Nine Highlights of 2019

As 2019 draws to an end and many of us reflect on the achievements and failures that occurred. I choose to focus on the proud moments and memories created. Not ignoring the things that didn’t happen or failed resolutions, I am grateful for all the challenges and opportunities that 2019 presented to me. Here are some of the memories and highlights of 2019 – there is no doubt a big chunk of them are travel-related due to my increased passion for travel. I visited three new countries and increased my total number of visited countries to ten. (but who’s counting).

  1. Embracing Change

Unlike previous years where I usually stayed home, I started 2019 surrounded mostly by people I don’t know. My friend and I decided to rent out a 4-star hotel in the heart of Gangnam and attended one of those popular New Year’s parties along the Han River. We went out into the night and welcomed the new year with fireworks and impressive views on the river.

  1. Trip to Cebu, Philippines

In the middle of the year, I took my second solo trip to Cebu, Philippines, which was way more comfortable than my first solo trip to Bali. I immersed myself in a full tropical experience from waterfall hopping, snorkelling, watching sunsets and sunrises by the beach to enjoying the delicious fruits. Besides, the people were terrific, Filipino’s are one of the friendliest people I know after Ugandans of course.

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu
  1. Mum’s visit to South Korea

In July, my mum visited South Korea which brought out all sorts of feelings since this was her first time to fly. Travelling changes someone’s perspective and I wanted my mum to experience this and get to know where I have been living for the past five years. I was so nervous and excited when she decided to take up this adventure. I was both nervous and excited for her to take up this experience. Staying with her and exploring things together for three weeks enabled us to bond in different ways since we hadn’t lived together for such a long time. I learned so many things about her and myself. I am so grateful for the time we spent together and hope we can do this more often.

Wearing the Hanbok, Jeonju, Hanok Village
  1. Trip to Hong Kong

My friends and I took an impromptu trip to Hong Kong. We were looking for a short holiday getaway where all three of us (Ugandan, American and Indonesian) needed a visa, and Hong Kong was the perfect destination. Because of the riots that were happening, the flight tickets were low, and there was less traffic to the usually busy touristic places. We had such a fantastic time in HK despite the unrest that was going on at the time.

Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
  1. Trip to Taipei, Taiwan

I visited Taipei, Taiwan, as a part of my first business trip in Korea. People in Taiwan are amicable – most of them speak English and are not afraid to talk and help out foreigners. (I could use more of that in Korea.) I visited the magnificent Taipei 101 and let my taste buds go wild while exploring the different night markets. I would love to go back to Taipei; two days of adventure were not enough to traverse the city and culture.

Elephant
Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain
  1. TEDxWeekendTaipei

As the organiser of TEDxWoosongUniversity, I had the opportunity to meet other like-minded people at the 4-day TEDxWeekendTaipei event in Taiwan. The TEDx weekends were organized in celebration of TED and TEDx ten year anniversary. It was both exciting and inspiring to learn and hear organizers share both the joys and pains of hosting an event of such magnitude and impact.

  1. Organizing TEDxWoosongUniversity

We successfully held our second edition TEDxWoosongUniversity event in November 2019. Unlike the previous event, I did not have a helping hand of a co-organizer in the planning process which increased the challenges. I am grateful for the Speaker curation team that helped with the sourcing and coaching of speakers to have a successful event. The event-sourced seven speakers and two performers that shared their perspectives and ideas on the theme “Rising to the Challenges.” Organizing a TEDx event is not easy though the benefits are immeasurable. I learned every single day of the preparation process about team dynamics, and management and most importantly, I got to put my project management skills to practice.

  1. Decided to nurture my love for Photography

I have picked up a couple of new interests and hobbies during my stay in Korea, including Photography. Instead of taking random pictures, I decided to invest some time and document my photo-taking progress. I am not there yet but on the road to getting there. You can visit the link to some of my pictures here.

  1. Visited Geoje Island

My Indonesian friends and I had the opportunity of visiting the beautiful Island of Geoje for a short weekend. We explored the Island’s beautiful scenery and even got to skinny dip (one item off my bucket list).

Geoje Island

There are a lot of things that didn’t go as planned or went wrong this year. However, I choose to focus on what went right. I am looking back on 2019 with gratitude and hope for an even better 2020 ahead. Happy New Year and God Speed in all your plans!

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