2017 is already looking up with some amazing travel plans (hello London, Paris and New York to name a few) and opportunities for career advancement, and I look forward to seeing what other opportunities and adventures the coming months will bring.
Here's a look back on what 2016 had to share with me month-by-month.
I moved back to Idaho just in time for New Years and spent most of the first month with friends and family. I explored the surrounding areas with snowshoeing and winter hikes in the hopes of reconnecting with Idaho and enjoying being here again.
In February I visited Saleen for the last time. I had no idea when I was down there that it would be my last time seeing her and wish I would have cherished it more. I loved all the time I got to spend with her and I wish I would have had more opportunities to visit this past year.
MARCHThe beginning of March was really tough for me. I had officially hit 4 months of unemployment and was starting to feel hopeless. I had interviewed for a marketing position with the local library district and each day that went by without an offer got that much more difficult. I made a decision to road trip west and visit family in the Tri Cities and push on to Portland. During my visit with family I received the offer I had been waiting for and the trip turned into one of celebration. Knowing I had a job to go back to brought so much joy and I enjoyed the trip so much more than I ever expected.
In April we had a girls trip to Walla Walla for a long weekend and it was so great! We tasted many delicious wines, explored gorgeous vineyards and cellars and laughed a TON. Hopefully we can make this trip a yearly tradition because it was so good for my soul.
This was a low key month with the focus on family and work. I enjoyed a road trip with my niece to see my parents for the weekend and took advantage of one-on-one time with Joie to show her around some of the highlights of where her dad and I grew up. It was so fun to see her adventurous heart so excited to hike, discover waterfalls, and meet base jumpers parachuting into the canyon. She and I often talk travel and adventures and I love her excitement for it.
June took me on a much needed trip back to Portland to see my tribe. Jenni and Brian were celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary and we partied, caught up, and toasted to the happy couple. It was a wonderful trip full of friends.
July was a mixed bag.
It started with an amazing long weekend in Seattle for the 4th of July holiday. The weather could not have been more perfect and I loved every minute of it.
I decided not to fly down based on wishes Saleen had expressed to me earlier and made arrangements for my mom to fly there. Just 2 days later I got the phone call that she was gone. The following weeks were the most difficult I've ever experienced. We'd known for months the inevitable, but I realized too late that nothing can prepare you for the absolute.
In August I got a wonderful visit from friends in Washington on their way to camp in Yellowstone. I hadn't seen them for about a year and it was so good to catch up, laugh, and talk travel adventures. I have come to absolutely adore those kids and their mom and hope we get to cross paths again soon.
I think I say this every year, but September is my absolute favorite month. Sure it contains my birthday and that's awesome, but there's also something about the changing of seasons and crisp added to the air after a long summer that just feels magical. September 2016 was no different.
The month included a trip with a good friend and her little to SoCal. We explored Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, etc. introduced her little to In and Out, and spent a very full and fun day at Disneyland and California Adventure. It was a great trip and a little cathartic to stand in front of Saleen's favorite ride at Disneyland in her sweatshirt.
The month also included a road trip back to Portland for my birthday weekend. It was so great and filled with laughter with some of my favorite people.
I finally started to feel like I hit my groove in Idaho. I had many opportunities to spend time with Boise-based friends in October and it was good to realize I'd finally began building my tribe here. I don't feel pulled to return to Portland, but not having close friendships in Boise outside of my family was starting to take a toll on me emotionally. October felt like the beginning of the healing phase.
I'm not going to lie, I was dreading Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I look forward each year to spending it with my extended family. This year though my immediate family was heading to Hawaii to spend the holiday in the sunshine and spread Saleen's ashes. I know, I know, Hawaii - what a rough way to spend the holiday. But really, there are more than a few reasons I wasn't too keen on the idea. However, I sucked it up and stuck with the plan and do not regret it one bit. This trip was so much more cathartic than I ever could have imagined.
Click here for the full recap on this trip.
It's been many years since I've really been in the Christmas spirit. Between travel (not complaining) and living in Portland in various apartments (also not complaining) I haven't really felt "homey" around the holidays. This year was different though and I loved it! I actually bought a tree, decorated it, and really enjoyed all the holiday activities the surrounding areas had to offer. Having my niece excited about the magic of Christmas was really fun too. I haven't spent a Christmas morning with her since she was 3, so getting to wake up with her this year was the best Christmas present I could have asked for.