2014: A Cowboy, 19 States, and a Grand Adventure

Ok, so I’m a little late on the whole 2014 recap. But better late than never, right?

At the beginning of last year, I made a big promise to myself; adventure more, worry less, and floss. Well here I am, in the front end of 2015 and I have successfully fulfilled two-thirds of my promise to myself. Apologies in advance to my dentist.

2014 showed me that life doesn’t really get easier as we get older, it’s actually quite the opposite…but as we get older, and life seemingly gets harder, it also gets so much richer. This was the year that I said yes to every adventure that I could, tried new things, failed a few times, but ultimately came out unscathed and with a greater passion for life.

This was the year that started with a bang when a handsome fella in cowboy boots with the sweetest southern twang turned around one day at church to say hello. From the first time we two-stepped and he spun me around until I was dizzy, I knew I would fall head over heels for this adventurous, Texas charmer.

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If I thought I was adventurous and daring, my cowboy was that times ten. Thus began a year of squeezing every bit of adventure out of life that I could with my newfound adventure buddy by my side. A year of growing pains and moving, a lot. A year of the highest highs and the lowest lows. A year of falling in like and then learning what it really is to fall in love. A year of seeing what it really means to live by faith and a year of realizing that sometimes God takes us to the places we swore we’d never go.

We’ll start with Montana. I had no intention of leaving California, like ever. I was perfectly content with the idea of living a life of perpetually salty and sunburned skin in search of the perfect waves and the most epic sunsets. But, low and behold, I left my safe and secure job at a big-time marketing company for an opportunity to put my social media and writing skills to good use at a Christian non-profit architecture firm.

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I widdled down my stuff to fit in a few suitcases, threw the rest in a storage locker and set out for the Montana Rockies. What ensued was a summer of climbing mountains, swimming in glacial lakes, and eating more s’mores than any one person should ever consume, all while working an 8-5 job on the side. Read the rest of my Montana story here, here, here and here. (Spoiler alert: it was a pretty rad adventure.)

By the end of the summer, I was once again packing my bags and saying my goodbyes as I hopped on a train headed towards North Dakota. Despite what many may think, people actually do live there. It’s not all oil fields and frozen ground, but a place full of breathtaking vistas, lush river valleys, and people with a deep pride for where they come from.

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I learned a lot during my time in North Dakota. About myself, about working at a startup, and about wind-chill…enough said. It wasn’t an easy time, but it showed me that adventure isn’t something that can only be found while climbing epic mountains or riding that perfect wave on your perfectly waxed longboard, it’s something we truly find in ourselves.

After a few too many below zero days and a pretty nasty bout of homesickness, I hopped on a plane bound for Christmas in California. One glance at the beach to the west and the mountains to the east and I knew I wasn’t heading back to good ‘ol North Dakota anytime soon.

I must say, it was quite the year. I moved five times, lived in three different states, traveled over 20,000 miles, visited 19 states, watched my bank account hit zero a few too many times, but, most importantly, I kept my promise to myself. I adventured more and worried less, and that is my biggest accomplishment yet. So, as I soak up the endless rays of winter sunshine, trying to get my tan back while I defrost…the adventure begins again.

So, what’s next in 2015? I’ll honestly say, I have no idea what kind of wild ride is in store for this new year. If it’s anything like 2014…I know it will be a year I never forget.

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