Two years ago, I was sitting in my Atlanta home, infuriated with the lack of progress I was making towards completing my degree. I didn’t have a job and was battling a bout of tendonitis in my right hand after spending six weeks entering numeric data into Excel. I’d actively taken steps to move abroad but nothing was panning out and I was unbelievably frustrated. I was unhappy, unhealthy, lonely, and I felt like everything was against me.

Fast forward to now. I live in Shanghai; a city of 26 million people. My educational pursuits are now directly related to professional development. I have a job that I love, and the absolute freedom to do whatever I want. Sometimes I can’t believe it; that I really am back in my little house and dreaming about being an expat instead of actually being an expat.

It’s not a dream. I’ve said this before. Who dreams of moving to the People’s Republic of China, a communist nation that is still in many ways a third-world country? “Not I,” said the cat. But I’m a believer and I’ve learned to trust the path God has put me on, even when I can’t see it and don’t understand it. Living in Shanghai has been an absolute wonder; an unfathomed delight of new and marvelous experiences.

2014 in a nutshell: I have learned to live without a car and lost 30 pounds. I have learned how to shop for days as opposed to weeks. I have discovered the absolute magnificent delight of having custom-made clothes and shoes for the low. I have fully embraced what Westerners consider “alternative medicine,” and lest we forget, The Rebirth of Slick. I stay thankful for Trey. Still see his snarky self every week and will continue to do so until I have to leave.  I want to take him with me.

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All in all, an exceptional year. I expect more of the same with 2015. I know without a doubt that it will hold a new adventure with my name plastered all over it. I love living in Asia. I love the freedom and near-complete anonymity I have, which allows me to do anything and everything I please. It’s as comforting and as secure as a warm blanket.

Life is too short to have an unstamped passport. I encourage all Dilettantes who are in the position to do so, to spend a year or two as an expat. Go when you want and wherever you want, just go.

I read this on a basket at a restaurant: “YOLOGONOW.”

Good advice. Do it.

Happy New Year!!!!