Highlights in the Life of a Journalist

January 2018 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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As compared to last year, January started off in a sprint with two week-long work trips almost back-to-back. This month, I spent 12 nights in hotel rooms, and we took a few additional day trips to nearby cities like Chattanooga and Huntsville.

Visiting Canada in Winter

And the third work trip of the year happens soon in February, which you’re invited to join me on! Remember how I went to St. George, Utah last spring to participate in an InstaMeet at Zion National Park? And I explored Snow Canyon, hiked Observation Point and visited all the other state parks around St. George? Welllll, there’s another InstaMeet slated for Feb. 16-18 also in Zion—and you can come! Here are the details, and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

But back to what happened this month:


We went to Canada! And had so much fun! Have you read my posts on winter travel to Alberta with Canada by Design? If not, you can catch up on them here.

Visiting Canada in Winter

We also went to Texas. Actually, we’re here now! I love me any excuse to visit the Lone Star State and this content project with the tourism board had us visiting corners I’d never been before. And we’ve had an absolute blast—one of the best trips we’ve taken in ages. I’ll be doing one big trip recap after I’m home, but in the meantime, you can follow our day-to-day coverage via Texas Tourism’s Facebook page and, of course, my Instagram Stories.

I wrote three pieces on my alma mater, Knoxville, for Marriott Traveler. I also have one HUGE content project due for another client next week, so hopefully February’s recap will include that.

We got snow in Tennessee! The last thing I expected the morning I flew home from Canada was a) temps 30 degrees cooler than when I left Banff and b) that I’d still be needing my ski clothes for the duration of the week! The schools in our town were out an entire week, and we pretty much holed up at our house and tackled a pile of work.

Visiting Canada in Winter

We signed another couple of big projects for the spring. The way the year is shaping out, it looks as if we’re going to be on the road at least every other week from now till fall. Whew!

We also re-signed our contract with the Opry. Meaning another  year of really cool content collaborations and some unbelievable shows. Working with such an iconic Nashville institution this past year and change has been an absolute dream, and I’m thrilled they want to bring us back for another year of content marketing goodness.


I got a stomach flu, yuck. I haven’t gotten a stomach bug since I was in Switzerland in 2009, so go figure that would happen on day three of our Canadian adventure. The upside? My mom was there to take care of me. And this might be the one trip I didn’t come home having gained weight!

And I also got frostbite. I know, right—who gets that? Apparently, a girl standing outside for an hour in -26 degree temps while weathering the flu. Three weeks later, I almost have full feeling back in both big toes.

Highlights in the Life of a Journalist

No sleep for the weary. Our next door neighbors installed a spotlight that shines directly into our home from 6pm to 6am and lights up the entire thing like a Christmas tree. Annoying? Definitely. So SVV and I have not been having very restful nights—I guess it’s a good thing we’re on the road so often? Anyone ever dealt with light pollution and inconsiderate neighbors before?

And with that, it’s February.

What was the highlight of January for you? What are you most looking forward to next month?

All of my past monthly highlights can be found here.

  • February 1, 2018
    Cynthia Griffith

    We had a neighbor who had put in these huge sensor lights on top of her huge outside lights & left them on all the time. My husband & I bought the light & weather blocking drapes, they have helped so much. The light no longer is keeping us up since she move though & a cute little family that bought the house doesn’t keep all the big lights on thankfully, but we do still us the drapes because it keeps the room warmer also in the winter. Hope this helps. We had friends had the same issue but it went only into their one window of their bedroom & they hung aluminum foil to the windows & are happy with the result. Personally I love the natural light able to come in during the day so that wasn’t a doable solution for us.

    • February 3, 2018

      We got home from a week in Texas and, miraculously, they had put a shield up (as we requested months ago!). Still brighter than I would like, but at least it doesn’t spotlight into my house. I have blackout shades in my room, and it was even coming through those, but Scott sleeps downstairs (because snoring) in the room without blackouts so he was miserable. But like you, I like to keep my shades half down so the sun wakes me up. I feel like waking that way makes me much less fatigued throughout the day!

  • February 1, 2018

    It looks so beautiful! We’ve spent all of January in Vietnam. We’re renting a house so zero nights in hotels. We checked out of our last hotel just after Christmas in Singapore. We’ll be making our way back to our home base in Romania next. We’re done with travel for a while, we’ll just enjoy spring meadows, summer haystacks and new lambs and live quietly. My work involves working on the websites, not promotions, so I’m very happy to carry on from our country bolt hole. Have a great February!

    • February 3, 2018

      I can’t wait to catch up on your Asian travels and dive into your new Romanian adventures. A couple of my favorite countries right there!

  • February 3, 2018

    What a way to begin the year! I feel well-placed pebble + slingshot might help the inconsiderate neighbor situation, no?

    And frostbite? Girl, that’s just so extra. 😉


    • February 3, 2018

      SO extra. But you know me…always the overachiever!

      (And I’ve been trying to convince Scott to invest in a bebe gun for that very reason!)

  • February 3, 2018

    I didn’t know frostbite could happen to normal people! I mean people who don’t climb crazy mountains and stuff. My February is a busy work month, and I’m starting it off sick. I can’t wait for March when I have three trips planned! 🙂

    • February 6, 2018

      I didn’t either! But I guess when you’re outside in negative temps for hours at a time, it can happen to anyone.

      Feel better, Dominique!

  • February 5, 2018

    I wish I could attend the InstaMeet in Zion! But I’ll be in Iceland during that time (darn…) The life of a nomad…

    Loved the post!

    • February 6, 2018

      Somehow I think you’ll be just fine 😉

      (That sounds amazing. I haven’t been back since 2007 but I’m dying to return!)

  • February 5, 2018

    All your pictures of Canada are totally breathtaking! I have never heard of an InstaMeet but I am super intrigued! Zion sounds amazing, I wish I was closer. I don’t have much to look forward to this month except for a few trips to Seattle…but come March, is MAUI time! 🙂

    • February 6, 2018

      We’ve done a few in the past year, and they’re super fun! Usually the CVB hosts and invites anyone who can get themselves there; it’s a good way to foster community and also get some cool photos from it.

      Maui sounds awesome! I’ve actually never been, can you believe it?

  • February 6, 2018

    First of all, email your favorite pen pal about touchy neighbor disputes — ha!

    Second of all, I can’t believe you got frostbite! My LITERAL worst nightmare!

    • February 6, 2018

      Right?!? I LOVED that trip, but I was thinking the entire time how it definitely would not be your cup of tea 😉

      P.S. After nearly four weeks, I’ve finally got about 90% of the feeling back! I honestly thought I would never feel my big toes again, and then what would become of my acro practice (the actual thought process that went through my head)?

      • February 6, 2018

        OMG true. Toes are essential to acro!

  • February 9, 2018

    Frostbite?! That sounds terrible. And also the flu. I feel like Canada was not very nice to you, although it does look like an absolutely lovely adventure!

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