Monday, January 6, 2014

13 awesome things from 2013

Here are 13 phenomena that I was introduced to, or happily re-introduced to, in 2013. 

Very different than 2012 I'd say, but still phenomenal. 
1. Rope swings. Cliff jumping, deep water soloing, and other ways to end up from air into water. With friends and dogs and cans of good Seattle beer. 
2. Blue glass. In the spring, I asked for donations for the blog. The response was stunning; I was overwhelmed with generosity and support of all kinds from readers. The next few months were spent searching for sea glass on the washington beaches and writing thank you letters at the anchored ship cafe.
3. Mountain biking. I dove into the sport as a beginner, and it has allowed me the endurance, exploration and independence I desperately needed in this new place. 
4. Writing. At the beginning of the year, this blog was my life. I wrote openly about almost everything and was rewarded with connections from across the world, the instant satisfaction that comes with daily publishing and reading all the comments as they pour in, all types of recognition, and a platform that always seemed a heartbeat away from springing me towards writing a book. It was thrilling.

When my friends and the people around me found good jobs, got engaged, bought houses and had kids, I had this blog. And even in the face of all their achievements, that felt like a real accomplishment.  I believed that if I could keep up the wicked pace I was writing, I could turn this thing, somehow, into a career. 

Sometime around my move to Asheville, which I intended to write about in great detail, things started to shift. Not everyone in my daily life wanted to be written about. The inundation of climbing and back county ski trips ground to a halt as I felt my way around a new corner of the country. I chose not to write anything about things that happened between me and other people, realizing for once that they were not entirely my story to tell. 

And while North Carolina is spectacularly beautiful, I'll say this: nothing photographs as dramatically as Washington state. 

By December, I realized I could not have a popular personal blog and a happy and peaceful personal life, so for now, I'm choosing the personal life. One that includes more fiction, and writing on the side that I really hope becomes a book some day. The blog is not going away, it's just getting scaled back a whole lot. For now. 
5. IRL. This year I met other bloggers in person. Jenn, Kelle, Melody, more visits with Nici and (virtually) Anna Lola. People who I can talk to about phenomenon #4, and they get it. Some people will tell you (right to your face, directly after you tell them you write a blog) that writing on the internet is a waste of time, but I can't agree with that. There are real people behind these sites. They are very funny and smart, and some of them have beach-side condos and really nice espresso machines that they are very generous with. 
6. Goodbyes. To a city I lived in for 11 years. To all the people who lived there. 

Although that one hasn't settled in yet. 

7. Road trips. Just the dog and I. Around March I realized if I moved around a lot I never felt to sad, so off I went: Whistler, the San Juan islands, Montana, Florida, and the ultimate American road trip, The Great Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian mountains in eight days. 
8. Skiing. A few friends and I, mostly girls, set about teaching ourselves how to ski in enormous powder- backcountry and lifts. We celebrated every day of Vajanuary at Steven's Pass, did our work from the lodge, filled four hours in the car together each day with talking and music and coffee. We met a lot of new people, studied avalanche conditions, skinned hungover into the Alpental backcountry, celebrated the New Year at Whistler, volunteered for races and festivals, slept in yurts, basked in sunny inversions, poached hot tubs, and ended up in the ER from time to time. 

I'm not sure anything has ever brought so much excitement into my life in one huge season.  
9. The Southeast. I moved to Asheville in August just to try it out. I spent a lot of time on front porches and ate a lot of biscuits, the sunlight appears to be year-round, the town is small, I fell in love with a North Carolina boy and there are more christian radio stations than I can count. 
10. Climbing trips. After a whole winter away from the climbing gym, I sort of exploded into the outdoors as soon as the sun returned. Every weekend from spring until mid summer when I left Seattle. We topped out in Squamish, Idaho and all over Washington. Mostly with my friends Amber and Rip, and with a roving cast of characters who were mostly new to me. I led a lot of pitches and read a lot of guidebooks and continued to fail at bouldering.      
11. Green smoothies. Actually more of a life changer than it would seem.  
12. I had a job. A real-life tech job that did not involve boats, kids, or kayaking. I visited Milwaukee, and fourteen other cities in less than a year. Microsoft Excel terrified me when I began this job, and it terrifies me only a tiny bit less now. This job entailed a huge amount of airplanes, hotels, stress and new stuff, but it enabled me to move to Asheville, to afford a season of skiing, and to go on a hundred road trips.   
13. Brand new people. Starting from scratch in a new place is lonely, but I got really lucky. Erich spent almost every work day studying next to me, and we took elaborate lunch hour field trips. I also re-met my boyfriend, who is a ridiculously awesome phenomenon in and of himself.  But he doesn't care to be written about. Or have photos posted. Which is too bad, he's gorgeous. 


Melanie Dane Mom said...

Congratulations on an amazing year, and thanks for the update. Although I'll miss hearing about your real life your reasons and decision to scale back make perfect sense. I'm glad to know you're well, and happy, and wish you nothing but all the best of things. I'll keep checking back here, hoping you'll still have the occasional post.

Melina said...

Thank you Melanie! What kind words. I'll be posting, yes! I'm so happy you'll keep checking in.

CaliGal said...

I'm just happy to know your safe and well.

I'll miss you but will check often to see if anything's been posted.

Good luck to you, young lady. The world is yours and I wish you only the very your travels, with your man and through your journey in this thing we call life.

Kudos to you Kiddo!
God Bless!

CaliGal said...

PS: I'm really gonna miss you but, I completely understand.

Carpe Diem!!

Unknown said...

I am extremely disappointed in this. Your blog has become one of my latest loves....and would make my list of 13 awesome things from 2013. I understand though and cut back on my on-line presence a while back to be more present in my life and it served me well. You have left us hanging said in one post that you would explain the situation with the other guy, and the moving, and all the confusing stuff. I will look forward to the times when you do update and the little glimpses into how your story unfolds.

SmithShack71 said...

Ahh Miss Melina,
it feels like a goodbye, and I hate goodbyes. So I say, See ya later.
You be well and be happy.
Stay fly.


Krista said...

What a big year for you and I'm very happy to have found this blog in 2013. I live in Seattle and I'm sad I didn't find your blog until you had moved away and I hope you don't step away from your blog completely. The Pacific Northwest is a paradise, so dramatic and gorgeous. I moved here from Illinois 7 years ago and I try not to get spoiled. Taking lots of road trips helps with my happiness as well, I definitely have a gypsy soul.

rosedel said...

I've been hoping that the reason you have been posting less is because you are joyously happy with your life in Asheville. I was hoping you had found a man that deserved you and you life was busy and fulfilling. Keep us posted on your best times and if you need to on your searching, questioning times. I love your writing.

rosedel said...

I've been hoping that the reason you have been posting less is because you are joyously happy with your life in Asheville. I was hoping you had found a man that deserved you and you life was busy and fulfilling. Keep us posted on your best times and if you need to on your searching, questioning times. I love your writing.

Sian said...

Selfishly I really hope you keep blogging because I love your blog so much but I also love that you have fallen in love and are feeling peaceful. That is awesome. Happy New year lovely lady xxx

meg bird said...

I agree with Sian, above me. In a very selfish way, I sort of resent this post! But not really. Because it seems like you've found a good place to be in with people who appreciate you. I hope all continues to go well. And if it doesn't, I hope you relapse back to the internet with all of your personal details we love so much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melina

Haven't commented in ages because I lost my account, but wanted to say good luck - I know the blog is not over, just scaling back, but still. I'll miss your posts but it sounds like you're doing what is right for you and that has to be fabulous news so I'm happy for you. Hope things continue to go well personally, and also good luck with your writing - I look forward to hearing more from you on that front in the future. All the best, Lucy

Anonymous said...

Aw no! I have been waiting and waiting for the post about the new beau and when/if you are going to get married and when/if you are going to have kids! I started reading your blog after you guest-posted on Kelle's blog and have been sucked in ever since. It is like you are living a lot like I did about 15 years ago although I couldn't ever lead a climb, I frequently followed a lot of routes, moved to Moab, Alaska and now live in France. I tried to roll in a kayak but it scares the bejesus out of me and I admire your craziness! PLEASE PLEASE keep us posted - I miss your posts a lot!
But, good luck anyway even if you are going to post less…

Tanya Lee said...

I've commented a couple times, so I'm not quite a lurker, but I had to post to tell you how much your blog inspires me. I think you live the life most of us are afraid to. I made some big changes this year and partly that is because of the amazing people I surround myself with in real life and on the internet who are just crushing it daily.

You do what you need to do and we will be here waiting to hear about the next big adventure when you come back to us.

BTW- You have inspired a family roadtrip through Ashville this summer with your amazing pictures!

Anonymous said...

Melina - I, too, discovered your blog after your guest post on Kelle's site, and have been so hooked ever since! I'm in a similar place in life (and we're about the same age), and your observations and honesty really resonated with me. While I'm sorry to see less frequent posts on here, I am so happy for you as you embrace the now, and actively live your life. Best wishes!

Natalie Burke said...

Rosedel said it! So happy you're happy & that's why you're scaling back the blog. Such good news.

Natalie Burke said...

Rosedel said it! So happy you're happy & that's why you're scaling back the blog. Such good news.

Jaim said...

I was wondering if you could recommend any good backcountry skiing guidebooks. Glad to see you're back and January is also most over! Here's to February!