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.

Issues are altering quickly – please double examine what’s open earlier than your journey and comply with all native tips to maintain your self and others protected! Additionally, adverts are how we pay our payments and maintain our weblog free so that you can get pleasure from. We additionally use affiliate hyperlinks; in case you make a purchase order by way of them, we might obtain a small fee for gratis to you.

Most of my yr in evaluation posts have had some form of theme to tie them collectively. The year I went full time in my blog, or the year a pandemic hit and we almost went under … , 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 issues. So the unique working title of this put up was “the yr of in-between,” after which I added “and puke” to spice it up (there’s … numerous puke on this put up, truthful warning).

However as I wrote, I noticed there have been some massive highlights: like, we acquired vaccinated (!!), and I acquired pregnant (!!!). And as my mindset shifted and I began waiting for what my life post-baby will appear to be, I began making vital adjustments in my enterprise. I stepped means again from the day-to-day of Sensible Wanderlust, empowered my team to make selections with out me, and even started sending them on journeys on my behalf. I additionally began a whole NEW blog (as a result of why have only a human youngster once I may start a model new enterprise child on the identical time?). And sooner or later, I ended pondering 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 fully 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 things shifted.

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

In search of 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:


Long Term Travel: A Day in the Life of a Travel 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 number of days later, the solar stopped rising, the air went a sickly shade of darkish orange, air high quality was 300+, and we have been all hacking and coughing. A number of weeks later, deeply anxious and fearful about Mulan’s little lungs and our personal psychological well being, we hopped on a aircraft to remain in Louisville with my household for two months. Which I wrote about in last year’s review, intimately.

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

Properly, my mates, 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 beautiful – a totally refurbished 1870’s Victorian, all redone with model new all the things 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. Might we afford it? I truthfully had no thought. I’d been watching my monetary spreadsheets for therefore 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 have been doing. We actually didn’t notice that a proposal isn’t only a “see what they are saying” form of deal, or that in Kentucky – not like the Bay Space – you aren’t competing with 196287836 individuals who all have more cash than you.

So although we supplied LESS than asking, our provide was – to our compete shock – accepted. And we have been now in a legally binding contract with a house that we weren’t even positive but that we may really afford.

What the hell have been we pondering? 2020 jumbled up all of my practical-ness, y’all. We acquired caught up in pandemic nervousness and fireplace season panic, and that home appeared 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 complete life. What’s escrow? What occurs if a house inspector misses one thing vital? What does a home appraisal really consider? (To be sincere, I’m nonetheless not totally 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 one way or the other managed to rearrange for house 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 whole 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 immediately. 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 effectively – in reality, we’d barely begun incomes cash once more across the latter half of 2020 when people began touring domestically once more – however we have been doing okay, and fortunately, we had financial savings to spare, since for completely no cause, the inventory market was doing weirdly effectively.

However then we lastly got here up with an really respectable thought (possibly the primary of this complete, hare-brained scheme): why don’t we get a tenant?? If we will discover somebody to hire out our home for the subsequent 6 months, we will cowl our mortgage and faux this complete house-buying debacle was only a completely regular, affordable choice 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
Think about this your warning: don’t go to Zillow and begin searching homes in Louisville. As a result of earlier than it, you’ll be below contract for some ridiculously inexpensive, beautiful Victorian from the 1800’s…

Cue extra scrambling and calling folks in Kentucky. A number of weeks later, we managed to discover a property supervisor with implausible on-line evaluations who appeared assured they may hire our place out at a fee that may cowl our mortgage, property taxes, and residential insurance coverage. Solely they really helpful 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 considered it. We couldn’t do a conventional one-year lease, as a result of that may put us again in the course of the college yr. However we may do a year-and-a-half lease, ending in summer season 2021. That will give us one other yr of Jeremy’s wage to make good and positive we have been financially secure (since working a journey weblog throughout a pandemic is just not a safeguard for monetary stability), and it will 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 must 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 is just not a home rental kinda space.

As we neared New Years Day, Jeremy and I each realized one thing: we have been really each prepared to depart California and transfer into that massive lovely Victorian house in Kentucky. We needed to maneuver in the summertime of 2021. And we actually didn’t need 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 acquired a name on December twenty ninth from our property managers. A tenant can be shifting in on December thirty first, and so they’d already signed a 1.5 yr lease.

We have been shook. We truthfully didn’t anticipate how rapidly our home would hire, and we actually didn’t assume anybody can be spending their holidays homes and shifting! However the tenant was beginning a job in January and wanted to maneuver to Louisville immediately.

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

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

However they didn’t need our cash – they only needed to reside in our home! Seems, they’d really discovered ANOTHER house earlier than ours, signed a lease, and have been on the point 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 have been so into our home.

And I imply, we couldn’t blame them: this dang home has a logic-bending impact on folks, 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 house, being near family and friends, exploring Louisville, and dwelling 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 need to see the home, proper? (We’re not the one HouseHunters addicts, proper?!) We’ve acquired 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 way of!

2021 needs to be higher than 2020, proper?

Though we started the yr on a tragic word, 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 have been in a holding sample, just like the final yr was simply dragging on. We have 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 sometimes outside weekend day journey, we weren’t actually going anyplace or doing something.

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

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

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

I wish to personally hug each member of the scientific group who made the vaccine attainable. However I suppose 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 have been capable of resume a degree of normalcy that felt totally overseas. We ate at eating places once more (nonetheless principally outside, although). We took weekend journeys and stayed in resorts. We noticed mates!! Issues we as soon as took as a right got here again in a flood of happiness and pleasure.

And, in fact, we began touring once more.

March-July: That Submit-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 have been vaccinated, however we waited anyway – we have now a really low danger 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 have now 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 – choice, to take a freakin’ trip. Like an precise journey. On a aircraft! This could be our first trip since 2019 , and we have 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 way of airports (the place masks sporting is just not enforced like it’s on a aircraft) as a lot as attainable. Second, as a result of it was one of many solely locations on the time requiring vaccines or unfavourable 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 because of a household good friend.

In addition to, 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 as a right a bit of bit, and I wanted for a break to assist me regain my sense of marvel and awe for touring (lol, f**okay 2019 me). Properly, want freakin’ granted. I can’t keep in mind the final time I had this type of pleasure for a visit, like, maintaining me awake in the course of the evening ranges of pleasure. I savored it.

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

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

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

Round this time we acquired some extremely disappointing information: the house owners of our house have been coming back from the place they’d been dwelling overseas as a result of pandemic, and we might want to depart our rental.

Truthfully, we have 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 house and the primary place that actually, really felt like a house and never simply an residence we have been renting!

However, that’s the lifetime of a renter. So we began in search of 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 tough. A lot of the open homes we went to have been so aggressive we knew we didn’t stand an opportunity.

One place rented out whereas we have 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 appliance 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 have been having no luck, even after elevating the quantity we have been keen to pay in hire by a ridiculous quantity over what we’d been paying!

In between home searching, we took two extra weekend journeys in April and Might, each instances 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 positively the yr of revisiting locations I’ve already visited and gloriously leaving my digital camera tucked away within the resort room!

For our 5-year wedding ceremony anniversary in Might, we took a staycation in San Francisco. We booked one of many resorts from our Where to Stay in San Francisco post, took a meals tour by way of Chinatown, and acquired 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. Having the ability to see and hug our household meant the world to us.

Oh, and through the pandemic they’d put in a very baller pool, which I didn’t depart for the complete weekend.

In June, we have been nonetheless scrambling to discover a place to reside, with just a few weeks left to go. We raised our hire consolation degree 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 have 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 residence we’d left solely 2 years earlier than. The home was larger than our present house, 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 can be the final time within the Bay Space.

In June, we principally stayed at house, unpacking and settling into our new place. Transferring is traumatic each for folks and fur-babies, and we didn’t need to stress Mulan out additional by leaving her at house(although she’s fairly used to it by now).

We did, nonetheless, take a wonderful street 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 resort close to the canine seashore 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. Adore it!)

I additionally picked up a brand new interest: 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 acquired heat once more, I stated. However we moved in November, and the pool shut down in March. Dammit.

Properly, the minute it opened again up, I used to be the primary one in line, totally 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 nervousness, I used to be fearful about all the same old pre-trip issues. Would we have the ability to talk, or was our Spanish too rusty? What if we acquired misplaced? Would there be sufficient WiFi or ought to we get knowledge plans? Did we pack all the things we wanted, 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 house. Moving into the humid tropical air, talking not-great-but-also-not-terrible Spanish to taxi drivers, and attempting to navigate our means by way of a brand new, unfamiliar place collectively felt like slipping on a favourite pair of worn-out denims pondering they won’t nonetheless match, solely to seek out that they nonetheless match completely.

Truthfully, it was unbelievable. Because it was our first massive journey in years, we splurged, reserving all personal shuttles moderately than taking public transit (truthfully, it barely even price far more and was effectively value it for the way a lot simpler it made all the things) and even spending a number of days staying in an expensive 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 form of place you go on throughout your honeymoon, and actually, my sister really did honeymoon there! (In the course of 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 actually a lot pricier than we normally really feel snug paying, the worth felt justified because it consists of meals, actions, transportation (it’s in a reasonably hard-to-access a part of Costa Rica).

We went snorkeling, rode horses on the seashore, tried to go kayaking however acquired freaked out by rapids and crocodiles and wimped out, noticed a bunch of sloths and monkeys and toucans, hiked by way 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 totally planning to jot down up our complete itinerary, but it surely’s a beast and I’m nonetheless slowly working away at it! Within the meantime, you may see all the things we did in this Instagram highlight, and I printed 35 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Costa Rica.

The recollections of our time in Costa Rica will stick to us without end, and we totally plan to return once more. However I don’t know when the subsequent time can be that we’re capable of journey internationally, as a result of ….

Source link