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.