The final farewell for our Balboa group. We survived 52 weeks together. 55 started and 44 remained on what was the craziest adventure any of us had every been on. Strangers now family, we sadly were at the end of our trip. Ten countries lived in and many more visited. Too many memories to count and so many things we will always cherish. To all my Balboa family, all the love in the world to you.
This day never seemed like it would get here. When we started, a year seemed like so long, and it was! An entire year around the world, living and working together. But as life keeps moving no matter how much you want to hold onto it, time catches up to you and for us this was the last week. Luckily for us, Mexico was a five week month so we got to get the whole experience of the city before we went through our last week dash to soak up all the Remote Year vibes that we could one last time.
We had our farewell event at a beautiful compound a couple of hours outside the city. Just us Remotes, a few staff members and a whole day to spend together. The beautiful compound had a pool, a big yard and outdoor area with long tables and chairs and one of the longest and most beautiful dinner tables I’ve ever seen with space for all 60-70 of us that attended. It was a perfect day planned by our RY Program Leaders, Stasia and Sara, and it was just what we needed to reflect on an amazing year! We got to our destination and were greeted by some of our favorite quotes of the year popping up at every corner and lovely hand-written notes written by our PLs. We were left to our own for a few hours with plenty of food and drinks to go around under a wonderful day of 75 and sunny. The pool was great to cool off in and we played frisbee and enjoyed the wonderful afternoon. After a few hours of hanging out, we all sat by the pool and one by one talked about what the year meant for us and what we dedicated the year to. I dedicated it to my grandma, LoLo, who had just passed the week before. She was a world traveler herself and used to talk about her travel to far away places. She inspired me to take a chance and go for it and followed me every step of the way. She read every one of my blog posts and was my biggest fan for my entire journey.
After our dedications we all got wristbands with the words “Balboa” written on it and I still haven’t taken it off yet. After this, we got our yearbooks. The yearbooks turned out so wonderfully and they were expertly done by all of our amazing designers! I was so happy to see the finished result of all of their hard work and it definitely captured the spirit and soul of the Balboa community. Once we got the yearbooks, we reverted back to middle school and took turns signing them all. As we started signing the yearbooks, it started to kick in a little bit that his was actually coming to an end. We tried to stave that off those thoughts the best we could but they were starting to creep up on us. As the sun set, we were moved down to our massive dinner table to eat. We sat and enjoyed a lovely dinner and gave our year end gifts to our wonderful program leaders.
After dinner we did a read of our sitcom, Excess Baggage. One of our remotes, AJ, is a amazing screenwriter and he wrote an entire episode weaving in every single remote that was ever on our trip into the storyline. It was truly one of the funniest and coolest things I have done. Each of us read aloud our parts as we went through the script. He captures our personalities so well and it was such a blast to read his work that most have took him forever. The whole read was about an hour and a half long and it is still one of my best memories of the trip.
After this we enjoyed a couple live performances from Chris and Yun before we sat down for our final video. The final video is where it really began to kick in. A compilation of all of our crazy moments blended together on one video from beginning to end. From that first day in Split, Croatia to our last days in Mexico City, it was all there documenting what now seemed like a total blur. It was a great time to reflect and think about the year as a whole as we were surrounding by our Balboa family.
The night was coming to a close and we had a little bit more free time to hang out before we headed back home. Even though this day was bittersweet it was so nice just to have the entire group back together one last time. These wonderful people had meant so much over the year and contributed so many lasting memories. 10 different countries represented, aged 22-42, crazy people and calm people, I love every one of them and will hold each and every one in my heart forever. Balboa, thanks for making 2017 the best year of my life and here’s to seeing all you lovely people again!