This year was a hot dumpster fire, right?! 2016 as a whole was not great for a lot of people I know – and honestly, it wasn’t my best year ever. But, there were a few things worth noting, and in the interest of my ongoing quest to stay positive, here are the ten best things that happened to me this year.
Hey New York City, I Love It When You Turn On Your Lights: I had a lot of really great trips and experiences this year, but the one that was the best was the trip I took to New York a few weeks ago. I went with a few of my best friends and made a ton more friends – oh, yeah, and saw my favorite band play four nights in a row. As a bonus, I also got to see Laura Stevenson for the first time, as well as the precursor band for The Hold Steady, Lifter Puller. (And got a Lifter Puller shirt, which I barely want to take off.) I also ate a lot of pizza, had amazing conversations with an author I have long loved who is also a fan of the band, and just being around people who love the band as much as I do (after almost 10 years of having no one to talk to about them) was pretty cool.
I’m sitting in the railway station, got a ticket to my destination. on a tour of one-night stands, my suitcase and guitar in hand.
I’m very thankful for airplanes and cars all the time, but especially so this year. I proclaimed this year as my “year of travel” – finally having the freedom to pack up my laptop and work from anywhere, I certainly made the most of that this year. From Grand Rapids to Cincinnati to Boston to Gatlinburg to Siesta Key to Raleigh to Denver to Charlottesville to Montebello to to to… it doesn’t escape me that I’ve been very lucky. Today, I’m thankful for the places I’ve been, the people I’ve gone with, and the modes of transportation that have taken me there (spoken like a true Michigander!)
Not including commuting to and from work, I have traveled an estimated 15,935 miles this year. That’s so crazy to me!
Where do these summers go?! For the second year in a row, the summer was jam packed in the best way, but it absolutely flew by. If I wasn’t spending afternoons by the pool, I was jetsetting somewhere every week, it seemed – it’s pretty amazing to finally be living the kind of life I really want. Here’s a quick recap of the summer:
I started the summer off with two trips to the water – first to see Dani in Boston, then down to the Florida beach with my family. There is nothing I love more than being on the beach and cooking in the sun with the people I love most, so this was a really great way to kick the year off (and a good indicator of exactly how busy I would end up being)!
Even though I made it a point not to travel out of state in July, I still managed to pack the month full. Hands down, Outlaw Roadshow was one of the best days of music I’ve ever been lucky to see, and the surprise Counting Crows set to close out the night didn’t hurt matters any. I went hiking to some waterfalls with some of my best friends to celebrate my Nashversary, and spent many afternoons nappingby various poolsthroughout the city.
In early August, I finally moved to Nashville proper after a year of commuting from the burbs, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the new place (no matter how stressful and time consuming moving ended up being.) Before I set off on another big trip, I finally got to see one of my bucket list bands when I saw Gin Blossoms play two shows in one night. No one will ever be able to tell me any differently – they are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I really had a great night. CF and Sixx came with me, and it was pretty nice to not be there alone!
The next morning, I flew to Montreal for my company retreat. Even though I have “known” my co-workers for almost a year, it was nice to meet in person for real, do some heavy bonding, and exchange treats with friends!
September has been a really great way to end the summer. Over Labor Day, some friends from Charlottesville came to visit, and I had friends from college staying with me as well. It was a busy weekend for sure, but super fun to get out and sing some karaoke again (and have a band full of boys to buy me drinks all weekend :))
After that, I made a last-minute trip back home to the mitten. My best friend had her baby, and I was just homesick for water. Turns out the 10 hour drive isn’t so bad, especially when the trip back is broken up with visits to wineries and dinners with Sixx!
Last week saw what I consider the most wonderful time of the year – Americanafest in Nashville! A full week of my favorite kinds of music, plus panels and meetings with some of the smartest and most talented folks in the industry. A co-worker came into town for the event, and we exhibited during the conference and at night, I ran from venue to venue checking out showcases and discovering new loves. (I managed to make it to seven Nashville venues in one evening, which felt like a world record.)
In the middle of all that craziness, because I wasn’t getting enough music or activity – I flew to Denver to see Counting Crows for the third time this summer at Red Rocks. It was really otherwordly – Red Rocks is like nothing else, and I can’t recommend going there enough.
Pairing Americanafest with Red Rocks and a comedy show at Zanies in Nashville on Friday night, I ended up seeing shows at ten different venues in 2 states within 48 hours. That is definitely some kind of record.
I have one more trip to Raleigh next week, then off to Cincinnati in mid-October, but other than that and Thanksgiving, my travel looks to be done for the year. So, yeah! It’s been a really great summer. I am so lucky to be able to get to do these amazing things and hang out with such great people. If only this summer heat could last forever, I’d be all set…
June was such a whirlwind! It was great to do so much travel, but it made it hard to get stay organized and on-goals while I was at home. There’s always more time to catch up on that kind of stuff, though – this year I’ve really been trying to focus on experiences and balancing out fun with work, and this was the perfect month.
I headed home to Cincinnati for a quick trip to visit the family before departing back to Nashville to hang out with a friend from college who I haven’t seen in a very long time. I had a great weekend with her, and our mini college reunion was a great way to finally make this city feel like home.
After her trip here, I headed up to Boston to visit Dani! I am already itching to get back there since I think we managed to leave some of the waffle fries uneaten.
After that, I was back home for a few days before taking off to Siesta Key, Florida, for some more family time. NP and family go every year, and I was finally lucky enough to get to join them this year. I understand why they’ve been going back for twenty years, and why it’s been voted the best beach in the USA. It was a great place to unwind, refresh, and regroup.
I just got back from Boston, where I had the BEST time. We definitely packed a lot in in just a few days, and I’m already mapping out my next trip to visit.
The first place we hit on Thursday evening was Max Brenner near the Boston Marathon finish line and I don’t think I have been in such a vat of sin in my entire life. It was all chocolate everything – even the waffle fries (which we are still dreaming about) were covered in cocoa powder, and the sandwiches we split (I highly recommend the burger and the cheesesteak waffle sandwich) had hints of chocolate baked in. We could have eaten there every day and I would have been happy. After dinner (which was capped, of course, by a dessert pizza) we walked around the Copley Square and Boylston area before heading home to start watching Orphan Black.
On Friday, we were apprehensive about the weather – reports said it was supposed to rain and be cloudy throughout the day, but it was sunny and beautiful all morning, so we decided to take our chances and head to the beach. I could have laid there all weekend, the weather was completely perfect. (And we saw a dead jellyfish!) We packed up and had dinner with her friend Natalie at State Park, which totally reminded me of a cabin in the UP of Michigan, before heading to Natalie’s Improv Boston show. Dani and I had never seen improv live before, and it was really great! After the early show, we took the bus over to Lawn On D, which was showing Jaws. Since Dani is scared of sharks and I don’t care about 80’s movies, we just stuck around long enough to have a cocktail, but it seemed like there were a lot of activities and food trucks to make it a fun night. We headed back home to order pizza and continue on our Orphan Black quest.
“Is that a jellyfish?” “It looks like an implant”
Saturday was still beautiful and sunny, so we took advantage of spending some more time outside. We ate at a little cafe near her place before jumping on the bus to the JFK Library and Museum. We thought there would have been more about his death, but I did really like the recreations of the Oval Office and how they focused on the media coverage that the Kennedys brought to government, from the presidential debates to the White House tours. From there we went over to Faneuil Hall, got some gelato, and then spent some time on the Harbor Walk. I could just live my whole life on a boat… if I knew someone who owned one. After walking through Little Italy, we decided to cook dinner at home, and… you guessed it, watch Orphan Black. We love TV so we decided to try to make it as far through a new show as we could – I can’t lie, we did a lot of damage! Since I had to work on Sunday, we watched it for eight hours straight over computers and coffee. It was still warm and sunny, so we decided to head out on a sunset cruise up the Charles River around Harvard and Boston University. It was a really great way to cap the weekend!
As I was standing and waiting to get the bus to meet Dani for lunch on Monday before hitting the airport, the skies of course opened, but I’m so happy that the weather held off until then (and was even more glad when I landed safely in Baltimore after what was easily the most turbulent plane ride of my entire life!)
What do I need to check out on my next trip to Boston?