I Thought Things Would Slow Down

So much for my goal of posting more often! I intend to do much better in 2024! 

I love this week between Christmas and New Years because it's such a great time to reflect on the good memories, the struggles, the things I want to improve on, and dreams for next year. Here we go!! 

So...I just tried to dye my gray hairs red with the natural stuff from the store [no clue what I'm doing] and now I have faint pink whisps around my temples. I've been struggling with hair loss and more gray coming in and I'm not accepting it very well!! Turning forty has only made me want to hold on to my youth all the more. Any advice? 

I must admit that I thought my life would slow down a bit after switching to part time employment, but the last six months have zoomed by! It might have something to do with taking on a tutoring side gig and treating travel like a third job... 

Peter was excited when I said my new life would involve more time for cooking and baking, but I've barely spent any extra time in the kitchen [what does that say about me?]! I really should be making healthy and yummy food for the family more often... :) 

Highlights from 2023: 
It was such a welcome relief to release the stress of classroom teaching in June and embrace new things!! Training and learning a new job has taken a lot of my mental bandwidth, but I did find time to get to [in order] Vancouver Island, Los Angeles, Denver, Idaho, Costa Rica, Raleigh and Virginia, Portland, Florida, Austin, Cancun, Hope, and Alaska. No wonder the time has flown by! Here are my top four destinations this year [click the links for detailed blog posts]

SINGAPORE was a big favorite because I had my Ezra with me. Even though he's a picky eater and doesn't love walking around cities as much as I do [or biking], it was still really nice to have him with me. I wouldn't have had as much fun alone, that's certain. 
VANCOUVER ISLAND was epic because I had my Timmy with me!! We biked so many miles each day and enjoyed good food together. The weather was fabulous and we even jumped in cold water together. :) 
COSTA RICA was incredible because even though I went there alone, I was staying with a super nice host family who fed me delicious vegetarian meals and helped me practice my Spanish. Tico Lingo was an amazing school with great staff and fun students. I would love to go back and learn more sometime soon!! 
ALASKA was super fun because I was able to take two friends with me who also love getting insane amounts of exercise every day and eating yummy food! We skied, saw lots of moose, and enjoyed a couple Alaskan cities! It was a quick trip, but we enjoyed the time together! 

Intentions for the New Year: 
1) Learning Spanish -- I'm slowly but surely learning more and more words and sentences. Going to Costa Rica for immersion classes really gave me a boost and I would LOVE to go back for more. :)
2) Playing the guitar and mandolin -- I need to get these instruments out and practice until I actually have some skills. I'm not sure exactly why [can I relive the summer camp era?], but I just feel like I should. 

3) Travel content -- I want to have a solid plan for travel this year [hostel reviews? best places for bikepacking? van camping?] and have a strong presence at nearandfar.us and its social channels. I'll continue checking off cities that Alaska flies into [#everywherealaskaflies #bringbrucebiking] and maybe zoom over to Asia or Europe as well. Ez really wants to go skiing in Japan!!

Stats for 2023 [I literally feel like I just did this, but it was a year ago...crazy]:
5 blog posts here, including this one #woops, but 11 posts on my new travel site [nearandfar.us]
111 photos on my personal Instagram, 79 posts on @nearerandfarther [my travel Insta]
31 posts on Facebook 
61 posts on Strava [wow!]
0 family photos [hopefully we can fix this soon]

Cross country skiing in Anchorage is good stuff! A little cold when the wind blows, and sometimes there are moose roadblocks, but the snow was great! :) I want to definitely return for some biking! 

Travel Bucket for 2024: 
Biking in Tucson, AZ
Biking in Santa Barbara, CA
Cross country ski near Kelowna, BC
Skiing at Alyeska Resort, AK
Concert at the Orpheum in New Orleans, LA
Jacob Collier concert in Seattle, WA
Norah Jones concert in Toronto or Ottawa, Ontario
Airshow in San Diego
Bergen to Oslo train route, Norway
Bike the Katy Trail
Hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail
Bike the Ohio to Erie Trail
Hiking in Colorado Springs
Visit the Boston Harbor Islands
Via Ferreta in Campton, KY
Biking the Florida Keys
Flower Piano in San Francisco
Northern lights in Iceland
Skiing in Japan

That's probably WAY too ambitious!!! But it's fun to make a list!! :) CHEERS to 2024!!! 

Follow along with me in all the places as I try to grow my audience!!