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2021 12 months in Evaluation: The 12 months of Metamorphosis


2021 was the year of metamorphosis. Also health problems, pregnancy, a major shift in the way I think about my business, and puke. A lot of puke.

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Most of my yr in overview posts have had some type of theme to tie them collectively. The yr I went full time in my weblog, or the yr a pandemic hit and we nearly went beneath … you recognize, juicy stuff. This yr? This was just like the yr of its-still-2020 and in addition the yr of its-not-2022 but. It was additionally the yr I had some extraordinarily disagreeable well being problems. So the unique working title of this publish was “the yr of in-between,” after which I added “and puke” to spice it up (there’s … numerous puke on this publish, honest warning).

However as I wrote, I noticed there have been some massive highlights: like, we obtained vaccinated (!!), and I obtained pregnant (!!!). And as my mindset shifted and I began looking forward to what my life post-baby will seem like, I began making important modifications in my enterprise. I stepped means again from the day-to-day of Sensible Wanderlust, empowered my workforce to make selections with out me, and even started sending them on journeys on my behalf. I additionally began an entire NEW weblog (as a result of why have only a human youngster once I can even delivery a model new enterprise child on the similar time?). And sooner or later, I ended considering of myself as a “journey blogger” – as a result of at this level, am I? I’m actually not so positive anymore…

So I’m calling this the yr of metamorphosis. Not solely did my physique undergo a Kafka-esque transformation that utterly modified it right into a overseas entity that I hardly acknowledged and had nearly no management over (a lot puke) – extra on that later – however as a result of over the course of the yr, little by little, nearly imperceptibly, all the pieces shifted.

However earlier than we dive into 2021, we’ve got to perform a little little bit of time journey. As a result of I wasn’t fully forthcoming final yr…

On the lookout for extra year-in-review posts? We’ve been writing them yearly for the reason that starting of our journey weblog. Right here all of them are:

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Lengthy Time period Journey: A Day within the Lifetime of a Journey Couple

Lia and Jeremy being silly on the Big Four Bridge in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Walking the Big Four Bridge is one of the best things to do in Louisville KY.
Flashback to Louisville, 2020 cue *time journey music*

What We Didn’t Inform Y’all in 2020

OK, so, fast recap: final yr in August, there was this loopy lightning storm that lit 300 fires in California in a single day. A couple of days later, the solar stopped rising, the air went a sickly shade of darkish orange, air high quality was 300+, and we had been all hacking and coughing. A couple of weeks later, deeply anxious and nervous about Mulan’s little lungs and our personal psychological well being, we hopped on a airplane to remain in Louisville with my household for two months. Which I wrote about in final yr’s overview, intimately.

However what I didn’t point out was that whereas we had been in Louisville, Jeremy had the intense thought to go home buying. He thought it could be enjoyable. We’d been binging on Home Hunters and late-night scrolling Zillow in a pandemic-induced, fire-crazed panic, and in addition to, we’d talked about perhaps shifting to Louisville in the future for years. So why not simply have a look at some homes? What hurt may it do??

Effectively, my pals, 4 hours of house-hunting later, we’d put in a proposal on a rattling home.

Why, you ask? I don’t know. Like I stated, pandemic-fire-induced terror. And I imply, this home was attractive – a totally refurbished 1870’s Victorian, all redone with model new all the pieces that very same yr. It was lovely, and Jeremy fell in love with it instantly.

And I knew that if I used to be going to pull my California husband away from Lake Tahoe and Freeway One and wine nation and otters to go reside in Kentucky, I wanted to supply him with the good home, or (I feared irrationally) he would develop to resent me and we’d find yourself depressing.

Jeremy eating ice cream at Louisville Cream in Louisville Kentucky
Is that this the face of a person who resents his spouse for dragging him from California to Kentucky?!?! MAYBE?!

So we put in a proposal on the home. May we afford it? I truthfully had no thought. I’d been observing my monetary spreadsheets for thus lengthy I’d gone cross-eyed, and we didn’t even have financing lined up. However what hurt may it do to place in a proposal and simply, I don’t know, see what occurred? We’d have a while to name banks and prepare for a mortgage, proper?

HA. We had no f***king thought what we had been doing. We actually didn’t understand that a proposal isn’t only a “see what they are saying” type of deal, or that in Kentucky – in contrast to the Bay Space – you aren’t competing with 196287836 individuals who all have more cash than you.

So despite the fact that we supplied LESS than asking, our supply was – to our compete shock – accepted. And we had been now in a legally binding contract with a house that we weren’t even positive but that we may truly afford.

What the hell had been we considering? 2020 jumbled up all of my practical-ness, y’all. We obtained caught up in pandemic anxiousness and fireplace season panic, and that home regarded like an escape.

So we spent the subsequent few weeks scrambling. I’ve by no means Googled so many issues I’ve by no means heard of in my total life. What’s escrow? What occurs if a house inspector misses one thing necessary? What does a home appraisal truly consider? (To be trustworthy, I’m nonetheless not fully positive I perceive the solutions to any of these questions.)

We managed to safe financing – not on the dirt-cheap charges I stored studying about on reddit, however no matter – and by some means managed to rearrange for dwelling inspectors, roof inspectors, basis inspectors, and appraisers – all from my sisters home in New Jersey.

By the point we closed on the home, we’d spent about an hour complete in it.

After which got here the subsequent extremely silly, jaw-droppingly apparent query: now what?!

It was November 2020, and we’d simply panic-bought a home in Kentucky. However we lived in California.

We knew we couldn’t up and transfer straight away. We had a lease, and Jeremy’s job may name him again from working remotely any day (they didn’t, although).

So, we figured, we’d simply transfer in the summertime of 2021. Besides now we had a mortgage to pay. And a dear AF California hire (which was, by the way, double our mortgage in Kentucky).

I furiously performed with a number of extra spreadsheets, attempting to make numbers work. It’s not precisely like our enterprise was doing properly – in truth, we’d barely begun incomes cash once more across the latter half of 2020 when people began touring domestically once more – however we had been doing okay, and fortunately, we had financial savings to spare, since for completely no motive, the inventory market was doing weirdly properly.

However then we lastly got here up with an truly respectable thought (perhaps the primary of this complete, hare-brained scheme): why don’t we get a tenant?? If we are able to discover somebody to hire out our home for the subsequent 6 months, we are able to cowl our mortgage and faux this complete house-buying debacle was only a completely regular, cheap resolution we made to I don’t know, spend money on actual property or no matter.

Sidewalk on Tree Lined Street in Old Louisville neighborhood Louisville Kentucky
Contemplate this your warning: don’t go to Zillow and begin searching homes in Louisville. As a result of earlier than you recognize it, you’ll be beneath contract for some ridiculously reasonably priced, attractive Victorian from the 1800’s…

Cue extra scrambling and calling individuals in Kentucky. A couple of weeks later, we managed to discover a property supervisor with implausible on-line opinions who appeared assured they may hire our place out at a price that might cowl our mortgage, property taxes, and residential insurance coverage. Solely they advisable an extended lease than 6 months – a 6 month lease is de facto uncommon, particularly in a market like Louisville the place hardly anybody rents homes (as a result of they’re cheaper to purchase)!

So we thought of it. We couldn’t do a standard one-year lease, as a result of that might put us again in the course of the varsity yr. However we may do a year-and-a-half lease, ending in summer time 2021. That might give us one other yr of Jeremy’s wage to make good and positive we had been financially steady (since operating a journey weblog throughout a pandemic just isn’t a safeguard for monetary stability), and it could give us extra time to say goodbye to our beloved California.

So, in mid-December we listed the home for EITHER a 6-month lease OR a year-and-a-half lease. We figured we would have to eat the mortgage for a month or two – I imply, who strikes over Christmas? And we weren’t actually positive we’d discover tenants in any respect, since Louisville just isn’t a home rental kinda space.

As we neared New Years Day, Jeremy and I each realized one thing: we had been truly each prepared to go away California and transfer into that massive lovely Victorian dwelling in Kentucky. We needed to maneuver in the summertime of 2021. And we actually didn’t wish to wait an additional yr and a half.

However it was the week of Christmas, so we didn’t name our property supervisor to allow them to know that we solely needed to supply the home for a 6 month lease. The workplace would most likely be closed anyway, and truthfully, who rents a home on Christmas? So we figured we’d wait till after New Years Day.

We obtained a name on December twenty ninth from our property managers. A tenant could be shifting in on December thirty first, and so they’d already signed a 1.5 yr lease.

We had been shook. We truthfully didn’t anticipate how rapidly our home would hire, and we actually didn’t suppose anybody could be spending their holidays taking a look at homes and shifting! However the tenant was beginning a job in January and wanted to maneuver to Louisville straight away.

Actually, we had been gutted. It hit us then how badly we’d each been wanting to maneuver, and the way excited we had been to maneuver into this massive, lovely home we’d spontaneously purchased.

So we did one thing type of determined: we supplied to purchase out their lease. Simply throw money at them in order that they’d overlook they ever noticed our home. It was unprofessional and possibly made our property managers look horrible, however we had been irrational and confused and emotional. (I can not stress how a lot 2020 wreaked absolute havoc on my decision-making talents, y’all, we had been a HOT MESS).

However they didn’t need our cash – they only needed to reside in our home! Seems, they’d truly discovered ANOTHER dwelling earlier than ours, signed a lease, and had been on the brink of transfer in – once they instantly discovered OUR home itemizing, fell in love with it, and broke the opposite lease on the spot. They’d already misplaced a bunch of cash breaking their lease as a result of they had been so into our home.

And I imply, we couldn’t blame them: this dang home has a logic-bending impact on individuals, it appears.

So, we entered into January 2021 feeling actually, actually unhappy. Along with two shut household deaths within the final week of 2020, we’d gotten all enthusiastic about shifting again dwelling, being near family and friends, exploring Louisville, and residing in that stupidly lovely home. A yr and a half felt like a longggg time. And so we hunkered down to attend it out.

Psst: You most likely wish to see the home, proper? (We’re not the one HouseHunters addicts, proper?!) We’ve obtained a full walkthrough in our Instagram Highlights – be happy to skip the slides of me speaking as a result of I’m telling the identical story you simply learn by means of!

2021 must be higher than 2020, proper?

Though we started the yr on a tragic notice, we additionally began 2021 with hope. A brand new president, a brand new vaccine on the way in which – certainly, this might be the yr we put this complete pandemic factor away for good, proper?? HA.

However for the primary a number of months of 2021, we had been in a holding sample, just like the final yr was simply dragging on. We had been nonetheless just about in lockdown, as we’d been since March 13, 2020. Jeremy was educating remotely – each a blessing and a curse – and except for the often out of doors weekend day journey, we weren’t actually going wherever or doing something.

As a result of, you recognize, horrifying terror plague lurked within the air throughout us. Casually.

However with the rollout of the brand new vaccines, all the pieces modified. As a result of he was a instructor, Jeremy was in a position to get vaccinated February, and since I’ve a pacemaker which makes me immunocompromised, I used to be in a position to get vaccinated in early March.

And truthfully? Getting vaccinated was unbelievable. I truthfully teared up each occasions. It didn’t harm, but it surely was simply such a flood of … overwhelming aid. The psychological weight that had been tethering me launched. We most likely wouldn’t die each time we stepped inside a number of toes of somebody! I hadn’t even realized how a lot fixed, endless anxiousness I’d been dragging round till the vaccine lifted it from my shoulders.

I want to personally hug each member of the scientific group who made the vaccine doable. However I assume I’ll wait till the pandemic is de facto and really over.

Getting vaccinated was step one of our 2021 metamorphosis. With our newly vaccinated standing, we had been in a position to resume a stage of normalcy that felt fully overseas. We ate at eating places once more (nonetheless largely open air, although). We took weekend journeys and stayed in motels. We noticed pals!! Issues we as soon as took without any consideration got here again in a flood of happiness and pleasure.

And, after all, we began touring once more.

March-July: That Put up-Vaccine Life

We began with a weekend getaway to Jeremy’s favourite place in California, Lake Tahoe. Snowboarding isn’t the riskiest exercise even earlier than we had been vaccinated, however we waited anyway – we’ve got a really low threat tolerance, y’all!

As spring blossomed, we foraged for flowers and celebrated the spring equinox. Jeremy made edible flower pasta and cookies, and we dyed eggs with cabbage and onion skins. Y’all, we’ve got been sleeping on celebrating the solstices, and I’m so into it now! It provides a brand new vacation nearly each month, and so they’re a lot enjoyable!

For spring break in early April, we made what felt on the time like a particularly dangerous – however extremely thrilling – resolution, to take a freakin’ trip. Like an precise journey. On a airplane! This might be our first trip since 2019 , and we had been so stoked.

We determined to go to Maui, Hawaii for a number of causes. First, as a result of it’s a continuous flight flight for us, and I needed to attenuate journey by means of airports (the place masks carrying just isn’t enforced like it’s on a airplane) as a lot as doable. Second, as a result of it was one of many solely locations on the time requiring vaccines or destructive COVID assessments and imposing quarantine. And third, as a result of we had a free place to remain and a free automobile to make use of due to a household good friend.

Apart from, our first journey to Maui was solely 3 days lengthy, and it actually wasn’t sufficient! I needed to dive deeper and discover extra of the island, and get to know extra about Hawai’ian tradition and historical past.

Again in 2019 I wrote about how I travelled a lot, I’d began to take it without any consideration a bit of bit, and I needed for a break to assist me regain my sense of marvel and awe for touring (lol, f**okay 2019 me). Effectively, want freakin’ granted. I can’t bear in mind the final time I had this type of pleasure for a visit, like, preserving me awake in the course of the evening ranges of pleasure. I savored it.

I packed like 2976827678 bathing fits and we had been off. The airplane wasn’t full, the island was blooming and half empty, and we took full benefit! We spent a completely heavenly week consuming open air, snorkeling, swimming, taking a whale-watching cruise, watching the sundown, and taking lengthy, luxurious walks on the seaside within the heat night air. You may see precisely what we did on this Instagram spotlight!

It felt like we had been lastly, lastly getting again some stage of normalcy, and it rejuvinated us each.

For the remainder of April, I reveled in springtime. I sat exterior beneath our wisteria-covered pergola consuming strawberries and portray or studying. We took Mulan to the seaside nearly each weekend and found a number of new favourite parks.

Round this time we obtained some extremely disappointing information: the homeowners of our dwelling had been getting back from the place they’d been residing overseas because of the pandemic, and we’d want to go away our rental.

Actually, we had been gutted. That home was the good place to gap up throughout a pandemic, with its monumental, lovely yard, backyard plots, lemon timber, and a spacious bathtub that I nonetheless dream about. It was the place we’d introduced Mulan dwelling and the primary place that basically, really felt like a dwelling and never simply an condominium we had been renting!

However, that’s the lifetime of a renter. So we began searching for a brand new place to reside – fortunately, we’d been given 3 months discover, which was enormous as a result of discovering a home to hire within the Bay Space is extremely troublesome. A lot of the open homes we went to had been so aggressive we knew we didn’t stand an opportunity.

One place rented out whereas we had been touring it – the property supervisor awkwardly kicked us out earlier than we’d even had an opportunity to see the place. One other place promised us to ship us the applying to submit and we thought we had a great shot – solely to e mail us an hour later and inform us they’d rented it to another person. We had been having no luck, even after elevating the quantity we had been keen to pay in hire by a ridiculous quantity over what we’d been paying!

In between home looking, we took two extra weekend journeys in April and Might, each occasions heading down Freeway One to the Central Coast (the place Jeremy grew up) for a weekend of wine tasting in Paso Robles and otter-spotting in Morro Bay. Like our journey to Maui, this was only for us – not for work. This yr was undoubtedly the yr of revisiting locations I’ve already visited and gloriously leaving my digicam tucked away within the lodge room!

For our 5-year wedding ceremony anniversary in Might, we took a staycation in San Francisco. We booked one of many motels from our The place to Keep in San Francisco publish, took a meals tour by means of Chinatown, and purchased tickets to a Giants Sport (main kudos to them for requiring & imposing vaccine playing cards)! It was romantic AF, and a ton of enjoyable to be a vacationer in our own residence.

We spent Mom’s Day with Jeremy’s mother in Los Angeles – it was the primary time we’d seen them for the reason that pandemic started, and it was soul-quenching. With the ability to see and hug our household meant the world to us.

Oh, and in the course of the pandemic they’d put in a very baller pool, which I didn’t go away for your complete weekend.

In June, we had been nonetheless scrambling to discover a place to reside, with just a few weeks left to go. We raised our hire consolation stage even greater – cue me panicking and refreshing Sensible Wanderlust’s monetary spreadsheets – and begged our present property managers to assist us out. Did they know of something, something that wasn’t available on the market but? We had been hanging out like loopy, and we figured understanding about a spot earlier than it listed would assist our odds.

Because it turned out, it did! Our property managers had a tenant shifting out of a spot in our outdated neighborhood, only a few blocks from the condominium we’d left solely 2 years earlier than. The home was larger than our present dwelling, nonetheless a 3-bedroom, however with a a lot smaller yard that was shared by a tenant in one other unit within the again. Oh, and it was about $1,500 greater than what we’d been paying.

No matter. F***okay it. We jumped on it, signed a year-long lease, and moved for what we knew could be the final time within the Bay Space.

In June, we largely stayed at dwelling, unpacking and settling into our new place. Shifting is hectic each for individuals and fur-babies, and we didn’t wish to stress Mulan out additional by leaving her at dwelling(despite the fact that she’s fairly used to it by now).

We did, nevertheless, take a wonderful highway journey all the way in which all the way down to San Diego, stopping alongside the way in which to go to household once more. We booked a beautiful dog-friendly lodge close to the canine seaside and located an superior doggy daycare to drop Mulan so we may spend a day on the Zoo. And we just about adopted our actual 3-day San Diego Itinerary (which was already printed, so once more, little or no work for me to do. Like it!)

I additionally picked up a brand new pastime: swimming! In our outdated home, we lived simply down the block from a pool – but it surely closed down in March 2020 and didn’t open again up till over a yr and a half later, once we’d already moved a mile away. And y’all, I used to be so rattling excited to make use of that pool. I used to be going to stroll there 3x every week – as quickly because it obtained heat once more, I stated. However we moved in November, and the pool shut down in March. Dammit.

Effectively, the minute it opened again up, I used to be the primary one in line, absolutely outfitted in my beloved swim leggings. I began swimming laps 2-3x every week and inside a number of months, I used to be swimming a mile at a time.

In July, we took our first massive, worldwide journey since 2019 and headed to Costa Rica for 10 wonderful days!

At first, I used to be nervous – touring is sort of a muscle, and I hadn’t exercised mine shortly. On prime of the same old traveling-in-a-pandemic anxiousness, I used to be nervous about all the same old pre-trip issues. Would we be capable of talk, or was our Spanish too rusty? What if we obtained misplaced? Would there be sufficient WiFi or ought to we get information plans? Did we pack all the pieces we would have liked, what if we forgot one thing? Ought to pack our stuff in suitcases or would a backpack be higher? It had been such a very long time since I’d traveled internationally, I felt like I used to be model new to it once more!

However as quickly as we arrived in Costa Rica, drained from the flights and thrown headfirst into a brand new place the place we solely half communicate the language, we felt … at dwelling. Moving into the humid tropical air, talking not-great-but-also-not-terrible Spanish to taxi drivers, and attempting to navigate our means by means of a brand new, unfamiliar place collectively felt like slipping on a favourite pair of worn-out denims considering they may not nonetheless match, solely to seek out that they nonetheless match completely.

Actually, it was unbelievable. Because it was our first massive journey in years, we splurged, reserving all personal shuttles slightly than taking public transit (truthfully, it barely even price far more and was properly price it for a way a lot simpler it made all the pieces) and even spending a number of days staying in an opulent eco-resort.

The eco-resort was a spot my dad and mom took us on a household trip once I was 8 is named La Paloma Lodge, and I’ve been dreaming of returning to it for actually over 20 years. It’s the type of place you go on throughout your honeymoon, and actually, my sister truly did honeymoon there! (Throughout the a part of our year-long-honeymoon that spent in Costa Rica, we solely stayed in hostels.)

To my delight, it was as fantastic as I remembered it being many years in the past – and though it was definitely a lot pricier than we normally really feel snug paying, the value felt justified because it contains meals, actions, transportation (it’s in a reasonably hard-to-access a part of Costa Rica).

We went snorkeling, rode horses on the seaside, tried to go kayaking however obtained freaked out by rapids and crocodiles and wimped out, noticed a bunch of sloths and monkeys and toucans, hiked by means of a cloud forest, crossed hanging bridges within the tree cover, ate Costa Rican meals in a treehouse restaurant, and revisited a hostel we stayed at throughout our honeymoon 5 years in the past. It was heaven.

I’m absolutely planning to write down up our total itinerary, but it surely’s a beast and I’m nonetheless slowly working away at it! Within the meantime, you’ll be able to see all the pieces we did on this Instagram spotlight, and I printed 35 Issues No person Tells You About Visiting Costa Rica.

The reminiscences of our time in Costa Rica will follow us without end, and we absolutely plan to return once more. However I do not know when the subsequent time might be that we’re in a position to journey internationally, as a result of ….





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