Cross-Country Road Trip Part 1: Washington to Oregon

 

Check out the vlog at https://youtu.be/yMNEyW2-3yE

Hey folks – long time no talk!  Life’s been busy, but good.  On August 27th my husband, Solomon, and I set off for Georgia from Washington.  The first leg of our journey took us to Oregon for a few days.
We left August 27th with a lot of food and a lot of baggage (in a purely physical sense).  Stopped for a drip coffee and a dirty hemp chai latte at Vinaccio’s Coffee in Monroe – they have the best dirty chai I’ve ever had.  We ran into Mike, the owner of the shop, who actually sent Solomon a five pound bag of coffee beans when he was deployed overseas, and chatted with him for a hot minute before taking off, for real.
The drive was pretty but felt long, given Solomon’s insistence on playing only music of the Willie Nelson variety (don’t get me wrong, I like Willie Nelson – just not hours of Willie Nelson).  We pulled over for lunch in the parking lot of a gas station and chowed down on cheese sticks and baby carrots.
Made a stop at Cape Disappointment and walked through the ruins of the fort and up to the lighthouse.  The area was beautiful but hot as hades – we would later learn from the owner of the hostel we stayed at that Oregon was having one of the hottest summers in the last few years…
After sweating our butts off, we hopped over the Oregon state line to stop at Pier 39 and listen to the sweet song of the iconic sea lions.  Our home for the night, Seaside International Hostel, was just 15 minutes away.  The owner (I want to say Ed, but don’t take my word on that) was hilarious and helpful, giving us a dinner recommendation and informing us the hostel would provide pancake mix and his own homemade maple syrup for breakfast.
We took Ed’s advice and stopped for a bite at Sam’s Seaside Cafe, a no frills seafood restaurant tucked in-between cringe-y tourist traps.  The oyster shooters were fresh and flavorful, and the tuna salad sandwich was perfectly classic.  From there, we drove over to Cannon Beach to check out the iconic Haystack Rock at sunset, which did not disappoint.

The next day we woke up, treated ourselves to pancakes with Ed’s homemade syrup, and chatted with one of the hostel workers, a self-proclaimed bicycle nomad.  We walked through the hostel’s backyard garden to catch a view of the river before heading out for Portland.
Unfortunately, our stop in Portland was a bit of a bust.  We were already pressed for time and pretty much only had time to grab a cold brew from Coava Coffee Roasters (which was smooth and refreshing).  We drove through the city for a bit and were mostly met with construction, confusing road signs, and traffic, which was a big bummer.
BUT things improved once we got out of the city.  We stopped for another parking lot lunch (this time, at a Safeway) and then headed for Bend, our destination for the night.  The drive took us right by Mt. Hood and through beautiful, stormy plains.
After meeting up with our Bend friend (nice rhyme, I know) we had a quick climbing session at Bend Rock Gym and then grabbed a hefty dinner from River Pig Saloon – nachos for me and a bison burger for Solomon.  We turned in early for the night in preparation for the day ahead…

Thursday (August 29) we started the day with breakfast burritos from Taco Salsa and made the (not so) lengthy drive to Smith Rock State Park, a gorgeous climbing area that rivals the southeastern crags Solomon and I are used to.  A quick hike into the canyon floor led us to Morning Glory Wall, where we knocked out 5 Gallon Buckets (5.8) and The Outsiders (5.9).  We hiked over to another wall that I don’t know the name of and climbed a few more routes that, again, I don’t know the name of…whoops.
As storm clouds began to creep in we threw in the towel and drove back home for naps and showers. After refreshing ourselves with sleep and soap we met again at The Lot, a courtyard of food trucks where we picked up some massive portions of pad thai and stir fry.   After hanging out for a bit we all gave in to exhaustion and decided to call it a night, as the next day Solomon woke up bright and early at 5:15am to make our way to Salt Lake City, Utah…

Eating My Way Across the Country

How did 2 vegans and 1 vegetarian stay well fed on a road trip from Georgia to Washington?  Is it possible to make it across the state of South Dakota without eating meat (and also not starving)?  But how healthy did we actually eat during 7 days of driving cross country?  Find out below!

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SNACKS

  • Protein bars
    TIP: make sure the bar you choose has a good ratio of protein to sugar – I prefer bars with at least 20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of sugar.  Try the Quest brand in oatmeal chocolate chip or ONE in glazed donut!
  • Greek yogurt (again – watch the sugar content)
  • Freeze-dried fruit
  • Lightly salted mixed nuts
  • Dark chocolate covered nuts (a better option than candy bars!)
  • Potato chip alternatives such as pea crisps or whole grain crackers

When traveling, my philosophy with food is to make healthy choices about 75% and splurge the other 25%, and the splurges I do have are usually local treats.  That way I have a good balance of healthy eating while also enjoying what the area has to offer!

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NASHVILLE, TN 
The Southern V

Vegan. Soul. Food.  That’s about all you need to know.  Stop by for some killer jackfruit BBQ, crispy “chicken” sandwiches, creamy mac and cheese, and classic baked beans.

 

 


KANSIS CITY, MOIMG_3349
Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude was a gem to discover a few years back when we road-tripped to Colorado for a vacation.  The entire menu is plant-based and they have a huge range of raw options as well – try the chai milkshake which is to die for!

 

 

 

SIOUX CITY, IA
Coffee and Nosh Food Truck

Such a fun find in the small town of Sioux City, Iowa which hosts Food Truck Fridays over the summer!  We got one of their bowls with jackfruit instead of meat.  It was a fresh and delicious snack!

RAPID CITY, SD
Everest Cuisine

I’ll admit it – I was a bit wary of trying an Indian/Nepalese restaurant in South Dakota.  But Everest Cuisine was a delicious surprise with a great variety of vegetarian and vegan options!  Their vegetable samosas and yellow lentil dish never disappoint.

MID/NORTHWEST STATES
Taco Johns + Taco Time

 

So no, fast food Mexican is generally not a super healthy dining option.  But play the menu right and you can put together a quick vegetarian meal that is a way better option than french fries or cheese pizza.  The bean tacos and burritos from Taco Johns are a solid choice, and you can get a side of guacamole for only $1.00!  Taco Time is another great option as they offer bowls which can easily be made vegetarian.

BOZEMAN, MT
Red Tractor Pizza The Nova Cafe

 

Boy, did we get lucky in Bozeman.  Dinner was from Red Tractor Pizza: with vegan crust and cheese options and a huge range of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, you can put together an amazing pizza (I recommend adding fresh basil, rosemary roasted squash, and roasted brussel sprouts)!  We were equally spoiled the next morning with The Nova Cafe’s breakfast of a blue algae smoothie bowl and potato hash with forbidden black rice – the perfect way to kick off your day.

SEATTLE, WA
So. Many. Restaurants.

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Seriously, there are soooo many crazy good vegetarian/vegan options in and around Seattle.  From an entirely plant-based restaurant chain only found on the west coast (Veggie Grill) to vegan nachos (El Borracho), pizza (Pizza Pi), donuts (Mighty-O Donuts) and more, Seattle has so much to offer.

There you have it folks.  Thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned for more Seattle-related posts soon!
-Lizzie

 

 

When Your Boyfriend Goes to Basic

When Your Boyfriend Goes to Basic – VIDEO

Hey my peeps!
At the beginning of 2018 my boyfriend, Solomon, shipped off for 3 1/2 months of basic training after joining the Army National Guard.  The experience of being apart and only communicating through letters was incredibly challenging but even more so rewarding, so we decided to film a video telling you all about what it was like!  To be honest, this isn’t really an “advice” video because, honestly, neither of us are qualified to give relationship advice and everyone’s situation is different.  BUT if you are currently (or will soon be) going through a similar experience, hopefully this video makes you feel a little bit better about what it might be like.  Ultimately, we are both so thankful for those few months; they challenged us and pushed us to grow not only as a couple, but also as individuals.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you take it as an opportunity to explore and grow and thrive, rather than just an obstacle to get through as quickly as you can.  Enjoy the experience as best you can!
I hope you enjoy this video, and if you enjoyed having Solomon on the blog let me know – maybe I’ll let him back on in the future 😉

 

Life Updates – Junior Year + Moving

Hello all!
It’s been a hot minute since I last updated the blog – between school, work, and spending time with friends and family, it’s been a busy spring semester.  Here’s what I’ve been up to and what’s to come:

  • I wrapped up sophomore year and made the decision to transfer colleges – the past year, I’ve been at Young Harris College, a small (I mean, small) liberal arts college in north Georgia.  Although I made some lifelong friends and took some really interesting and challenging courses during my time there, I just didn’t enjoy the campus or the vibe of the school as much as I wanted to.  After lots and lots of prayer and discussions with family, I’ve decided to transfer to the University of North Georgia for my last 2 years of school.  I love the UNG campus and already have some friends there, plus they have lots of opportunities for backpacking and rock-climbing!
  • My parents are preparing to move to Seattle – towards the end of last year, my dad accepted a position with Microsoft and my parents made the decision to move to Seattle.  To be perfectly honest, I was not on board to begin with.  The idea of my family leaving to move across the country was straight up terrifying, and I was convinced I wasn’t ready for it.  After some time to think and pray and prepare, though, I’m so excited for them!  Plus – how cool is it gonna be to visit Washington all the time?  Recently, we’ve all been super busy preparing to sell the house, and they’re gearing up to move hopefully within the next couple weeks.
  • I’m getting ready to live on my own – although I’ve been out of the house for the past year of college, I haven’t really been out of the house, if you know what I mean.  Once my parents move to Washington, I’ll be living in Dahlonega full-time as I’ve been blessed enough to find an apartment near the college that I’ll be moving into at the end of summer.  I am so excited to begin this next chapter of adulthood – and most importantly, I’ll finally have my own kitchen to cook in!
  • My boyfriend joined the military – at the beginning of the year, my boyfriend shipped off for 3 1/2 months of basic training for the Army.  Saying “see you later” to my best friend was one of the hardest experiences I’ve been through, and the transition to communicating solely through weekly letters and minute-long phone calls once a month was incredibly daunting.  Those months ended up being an incredible blessing, though – they challenged us and strengthened our relationship in so many ways, and I am beyond thankful to have him home as of a couple weeks ago.  That time apart not only strengthened us as a couple, but also as individuals, and I’m so grateful to have had those months to push myself and grow in ways I couldn’t have experienced otherwise.

As for the rest of the summer – I’ll be focusing on working a lot to save up for the fall semester and spending time with my parents and friends.  Although I’ll be staying in Georgia for most of the summer, I am planning to fly up to Seattle once my parents have moved to help them settle in.  I’m also hoping to spend some time exploring the southeast and hopefully getting in a few backpacking and rock-climbing trips!
The first few months of 2018 have flown by and, sadly, I don’t think the rest of the year will slow down much.  I can’t wait for what’s to come and I plan to share my adventures as they unfold.
Until next time!

 

How to Deal with Anxiety in College

Towards the middle of my first semester living at college, I began to experience a lot of anxiety.  There were entire days where I felt like my heart was constantly racing and my mind was unable to focus on anything.  What few moments of peace I did have were tainted by the fear that they would be short-lived.  I was struggling to get simple things done or enjoy experiences that should have been fun and lighthearted.  Although I’ve experienced anxiety before, I had never felt it to this degree.  But instead of letting it dictate my time and emotions, I made an effort to work through the experience and address it.  If you’re someone who experiences anxiety or even just struggles to find peace in the hectic schedule of college, here are some things that worked for me (and most of these work whether you’re a student or not!):

1. Confide in someone

Whether it’s a friend at school, a family member, or a pen pal, it’s always important to have a person you can rant to without judgment.  Sometimes they will have advice or a different perspective you wouldn’t have thought of yourself – but sometimes it’s just nice to let it all out.

2. Manage your responsibilities

If homework, job duties, or other to-do’s start piling up, it will only fuel your anxiety.  Take the time to sit down and make a list of what you need to work on, in order of priority.  Don’t try to do it all at once or you’ll just fizzle out – schedule manageable amounts of work throughout the day.

3. Create a relaxing environment to work/live in

My dorm room often becomes the “meeting place” for my group of friends and even though I love hanging out with everyone, I know that if I need to get work done, I can’t do it with a lot of other people in the room or I’ll just get distracted.  Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself to get stuff done, even if it means stepping away from the fun for a minute!  Similarly, I try to make sure my dorm always feels cozy and inviting so that I can de-stress.  (Check out my Dorm Room Essentials post for tips!)

4. Commit to a wellness routine

One of the best ways for me to channel my anxiety is through working out and getting active.  Whether it’s going to the gym or taking a hike, grabbing a friend to knock out a killer workout will refocus your mind and make you feel refreshed.  If working out isn’t your thing, try yoga or gentle stretches.  Yoga with Adriene has some fantastic 30-day series on Youtube, but even taking 5 minutes in the morning to stretch and wake your body up will make a difference in the tone of your day.  Don’t forget about nutrition too – make a point to eat fresh foods and try to avoid the greasy, processed foods, at least throughout the week.  Treat yourself when you really need it, but take everything in moderation!

5. Go to therapy

For a lot of people, the idea of therapy can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.  Most colleges will offer free counseling or therapy sessions – take advantage of them!  Everyone will get something different out of the experience and you may find that it’s not for you, but it’s always valuable to take advantage of the resources available to you.  Having a neutral party you can discuss your life with can be very cathartic once you get past the initial awkwardness.

 

Dorm Room Essentials

Hello all and happy 2018!

To kick of this year, I wanted to share some off my dorm room essentials with you.  Let’s delve in!

 

 

An oil diffuser – I got mine as a Christmas gift and it has made a huge difference in the coziness of my dorm room!  I love mixing up what oils I put in depending on my mood that day – sometimes I prefer something with peppermint to give me energy, while other days I like a touch of cinnamon to fight off oncoming sicknesses.  There are tons of oil diffuser and essential oil options out there; I have the AromaSphere by Serene Living which is great because of how small and easy it is, and I received a kit of Seasonal Change essential oils from NOW Foods which have proven amazing.

A pin-board (or something else to display memories from throughout the semester) – once you start attending events, taking pictures, or receiving letters and cards, it’s nice to have a cute reminder you can look at throughout the day.

A low-maintenance plant – I always have some sort of plant in my living space, whether it be bamboo, flowers, or succulents.  Right before the semester started, my boyfriend gave me this grafted cactus (which I’ve named Frijole in honor of my favorite food).  Hopefully I have better luck keeping this one alive than the one I had last semester which I managed to overwater….

A planner and/or journal – Although I need to keep a calendar and reminders on my phone to keep on track throughout the day, I also find it helpful and stress-relieving to have an actual paper planner where I can see big-picture plans and events and actually write things out.  Additionally, I think it can be really beneficial to have a small journal or even a penpal who you can write letters to – it’s so cathartic to take the time to write out what’s been going on in your life and what your thoughts/feelings are.

A reusable water bottle – My water bottle goes with me everywhere: classes, car rides, workout sessions, hikes.  Not only is it a cool place to collect stickers and a handy reminder to stay hydrated, but it’s also better for the environment!

Non-traditional sources of light – While lamps and overhead lights are obviously helpful and sometimes necessary, I also make a point to use unconventional light sources, like salt lamps and string lights, to help brighten my room.  They feel cozier and more welcoming than a harsh, overhead light, and they’re a lot cuter!

Your favorite movies/books/board games – Honestly, you may not have much time to take advantage of them, but having them around is still great for those rare days you have some free time to kill and want to unwind with an old favorite!  (Pardon my inclusion of Twilight and the Hannah Montana Movie, it was a moment of weakness with my fellow dorm-mates.)

Personal wall decorations – I didn’t stress too much about having a “theme” or “design” for my room; instead, I found some cool prints, postcards, and wall decorations I liked that didn’t clash, and I used those to add a pop to my otherwise boring dorm walls!

 

 

Sometimes the Hike Isn’t Right

Last night around 10 p.m., about 12 hours before I was supposed to begin a 4-day-long hike of the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail, I canceled the trip altogether.
From the start, I’d held reservations about taking the trip, which is something that doesn’t usually happen for me in regards to backpacking trips.  I’ve taken several solo backpacking trips before and although I had a reasonable amount of nervousness leading up to them, I was always excited more than anything.  This time around, I was struck with fear whenever I would think about the trip, and I struggled to get excited about the idea of hiking alone in the woods in the dead of summer for several days.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of good reasons to take this trip.  I was looking forward to the experience of hiking the Georgia section of the AT in one push (which would have been my longest backpacking trip to date), and I had even planned to attempt to hike the approximately 80 miles of trail in 80 hours, just for kicks (and to minimize the amount of days I would have to be away from home and ask off work).
Despite all the reasons in favor of taking the trip, my hesitation and uneasiness only grew as the weeks went by and I continued with preparations.  I spent most of yesterday seized with stress, fear, and almost dread about beginning the trip.  After some tearful conversations with family and friends, I decided to cancel the trip.
Although the decision brought me a lot of relief, it was a hard one to make.  I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge or not honor a commitment I’ve made.  A part of me was incredibly frustrated and disappointed with myself for “wimping out” and canceling the trip.  “You’re capable of doing it and you already made all the preparations, so why are you backing out?!” I told myself.
I consider myself a fairly rational person, so it’s never been easy for me to listen to my gut, especially when it seems to be telling me something illogical or irrational.  But after taking some time to settle into my decision, I realized I made the right choice.  Sure, on paper, maybe I should have taken the trip.  I’m sure if I had forced myself to go, I would have enjoyed it after the first day or so once I was back into the rhythm of backpacking.  And sure, it would have been cool to be able to say I hiked 80 miles in 80 hours.
The fact of the matter is: backpacking is something I do because I love it.  It challenges me, it excites me, and it teaches me things about myself and the world around me that I couldn’t learn in any other way.  More than anything, I choose to go backpacking because I think it’s fun.  I don’t believe this trip would have been fun.  I think I was going into it with the wrong motivations, and I think God was trying to tell me to dedicate these days to something other than a solo backpacking trip.
There was a time in my life when I felt like backpacking was all I had.  I believed it was the only thing I was good at and the only thing I was really passionate about.  Although I still love backpacking and I know I will do much more of it in my life, I’ve also come to recognize the other incredible things I have in my life.  I value my relationships with loved ones way more now because of backpacking (it only takes a couple days of being alone in the woods to realize how much you appreciate someone) and I’ve also discovered and developed many new hobbies and talents outside of backpacking.
I’m sure I would have left the trail feeling accomplished and cool for completing my goal.  But to be frank, backpacking is not my career and it’s not vital to my happiness or success or worth as a human being.  I am incredibly lucky to have the resources and the freedom to be a backpacker, and I plan to take advantage of backpacking opportunities as often as I can.  But for today, I’m glad I chose to follow my heart and stay home.
There’s a lot in my life that’s going to be changing soon, from moving to starting college to living on my own for the first time.  I want to spend my time with the people I love, doing the things that I love, and for now, that’s going to take me off the trail for a little awhile.  I know it’ll be there for me when I decide to come back to it, and at heart, I know I’ll always be a backpacker.
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned while backpacking is to “hike your own hike”.  This means that whatever you do, do it at your own pace and for your own reasons.  To anyone reading this, backpacker or not, I encourage you to always listen to your gut, even if you don’t exactly like what it’s saying.  Have courage to make the right decisions for your own wellbeing and happiness, and surround yourself with supportive people who love you and can help you recognize your strength and worth, even when you can’t.
At the end of the day, no one is going to hike that mountain or carry that pack for you.  Don’t underestimate yourself.  Trust yourself to know what’s best for you.  Push yourself to take on challenges (but only the fun ones – you have enough stress and discomfort in your day-to-day life to try and pursue something that will only add to that with little reward).  And more than anything, do what makes you happy, brings you peace, and helps you grow, even if that means staying at home to watch TV in your pajamas with your family.

 

My Experience Taking a Gap Year

Confession: I miss being in school.  I genuinely miss the routine of going to class, finishing homework, and studying for tests.  I miss the stress of having a challenging class and the sense of accomplishment in getting a good grade on an assignment.  Watching my friends study for final exams and prepare for class presentations is bittersweet for me: it makes me realize that I’m excited to return to school (although I’m sure this excitement will die once classes actually start) but also that my gap year is coming to an end.  Although I still have the summer to spend time with loved ones and (hopefully) go on some adventures, I’m also preparing to move to college in the fall.  I’m going to be reentering the world of school after a year off while also readjusting to living on my own  for the first time.  So instead of focusing on how unprepared I feel and how much stuff I need to buy for my dorm and how long I have to register for classes and ahhhhhhh – I’m choosing to take some time to reflect on the past few months.
Here’s a summary of what I learned from taking a gap year:

  1. I learned how to budget and save money.  Being financially responsible is a habit you can never start too early.  In high school, I was motivated to work hard and get good grades because I knew it would increase my chances of getting scholarships which would then give me more freedom in choosing which college I wanted to attend.  My hard work resulted in me receiving a full ride scholarship to my top choice college, which is honestly a bigger blessing than I could have ever imagined.  As for personal expenses, I’ve worked steadily since last summer and made a point to spend less and save more, all for the purpose of being as prepared and financially independent in college as possible.
  2. I learned how to take better care of myself.  I’ve always been someone who likes to have a lot going on; I feel most fulfilled when I have a balance of school, work, and personal projects.  There was a month or two of my gap year before I was working that I had waaaaay too much downtime for my liking.  It made me realize that I had been using school and work as distractions to avoid addressing some personal issues that have been around since high school.  Realizing this was a difficult and humbling experience: I felt incredibly lost, uneasy, unmotivated, and unhappy.  I opened up to my family about what I was feeling and told them I needed help which resulted in me beginning therapy on a weekly basis.  Getting the help I had needed for a long time was, more than anything, a huge relief.  While being honest about what I was feeling was terrifying and sometimes embarrassing, I know I’m in a much better place now than I was last year.
  3.   I learned to be more flexible.  I entered my gap year with no concrete plans, only a desire to spend time with loved ones and go on a few adventures.  I ended up accomplishing much more than I expected, from hiking the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail and taking my first solo-backpacking trip to exploring the mountains of Colorado and getting tattoos with my family.  I have so many beautiful memories from this past year, and many of them were unexpected or unplanned.  On a more difficult note, I had many plans fall apart over the course of the year: my plans for college changed for reasons beyond my control almost every couple of months, and unexpected family medical emergencies led me to cancel a potential thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.  However, every frustration and change in plans helped me realize the importance of remaining flexible and trusting that God is in control of my life.  As long as I focus on the things that are really important in life, everything else will be taken care of.
  4. I learned what kind of person I actually am.  Towards the end of my time in high school, I began to envision the type of future I would have: I pictured myself being a loner and finding a job that required constant travel so I wouldn’t need to depend on anyone else.  I’ve always been independent and that quality still remains, but over the course of my gap year, I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty and importance of having relationships with others.  While I still value my alone time, I now also prioritize my relationships with loved ones, and I’ve come to recognize their importance in my life.

Although there have been a lot of difficult times throughout these past few months, I believe taking a gap year was the right decision for me.  Every difficult lesson in the past year has better equipped me to tackle the future and, most importantly, I got to spend time making fantastic memories with my friends and family.  I wish I could say I spent 6 months backpacking through Europe or road tripping across the U.S., but I trust I will make the time for those adventures in the future.  I’m still proud of everything I did over my gap year, and I’m looking forward to my last summer before college.  And to everyone trying to make it through finals week: next year, I’ll be struggling right alongside you.

2016

2016 – Video

2016 has been… a year.

As 2017 approaches, I feel like I’m just barely crawling out of this year – alive but pretty broken down.  Not quite victorious or triumphant, but far from giving up or quitting.

I really wish I had a lot of beautiful words to spew about what this year has been like and what it’s taught me and what I’m hoping for next year, but honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this year.

But in the meantime, here’s what I do know for sure:

A lot of stuff happened in 2016.  A lot of firsts and a lot of lasts.  A lot of new experiences and a lot of challenges I didn’t see coming.

I made a lot of beautiful memories this year with a lot of beautiful people, and I know I’m going to hold onto those moments for a very long time.

I did some pretty big things this year that I’m really proud of.  I went to Sundance, graduated high school, worked at CNN, climbed 5 mountains in 48 hours, hiked up Pikes Peak, and section-hiked the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.
I did some smaller things this year, too.  I got my first tattoo(s).  I dyed and shaved and cut my hair a bunch of different ways.  I pierced my nose.  I got a job at a rock-climbing gym and started rock-climbing more than ever.  I opened up to my friends and family about things I’ve been struggling with and started getting real help to address issues I’ve tried to ignore for the past several years.  I’m just as proud of the small things as I am the big things.

I made a lot of plans this year that didn’t work out.  My plans for college have changed almost every 3 months or so, and I still don’t know for sure where I’ll end up.
I made some goals for my gap year that I’ve chosen to put on hold, and I’m still trying to accept that they’re not going to happen.
But I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve made, even if they’ve put me in a place of uncertainty.  I know I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be, even on the days when I’m stubborn and I want to know right now what’s going to happen and I’m terrified by the fact that some things are just very simply out of my control.

So yes: 2016 has been quite the year.  I’m sure 2017 will be, too.  I don’t really know what’s going to happen and I’m learning to accept that it is okay for me not to know sometimes.

But for now, I know that I am safe and I am loved and I have many more adventures ahead of me, and today, right now, that is enough.