Oh, 2016, I can’t say I’m sad that you’re over. While you brought me my best work year to date, you also delivered a number of gut punches, many of which stemmed from my dad’s ischemic stroke on Valentine’s Day.
To get over you, we retreated to the mountains of Washington for a week of reflection, to push the reset button and to set out intentions for a much better 2017.
But to be honest, 2016 wasn’t all bad if I think about it. It had plenty of highlights, a number of awesome trips, and a lot of time with friends and family. And what more can you ask for than that, really?
The year started off in Knoxville as we’d been at the wedding of a friend, immediately after flying home from our now-annual work retreat in Washington, where we spent the last week of last year, as well. January is always a slow month of travel, so we use it as time to catch up with loved ones. We went to Memphis for an MLK weekend getaway to see my cousins and Team Mayhem came down to visit from Ohio.
In February, Dad’s stroke happened and Mom and I stayed by his side at Centennial and Vanderbilt for the better part of five weeks. It was a blessing I had no trips planned that month as my schedule was fully open to devote to my family, though we did still welcome some beloved visitors during that point as well.
April was when my work travel really picked up and didn’t really abate until late fall. First, I went to Panama City Beach for a girlfriend getaway project with my bests, then on a coastal road trip to California to see SVV’s family, then straight to South Dakota where we stayed in Sioux Falls for a campaign with the state tourism board.
June brought a girls’ weekend at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts with Angie and Alex—during which we squeezed in a quick 48 hours in New York at Alex’s home in Albany—and my favorite event of the year in hometown, Bonnaroo, one of the biggest music festivals in the country.
In July, I whisked SVV away to Austin as a surprise birthday trip, first for two nights at Travaasa, then for four days at my BFF Lemon’s home. Later that month, we went on the road with our favorite family, the Vagabonds, on a work project in West Virginia, a state-wide road trip from Huntington to Charleston to New River Gorge.
In August, SVV quit his job of five years to come work with me full time. So how did we spend those first two weeks? Painting our house, of course! Then, it was off to Europe for three weeks, where we started in Budapest and traveled through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany and Austria.
When we got back, things got even more insane. In September in Nashville, I had Music City Food & Wine and Pilgrimage Festival, then flew to Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort and my #UORBlogSquad retreat, then from there to Charlottesville for a wine country wedding.
In October, we spent a few days at a gorgeous, historic resort in Virginia then road tripped to Kentucky, where we worked on a content partnership with Visit Lexington. We were home for 24 hours, then it was time to hop a plane to Curacao for an assignment with AFAR. After coming back home another four days, we packed up again, this time with Ella in tow, and drove to Georgia for a project with Macon tourism. Then, Ella and I visited Team Mayhem on the way home before driving up to northern Tennessee to shoot a wedding of two dear friends of mine.
November was a bit quieter, which isn’t saying much, though I had visitors to Nashville for five days, then my annual cousins’ weekend to Alabama, during which we explored Florence and Muscle Shoals, then to Memphis again to see them all for Thanksgiving.
On the last day of the month, we flew to Colorado to see friends, play outdoors and go brewery-hopping around Fort Collins the first week of December, came back for the holiday season, then flew to Washington on Dec. 29 where we are through the end of the week.
So all in all, not a bad year after all, eh?
I’ve had so many friends, young ones at that, find out they had cancer this year that I’m truly grateful SVV, Ella and I are all healthy and that other than my dad’s speech impediments from the stroke, so is the rest of my family. To those of you who weren’t as fortunate this year, I’m sending you virtual hugs and hope that 2017 is much kinder to you.
2016 by the Numbers
- Blog posts written: 106
- Countries visited: 9
- States visited: 14
- Flights taken: 32
- Weddings attended: 4
- Books read: 22