The Lessons of '16

I should have known 2016 was going to be one for the books when it started out on a Zombie cruise to the Bahamas and ended with living in a college dorm room. 

In an order to get myself more in the present, I figured I need to do a very brief recap on yet another crazy year in the life. This was a year of crazy. And exciting. Yes, very exciting- but scary too! As the saying goes, there is a time for everything and 2016 meant it was time for the next adventure, truly the next unknown phase. Here were some of the ‘big crazy’ moments (not in chronological order): 

  • Being in the middle of the Atlantic ocean surrounded by Walking Dead fans.

  • Quitting not one, but two different full time jobs.

  • Leaving the city I called home for many years.

  • Selling 80% of everything I owned on Craigslist.

  • Running a 1/2 marathon.

  • Setting up two queen beds in a Chicago apt to share a room with my BFF.

  • Planing a 5 month trip with Clayton, while Clayton was crewing a run across the USA.

  • Traveling the globe for almost 5 months .

  • Overusing the hashtag #120daysoftravel

  • Moving in and out of my old college dorm.

  • Moving back in with the parentals. (thanks Mom & Dad ).

Yeah, these were some of those ‘big’ defining moments, but then there were the smaller ones too. 

Smaller things like:

  • Doing a job interview in a Vietnam hotel lobby. (So hot and humid, I became even more nervous as I watched my hair grow wider and wider in the small Skype video box).

  • Crashing a motorbike in Bali after turning to quick.

  • Surviving a nine hour drive through the back roads of Nepal. Seriously, scariest moment of my life.

  • Hiking through the Annapurna Circuit & also falling in love with Nepal at the same time.

  • Riding an Elephant through a Thailand Jungle.

  • Saying goodbye to a job I loved, with co-workers who honestly felt more like family.

  • Packing everything I needed for 160 days of travel in one backpack.

  • Living out of a backpack for 35 weeks of the year (that’s 245 days, no wonder I’m wearing all the same clothes in every photo. hum).

  • Spending a few days working on a Missouri Cattle Farm (okay, more like assisting Clayton, but still it was something!)

  • Staying up nearly 24 hours in the Icelandic midnight sun.

  • Finding insane Fall beauty in Shenandoah National Park.

  • Having a sleepover with amazing friends on my 27th birthday.

  • Packing everything I had into my Nissan Altima after quitting job numero dos, driving back to Ohio and leaving it in my sisters driveway for three weeks (hoping my Keurig would eventually defrost after being left inside at freezing temps).


I learned a lot about the importance of taking risks in 2016 and that risks equate to the unknown; a lot of unknown. I didn’t know if I’d find a job post travel easily; or even what type of job I wanted. If the places I was about to travel to were safe.  If I’d budgeted correctly to come back and live comfortably again. Phew, the heart rate is rising as it’s all coming back to me. 

2016 also taught me about the beauty of others. I met a lot of strangers who took me in like family. And I stood in awe at the remarkable generosity and support I felt from close friends and family. I’m thankful for those who answered the phone calls, sent notes of encouragement, drove the airport pick ups and drop offs, and warranted faith in me to take risks and embark on ‘non-traditional’ endeavors. I'm also thankful for remaining safe and healthy on the journey. 

It was certainly a year to remember. As usual, my pictures speak better than words. So here’s the recap in photos of one heck of a calendar year.