2017, the year!

Phew. As I type this post in an airport lounge after having done 12 trips to and from the airport in the past three weeks, I can feel the fatigue of the travel. I have had a great year, no doubt, but it is normal to feel like this once you've said your byes to your loved ones... all you want to do is to get to your home, and lie down in your blankie there.
In a bid to keep my promise to my family and friends that they'd see me once every six months, the husband and I, IMHO have overdone the India travel bit. Thinking about the 14 hour long haul flight kills all joy of travel for me these days, and it is extending to other travel too. I know that at the other end of the travel is love and home for me, and I also know that I make it big in my head, but just the thought of being cooped up in the flight for so long gets to me, these days. 
As always, this year also has been great. We didn't travel outside of our current-home as much as I'd have liked to, but we've had a great summer and a wonderful hiking season.

Outdoors - We started hiking pretty early in the year, and so by the time we got to September, we could feel the fatigue of having hiked quite a bit. We have 36 hikes in 2017. Hiking wasn't and cannot be the primary exercise, and so this was done only on weekends. Most Saturdays, the husband, I and our hiking buddy would pack our backpacks and head onto to a pre-determined hike by 7AM. We'd mostly be back by 2PM, finish our lunch and then rest for the weekend. On Sundays in summer, the husband and I day-camped in state parks, he in his tent, and I in my hammock. We'd read, or just lie down soaking in the sun, and looking at others doing the same. It was idyllic and relaxing in all ways. We'd be back home by 3-4PM, and get on with prep for the next week.
So far , we've also visited 8 national parks. I am still in awe at the concept of national parks and how accessible they are, to us, and we've made the most of it. In 2016, we visited Utah for Zion and Bryce Canyon, and I feel like I left a tiny piece of my heard somewhere in the Utah landscapes. I have to go back there in 2018, to the rest of the national parks. We did the Olympic Peninsula loop over a single day, and a roadtrip to Crater Lake. North Cascades is literally in our backyard, and I gasp every single time I look at Rainier even if I am driving. This year, we got blissfully lost in the trails in Yosemite, quite literally, and walked among the Giants among the Sequoias.
In addition to the national parks, the wilderness areas we explored this year were crazy beautiful too. I hope to someday go back to the Hood Wildnerness, or into the Eastern Oregon roads to see Jefferson and Hood from those long, winding roads. The fire in Columbia Gorge broke many hearts including mine, and so we missed the Gorge this year. 
I really hope that we continue this love for outdoors into the next few years we are in the United States too. I have a list of national parks I want to visit, and I want to start chipping away at that list in this year.
This year, we also toyed with the idea of camping. Turns out, we are not that couple. We are people who don't mind waking up at 4AM in order to see a sunrise or get to a trailhead early enough, but we are definitely not those people that would lie down in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. We love camping as long as we see other people in the vicinity and if there is broad daylight, yes, most definitely.

Work - Oh, something new happened on this front. I moved out of my parent team, a team that I spent 11 years with to join another team. The new team is all new, obviously, and there is tremendous opportunity to learn and grow, and I feel excited. It felt sad to leave the team that was almost like family, but I had to do it for myself - in the spirit of learning and growing. The process of looking for this new job was a very good learning experience as well - I had to re-learn the art of selling myself and my past work, deal with disappointments, learn to be patient and not jump to conclusions without anything concrete. I was pretty proud of the prep-work that I put in for my job interviews too, something I never knew I could do.

Life - As expected, this bit has been great too. I enjoyed some tremendous work-life balance this year, with life taking a front seat. Lazy evenings reading a book, many weekends and late nights watching guilt-inducing TV, guffawing and laughing at all the Trump jokes on late night... these were a few things I got to do this year. The few friends we have in the new place is still the same, but the friendships have gotten deeper and better. We still hang out in smaller groups, our socializing style hasnt changed. But a huge step forward for us has been a trip with friends to Bali in December - we thought all along that we arent the people who like to go with other people, but turns out thats not entirely true - as long as we love the people we go out with. All our space issues are in our head, and we found plently of space for the things we wanted to do, while still having fun with friends in this trip.

Books - Yet again, another good year for books. More on this here.

In 2018, as always, I will add one resolution to workout better - at a predictable frequency. I need to keep up the Yoga lessons at the gym and pick up swimming. This would help me condition for the hikes, and get me ready by the time we get to Spring.

Another resolution this year is to not shop for clothes till June 2018. This rule comes with a few caveats - I will only buy a few dresses and skirts when we get to summer because I am yet to build a decent wardrobe with these items. The budget for these is limited, anyways. Refills of any kind like Shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics and soaps will be bought, but no new make-up related items. If absolutely required, I will buy workout wear, summer footwear and items related to luggage. Everything else would be a No, and I want to follow through this for the first six months and evaluate the wardrobe. I might even extend the rule for the second half depending on the results.

I'd also like to travel a bit this year. And that doesn't include the border-runs to Surrey and Vancouver, BC, but going to new places both within and outside of the States.

Am looking forward to this year, because we have plans for family to visit us this in States this year, and with an additional hope that a few friends might come down too... :-)


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