As you can probably tell, 2015 was a landmark year for our little family! We saw some awesome things, made a radical life shift, and created more hope for the future than we’ve had in quite some time. Here’s an abbreviated diary of trips we took, people we saw, and changes we’ve made.
- We kicked off 2015 at home in Virginia after a whirlwind of traveling in December. For several years we’d had the tradition of spending New Year’s Eve with a couple of college friends. We’d eat party food, drink copious amounts of champagne, watch a terrible movie, and at least one of the four of us was always sick. This year was my turn, but a good time was still had by all.
- Just a week later we were back on a plane, headed to Louisiana for a week with Ryan’s family. The picture above is of Ryan and his two brothers at the New Orleans Comic Con with Kevin Conroy, THE VOICE OF BATMAN. It was kind of a big deal.
- The first weekend in February we headed back to New Hampshire for a skiing weekend with my family. We spent an awesome day on the slopes and even managed to get snowed in, extending our trip and earning us some free flight vouchers from Southwest Airlines! Win!
- February was otherwise uneventful; it was a long dark winter and most days it felt like we were living our lives based on what was on TV each night. Ugh.
- Would you believe I couldn’t find a single picture from March 2015? Winter was dragging on, Ryan’s job situation was up in the air, and we were both feeling stressed and anxious. I combated it by doing lots of yoga and running a lot. (Anyone who knows me knows I never, ever run outside in the winter — I’m a huge baby about the cold — so this was kind of a big deal for me.)
- If March was a dreary, uneventful month, we definitely made up for it in April!
- First, Ryan’s job in fundraising came to an end. Just a few days later, he’d picked up a new one that would pretty much change his life: working as a whitewater raft guide on the Shenandoah River. He started training and fell in love immediately.
- The first weekend in April we headed to Philadelphia so I could run my first race of the year: the Hot Chocolate 15K. Philadelphia is my favorite running city, and my winter training was evident in my pace, so I was over the moon!
- After less than 24 hours in Philadelphia we drove to Reagan Airport in DC, where we got on a plane for a return trip to Louisiana. Ryan had a little lag time between the end of his old job and the start of his new one, so we figured family time would be a great way to spend it. We enjoyed the pleasant April Baton Rouge weather and did a little sightseeing too — that’s us at the old state capitol building above.
- From Baton Rouge I flew to San Antonio to spend a long weekend visiting my brother and his wife. My mom flew down from New Hampshire to join us, and we enjoyed plenty of quality time — especially exploring the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk. I also ran a 10K, checking Texas off my goal of running a race in all 50 states.
- When we returned home to Virginia, Ryan started raft guide training and we began having some down-to-earth conversations about the future. Sometime in April we started talking about buying a camper …
- … and then in May, we did! May 1 we went to look at an absolutely gorgeous Airstream (that we very sadly ended up deciding we didn’t have the time or funds to renovate properly). We spent May searching Craigslist, and on May 28 we purchased the 1991 Holiday Rambler Alumalite that would become our new home!
- I also made a trip on my own in May, heading to New Hampshire for my sister Bridget’s college graduation. The trip was perfectly timed to also put me at home for Mother’s Day and my sister Michaela’s birthday too.
- I also checked one more state off my race list, running the Backshore 5 Miler in Massachusetts with my sisters Michaela and Katharine.
- June was crazy. Camper renovations were in full swing, and we were working busily to get rid of all our stuff. My mom and sister Tabitha came down to help us paint, pack, and keep me sane.
- We also celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! Our apartment in Virginia was one block over from the historic home where we got married, so we headed over there to take a few pictures.
- We spent the first half of July finishing up the camper renovations and staying with some generous friends who let us stay in their basement after we realized the camper wasn’t going to be livable in time. Ryan worked tirelessly in the heat to finish up the final repairs: building shelves, laying flooring, and building a storage bed.
- But it wasn’t all work and no play! Fourth of July weekend my sister Michaela visited us, and we did a little running, lots of eating, and some river rafting. July also saw visits from my sister Katharine (that’s us touring Harpers Ferry in the photo above!) and Ryan’s mom and brother.
- July 17th we officially moved into the camper full time, starting our camper life at the Harpers Ferry KOA in West Virginia — just a few minutes from where Ryan was working. It’s a great campground and was the perfect way to kick off our adventure!
- At the end of July, I took a road trip down to Louisiana with Ryan’s mom, who had spent a few weeks in New Jersey and needed a driving companion for the return trip. We had a great trip (including stopping at pretty much every Panera Bread and Chipotle on the way) and even squeezed in a quick day trip to New Orleans.
- In August, things finally slowed down a little. The summer was in full swing, and Ryan was working a lot. I spent plenty of time enjoying the camper, cooking over the fire, and working at Beans in the Belfry, a wonderful nearby coffee shop. Ryan spent as much time on the river as he could, and I got in some great (and sweaty) runs on the C&O Canal Trail.
- In August we moved from the KOA to the adventure center where Ryan was working. After the crowded KOA, we really enjoyed the serenity of our new campsite on the mountain.
- We did squeeze in one trip in August: a quick weekend in New Jersey. We spent time catching up with friends and had an awesome day at Hurricane Harbor enjoying the water park on a very hot day.
- September was back to craziness. My sister Katharine came back and spent a few weeks with us in the camper, enjoying the last rafting and zipline trips, campfires, and sunsets of summer.
- I made a weekend trip to New England, spending a few days with my family, then driving to Rhode Island to check another state off my race list! Michaela and I ran the Surftown Half Marathon and also spent a fun day exploring nearby Mystic, Connecticut.
- Meanwhile, Ryan was enjoying an epic Man Weekend back at the campground. These trips have been an annual tradition for 6 or 7 years now, bringing together both of our brothers, friends from college, and friends Ryan grew up with. I don’t know everything that went on — but I do know there was lots of good food, some tubing on the Shenandoah, and plenty of hijinks.
- And finally, the moment we’d been waiting for: September 17 (two months to the day after we’d moved into the camper!) we hit the road for our epic road trip! By September 30, we’d made it as far as Wyoming. The Badlands, Yellowstone, and Buffalo were highlights of this portion of the trip.
- I also checked two more states off my race list: West Virginia and Ohio!
- Ryan turned 30 on October 4 and we spent a great day with his aunt and uncle in Port Townsend, Washington. Above is a picture of us at a wine tasting at Fairwinds Winery, where his uncle works. The wines were delicious, especially the Lemberger.
- Our road trip continued through the entire month of October. We loved Astoria, Portland, San Francisco, and Colorado Springs!
- We arrived back in Virginia on October 28 — exactly six weeks after we’d left. But October wasn’t over yet! My sister Michaela came down for a quick Halloween weekend visit, and we visited our favorite vineyard.
- After a couple of weeks catching our breath in Virginia, it was back on the road. November 9 we headed south, with stays in Chapel Hill, Charleston, Savannah, and St. Augustine and Panama City Beach. We enjoyed some glorious southern cities and cheered on Ryan’s brother at his senior year football tournament.
- We had a few major repairs on the camper, but tried to keep a positive outlook.
- From Florida we headed towards our destination for the next couple of months: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we’d be parking at Ryan’s parents house to get in lots of family time! That makes three visits to LA in one year for Ryan, and four for me — definitely a record!
- I also checked off two more race states: South Carolina and Louisiana, bringing me to 12 out of 50 states.
- We spent December in Baton Rouge enjoying lots of holiday festivities and a little sightseeing too. We did lots of work and took some sick days too (the weather here is crazy, and that always makes systems go haywire!).
- We also got in an awesome overnight trip to New Orleans … after being in one spot for a whole four weeks, we were definitely feeling the travel itch!
- Christmas Day 2015 was full of family and food, spending the day traveling from Ryan’s parents’ home to holiday celebrations with both his mom’s and his dad’s extended family.
- And now it’s December 31, 2015, and I’m full of excitement and plans for 2016 — business plans, travel plans, life plans. This year has been crazy and unexpected but absolutely wonderful, and we’re so excited for what lies ahead!
Happy New Year, friends!
That’s our year in review! It’s so fun to look back at everything we’ve done and how much things have changed. What were the highlights of your year?