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I wrote a book this past year. I’m super pumped and proud of my accomplishment.

I do, however, feel the need to explain. This isn’t a story for publication. Chances are, no one else will ever read it besides me.

So why am I so excited to have finished?

Because it’s a journal about my life’s adventure. Somehow, amid a pandemic, I managed to take 3 trips, collectively totaling less than 1 month of travel experiences, and fill every page with our stories.

Last year for my 40th birthday, instead of buying me a birthday card, my parents gave me a journal. They wrote their well-wishes in the front and my mom explained that she wanted me to use the pages to write down vacation memories.

I expected it to take years to fill up the pages of destination after destination with my darling. When I brought the journal with me on our Yellowstone trip, Jay assumed the journal would only have room for the memories from that trip. I laughed and wondered just how much he thought I’d be able to write about the 17-day journey.

I’m not sure why I adore photos of Jay looking grumpy.
This is us in front of Yellowstone Lake, near one of the geyser areas.

Less than a year after receiving the journal for my birthday, I filled in the last page this week. As predicted by my darling, I only had room for 3 trips.

Table of Contents
Justus League – Emerald Isle (7 days)
Camp Fradd – Traveling Teton Tour (17 days)
Camp Fradd – Mount Mitchell Weekend Adventure (3 days)

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. A sign in the Cody, Wyoming gift shop quoted John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

Each time we ventured across the state line, I felt terrified. We took as many precautions as we could, but COVID has proven its chaotic nature over the past year. I didn’t know if we would get 26+ hours from home, only to get sick and be stranded far away from our doctors. What would it look like to isolate where we couldn’t rely on family to make food drops on our doorstep?

Still, we took the chance.

Because I also know the fear that comes with being in the emergency room, wondering if our days of travel adventures are over. We came through the other side ER season, maybe a bit worse for wear, but ready to live. I adopted “Get busy living or get busy dying” as my motto. I’ve tried my best to honor the concept, and I have a journal full of treasured memories to prove it.

Jay and I sharing a double kayak on our last day in the Grand Teton National Park.

How do you archive vacation memories? Do you scrapbook? Save photos in albums on Facebook?

Also, I’d love to hear something you’re proud of achieving this past year. Few things seem to come easy these days, so we need to celebrate every win we can!