2020 was a year the world as a whole won't soon forget. This past year, it seems like everything we've come to know was turned upside down. Despite the never-ending sequence of negative headlines (or so it seemed), Daniel and I feel grateful to have each other's love. To us, the power of love will always outweigh the thrill of adventure.
For this upcoming year, we aren't making any big resolutions. Instead, we've spent some time discussing our goals (more to come on this). Ultimately, we are just aiming to be happy, healthy, and okay. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you a great 2021!
We couldn't let another year slip away without our annual "year in review" blog. We typically do our top ten moments, but honestly, we spent a LOT of time this year reading books, painting, going on neighborhood walks, cooking, and Zooming with friends and family. While the rest has been healing for our bodies and spirits, it hasn't amounted to a plethora of memorable moments. So, alas, enjoy our top eight.
Here are our eight most memorable moments, in chronological order, of 2020.
1. Ringing in the new year in Guanajuato, Mexico
On December 31, 2019, Daniel and I had just said goodbye to our families in Sayulita and were in the colorful mountain city of Guanajuato. That evening, we wandered around the city, soaking in all of the festivities, eating grilled elotes and churros, people-watching, and drinking cocktails. Eventually, we rode the cable car back up to our hotel and watched in awe as fireworks exploded from the top of the cathedral in every color imaginable. I distinctly remember feeling positive, hopeful, and elated to be traveling again -- the place where I feel most alive. You can read all of our Mexico blogs here.
2. Daniel's Costa Rica expedition
In late January, Daniel was off to Costa Rica to lead a group of middle school students on an experiential learning 10-day expedition. The journey went off without any major issues, except that time he was bit by a golf ball-sized wolf spider! Daniel worked long days that were packed with Costa Rican adventures and experiences, so I would usually just get a text each night that he was safe and headed to bed. The two of us had never traveled apart in our married lives, so that was a new experience for us.
One of Daniel's favorite parts of the journey was discovering Costa Rica through the eyes of middle schoolers and marveled at their perspectives of travel/culture. He was able to ignite the spark of travel and the importance of lived experiences, not material possessions, in all the kids' minds. A truly enthralling and unique journey that changed his perspective!
3. My trip to Colombia
While Daniel was wrangling middle schoolers in Costa Rica, I simultaneously flew to Medellin, Colombia to spend time with our dear friends, Kelly and Juan. Juan was born and raised in Medellin and his family still lives there. I was fortunate enough to spend 11 days with friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Although Daniel and I had already been to Medellin and even stayed with Juan's family last time, it was a different experience to see Juan in his hometown environment. During my time there, we went on a few short road trips, ate fruit I'd never heard of before, toured the art museum, ate too much Colombian food, and went swimming. Kelly and Juan are still living in Portland and we don't get to see them too often, so it was beautiful to be able to cherish our time together.
4. Cenote-hopping in Mexico
I am a full-on Cancer water loving mermaid, so one of my favorite moments from the year was rope swinging into the blue water of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. Daniel's always joking that I'm swimming in the hotel pool before he's even set his bag down. Something about the mystical sinkholes makes me a bit giddy just thinking about swimming there.
5. The moment COVID-19 changed our future
Monday, March 16 is a day that changed our entire year. We'd been hearing from family back home that Covid-19 was spreading and becoming a real threat. In San Pancho, Mexico, we were blissfully unaware -- spending our days swimming in the ocean, sharing meals with friends, and not worrying about a lack of toilet paper or cleaning supplies. We heard that Colorado was preparing to shut down and that borders might close soon. On Monday morning, Daniel woke up early, distraught, and said, "I think we need to go home." We had planned to stay in Mexico for a few more months (at least), but that morning changed everything. We booked flights and were on an airplane less than 24 hours later. Once we arrived at Denver International Airport, the place was deserted, all businesses were closed, and we were genuinely in shock.
Was flying to Colorado the right decision? We'll never know. Our friends and neighbors stayed in San Pancho for a few more months and were just fine. We easily could've stayed but would've been pretty miserable with the temperatures rising and the beaches closed. Quarantining with family and being able to hike daily was definitely a positive.
6. Our move to Denver
After spending a couple of months with family in Grand Junction, Colorado, Daniel and I moved four hours away to Denver. Although Grand Junction is naturally beautiful, we don't ever see ourselves living there again. Denver's job market in public health is booming and there's always something going on in the city (pre-pandemic). We moved into a historic apartment in Capitol Hill and both found jobs within a couple of months of moving. Many of our friends live in Denver, so we knew this would be the perfect place for us to call home for a while.
7. Camping with friends
Camping is always the highlight of our summer, and we're lucky we were able to squeeze in some camping this summer mid-pandemic. We spent many nights in the Rocky Mountains under blankets of stars, roasting marshmallows, playing Dominoes, and laughing with friends. If you missed our blogs, you can read about our summer camping trips here and here.
8. Weekend in Taos, New Mexico
In late fall before the season shifted, we drove down to Taos for a long weekend away. You can read about our experience here and here. New Mexico is a magical state and visiting always makes us feel alive. We slept in a pink RV named Louise and ate all of the New Mexican food our bodies could handle!
Just for fun, here are some of our favorites from 2020:
Daniel - The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare or A Fine Balance
Bre - State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Bingeworthy TV Show
Daniel - Schitt's Creek
Bre - The Queen's Gambit
Daniel - The Jungle Prince by The New York Times
Bre - Wake Up With Weslie by Weslie Christensen
Daniel - Shape & Destroy by Ruston Kelly
Bre - And It's Still Alright by Nathaniel Rateliff
Months on the Road: 3
Countries Visited: 3
Bre: Mexico, Colombia, United States
Daniel: Mexico, Costa Rica, United States
What are you looking forward to this year? We'd love to hear. We hope you're all hanging in there and enjoyed a beautiful holiday season.
For love and adventure,