Is 13 days into the new year still an acceptable time frame in which to write one’s year-end recap? I sure hope so (and I apologize for yet another hiatus; I was back on the ship all of last week with little to no Internet access). Anyway. If my Facebook community is to be believed, the general consensus is that 2013 sucked big time. Now, I’m not in that camp; while 2013 may not have been my favorite year ever (I do prefer even numbers), there were just as many highs as lows. Plus! I turned 30. How can one not enter their thirties with a bang? Let’s review, shall we?
It’s funny, I feel like I didn’t really go anywhere this year, even though I know that’s not true in the slightest. I only needed my passport once, but that was for 19 countries spread out over eight weeks as I paroled the waters of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Baltic and North Sea as the communications coordinator for Enrichment Voyages once more.
On that trip, we hit up: Spain, Monaco, France, Italy, Spain (again), Morocco, Portugal, France (again), Belgium, Holland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England, Norway, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and England (again). I’m absolutely gutted I can’t go on this year’s Enrichment Voyage through Europe, but work is keeping me at home (it was really tough being at sea for eight weeks with little-to-no Internet access). Maybe in 2015!
But that wasn’t all. We started the year in Florida for a dear friend’s 30th birthday. I backed out of spending my own 30th in Tanzania the next month and instead spent it in Asheville with SVV and some of my favorites.
I also went to Chicago, where I made some lifelong friendships thanks to being a part of the Travel Mindset influencer team, and headed to—and subsequently became smitten with—Kentucky for a quick magazine assignment.
Then it was a quick trip to New York City for the first visit of the year for a media marketplace and meetings for KEEN, before coming back and turning right around to head out to Europe for two months.
To close out summer and welcome fall, I spent a week in NYC with my mom, then met SVV in California for a week to see his family.
Rounding out the fall months, when I was more stationary than usual—which is not saying much—I spoke at a writers’ conference in Georgia, watched two great friends get married in Ohio, headed out to Seattle for a visit to Microsoft base camp…
…made it to Knoxville for a UT game…
…road tripped it around Asheville for a Southern Living assignment, and spent a glorious, stress-free week in the Florida Keys on an actual vacation for a change.
In all, I guess 11 states and 18 countries isn’t that bad for a single calendar year. I have no idea how many miles I flew—much fewer than you’d think as a lot of my travel was done by sea—or drove, but I can tell you I spent a grand total of 137 days in hotel rooms, Airbnb rentals or ship cabins (and that’s not including nights I crashed with friends or family members). In 2014, I will spend more nights in this glorious old Queen Anne we purchased 18 months ago!
2013 was HARD, y’all. I know I didn’t talk much about the trials and tribulations on here—I knew starting a conference from scratch with no funding would be difficult, but the challenges I faced were just mind-blowing and sometimes entirely unnecessary—but let’s just say that less than two months before KEEN happened, my business partner backed out, leaving me with 100 percent of the work load … and 100 percent of the bill. So that was … well, challenging … and frustrating … and hard … but the fact that we—being SVV, me, our ace biz development director Lana and event-planning all-star Kendall—pulled it off with panache (and a good deal of positive feedback) made the end result even more rewarding. We’re still in hiatus mode as we reevaluate for year two, but the plan now is to do a condensed version of the conference in early October.
On the freelance side, I did well. Actually, really well. I made as much in six months as most full-time staff editors make annually as a salary. (Unfortunately, it all went directly back into funding KEEN, but hey, I signed up for that.)
I don’t know what 2014 will hold on the work front. I do know that I’m slated to launch Thrillist’s Nashville edition, hopefully I’ll get even more fun assignments from Southern Living (those are my favorite kinds), I’m collaborating with a couple other start-ups, and I suppose I’ll continue to dabble in the freelance market, though my interest in staying fully immersed in the (national) magazine world oscillates. (It’s a tough market, y’all; sometimes I’m not sure I’m up for the hustle much longer.)
Oh, and I’m now doing media consulting for those crazy enough to want to jump in the journalism/social media scene and am back to doing part-time trip planning for a travel agency if any of y’all need assistance! Just drop me a line.
I’m still loving being back in the South more than even and able to see my parents on a weekly basis and my Nashville and Memphis cousins every month or two. Now, if we could just get Kari to move back to Nashville from Charlotte, all would be peachy! I have three nieces and nephews out in California who I miss dearly, and I hope we can get them out this way to visit sometime over the next 12 months (I’ll be seeing them all for a day in February when I pass through those parts).
And I’m still married to the best guy in the world and parent to the cutest puppy you’ll ever meet. That hasn’t changed.
One of the biggest game changers of 2014 on the friend front was how my former roomie (and bestie) Katy up and moved to Nashville. We’ve gotten into some debauchery and had some wild times, and I only expect that to amplify in her second year as a Tennessean.
And she brought this guy, who has become a regular fixture in our home, with her.
My other BFF Lemon technically got engaged at the tail end of 2012, but has spent much of 2013 planning her epic Texas wedding, which will take place in April. And overall, I’m just lucky (and blessed) to have such a great, eclectic, newfound group of friends in Nashville who keep me sane and entertained.
I haven’t blogged about our Victorian in ages, primarily as we have so many half-finished projects going on right now (and have run out of funds and good weather for the time being). We replaced the whole roof (one costly project) after it started leaking last summer, then started the process of replacing all of the siding, which is original from the 1800s (it was time). That was all sorts of fun with that going on over my home office in the two weeks leading up to KEEN. SVV also had a custom-made copper finial built, which he installed with a bucket lift last month, so now we really are living in the fanciest dame in town (or at least on the block).
And then I came home yesterday after 10 days away to a flooded basement and a broken water heater. Ohhhh, the joys of homeownership.
Hopefully, when spring comes, SVV and I will be able to get our elbows in some more home projects that I can blog about (as well as finish the siding, repaint the whole exterior and put up a fence so I can foster dogs for the local no-kill shelter).
What will 2014 hold?
Travel-wise, I don’t currently have any set plans to use my passport in the first quarter of the year. (Unless, a day in Mexico last week counted? I ate some fish tacos and drank some tequila while watching the BCS game, so perhaps it does.) Rather, those late winter and early spring months will be dominated by wedding travel. I have a wedding in Nashville, one in Austin (
maid matron of honor), one in Denver (bridesmaid), one in NYC and—this just in—likely one in LA. Then, there’s the bachelorette parties that I can make it to (others I can’t) in Savannah and Napa. And a couple other Tennessee weddings later in the summer. I thought my 2007 was The Year All My Friends Got Hitched, but it seems 2014 wins that honor.
But we do have one huge trip planned for SVV’s 40th(!!!!!) birthday on July 4. We’ll be going with my family and some friends on an 11-night cruise aboard the Royal Clipper through Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. Then, we’ll stick around Rome for a couple nights with my parents and head over to my husband’s former stomping grounds in Sicily for a week (he lived there 1997 to 2000 and hasn’t been back since). If you’re interested in a similar cruise, feel free to email me, as I’ve gotten some pretty amazing agent rates through the Clippers (nearly half-off!).
On the blog front, C&C is in its seventh year. I never assumed I’d still be blogging by this point. I sort of just assumed like everything else in my life, it would eventually fizzle out. And I’m not entirely sure where I go from here. Do I continue with what I’ve been doing, or do y’all want to see something different? Do I keep predominantly sharing my travels, or would you prefer more personal/real-life posts sprinkled in the mix? Really, my 2014 is a blank slate, and someone needs to tell me what to do with my life, so it might as well be all of you who have been with me for so long… 😉
Now your turn: What does the new year hold for you? What are you most excited for in 2014?