23, a year of bravery 

Super long, sappy, self-love post ahead! 

A year ago, I thought I was on the summit of Mount Everest in the happiness department. I had everything figured out: my career, my love life, my relationship with friends and family, finances, everything. Which all called for a big birthday bash to celebrate another glorious year. I was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan celebrating my 23rd birthday, which was going to be one of the best birthdays yet. But, it turned out for the worst.

Celebrating turning 23 by kayaking on Lake Superior.

It wasn’t glamorous turning 23. The firework display that always bookended my birthday celebration wasn’t so spectacular last year. I started 23 broken. I had a broken heart, a broken spirit, and no self-love. I felt worthless and alone. Like I was stranded on my island of self-pity and no one was listening to my frantic SOS signals.

At that moment, I thought all my hopes and dreams had been shattered. What was I going to do with my life? Apparently, it was time for me to re-evaluate what was most important to me.

One thing you should know about me is that I live to the extreme. I funnel my heart, enthusiasm, and passion into everything I do. I don’t believe in being mediocre. I dream and live big!

So, I did.

I rebelled and gave society my middle finger as I catapulted myself into situations I’ve never been in: quitting my first job, first dates,

Celebrating 24 as a new woman! Follow my Snapchat @marthalueders!

traveling abroad, traveling solo, getting engaged! It was all a whirlwind and rush at the same time — that’s saying a lot for this adrenaline junkie.


But the greatest lesson of all was regaining self-confidence and love for myself. I reclaimed all that self-loathing and hate that I had brewed over the years and crushed it. I told myself it was no longer OK to call myself fat or ugly. I no longer could limit myself and say, “I could never possibly do that.” I became, in a sense, invincible. I never once let someone tear me down and belittle me. No one had the power to annihilate the love I had for myself; only I could do. And I wouldn’t let myself do that again.

Who knew 365 days could so greatly impact a person? Turns out, age 23 was to find bravery.

I learned how to love more deeply, not just myself, but also others. I capitalized on virtue and humility, values I thought I knew well, but really knew nothing of at all. I took more risks and reaped greater rewards. I never let myself fall into my comfort zone, or default to Plan B because it was safer and easier. I pushed myself harder than I ever had before.

I’m not sure if I’ve reached the apex of happiness, but at the same time, I hope I don’t! I want to be astounded each year that a dopamine rush can FEEL THIS GOOD. I don’t want my joy to plateau. I want to continue the uphill climb towards the summit.

Also head over and read about turning 24! 


Don’t forget to add me on Snapchat and my other social media! 

Quirky Globetrotter

Hi! I'm Martha! The mastermind behind Quirky Globetrotter a feminist travel blog. Quirky Globetrotter is devoted to telling narratives devoted to female solo travel and hidden gems worldwide with an emphasis on intersectional feminism and how that impacts travel on a global and local level.

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