Montana

In 2014: Highlights from the Year

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I didn’t think things could get crazier than in past years, but 2014 felt every bit as busy as ever—even though I didn’t log nearly the number of miles I did as that summer we camped around the West for a couple months then moved across country then circumnavigated the globe by ship. (Whew!)

Kristin Luna

The good and the bad (but mostly the good), the highs and the lows (but mostly the highs), here’s a breakdown of the chaos that has been the past 12 months….

Family

Travel

My new travel philosophy is fewer far-flung trips a year and more drivable destinations. I don’t have the gumption to fly 10,000 miles a month like I once did; plus, I miss my husband and puppy terribly when I am gone so long. Instead, I’m enjoying a whole lot of shorter domestic trips, some alone, others with SVV (or my mom) in tow.

Scott and Kristin

The year kicked off with a couple weeks in California and Mexico with my mom while I was working on the TEDx Semester at Sea team.

California

For work, I went to the Caribbean twice—St. Kitts in the spring, Grand Cayman in the fall—as well as Gatlinburg, Montana, Seattle for my partnership with Microsoft, Panama City Beach, Orlando for the expansion of Wizarding World and Virginia Beach.

Montana

St. Kitts

Cayman Islands

A lot of the year, though, featured close-to-home weekend trips, like Louisville, Blackberry Farm, Memphis, Birmingham, the Smokies and Knoxville.

Blackberry Farm

I also found myself in Savannah for a bachelorette party and Atlanta a couple times to update a guidebook for Frommer’s.

Savannah

But my favorite trip of all was the only time I crossed international waters and headed to Europe for three weeks with my family. We visited several cities and regions in Italy, Sicily, Greece, Montenegro, Slovenia and Croatia. I’m nearly done recapping that trip, too—only six months later! We also fought the good fight with Delta and WON, finding a nice $1000 check in our mailbox week before last for lost luggage and a number of canceled flights. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Europe cruise

Europe cruise

Europe cruise

Europe cruise

Europe cruise

Europe cruise

I’m too lazy to total up my miles driven, cities visited or flight legs taken, but I imagine it’s not a shabby number. I don’t have any huge travel plans—yet—for 2015, other than to go to Memphis to visit St. Jude in just two weeks, California at the end of February to speak at Women’s Travel Fest (join me there!), our family timeshare in Orlando in June (more time with Harry Potter!), and hopefully back down to Florida with our family to 30A later in the summer. SVV and I are also trying to find a way to jet off to Colorado in January to ski, as flights are just $180 round-trip.

Career

2014 was the year I went back into an office. I know … WHAT? But it was on my own terms, I only committed to three days a week (and now reduced to two), and I absolutely love my coworkers and what I’m doing. So … #worthit. I also got to interview Taylor Swift and other country artists I love as a result. A big thanks to the team at Nashville Lifestyles for welcoming me with open arms (and double oaked Woodford Reserve)!

Brothers Osborne

It took me a lot of time this year to recover from the emotional turmoil of having a business partner screw me over in a huge way (i.e. when my other half of KEEN Digital Summit left me high and dry with the full bill and workload just six weeks before the big event!). Many of you have asked if I’ll be doing KEEN again, and the answer is no (and now you know why); however, I’m open to working as a producer for any other companies who might be putting on a conference in Nashville or elsewhere. I did really enjoy the whole, tedious, 18-month process and would love to be able to put that knowledge and experience to use on a future event (just not one that I am personally financing, as that was far too stressful).

Reporter interviewing Dustin Lynch

I also had a better freelance year than ever; for those of you who don’t think being a freelance writer is a sustainable career, let’s just say that my income is far healthier than it would be had I stayed on the NYC magazine track and were now working as a senior or deputy editor. A lot of that is because I’ve retooled my priorities and weeding out the clients and publications that simply aren’t a good fit. You may have noticed, too, but I don’t solely focus on travel anymore. Rather, I cover a wide variety of topics, including food, entertainment, business and more. I’ve also dabbled in other pursuits beyond magazine, one of which is going to be a big focus in 2015 (you’ll just have to stay tuned for more information on that!). As a result, I’ve had a lucrative few years freelancing and a whole lot of great opportunities.

Blogging

It’s clear that I’m not producing the volume of content I once did, but the good news is I don’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon. While I would love to get back to posting a solid three times a week, that’s simply unrealistic with my workload—I write more than 10,000 words a day, seven days a week as it is!—so I will continue to recap my travels as I have the time, likely once or twice weekly. I hope you’ll stick around, as I have a lot planned for 2015, including house coverage, Nashville fun, celebrities and more. I’ll probably make some changes around here in the late spring or summer (like swapping out Photo Friday with another column), but for now, the funds I’d put into hiring someone to do design work are being allocated for That Secret Work Thing I referenced above. I’m sure you understand—though personally I’m getting antsy and ready for a fifth(!) site design in the going-on-eight years this blog has been around.

Doobie Brothers

House

Even though it may not have seemed like it to you since I haven’t shared a lot, we are constantly working on our old Queen Anne home over holidays and weekends when not traveling. We’re slowly replacing all of the 100-year-old siding, which we will then paint in its entirety when the woodwork is done next spring. Right now, with it being so bitterly cold out, we’ve been finally tackling a little interior design, doing some paint work, framing and hanging some art, rearranging rooms.

Victorian House

We’ve also spent a lot of time landscaping, gardening and building a fence. 2015 will be the year we have an enclosed lot to welcome plenty of foster dogs until they find their forever homes!

Family & Friends

Always the most important part of my life, I’ve been building my creative community in Nashville full of people I admire and respect and enjoy being around. I’ve never been happier in that respect, and every day I’m glad we left California and came back to the South. These are my people; this is my place.

Friends

So many other friends from far and wide visited us, too, this year—from our on-the-go Seattle pals to Team Mayhem to our Hollywood hotshot Nicole. I love playing hostess, so I hope we’ll get even more visits in 2015 (*hint, hint*).

Friends

On the friend front, we also attended eight weddings—from Austin to New York, California to Nashville—and next is going to be no different, what with me being matron of honor for my sister’s September wedding and a bridesmaid for a close childhood friend in July. We already have five weddings on the calendar, and I’m sure that number will grow. Good thing we like a party!

Austin wedding

Austin wedding

Austin wedding

And, of course, last but not least, my sister and Josh moved to Tennessee a few weeks ago—we couldn’t be happier to have them nearby.

Christmas

Happy New Year’s, dear friends! And do tell me what your favorite accomplishments of 2014 were. I always love to see what everyone else has to say about their past year.

*****

For past year-end reviews, see my recaps here: 20082009201020112012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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COMMENTS
  • January 1, 2015

    It sounds like you had an amazing (and VERY busy) 2014! You already write 10K words a day? That is a lot! 2014 was full of a lot of traveling for me personally, and 2015 is also going to be full of a lot of traveling, so excited for that! 😀 Happy New Year!

    • January 2, 2015

      Girrrrl, I know, right? If only I could channel that into writing a book! Unfortunately, it’s all non-fiction, magazine pieces and correspondence dealing with assignments. One day, I’ll write a novel (“one day” can technically mean when I’m 60, right? heh).

      Happy new years to you, Chanel!

  • January 2, 2015
    Mister Sister

    oh man.. Your life is like TOTES boring

    • January 2, 2015

      Yours, too. Someone asked the other day how it is having my sister back in the area, and I said: “it’s not like she’s been here at all yet!”

  • January 2, 2015

    So many beautiful photos in this post! From Lemon’s wedding, from your cutie BFF photoshoot, from your cruise… I love it! (Also love that coral and tan dress! Gimme!)

    I hope that “hint hint” to come visit was for me… cause Nashville and I are happening in 2015!

    • January 2, 2015

      Abso-freakin-lutely! Emailing you now to resume the planning =)

  • January 2, 2015

    Love the headshot! Great jacket 🙂

    • January 2, 2015

      Thanks, mama! The only could part of our day in Venice this summer was scoring this (real Italian leather!) jacket 😉

  • January 2, 2015

    I’d sort of thought that this was a more low-key year for you since I know you haven’t done as many big trips, but when you write it all out like that it still looks pretty jam-packed! Wishing you a great 2015.

    • January 5, 2015

      I know, right? Feels like that to me, too. I had no idea I’d been so many places this past year until I reviewed my Google Calendar to write this post! 😉

  • January 2, 2015
    Brandy

    Sounds like you had a great year! Looking forward to reading about all your escapades in 2015.

    • January 5, 2015

      Thanks for always being supportive, Brandy =)

  • January 5, 2015

    What a year! You’ve definitely been busy and aside from a few not-so-awesome moments, it looks like 2014 rocked! Now if only we can get you to Seattle at the same time we’re there…

    • January 5, 2015

      YES. And/or you can tag along with NVRs to Nashville when they come back for a return visit soon 😉

  • January 5, 2015

    Looks like a great year! I’m looking forward to hearing you speak at Women’s Travel Fest!

  • January 6, 2015

    What a fantastic year! I am excited to follow along on your 2015 adventures 🙂

  • January 6, 2015

    Happy New Year to you too Kristin! It sounds like you’ve had a marvellous year and I’m just happy to have been a part of that ride LOL! Your pictures are great by the way. 🙂 I remember how I found you, it was your piece at TEDex and also the fact that you’re a professional journalist that really impressed me. I’ve been using some of your tips as I found myself in press events that I had never previously dreamed of. Thank you!
    My favourite accomplishment was accidentally finding myself covering the Berlin Video Music Awards, attending Fashion Week Berlin for the very first time, and going on my first press trip to France. However, the most exciting thing of all, is that my blog is only a year old and I’m enormously grateful that everyone that I met or had contact to, has been so helpful, friendly, and welcoming. Thank you once again.

  • February 7, 2015

    Wow, sounds like a great year! I’d love to visit Mexico, especially the Yucatan region.
    Anyway, I hope 2015 will be even better!
    Happy Travels 🙂

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