlwind that was that about to become my life. I had no idea that this decision would change the course of my life forever.

The thing about going all in on your dreams and diving into a solo journey that nobody else can partake with you on is that you grow. That growth happens extremely quickly and at one point it can become one of the most intense moments of your life. To consistently lose and find yourself, lose and find yourself, lose and find yourself is like taking consistent leaps into the dark. You hope that something will break your fall, but there is no promise.

Going through this cycle taught me some of the most epic lessons of my life and I officially attribute 2017 as the most transformative year I have ever lived.

Here are the ten lessons that I learned from this chaotic and beautiful year.

  1. Everybody is doing the best that they can, this includes your parents and older relatives and colleagues.
  2. Saying yes is crucial for growth (mentally and financially).
  3. Saying no is a power move, when something doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
  4. I am my own best friend, the support I give myself is a direct mirror of the reality of my life.
  5. Consistency and hard work will always beat talent.
  6. I have passions for a reason, it is my job to follow them.
  7. Life is a choice, how I want to live my life is directly up to me and the actions I take.
  8. Jumping is scary but there is an indescribable thrill in waiting to land.
  9. Falling in love is beautiful, it is not something that should be feared.
  10. I am capable of whatever I put my mind, action and support towards (aka I am badass!)

These lessons didn’t come easily. They encompass the last ten months of my life, days spent questioning my decision and others spent overjoyed by it.

What they don’t tell you about going all in on your dreams is that you will never be the same person you were before you took that leap. As I board my plane home after spending months abroad, I am not coming back as the same girl that left.

The power behind this transformation is that I can feel a chapter of my life closing just as I can feel another opening. In 2018, I will take all of these lessons and use them to my advantage so that in 365 days from today I can close another chapter and dive fully into the next phase of my life.