Happy 2018!

YOU GUYS.

I made it to 2018!!! For most of 2017, it really didn’t feel like that would ever happen, but here we are 🙂

I’m going to write a few more posts on my trip (for real, I think I always say this and never actually do…but, I am putting a renewed focus on my blog as part of better focusing on what brings me happiness and fulfillment this year) in the coming weeks, but I wanted to say hi and share a few pics. Let me know if there’s anything specifically you’d like to hear more about!

Rio

New Year's Rio

We were in Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s and flew out on New Year’s Day on 6:45am after dancing on Copacabana Beach (yeah, that was a fun flight.) This is a real picture — the sky was legit that pink with the fireworks. We laughed, we danced, and I can’t think of a better way to end a terrible year. And yes, I was excited for an excuse to buy a white Lilly dress.

Peru

Peru was my favorite part of the trip, and it’s not just because of the llamas, though that doesn’t hurt.

Inca Ruins Ollyantaytambo

Though it was actually sunny here…Peru reminded me a bit of Ireland: verdant, lush and moody. We stayed in the town of Ollantaytambo, one of the last remaining Inca cities, and SUCH a cute town. It was about a two-hour train ride from Machu Picchu, and it was adorably charming, and a great base for the trip to Machu Picchu (which ended up being a bit more logistically difficult than we’d realized.)

Machu Picchu

To say Machu Picchu was breathtaking is an understatement. To be honest, that afternoon, I felt a bit underwhelmed afterwards, but looking back, I’m reminded of the beauty, how lucky we are it was found, and how lucky we were to see it. (I think I was just exhausted and fighting the altitude then…)

LLAMA

Also, llamas. Yes, I was in heaven.

Bogota

If you follow me on Instagram (@theodorable), you’re aware of our travel drama at the end of the trip. The super short version: we were supposed to fly from Cusco to Lima to Bogota to JFK to get home. An annoying itinerary, but it was the right price… well, our three-hour layover in Bogota turned into being stuck there for four days.

Bogota Monserrate

So long as we were there, we decided to make the best of it and see the city! Our first order of business was Monserrate, which gave us these amazing views of the city. 

Tell me: worst travel drama story or how you spent this New Year’s!

Top Nine of 2017

By now, you’ve probably seen those Top Nine of 2017 floating around IG. (Here’s mine and here’s where to get yours.)

I’ve written ad nauseam about how hard 2017 was for me (and I will likely continue to write about grief in 2018, though I hope it feels less painful then.) But you know what, in spite of all that, I actually had some awesome highlights, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.

Whitsunday Islands

#1. Australia + New Zealand

Right from the start of 2017, it was about looking for light amidst the dark. My mom had a major emergency surgery in late December last year, and she came home only four days before I was scheduled to leave for Australia. But with her blessing and her doctor’s, I still went on my trip to Australia and New Zealand, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s a trip I’ll never forget.

Foxwoods

#2. Foxwoods for my birthday

Once I came back from Australia, my mom continued to get more sick instead of better. I wanted to do something totally different and silly for my birthday rather than “hey let’s just meet at some random bar” (though I also did that the night before, which was perfect), so I went to Foxwoods Casino to see one of my fave comedians, Iliza Shlesinger. YOU GUYS, the people watching there was amazing. 

NYJL Winter Ball

#3. NYJL Winter Ball

This is always a highlight of my year. Black tie, open bar, friends and dancing — all for a good cause? Hell yes!

#4: Ragnar Tennessee 

I got the opportunity to run Ragnar Tennessee with Reebok, and I had SUCH A GOOD TIME. I am fully that weirdo who thinks sleeping in a van overnight with a bunch of people you don’t know super well and running 3 times in ~24 hours is fun, so this trip made me so, so happy. I knew I wanted to potentially do some solo travel this year, so I dipped my toes into that water by staying an extra night in Nashville and exploring solo. My vanmates and I had a lot of deep, soul-searching kind of conversations that I will never forget and which planted seeds for where I’m heading professionally.

best place to watch sunset montauk navy beach

#5 The last night of my mom’s life

I know this seems like a really weird highlight to include here, but it is a night I will never forget for the rest of *my* life. I knew we were incredibly near the end of my mom’s life, but I had no way to know it was her *last* night on this earth. The theme of the rest of my year became looking for the light in the darkness. But even just before I lost the person who taught me to love, laugh and be myself, I somehow knew that despite that heartache, I’d come out the other side so much stronger for it. I’ve learned how to trust that others will be there for me when I need them, I’ve learned who and what is important in life, and I’ve learned how to really take care of myself (on both a surface and a deeper level.) And also, it was just plain fun to twirl around in the sand with my girlfriends, even if it hadn’t been more poignant than that.

Mural Los Feliz Los Angeles

#6 My trip to LA

This trip and blog post ended up resulting in this article, but what I came to call my “griefcation” was another powerful experience for me. I laughed, I cried, I went in with an open mind (and came back with a handful of crystals and a hippie candle). I fell in love with LA in a way I never had before. I’m not done with the city of Angels…

NYJL NYC Marathon

#7 NYC Marathon

I was so nervous about running the NYC Marathon without my mama cheering me on, but I am so lucky to have amazing friends who were by my side yet again (one of them for the entire 4 hours and 49 minutes) as I showed 2017 that it could take a whole lot from me, but not my love of running, and one of my favorite days and proudest accomplishments. (Still, seven marathons later, I’m shocked this is a Thing I Can Do.)

Cliffs of Moher

#8 Ireland

Nashville planted the seed for solo travel, and I …realized I knew nothing about farming when I tried to figure out how to continue that metaphor. Ireland was where I dove into getting comfortable with me, myself and I. And driving on the other side of the road, alone. I leaned into joy, I leaned into grief, I leaned into truly listening to my own wants and needs. Sometimes that meant lying around for hours and not beating myself up that I should be seeing! all! the! things. Sometimes that meant going back to the same place again (hello, Cliffs of Moher) because a sunny day and a rainy day are totally different experiences.

cookie swap

#9 My cookie swap!

This is something I’ve been doing since 2010, and it meant a lot to me to continue the tradition this year, even if I scaled it way, way back. 

What were the highlights of your year?