Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Year Later

Jason and I were (fittingly) driving across the United States (for the FIFTH time together since October 1) on March 27th, when we realized that one year ago were just getting ready to head off on our big adventure. We had finished packing up our little house in Redondo Beach and moving it all into a storage unit. Then we had one more big to-do with family and friends, before spending the night at my parents house and heading out the next morning.

We knew that we were headed out on a crazy adventure, but had no idea what was truly ahead of us. As I think back on that time of packing and moving - the emotional rollercoaster - all I can think is that had I known how truly incredible the coming year would be, I would not have shed a single tear. For all the emotional difficulty and logistical planning that making a change THAT HUGE brought us, we were paid back 100 times in incredible moments of sheer beauty and fun. It really was the best year of my life.

So, of course, I asked Jason that truly unfair question - "What has been your favorite moment this year?". Jason looked at me like I was insane. Then we began to list off the incredible things we've done this year, and I came to realize that there was no way to choose a specific moment that was the best. Jason and I stepped off the beaten path onto a very unconventional life and have been blessed beyond our greatest imaginings. There are no words to really describe (without sounding boastful) all of the amazing things we've seen and done this year. So, I'll skip trying to be modest and just go for it.

Here's a list of some of the INCREDIBLE things we've done and seen in the last year, with links to the original blog post if you'd like to go back and check it out.

Thanks for following us on the adventure this past year. Here's to the next one, which has already been extraordinary! More on that to follow!

March, 2011 - We arrive at the Hawkeye Ranch to begin seven months of work and fun in one of the most spectacular places on Earth.

April, 2011 - The entire month of April was a month spent recovering from years of workaholism, and finally slowing down and catching up. There's no specific post that covers all of this, but the whole month of April was a time of discovery, both of the ranch and of myself.

May, 2011 - We spent a lot of time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, but this day in particular was the best day that I can remember having during our summer. One of those shimmering moments where you are so joyful it practically leaks from your nose and ears!

June, 2011 - Jason reads a book on Mountaineering in the Tetons and decides that he is a mountaineer, too.

July, 2011 - Mom and Dad came to the Ranch for a few days to visit, AND I discovered my love for Yoga! PLUS, Jason decided to become Mr. Rodeo!

August, 2011 - Jason went on the Pack Trip that Almost Wasn't, and I got some desperately needed quiet time for rest and relaxation. You should go see some of Jason's photos from that trip. They're awesome! That week was definitely a highlight of both of our times on the ranch.

October, 2011 - We took our first cross-country drive from Wyoming to New Hampshire, and made it to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a MICHIGAN football game (my alma mater!), and then on to see Niagara Falls (a first for both of us!) Then, Jason got to shoot the fall color in New England, and spent two and a half weeks working his way South from Maine and then across the Country to San Francisco. We then packed up everything and headed for Florida!

November, 2011 - We went a-cruising with Jason's familia! First two stops were Nassau and St. Thomas (where I dove on my first shipwreck!), and then on to Puerto Rico and Great Stirrup Cay. What a fun way to unwind from a summer of crazy hard work! We then flew across the country to LA to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

December, 2011 - I got to carol. A LOT. Which was such a blessing since I love caroling SOOOOO much! I also got to spend a ton of time with friends and family, catching up. We spent Christmas in LA with my family and then drove BACK across the US to Florida!

January, 2012 - January was truly OUTRAGEOUS. We arrived back in Florida in time to get on another cruise ship, this time for Aunt Irene's 80th birthday extravaganza! We had a BLAST - this time visiting Honduras, Belize and Mexico. Later in the month, we drove up to Atlanta to spend a few days with Tommy, Deborah, Lara and Daniel before flying to South Africa. It was so much fun! Then, we flew across the world to South Africa, spending two incredible weeks visiting with my friend Steph, exploring Cape Town and South Africa's wine country, and volunteering at Bridges Academy.

February, 2012 - We arrived back in Florida by way of South Africa and Atlanta, and mustered our courage to go on YET ANOTHER incredible vacation. What did we do? Spend a week DIVING in the Bahamas! Tough life, I know, but someone's got to do it!

Which brings us to February, and since it's the last day of the month, let me just tell you that March has been another doozy, too. I have a lot to catch you up on - our adventure continues to crank along, but that's for another blog post.

So for now, let me just say how grateful I am for the year we've had, and how excited I am for the year to come!

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