2017 Year in Review
I have written one of these every year since starting this blog and it's one of my favorite posts to put together (you can read 2015's here and 2016's here) 2017 was another great year of of adventuring and growth for me. I made a couple of major life changes I would have been too scared to make in previous years and was able to travel to a few amazing places!
Adopting Kuma the Adventure Pup
By far the best decision I made this year was adopting Kuma. I grew up with dogs but never felt secure enough on my own to bring that responsibility into my life. When Brian and I moved into a home where we were able to have a dog I immediately began bombarding Brian with requests for a dog. I started following multiple rescues on Facebook to find dogs that needed homes. I was on PetFinder every day looking for a dog to adopt. Brian wasn't as sure as I was and I think he was breathing a sigh of relief when we were rejected to adopt a couple of dogs due to our apartment living situation.
Eventually I found Kuma on PetFinder. He was listed in Seattle but when I inquired about him I found out he was actually in Houston. A lot of rescues in that area list their dogs up North because their shelters are overpopulated and they find more adopters up here. I knew not being able to meet Kuma first might be a roadblock for Brian so I asked him how he felt and offered to let him think about it, all while submitting the dog application in secret...thankfully Brian was 100% on board by the time I found out we were approved and Kuma would be flying up from Houston!
The first couple of months were a little rough while we figured out how to train Kuma and keep him from eating things that were making him sick, but he has been the best dog! Especially considering his history. Before we adopted Kuma he found starving and wandering the streets in Houston. When we took him for an x-ray of his tummy after he ate a sock, we found out he had been shot at some point! How anyone could shoot such a sweet loving animal is beyond me, but apparently it happened. Despite a rough start to life he is so friendly to everyone he meets. He loves hiking with me and is the best cuddle buddy. I am so happy we adopted him this year and I am so excited to continue training and adventuring with him in 2018!
First Backpacking Trip
This year I went backpacking for the first time, and against the advice of everyone, I did it by myself! Well, by myself + Kuma! I kept making plans to go with other friends but they kept falling through and my window was closing to test out my gear before taking it to Havasupai. So I packed it all up and went to Barclay Lake with Kuma!
Barclay Lake is probably barely considered backpacking at 4.4 miles round trip with basically no elevation gain, but that makes it perfect for someone who has NO IDEA what they are doing. I chose it because if in the middle of the night I decided I wasn't into it, packing up and hiking 2.2 miles back to my car would be fairly easy.
Overall it was easy and uneventful! Kuma chewed through his long leash while I was setting up the tent so I had to jerry-rig a new long leash for him. I also learned to bring a large water storage system after I accidentally gave myself a dehydration headache by being too lazy to walk down to the lake and filter more water after I ate my dinner...oops.
Even though it was easy and I didn't die, I hiked out of Barclay Lake feeling a little more badass than I felt when I hiked in. I wandered into the wilderness for a night and kept myself and my dog alive and warm. I didn't forget any major items or get scared and leave in the middle of the night. My boyfriend may have made bets I was going to come home early, but I proved him wrong!
This coming Summer I won't wait to see if friends can join me on my excursions. I will still invite them, but if they can't make it I will continue out with Kuma and feel perfectly fine doing so!
Traveling to Zion National Park and Havasupai
What really made Havasupai special is the fact that this was the first trip I have ever gone on without a significant other or an older family member to guide my way or plan for me. I am slightly ashamed to say that since I am 28, but it's true. I painstakingly planned every detail of this trip, and it ended up being the best trip I have ever taken! I saw so many amazing bucket list locations and I am ready to do plan something else like this for myself in 2018! There are a couple of locations I am considering, and I am hoping it will happen around September again.
Surprise Trip to Banff
This year Brian surprised me with a long weekend trip to Banff for my birthday. It was perfect because Brian is more of a city guy and doesn’t really enjoy some of the long wilderness excursions I force him to go on. Luckily, Banff is like nature Disneyland so we drove up to a lot of viewpoints or did short hikes which was perfect for him, and *fingers crossed* I think he enjoyed it! Hopefully, I can convince him to visit another nature location with me in 2018!
Hong Kong and Singapore
We visited Hong Kong for the second time this year, and Singapore for the first time! The trip felt rushed after our flight was delayed and we lost a day in Hong Kong, but overall, I loved being back there and exploring the city and surrounding trails again. The food in Hong Kong is also my favorite, it’s ridiculously cheap and so good. Before we even purchased our tickets to Hong Kong, Brian and I had our first few meals planned out!
Singapore was great because our friend Rachel is from there and could guide us to the best food and spots to visit. We only had 48 hours to see as much as possible and we definitely fit A LOT in those 48 hours (I may have even fallen asleep at the dinner table our first night there) Next time I visit I will split the cost of a room at the Marina Bay Sands so I can check out that infinity pool!
Being Okay with Giving up
This was a big one for me, and may seem completely unrelated to what I usually post about. In my 2016 bog post I mentioned my goal to have an amateur boxing match in 2017, and based on the heading I am guessing you can tell that didn't happen.
I worked really hard at it until around August of this year. For most of 2017 Monday-Friday was becoming a version of my own personal hell. I was working 9-5 then immediately heading outside to do a 3-5 mile run before heading to the gym for an hour of sparring or skill work. I would get home exhausted at 9:30pm every night and attempt to eat some food before passing out. I started dieting at the beginning of the year to make it to a lower weight class, even though actively trying to lose weight was something I promised myself I would never do again. On top of all this on the weekends I was still heading outside to hike and explore, which became the only thing I looked forward to during the week.
It still pains me to know how close I was to achieving my goal. I was at my desired fighting weight, I was in the best shape of my life, My mental strength was better than it had ever been before, but I was completely miserable. Every night I came home and snapped at Brian for every little random thing or ignored him so I wouldn't start a fight. On the drive to the gym every day I would have to give myself the longest pep talks to even walk in the front door. I can be the kind of person who will just do things because I said I was going to do it, even if it gives me no joy. No one is holding me to my word but me, and yet there I am with this chip on my shoulder thinking I have something to prove.
It all kind of blew up during the Summer. I was out hiking more often and resenting all time spent inside at the gym. My commitment was already being questioned by my coaches and I knew in September-November I had multiple trips planned that would detract from my progress and push a potential fight date out even further. I was miserable and there was no end in sight. Then it dawned on me, I don't have to do this. Acknowledging that this goal gives me no joy and walking away is a win on its own. So after I returned from Havasupai I gave up. It's been a struggle to say I gave up, but ultimately I am happy I did.
What's in Store for 2018?
I kind of hate the idea of making resolutions, a lot can change in a year and I don't want to make myself feel bad if I can't meet some arbitrary goal I made because everyone else does. I will say that I am determined that 2018 will be a year I pursue things I WANT to pursue and love doing. I won't kick myself for giving up on things that make me miserable.
I am starting this year with a trip to Costa Rica in February with Brian and my family. I am hoping it will help me push through the Seasonal Affective Disorder I have been experiencing and help me feel refreshed and ready to tackle some of the things I hope to accomplish!
I hope 2017 treated you all well and 2018 can be a year of change and growth for us all!