Hold on to your seats ladies + gents, 2015 was a rocky road.
While I spent most of it domestic here in the states, I also spent most of it outdoors, and this was my foundation year as a self-employed consultant.
A year of playing and observing and exploring and laying that first layer of bricks in the sticky mud stuff that goes at the bottom of your dream house and is pretty cool to learn about and see at work for the first time but then it kind of sucks you in and you get stuck in it and all of a sudden you ruined the only pair of shoes you had packed in your suitcase and now you have no shoes and you’re somewhere in Asia and they don’t sell your size and now how are you supposed to get out of here with no shoes?!
Actually, I’m 100% sure that’s not a real scenario to compare to at all, but that’s exactly what 2015 felt like.
Was it worth it? You bet. Here’s a recap:
2015 started out with the party of the year on Groove Cruise, before I returned to San Francisco, experienced a hostel community for the first time, went back to SXSW as a hungry foodie + newly minted entrepreneur (too newly minted for it to be beneficial, in retrospect), took a road trip with my bestie, marveled at the Grand Canyon, had another top life solo dining experience, touched Arizona and met my favorite yet national park Death Valley, where the stars and I gazed into each other’s eyes until sunrise (stars… oh just my favorite thing in the universe).
I had my first deep realization in a gorgeous 1BR Vegas suite, sitting alone in my mood-lit jacuzzi looking out over the strip with dinner + show tickets for two beside me and no one to tote along, exactly what solo life on the road was going to be.
I fell in love with my camera, upgraded my image cataloging to Lightroom, started volunteering with Travel Massive, and found the community I’d been searching for in San Francisco — only to have the ante upped exponentially by it being a fantastically global network instead.
I gave LA a 4th chance (and even found a few pieces I liked) with my dear friend Mia, and then, I met Antonio.
If you’ve been reading closely, maybe you remember a little mention of me “meeting someone” around May, less posting all of a sudden, and a lot more of me in my own Instagrams!
Chalk that up to tripping over my dancing feet and immediately jumping on the road with a raw talent photographer and wild spirit with spontaneity to rival my own, the day after we met at a music festival.
Within 24 hours, we took off together to Yosemite. A Marin native, he showed me all sorts of new nooks + crannies in the Bay. We hit the road — all over Oregon, to visit my family + friends in Florida, back to Sunriver.
For the first time in my life, this year I hung out in front of the lens, instead of hidden in my comfort zone behind it.
Minus an unlimited travel budget and destination list, for six months, life was a fairytale.
But, much like that point at the end of Narnia where Lucy recognizes the lantern and is drawn to it for some unknown reason, and then they’re all led back through to the other side of the wardrobe with nothing more than a gleam in their glances full of wonder about whether the lion and the witch was all real or fake… that’s where it all landed.
Our adventures were ethereal, but consuming. He flipped my world upside down, my heart inside out. He inspired and motivated and challenged me in ways no one ever has.
However, not all challenges are created equal.
Soon I was hardly working and overextended.
I’d repeat each day in a heartbeat (with some gained perspective), but needed a shift, pronto.
I road tripped Big Sur to clear my head, and car camped solo for the first time! There was a lot of incredible camping this year. Do you guys camp? I grew up in FL, sooooo this was new to me — I’m into it.
Then I finally skipped borders — to Mexico!
In November, I was honored to be a part of the realization of dreams for new friends — at the first ever Days Off With Us retreat.
If you have ever wanted to experience authentic Mexico, not just the all-inclusive kitchiness of Cancun, and love to lay low and let loose for a good time, from the bottom of my heart I hope you’ll join Bai + Bri on a Puerto Morelos retreat.
These girls have captured every detail, kick ass at connecting people and are simply, in tune.
[Apply for the next DOWU retreat — Refresh — Jan 20-26]
I practiced morning yoga on the beach, left my worries behind in a temezcal in the middle of the jungle, floated in a cenote, took in my first world wonder, rescued a puppy, luxuriated on a catamaran to Isla Mujeres and then shipped myself off to Mexico City. I only planned to stay a few days, but was met with great hospitality on the ground, and extended my stay at Chaya BNB.
I rolled back into the states for Thanksgiving at home, and stole my mom away to #OptOutside for a Sunny Isles staycation.
To my surprise, the best was yet to come.
Yet to hit the pages here, my final, last minute, impromptu trip of the year — to Knoxville, Chattanooga and NYC, was the most transformational trip of 2015.
Anyone else a sucker for the unexpected plot twists?!
As each day played out, a new puzzle piece revealed itself, slowly adding up to an image yet to be seen.
That image, the beginning of 2016.
I’m so very excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Women’s Travel Fest in NYC this March! The very same event that was my first as “currently exploring” last year. (All of the feels…) Even more exciting, that I’ll be speaking on Overcoming Fear and Maximizing Your Full Potential through Travel.
So many of the seeds I’ve planted in 2015, and so many that have been re-watered from years before, are starting to sprout in projects and plans for the new year, and I can’t wait to reveal them all here!
Thanks so much for being a part of my greatest adventure, which leads me right on into the NEXT:
Change #1: I left the circles in 2015 to be able to share my best images all around the web this year, so join the new look on Instagram!
What were your greatest adventures this year? Your favorite of mine? Happy New Year!