Reflecting back on 2014, with gratitude
As I sit here amidst work documents, holiday wrapping paper, and cards from friends, my teen is at the mall where he drove himself to go holiday shopping.
This is where my life is now. No matter what else is happening around me, these changes happening in my family are what consume me and are shaping every minute of my day and my being.
It’s been an insanely, beautiful year.
My family has called this the year of France, because of the incredible amount of time I spent there. But it really was so much more than that, from family ski trips, to road trips through the desert with girlfriends, to my very fist-ever trip to Germany, Czech Republic, Prague, and Portugal. I got to visit the islands, with Samana being a return visit, and Turks and Caicos being a first. We enjoyed a few staycations along the way and I even made it to the White House!
I took a road trip, in an RV, with my girlfriends, er, Whiskey Sisters!
This year, I made it to the White House!
I conquered my fears and broke through stereotypes too by driving alone cross-country through France, swimming with whale sharks, zip lining into caves, and hiking mountains!
Photo by Dave Bouskill of The Planet D
It was a full year and in the process, our family continues to grow. I wrote about how this has felt like the year of the long goodbyes and as the college admission letters come in and my son talks about days when he will be visiting, and not living here, I feel myself change too.
I’ve always tried to be one that doesn’t take things for granted. I have so much to be grateful for. With every passing day bringing me closer to graduation, I feel like this is even more important.
I’m excited for my son, though the idea of his being gone most of the time is bittersweet. I think about my other two children, and how things will be different for them. We’re planning trips for next year and realize that chances are our oldest won’t be with us because of college obligations, and it’s not without a sense of mourning.
And all this gives me perspective of how quickly it all goes and forces me to reevaluate my priorities, because that’s what life is all about, a constant re-shifting of priorities and goals.
I felt like I really put myself out there in 2014, met many different people. Not all of them were great, but the ones I remember the most, and still talk to, are amazing and inspiring. My hope as I enter the new year is to surround myself with even more beautiful people and continue to trust my instinct and respect my time when it comes to the not so great ones. (That is a life goal).
There are big changes happening in 2015. But it seems with us, change is constant. When I started this site, I was just trying to navigate my life through New York City with babies only 18 months apart. Now I am juggling a family, a freelance career, a growing passion for photography (some of which I have managed to sell), a travel schedule, and the emotional roller coaster of preparing to send my first-born to college.
We started the 2014 with smiles that followed us through the year despite the few bumps along the way, including a knee surgery (my husband) as a result of an accident during this trip!
I am loving my home, my family, my time with both and I feel this will continue to shape my career and this coming year. I am so happy to do what I love and work with so many amazing people.
I am so grateful to all the readers, old and new, that continue to support me, read and follow me, and stay connected.
I am grateful to the brands and agencies that believe in what I do, support and respect what I do, and entrust me to share who they are through my own personal perspective without demands and with complete freedom. Thank you, especially to our continued partnerships into the New Year.
Thank you to Maria Bailey and Beaches Resorts (of Social Media on The Sand), TBEX, Women’s Travel Festival, New Media Expo, and Type a Parent, as well as the Adirondacks community, for giving me a stage to share my knowledge and thoughts on travel, blogging, and diversity in media.
Thank you to my Expedia Viewfinder family for your continued support and friendship. I am so incredibly proud to be among such talented, beautiful writers and people.
What a year!
Happy Holidays to you and yours. May this year be filled with joy, whether that is in travel or closer to home.
You’ve had a really interesting year Carol. I look forward to reading you in 2015! Happy Holidays. 🙂
Thank you! You as well : )
You are an inspiration, Carol! Following your blog for the past 2 years now has opened my eyes to the wonderful opportunities for me and my family. May God continue to give you and your family the grace to grow in love, hope and peace. I just became a mom this year…he is 9 months next month. Am so looking forward to traveling the world with him, his dad and his siblings to come. Am sure learning from you and hope to do more…spending all the time I have with them till the day they are ready to let lose and fly, just like your elder son is doing now. You are a great mom…and your husband is a great dad. Keep it up, guys 🙂 Merry Christmas & a Happy Wonderful Year in 2015!!!!
Congratulations on your baby!! How wonderful! And thank you for your sweet words, I am so touched and honored to be such an inspiration to you and your family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!