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Year in Review 2023

Every year on my birthday, I reflect on my highs, lows, and everything in between. This tradition is an amazing way to measure backward and appreciate how far I've come. Here's how my 2023 went.

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
6 min read
Year in Review 2023

Heyo from México City! 🌮

Every year on my birthday, I reflect on my highs, lows, and everything in between. I've done this every year since 2015 (past editions: 2022202120202019201820172016, and 2015).

This tradition is an amazing way to measure backward and appreciate how far I've come. Here's how my 2023 went.

My experiment of “slow living” worked!

Hopping from one city to another every other week never appealed to me. While I love adventure, I also craved authentic friendships, routine, and feeling grounded in a home base. So this year I tested the “digital slomad” lifestyle where I traveled slowly, living in a few home bases at a time. I chose México City (obviously), Toronto (to visit friends), and California (to visit family and for work). And this experiment proved to be a success!

By the end of the year, I will have spent 6 months in CDMX, 3 months in Toronto, and 1 month in California. And the remaining 2 months? Freedom to go wherever. This year, I chose to visit Portland twice, Guadalajara twice, and Puerto Escondido for a solo retreat.

It’s kind of the best of both worlds: feeling grounded with a home base AND a spark of novelty when I want it. I’m really glad I experimented with this setup and I hope to repeat a version of this next year.

I’ve made major progress in dancing bachata

This year was a BIG one for me in developing my craft in bachata.

I never thought I’d ever call myself a “dancer” but this is my life now. And I find this to be absolutely wild.

Here are the rest of the highlights in picture form:

I feel like I have the most amount of friendships in CDMX. 🇲🇽

I feel like I have the deepest friendships in Toronto. 🇨🇦

Sometimes, it was too much dancing…

I was dancing so much that there were stints where I totally neglected my health, relationships, and work. I’d stay out late dancing and wake up the next morning feeling sleep-deprived, behind on my work, and struggling to keep up with all the friendships I had outside of the dance community. While I do believe we need seasons of imbalance to achieve great things, I needed to find a more sustainable approach.

So in October, I massively cut back on bachata to work out, go on dates, and learn Spanish again. I’m also doing a much better job at work and with my side hustle. It’s actually been really nice and I hope to keep a long-term approach to dance (and generally everything in my life) to make this sustainable.

Best of the blog ✏️

Below is a list of my favorite blog posts that I've written this year.

  1. I’m not rich but I’m very happy – My personal take on how money & happiness mix together.
  2. Live your life in “chunks” – I didn’t realize it at the time but I had been living my adult life in roughly 4-year chunks.
  3. Single and childfree by default – Why blindly getting married and buying at house at 30 is a stupid goal.
  4. Finding Happiness in México City 🇲🇽 – I feel so alive and myself in México. Here are my top five reasons why I love it here, the downsides, and my philosophy on choosing where to live.
  5. Be ruthlessly honest about why you work – There's a gap between your current and your ideal relationship to work. How risky would it be to make a change?
  6. Random internet bloggers have changed my life – You need someone to show you the light. To show you what's possible. To model what a different life could look like.

I never asked for donations once this year but if my work made your life a little better, you can donate by clicking here. I pay $500 for yearly software costs so my goal is to simply break even and keep this passion project alive. Also today's my birthday so by law, you must do what I say.

Shout out to Evan P and William S for donating monthly over the last year. My only two supporters 🥹 🙏


  • I’ve had issues with my sleep for years and my bff Chloe finally convinced me to get a sleep test. I got the results back recently saying that I had mild sleep apnea, a very common sleep disorder that basically means oxygen is not fully flowing through my body, preventing me from getting deep, restorative sleep. Now I have a CPAP machine that I use every night. So far, it’s only mildly helpful, but I’ll continue to use it and see how the results go. If you “do all the right things” and still struggle with sleep, I highly recommend taking a sleep test.
  • So I basically discovered that dental insurance doesn’t do anything lol. One crown costs over $1,000 USD with PPO health insurance. That’s insane... I have to get a few more crowns done so I plan to do them abroad in México, something I never considered doing. If you need to get dental work done and can’t afford it in the States, there are some high-quality, reliable dentists who will help you for 1/3 of the price overseas.
  • I did a test for testosterone and my results were hella low, mostly due to how poorly I treated my health during my bachata addiction. This post curated and summarized resources on how to raise your T that I’ve found to be super helpful.
  • I unintentionally went viral on Instagram for a random comedy video that I made. It has 600k views and counting…
  • I started using the air fryer for the first time this year and I love it. It’s like a cheat code for lazy cooks like me who want to be healthier.
  • My blog post for where to dance in CDMX is on the front page when you google "bachata Mexico city." This actually led to a bunch of spontaneous new friendships. The internet can be so cool sometimes 😄

My plans for 2024

So what’s next for me?

More time slow-living in Mexico City and other places. Expanding my Bachata Library into a legit membership site that I wish I had when I first started dancing. Focusing on my health. And alternating between learning more Spanish, dancing Zouk, and spending time with wonderful humans.

I feel incredibly aligned right now in all areas of my life. It's an amazing feeling... and I hope to harness this energy for good.

Thank you for taking a moment in your day to read a year in my life. I hope you are staying healthy, both physically and mentally, and enjoying the holiday season.

With gratitude,


Year in Review

Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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