I kicked off my travel ventures for 2015 in Thailand, spent a couple weeks in Malaysia, then two months on Hawai’i, ran around the US festival circuit until August, fell in love with Northern California, drove across the country to Florida to see my favorite band and even made it home to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. I got shit done this year.
There were plenty of ups and downs in the travel game this year. Epiphanies that have led to my wanting to commit to a freelance career so that I may flow wherever and whenever I feel like it. Goals have been set and standards have been made. 2015 was a big one. Here’s some of my most significant and magical experiences from this year.
1. Living on Koh Phangan for a month. I decided over the holidays that I wanted to sit still and explore one place. I picked Koh Phangan for a yoga school originally…the yoga school didn’t quite suit me, but I practiced regularly on the porch of my hut which was the point anyway. I woke up desiring movement and to read or write. My walk to the beach was approximately 4 minutes from my front door. I finally became comfortable riding a scooter (rather than terrified).
But mainly, I felt like I had really thrown out some more of my preconceived notions about traveling. Earlier in that trip I stayed put in Pai, in Northern Thailand, for a few weeks as well, despite my initial intention to visit a different country every month. Once I was in Thailand though, I didn’t feel that way, and I’m so glad that I didn’t push myself on to buses and trains to fill my ‘itinerary.’
2. Dipping my toes in the Pacific to mark a new, very unexpected segment of new travel. My travel partner, Ciarra, and I decided to make a change in our plans half way through the summer. We were both unhappy and stressed in a work situation and so we walked away. It wasn’t healthy for us, so we made a change. The moment we reached the Pacific Ocean after walking away from our jobs in Michigan was pure bliss. Fort Bragg, California was our landing point and by the time we pulled up to go run around on the beach, you’d think it was our first time seeing the ocean. (Mind you, the both of us lived on Hawai’i, her for five years and me for one).
It felt like home. And like we were the stars of some film about two girls taking life into their own hands and just heading for warm sunshine, salty water, and giant redwood trees. (Oh wait, that’s because, that is exactly what happened.)
3. My first time getting cheesy at The Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado. This is one of those venues that when it comes up and you say you haven’t been there you get glistening eyes and soft expressions of pure bliss as the teller encourages you to make the effort and get there.
I finally made it to see a three night run of The String Cheese Incident this past July. Oh, and I got to go with about 30 of my good friends with routes ranging from Oklahoma, Colorado, Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, and probably elsewhere. Three days of shenanigans, amazing music, cuddle puddles, a beautiful venue and lots of champagne. Can’t wait to do that again.
4. Making it to Spirit of Suwanee Park in Florida for Hulaween Music Festival. During our cross-country trip from California to Florida, Betsy, the van began feeling a little fed up. Fair enough, she’d been through the ringer last summer. But she didn’t just break down, she broke down twice, by two separate corn fields in the panhandle of Texas. Been there? Not much going on.
Ciarra, Brie (another one of my main travel partners from Oklahoma), and I were stuck in Pampa, TX for two days while we worked to sell our pre-party tickets to the festival and searched for flights as a back up. We debated the various scenarios not knowing if we’d make it at all. And when we finally left, two hours into the drive, she wasn’t doing so hot. She broke down and then started again and then broke down again, Betsy was just toying with our emotions.
Luckily, my mother is a goddess and told us to just get to our hometown of El Reno, OK and to leave the van and take her car. Whaaaaaaaat? So, the three of us made it the house that I grew up in at like midnight, said some quick hellos and thank you’s and piled all our gear into my mom’s little HHR and drove straight through to make it just in time for The String Cheese Incident’s second set on Friday night. Check out the full sob sorry here.
All our friends where there and there were spanish moss trees everywhere and oh my gosh it felt like finishing a marathon. To top it off, it was one of my favorite festivals of the year.
Perseverance has never been the bigger theme of any road trip I’ve ever been on.
5. Backcountry skiing for my first time in Tahoe. In December, I went to visit some friends I met during this past year. I’d been skiing in Breckenridge once before when I was 12, on bunny slopes. The two guys in our little crew were pretty avid snowboarders, the other girl and I were both pretty much noobs.
These two lovely gentlemen committed to a day of helping us find easy little slopes in Eldorado to give us our first taste of backcountry skiing. And I must say, we killed it. (Holla Heather:)
Mmm, what a blessed year of travel. I have this strange feeling that 2016 is going to top it though. xo