Year in Review: 2019

Toronto from a Plane

So historically, I’ve always done my Year in Reviews on January 1st, and this year I’ve totally failed at that since it’s.. January 19th.

There’s a good reason for that though and it is pretty representative of the year in general: I was travelling.

After Christmas I traveled to Hong Kong with my parents and then went to Seoul for a couple days on the way back to Toronto, which was a really fun trip. It was super nice seeing all my friends and family again and of course, to eat all of the wonderful food. I got back from that trip a week ago and I just haven’t had the time or energy to write this post until now.

Always excited to leave, always happy to come back.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much my 2019 in a nutshell. My 2019 was absolutely crazy. And the reason for that is because of all of my travels. It’s pretty cute because when you look back at 2018’s Year in Review, I wrote this..

For the most part, I just spent the year working while travelling whenever I could. Between personal trips and business trips, I actually flew out of Toronto seven times in 2018, which I think might be a record for the number of trips I’ve ever done in a year.

2019 Gary

And wow, seven trips. And the reason why I think that’s cute is because in 2019, I went to 17 cities outside of the GTA in 10 countries spanning 4 continents for a total of 13 trips and 33 flight segments.

Now that’s crazy.

Me at Gudvangen
And it all started with my trip to London and Norway.

It still blows my mind that I was travelling that much last year. For a dude who lives in Toronto and who doesn’t actually travel for a living, I certainly spent a whole lot of time last year travelling. I really don’t think I’d match these numbers ever again.

Most of those were work trips and I was fortunate enough that my work brought me all around the States. Because of that, I was able to hit up new cities like Dallas and Seattle while being able to rediscover places like Atlanta and Orlando.

And since my company gives you lieu time for when you travel for work over a weekend, it ended up being a weird situation where my many work travels enabled me to travel even more for fun. That ended up bringing me to fun places like London, Norway (Bergen and Oslo), Mexico City, Quito, New York City, Istanbul, Doha, Amman, and Hong Kong.

Friends at the Middle of the World
Hanging out at the equator in Ecuador.

It’s ridiculous even just listing out the places I went this year.

I definitely feel very fortunate that I had all these opportunities to travel in the past year. It was really nice to actually be able to go out and see the world. Plus, there was the added bonus of me being able to travel and see my friends. The biggest impact by far that my time in Korea made on my life was how I met so many people from all over the world. Being able to visit them and see their home countries was so nice.

It was cool because a bunch of them even came over to visit this year! I had the opportunity to host a bunch of them and showed them around Toronto and the surrounding areas, including Niagara Falls and Algonquin Park.

Canoe Lake
We made it a goal to find a mirror lake in Algonquin.

Reading over last year’s Year in Review, I do still agree that 2017 was a year of change and that 2018 was a year of rediscovery and settling back down. Continuing from that thought, I really think that 2019 was truly the year where I finally feel like I have my life here down pat again.

Not only am I firmly established in my job (I got promoted again as well!) but I’ve also been doing more stuff outside of work now. I started rock climbing in the summer and I really enjoy it. I’m glad I got peer pressured by my coworkers in giving it a try.

It’s hard to believe, but I actually go once or twice a week now. So, I apparently do physical activities again. A year ago I didn’t think I would be doing anything like this, so it really was a year of surprises.

Climbing in the Desert
Posing on some rock formations in Wadi Rum.

Between that and just hanging out with friends, I’ve been going out a lot more and been generally more active and social, which is nice. It’s funny because that’s reflected in my PlayStation 2019 Wrap Up. Apparently I only played a grand total of 8 games for a total of like 250 hours last year.

I laughed when I saw that because back in high school I’d clear that number in like a month. And yet now it’s a full year of my life. I guess that’s what happens when you get older I guess, you change and so your life changes as well.

And I think I’m ok with that. I still enjoy playing games but I definitely find less enjoyment in it than I did in the past. That said, there are games that I’m excited for every year, it’s just I don’t find myself playing as much anymore or wanting to play as much anymore. It’s weird, considering how big games have been in my life, but I’ve kinda also come to terms with it.

Kingdom Hearts III
I was so excited for KH3, and the DLC comes out next week too.

So yea, life is good I guess. 2019 was such a whirlwind of activity that I didn’t really have a chance to really just sit down and reflect, so this is nice to just look back and think of everything. I can’t really stress enough how crazy of a year it was.

But as things usually go, humans adapt and now that life has become my normal. I got so used to travelling so much that if I have no upcoming trips in the next two months (like now), I end up feeling awkwardly anxious, like “why am I here when I could be anywhere else?”.

It’s weird.

Plus now every time I see a plane (or a flight attendant!) I just get this like, complex swell of emotions and feelings. Maybe this is what wanderlust is. It’s a crazy, beautiful feeling.

Hanging out in Doha
Hanging out in Doha with my favourite flight attendant.

Speaking of feelings, I feel like my 2020 is going to be fun, but possibly less crazy than 2019. I think 2019 was a freak of nature in the sense that everything aligned so that I got to go on so many work trips which enabled me to go on so many vacations.

2020 should be a bit more normal in the sense that I might be travelling less. That said, it’s probably still going to be more than 2018. Which is still a lot, but my bar has already been raised so high that I’m not sure how long it’ll take for me to recover.

All I know is that I want to see even more of my friends in 2020. And I also want to keep, or improve, on my Air Canada Altitude status.

2019 Achievements and Statistics

  • 10 countries (England, Norway, United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Hong Kong)
  • 5 platinum trophies (Detroit: Become Human, Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD, Batman: The Enemy Within, Marvel’s Spider-Man)
  • 4 concerts (The Gazette World Tour 2019, Architects Holy Hell North America [Architects, Thy Art is Murder, While She Sleeps], Neon Alien Tour [Northlane, Erra, Currents, Crystal Lake], The Eternal Nightmare North American Tour Part II [Chelsea Grin, The Acacia Strain, Spite, Traitors, Left Behind])
  • 2934 photos and videos taken
  • A promotion to Unity Team Lead
  • Air Canada Altitude 25k

Author: Gary

Explorer, Creator, Gamer. #IDKAIST MSc and #UOITGameDev Alumni.

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