I’m going to be honest here, I’m glad 2017 is over. It was a hard year for me for many reasons (see hardships below), but on the flip side it was also a year of tremendous change and growth. I’ve learned that sometimes we need to be beaten down in order to rediscover what makes us happy. Change can be hard, but if we accept it and learn from it, change is the only way we can move forward.
2017 was also a year of many fun travels and adventures. In February I returned to a nomadic life after four years of living in Seattle and it has been fantastic. I love the feeling of being able to go where I want, when I want to without being tied down to a place or things.
I do think that I’ll set up at least a semi-permanent home at some point in the near future (long-term nomadism can be exhausting), but for now I’m enjoying the freedom of the open road.
So here’s a goodbye to 2017 and a big welcome to the New Year!
WHERE I WAS
Spring | seattle, whidbey island, portland, california
Summer | england, alaska
Fall | california, british columbia, san juan islands, columbia river
Winter | california, utah, colombia, costa rica, panama
#1 Solo California road trip
In March, shortly after I left Seattle for good, I took a week-long solo road trip through Death Valley and Pinnacles National Park. Having been to neither before, they were both brand new and full of exciting adventures. Not to mention stunning. Death Valley was otherworldly with its salt flats, slot canyons, and sand dunes and Pinnacles was vibrant green and covered with wildflowers thanks to California’s rainy winter and spring.
The road trip came at a good time, too. I was recovering from a tough break up and I had just quit my job so life seemed pretty unstable and frankly, quite hard at the moment. A solo road trip gave me plenty of alone time to think, reflect, and have some fun.
Intrigued? Here is my guide to Death Valley and Pinnacles National Parks
#2 Southwest England
Oh England. How I love you. I spent almost three months in southwest England this past summer on a beautiful old farm with the company of two black labs, three goats, and a wonderful neighbor, Amy. I was housesitting for an English family who were on an around-the-world trip. My summer was full of long walks, bike rides, days at the beach, days on the farm, good food, and sightseeing. It was glorious to say the least!
Intrigued? Here is a post on 10 things not to miss in southwest England.
#3 Hurricane, Utah mountain bike trip
This was my first multi-day mountain biking trip and it certainly won’t be the last! It was a ton of fun and by the end of the week I felt like I had leveled up in both the skills and fitness department. I went with a handful of mountain biking friends from Bishop, California who I met earlier this year while staying with my brother and sister-in-law. And honestly the trip couldn’t have been better! Great riding, great weather, great people, and no serious injuries.
Intrigued? Check out my guide on Mountain Biking in Hurricane, Utah.
Spending two weeks in Colombia was hands down one the best decision I made all year. It was kind of an off-the-cuff decision too. I knew I would be traveling to Panama to meet the National Geographic Quest in December and thought why not get a quick trip in before heading back to work? So I altered my flights to include a two week layover in Medellin. What an amazing city and what a beautiful country. I loved, loved, loved everything about Colombia. From the gondolas in Medellin to the lake waters of Guatape to the serene countryside of Jardin. It blew me away. I will be back to Colombia some day, for sure.
HARDSHIPS & HIGHLIGHTS
Yes, 2017 was challenging. It started off with the incredibly hard decision to leave Seattle and the life that I had built with my boyfriend over the span three and a half years. I sold pretty much everything I owned, I quit my job, and I committed to returning to nomadic life despite some serious unknowns like how I was going to make a living.
Then the job that I was hoping for didn’t pan out (but then it did, see what’s in store for 2018 below!)
My parents announced that they are separating and several romantic interests waffled and failed, leaving me feeling even more lonely and wondering whether I will ever find ‘the one’.
But despite these hardships, 2017 did have some redeeming qualities. Thankfully.
I went on some of the best trips I’ve taken yet (England, Colombia, and Utah)
I returned to ship life - at least part-time - after four years of being away and it feels great to be back. I still know many of the people working for Lindblad and I feel incredibly grateful to work in such beautiful places as Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica and Panama.
I spent a good chunk of time in Sunny Slopes, California with my fabulous brother and sister-in-law in between travels. Their place acted as a home base while I was trying to regain my footing after leaving Seattle. They also have four amazing fur babies - two huskies and two cats - that I adore
And finally, I accepted an exciting new opportunity for 2018! Read more about that below.
MY YEAR IN NUMBERS
Countries Visited | 6
United States, Canada, England, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama
New Countries Visited | 2
States Visited | 5
Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Alaska
Plane Rides Taken | 8
Sleeping Situations | 9
Airbnb: 18 nights
Airplane: 4 nights
Apartment: 37 nights
Camping: 13 nights
Family: 86 nights
Friends: 1 night
Hotel: 3 nights
Housesitting: 158 nights
Ship Cabin: 45 nights
Days On A Bike | 55
Not nearly enough days on a bike this year!
Mountain Bike Crashes | 2
One resulted in three stitches in my chin (it’s nice to have two doctors in the family) and one left me with a bloody pinkie finger and a pretty sore body for about a week
WHATS IN STORE FOR 2018
2018 is shaping up to be a great year. I’m writing this from the National Geographic Quest in Costa Rica and I have about two and a half more weeks in this contract before I head to San Francisco for some R&R. My spring plans aren’t finalized yet, but I do know that I’ll be doing another mountain bike trip in March, this time to Sedona. After that I’ll be heading to the National Geographic Sea Lion in Baja for a month and then embarking on an epic California road trip with Amy, a friend in England who’s never been to the States before. I can’t wait to show her around!
And finally, this summer I’ll be working as a trip leader for Backroads Travel! I’m so incredibly excited about this next adventure. Backroads does cycling and hiking trips all around the world and I’m honored to be chosen as one of their legendary trip leaders. I don’t know where I’ll be working yet (and I actually don’t really care where I get placed) I’m just over the moon about yet another amazing work opportunity. Stay tuned for more adventures!