2021 Yr in Evaluate: The Yr of Metamorphosis

February 8, 2022

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Most of my 12 months 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 … you understand, juicy stuff. This 12 months? This was just like the 12 months of its-still-2020 and in addition the 12 months of its-not-2022 but. It was additionally the 12 months I had some extraordinarily disagreeable well being problems. So the unique working title of this publish was “the 12 months of in-between,” after which I added “and puke” to spice it up (there’s … a variety of puke on this publish, truthful warning).

However as I wrote, I spotted there have been some huge highlights: like, we bought vaccinated (!!), and I bought pregnant (!!!). And as my mindset shifted and I began waiting for what my life post-baby will seem like, I began making vital adjustments in my enterprise. I stepped method 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 also can delivery a model new enterprise child on the similar time?). And sooner or later, I finished 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 12 months 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 12 months, little by little, nearly imperceptibly, every part 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 completely forthcoming final 12 months…

Searching 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:


Exploring the Dark History of Cartagena, Colombia

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 12 months 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 had been all hacking and coughing. A number of weeks later, deeply anxious and anxious 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 had been in Louisville, Jeremy had the brilliant thought to go home purchasing. He thought it might 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 possibly transferring to Louisville sooner or later for years. So why not simply have a look at some homes? What hurt might it do??

Properly, my mates, 4 hours of house-hunting later, we’d put in a suggestion 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 completely refurbished 1870’s Victorian, all redone with model new every part that very same 12 months. It was stunning, 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 stay in Kentucky, I wanted to offer 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 suggestion on the home. Might we afford it? I actually had no thought. I’d been looking at my monetary spreadsheets for therefore lengthy I’d gone cross-eyed, and we didn’t even have financing lined up. However what hurt might it do to place in a suggestion and simply, I don’t know, see what occurred? We’d have a while to name banks and organize for a mortgage, proper?

HA. We had no f***king thought what we had been doing. We actually didn’t understand that a suggestion isn’t only a “see what they are saying” sort 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 regardless that we provided LESS than asking, our provide 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 might really afford.

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

So we spent the following 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 really consider? (To be sincere, I’m nonetheless not completely 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 following 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 instantly. We had a lease, and Jeremy’s job might 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, making an attempt to make numbers work. It’s not precisely like our enterprise was doing nicely – in actual fact, we’d barely begun incomes cash once more across the latter half of 2020 when of us began touring domestically once more – however we had been doing okay, and fortunately, we had financial savings to spare, since for completely no purpose, the inventory market was doing weirdly nicely.

However then we lastly got here up with an really first rate 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 following 6 months, we will cowl our mortgage and fake this complete house-buying debacle was only a completely regular, affordable 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
Take into account this your warning: don’t go to Zillow and begin shopping homes in Louisville. As a result of earlier than you understand it, you’ll be beneath contract for some ridiculously inexpensive, attractive Victorian from the 1800’s…

Cue extra scrambling and calling individuals in Kentucky. A number of weeks later, we managed to discover a property supervisor with incredible on-line evaluations who appeared assured they might hire our place out at a charge that will cowl our mortgage, property taxes, and residential insurance coverage. Solely they advisable an extended lease than 6 months – a 6 month lease is absolutely 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 will put us again in the midst of the college 12 months. However we might do a year-and-a-half lease, ending in summer time 2021. That may give us one other 12 months of Jeremy’s wage to make good and positive we had been financially steady (since operating a journey weblog throughout a pandemic shouldn’t be a safeguard for monetary stability), and it might 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’d 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 shouldn’t be a home rental kinda space.

As we neared New Years Day, Jeremy and I each realized one thing: we had been really each prepared to depart California and transfer into that huge stunning Victorian dwelling in Kentucky. We needed to maneuver in the summertime of 2021. And we actually didn’t wish to wait an additional 12 months and a half.

Nevertheless 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 in all probability be closed anyway, and actually, who rents a home on Christmas? So we figured we’d wait till after New Years Day.

We bought a name on December twenty ninth from our property managers. A tenant could be transferring in on December thirty first, and so they’d already signed a 1.5 12 months lease.

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

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 huge, stunning home we’d spontaneously purchased.

So we did one thing sort of determined: we provided 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 doubtless made our property managers look horrible, however we had been irrational and confused and emotional. (I can’t 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 stay in our home! Seems, they’d really discovered ANOTHER dwelling earlier than ours, signed a lease, and had been on the point of transfer in – once they immediately 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 transferring again dwelling, being near family and friends, exploring Louisville, and dwelling in that stupidly stunning home. A 12 months and a half felt like a longggg time. And so we hunkered down to attend it out.

Psst: You in all probability wish to see the home, proper? (We’re not the one HouseHunters addicts, proper?!) We’ve bought a full walkthrough in our Instagram Highlights – be at liberty 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 12 months on a tragic be aware, we additionally began 2021 with hope. A brand new president, a brand new vaccine on the way in which – certainly, this could be the 12 months 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 12 months was simply dragging on. We had been nonetheless just about in lockdown, as we’d been since March 13, 2020. Jeremy was instructing remotely – each a blessing and a curse – and except for the often out of doors weekend day journey, we weren’t actually going anyplace or doing something.

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

However with the rollout of the brand new vaccines, every part 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 actually? Getting vaccinated was unimaginable. I actually teared up each occasions. It didn’t damage, nevertheless it was simply such a flood of … overwhelming reduction. The psychological weight that had been tethering me launched. We in all probability wouldn’t die each time we stepped inside just a few 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 wish to personally hug each member of the scientific neighborhood who made the vaccine doable. However I assume I’ll wait till the pandemic is absolutely 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 completely overseas. We ate at eating places once more (nonetheless principally open air, although). We took weekend journeys and stayed in motels. 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 Publish-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 aircraft! This might be our first trip since 2019 , and we had been so stoked.

We determined to go to Maui, Hawaii for just a few 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 shouldn’t be enforced like it’s on a aircraft) 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 checks 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.

Moreover, 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 bit, and I wanted for a break to assist me regain my sense of surprise and awe for touring (lol, f**ok 2019 me). Properly, want freakin’ granted. I can’t bear in mind the final time I had this type of pleasure for a visit, like, conserving me awake in the midst of the night time ranges of pleasure. I savored it.

I packed like 2976827678 bathing fits and we had 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 open air, snorkeling, swimming, taking a whale-watching cruise, watching the sundown, and taking lengthy, luxurious walks on the seashore within the heat night air. You’ll be able to see precisely what we did in this Instagram highlight!

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 seashore nearly each weekend and found a number of new favourite parks.

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

Actually, we had been gutted. That home was the good place to gap up throughout a pandemic, with its monumental, stunning 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 actually, really felt like a dwelling and never simply an residence we had been renting!

However, that’s the lifetime of a renter. So we began on the lookout for a brand new place to stay – fortunately, we’d been given 3 months discover, which was big as a result of discovering a home to hire within the Bay Space is extremely troublesome. Many 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 superb 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 searching, we took two extra weekend journeys in April and Could, 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 12 months was undoubtedly the 12 months of revisiting locations I’ve already visited and gloriously leaving my digicam tucked away within the lodge room!

For our 5-year marriage ceremony anniversary in Could, we took a staycation in San Francisco. We booked one of many motels from our Where to Stay in San Francisco post, took a meals tour by way 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 through the pandemic they’d put in a extremely baller pool, which I didn’t go away for your complete weekend.

In June, we had been nonetheless scrambling to discover a place to stay, 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 placing 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 transferring out of a spot in our previous neighborhood, just some blocks from the residence 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***ok 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 principally stayed at dwelling, unpacking and settling into our new place. Shifting is tense each for individuals and fur-babies, and we didn’t wish to stress Mulan out additional by leaving her at dwelling(regardless that she’s fairly used to it by now).

We did, nevertheless, take a wonderful highway journey all the way in which right down to San Diego, stopping alongside the way in which to go to household once more. We booked a stunning dog-friendly lodge close to the canine seashore and located an superior doggy daycare to drop Mulan so we might spend a day on the Zoo. And we just about adopted our precise 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 passion: swimming! In our previous home, we lived simply down the block from a pool – nevertheless it closed down in March 2020 and didn’t open again up till over a 12 months and a half later, after 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 per week – as quickly because it bought 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, absolutely outfitted in my beloved swim leggings. I began swimming laps 2-3x per week and inside just a few months, I used to be swimming a mile at a time.

In July, we took our first huge, 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 high of the standard traveling-in-a-pandemic anxiousness, I used to be anxious about all the standard pre-trip issues. Would we have the ability to talk, or was our Spanish too rusty? What if we bought misplaced? Would there be sufficient WiFi or ought to we get knowledge plans? Did we pack every part 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 converse the language, we felt … at dwelling. Moving into the humid tropical air, talking not-great-but-also-not-terrible Spanish to taxi drivers, and making an attempt to navigate our method by way of a brand new, unfamiliar place collectively felt like slipping on a favourite pair of worn-out denims considering they won’t nonetheless match, solely to search out that they nonetheless match completely.

Actually, it was unimaginable. Because it was our first huge journey in years, we splurged, reserving all non-public shuttles reasonably than taking public transit (actually, it barely even price rather more and was nicely price it for the way a lot simpler it made every part) and even spending a number of days staying in an expensive eco-resort.

The eco-resort was a spot my mother and father took us on a household trip once I was 8 known as La Paloma Lodge, and I’ve been dreaming of returning to it for actually over 20 years. It’s the sort of place you go on throughout your honeymoon, and in reality, 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 definitely a lot pricier than we often 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 bought 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 absolutely planning to write down up our total itinerary, nevertheless it’s a beast and I’m nonetheless slowly working away at it! Within the meantime, you possibly can see every part we did in this Instagram highlight, and I printed 35 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Costa Rica.

The reminiscences of our time in Costa Rica will follow us ceaselessly, and we absolutely plan to return once more. However I don’t know when the following time will likely be that we’re in a position to journey internationally, as a result of ….

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