2016 Reflections – The Year of Travel and Self Love

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and Holiday Season!

I just got back from my trip to Jordan, and I had an amazing time! If you wanted to see my travel photos, take a look at my instagram (instagram.com/phd_fashionista). I will hopefully be doing a travel post soon featuring my highlights and also a video of some things 🙂 

As 2016 came to a close, I noticed a lot of people were super negative about how much 2016 sucked. Yes, it did suck in many ways. I was majorly set back on my project and had to redo a lot of experiments, and basically rebuild a manuscript in a few months. I didn’t get my dream job. and the elections didn’t turn out how I wanted, and I’m nervous for the future. 

But if its one thing I learned this year, its about self love and being positive. Living in the present, and preventing stress and anxiety. Because when you worry, you are living in either the past or the future, not the present. I found myself losing myself and just floating thru life not really experiencing things but just EXISTING. 2017, I resolve to be PRESENT in all my experiences.

Yes, I had to redo a lot of my experiments and rebuild a project. But what if I had published science that wasn’t right? That would’ve hurt me and kept with me a lot worse. I didn’t get my dream job, but that just means I had more time to finish my project, and really think about what I want to do with my life. The elections…well… no comment there. We’ll see how that goes, haha.

The important thing, though, was on New Years Eve, when I was reflecting on 2016, I didn’t even think about the negative. I thought about all the places I’ve traveled, all the amazing people I reunited with and the new people I met. The great experiences with friends and family. Here are just 9 of my highlights, there are WAY MORE that I couldn’t fit in this one 9-picture post, but I will maybe post again soon! These are in no specific order!

1. Traveling to Jordan – I had the amazing opportunity to fly to Jordan to spend time with my boy friend’s family and see where he grew up, and check out amazing sights in the middle east. I am from Cyprus, which is a 45 min plane ride from Jordan, but it was just amazing how much different it was, and how much more history there was in Jordan. My boyfriend’s family welcomed me with open arms, and I am forever grateful for the wonderful experience I had, and how loving and welcoming they were. I had a lot of AMAZING food, I got to experience a lot of amazing things, saw so many sights like the Roman Amphitheater in downtown Amman, got to shop and haggle, got to go to the ancient city of Jerash, where I was just in awe of the architecture and things still not uncovered (I will post a video soon, when I find the time to edit!), I went to the dead sea and floated around, digging up dead sea mud to put on (and I managed to bring some back with me, shhh!), I spent a lot of time with family and managed to teach myself to start reading and writing arabic, I camped in the desert and danced Debka, smoked hookah and sat by a fire, having an amazing time. These are just a few of my experiences. It was amazing. Check out my instagram hashtag #phdfashionistatravels for my posts!

2. Traveling to the Cote d’Azur – Nice, France – I have always wanderlusted about traveling to the south of France. It was always a far away thing, who can afford to go there? When in the world would I ever get the chance to go there? I made it happen this June, when I went to a conference in Portugal, and found a cheap flight to Nice, where I stayed for 5 days by myself, until my friend met up with me. It was AMAZING. I shared photos in a previous travel post. It was the first time in a while I was SO HAPPY. Just being there, I made it, my gift to myself. I was so happy. It was beautiful. I was lucky also, because the week after, there was a terrorist attack on the same streets I walked… which saddened me so much!

3. My Fitness Journey – Thru my fitness journey with beachbody, I have opened so many doors and have met SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE! I seriously am so thankful for the opportunity to work on myself, to work on my self image, my health, my fitness, my confidence, you name it – thru doing personal development daily, working out, cleaning up my diet, I have eliminated things that bother my body (I found out I’m lactose intolerant, figures!). I started and finished 5 workout programs, saw great results, got my core super strong. I also got certified to be a group fitness instructor for Cize Live, a Hip hop dance class by Shaun T (Creator of insanity among other programs!). That was a huge dream of mine since I started grad school – I wanted to be a fitness instructor. It was harder than I expected, but I am still working on it 🙂 I also found that working out is my therapy. It helps me when I’m stressed and anxious, and I just feel GOOD and STRONG when I work out. So so thankful!

4. Traveling to SF and reuniting with college roomie 2 – One of my college roomies who I had an instant connection with the second we moved in together, was in LA for a fitness conference, and we road tripped to San Francisco together, did the sightseeing, had a great time, even though it was rainy and cold some of the days! Was so nice to catch up with her and it was like no time had passed!

5. Attending a conference in Lisbon Portugal – This was the highlight of my grad career – getting to travel to an international conference specifically focused on my field. I went to a conference in Barcelona last year, but it was more broad. At this conference, we talked specifically about methylation, and I got to meet the professors who I’ve only read all of their papers – and who’s papers are the foundation of my field! was so great to finally meet them and hear them talk in person, and meet their students. It was also great to make new friends from around the world 🙂 

6. PhD Graduation – While I haven’t defended my dissertation yet, this past year I walked at graduation, because my original plans were to be done by August/September (remember I interviewed for that dream job I didn’t get?). Instead of having to come back next year I decided to walk sooner and I was hoping my grandmother would come to it. Well, my grandmother didn’t come (she has high blood pressure, lives in Cyprus, and would have been a huge hassle to come…), and I didn’t get the job, so here I am still in grad school, but its more like I am just waiting to find a job so I can defend. I was SO SO happy to walk at graduation. I thought I would be more emotional, but I was just SO happy! couldn’t bring me down from cloud nine. My parents and brother came and we had a great time, my closest friend and boyfriend were there, and I got to walk with my closest friend from grad school, Megan, who has gone on to do a post doc at Harvard Med. I won a dissertation research award, and I was just so happy!

7. Attended my College Roommate’s wedding and catching up with friends – I hadn’t seen my college friends in 5 years! My college roommate, Olivia, and I lived together for three years. We were very close, and then with natural events we drifted apart (moving across the country is hard, but social media you can keep in contact!). I attended her wedding in Hartford CT in September, and I got to reunite with the rest of my group of friends, who I also hadn’t seen since 2011 – It was so fun and I was SO happy to catch up with them. Really made me miss them!

8. Paris. Just one word. Paris. After meeting up with my friend Nicole in Nice (she flew in to meet me for France adventures before going on her own adventures in Germany), we took a train from Nice to Paris. We had such a great time, sightseeing, walking around the entire city, it was just breathtaking. Being at the Eiffel Tower was so cool! France was the site of the Euro Cup, so it was bustling with tourists and the energy was amazing! 

9. Saint Tropez – Ever since I heard a song called St. Tropez during a summer in Cyprus, I had been dreaming about going there. My cousin and I would always go, “Welcome to St. Tropez” (look up the song, haha!). Along with Nice, Saint Tropez was one of those places that was just a dream and I never thought I’d get to go. I heard it was expensive, and the rich people go there to party. After Nice, Nicole and I rented a car (They gave us a BMW! score!) and we drove down the coast, stopped in Cannes for Lunch, and ended up in Sainte Maxime where our hotel was. We then took a ferry across to Saint Tropez, and it was AMAZING!!!!!!! We were both just soon happy, pure happiness. The ferry boat ride was fun, and we got to Saint Tropez and it was just so picturesque! I loved it!!! we were there just for a few hours that day, but it was the perfect amount of time.

I also traveled to a couple of other places not featured here; I went to Boston and saw Megan’s new neighborhood; I went to Portland, Oregon for a wedding with my Boyfriend and saw where he also grew up partly, saw the beautiful sights!; I attended a conference in San Diego with friends, where I organized a symposium;  and a lot of other cool encounters. 

Ah 2016, you were good to me! Hope 2017 can measure up!

PS. Oh I am having a giveaway over on my Instagram, I’m giving away this skin care makeup! All you have to do is follow me, like this post, and comment your resolutions and tag 2 friends on the instagram post! Extra entry if you subscribe to my Youtube! 😉 Go on over and enter! (instagram.com/phd_fashionista)





  1. January 3, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    2016 has been a good and bad year in many ways and reading about how great it was for you makes me even more motivated to make 2017 the best and travel more xx Happy 2017 girlie


  2. January 4, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    ❤️ so glad you were able to come out in September! You had a wonderful year. I've seen most of your travel photos, but it's nice to read recaps of them all too ��

  3. January 4, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    Dear Andrea, I am so amazed by the paragraph about Jordan, and I am waiting for your post talking about it! It's amazing that you lived 45 min (of flight) from there and now you two are in a relationship – I guess it was meant to be! So nice that you went to Boston, Oregon, SF, Lisbon, St Tropez and so many other great places! Also, nice about your graduation and I am sure that soon you'll have your thesis ready – and you are right, what if you had published experiences without re-doing them? Please don't worry about the frequency of your posts – first of all, focus on defending the thesis and we will understand you need time! I am very glad to read this lovely post and to see that you are happy! I agree with you – I have read many people saying that 2016 was not good and while I had events that were not nice, summarizing all, I had a good year! Hope you have a very nice year now! Hugs!

  4. January 4, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    Love your post, especially when you wrote "Because when you worry, you are living in either the past or the future, not the present" You couldn't be more right about that. The problem is when your stressing about something it is really difficult to think with a clear head.
    Hope you have an amazing 2017!

    Vanessa x | http://www.springlilies.com

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