The many adventures I had this past year, solidified a lot of plans I have for this year, God willing and ending up in Europe, specifically, Italy and you all know why. I learned so much this past year, about myself, my business, and my relationship and all are intertwined in this crazy thing we call life. It was wonderful to have a balance in all these aspects of my life as I had never had before and the relationship grew, even more, especially when I lived in Rome this past summer. It only strengthened my resolve to be there on a more permanent basis. She keeps asking if I really want to live in Italy and I said yes, but it is not because it is Italy, but because it is you and wanting to be with you. I also learned a great deal about myself this past year as I also downsized my life and realized that the things are not a part of it, and I have not missed all those things.
2022 was also a banner year for business and I believe it exceeded 2019, which was the banner year before Covid. I will leave that to my accountant and his team to let me know, but I know that business was good and continues to be. It also allowed me to travel and spend as much time with Rosa as possible, both here in the US and in Italy. Yes, this past year was the first time she had come to the states and our 3 weeks together, and at that time, the uncertainty of the Covid tests, still here, to enter the country, we still on the minds of many, including myself when it was still in place, and many of my clients. I impacted some, and others passed the “test”. Rosa did and that part is history and our time here together. Of course, I lived in Rome this summer and returned in November when I did a whirlwind business and fun trip to the UK, not once, not twice, but three times on two different trips. Also, Portugal, Spain, France and of course, Italy.
As both my admin and one of my clients are huge Hard Rocks, so added to the t-shirt collections, I wrapped some of my travels around that and in the end, I had reached many of them and the count continues, but to date, I have been to 80 Hard Rock entities be it cafes, hotels, rock shops and more to come this year. I explored new places in Europe and even went to a Vikings game against the New Orleans Saints in London. Yes, London and I have not ever been to US Bank Stadium and probably won’t ever. I went to Newcastle and explored Hadrian’s Wall, a first, to Gorizia and Trieste and the Cinque Terre. I went to Milan, Bojano and La Spezia. I went to Verona and Venice, some places for the first time and some were return trips. I went to Malaga and Valencia, where I had never been, and returned to Lyon and Nice. I went to Turin for the first time and places like Porto, where I had not been to in many years, and Lisbon, where it had been at least 20 years, as well as Madrid and Seville. And, I can’t forget back in April, spending time in Barcelona and the Catalonian countryside and my group with whom I traveled. So much fun and then Rosa came to Barcelona for a few days, before we parted ways, but it shortened up the time between seeing each other.
I also met some amazing people along the way at the various venues and the Hard Rocks, Tottenham Stadium, the taxi driver that showed me the area of Hadrian’s wall. Sorry the name escapes me and Slimmy, and the people of the Porto Hard Rock and Emanuele at Tenuta Winery, as well as Cinzia and Bryan of Timeless Tuscany. Thank you. Also, all of Rosa’s friends and acquaintances on trips to Italy last year, including those I tutored, to secure my certification to teach English as a Foreign Language, Elisabeta and Manu, which opens more possibilities to gaining residency in Italy and being with Rosa. Getting to finally meet Rosa’s momma in person for the first time and Pamela, one of her sisters this past year in person. Hopefully, in 2023, I will meet Manuela in person. And thank you to Pepe, who picked me up in Madrid and took me to Toledo and the most amazing hot air balloon ride which I will not forget. So many people I met this past year that made 2022, so special for me and while I go through my moments and ups and downs, I have no regrets about this past year even with all the bumps in the road.
In the end, I want to thank each person I met, including clients I met in person for the first time, not here in the states, but, in Rome, colleagues, some new, some a renewed connections like Pedro, Maria and Vitor. It was so nice to finally connect since the pandemic. It was the most amazing year of my life both personally and professionally and have no plans on stopping any time soon. The more I write this post, the more I am remembering of how amazing and crazy 2022 was, but in the end, the most amazing year of my life and probably the most balanced when all is said and done. I was free of clutter and that was nice. I was able to conduct business from anywhere to anywhere, so to all who read this blog post, a milestone post, I am here for you and not going away anytime soon. If I have forgotten to thank anyone for this past year, thank you, or forgotten events that happened, and not noted here, of course, you can read the past blog posts on my website, www.wanderingpuffin.com and you can put in your requests for your future travels on my contact page.
Lastly, and most importantly, 2022 does not happen without the person I must thank more than anyone, Rosa. Without her in my life, and as we approach knowing each other for 3 years, this coming February, I don’t know where I would be. You have helped me find peace and a balance as I have never had and when I am down, and there have still been times, you are there for me as I have tried to be there for you. With the craziness of the world and what you and I have been through, I thank you for everything you have done and for the strength you show, even with adversity all around and our crazy relationship. The times we had together in 2022 were extraordinarily special including all the places we explored together here in America and all over Italy, as well as the very ordinary times we spent together, whether cooking together, just hanging out, taking walks and simply being a “boring” couple which, for me, were the best times, including simply sleeping in or going to the local markets. All I can hope for is that our relationship continues to grow in 2023 as we move forward and where it will take us.
To everyone whose path has crossed mine in this last 12 months and beyond, happy new year, stay safe, stay healthy and as always, thank you for your support of my crazy little world and of my small business. It is truly appreciated, and as always, I am interested in your thoughts, comments, questions and adding to the discourse is always appreciated be in on the site itself or on Facebook or wherever you read this!!!
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin