Oh, 2015 you were just a doll. I know it was a really rough year for a lot of people, and I’m not gonna sit here and say that my year was free of it’s own issues. But for the most part, the year treated me well and taught me so, so much about myself and the world around me.
Q4 kicked off with my trip to Atlanta for Camp Nerd Fitness where I traveled across the country, not knowing any of the 300 people attending camp and hoping to God that it wouldn’t suck. Well, it didn’t suck. Was it everything I was hoping it would be? Not exactly, but I’m glad I went. I’m glad I pushed myself out of another comfort zone and embarked on something totally different. The highlights of that trip were sitting on the veranda of the main building in a wooden rocking chair and writing with the rain coming down and meeting a really awesome girl who I’m traveling abroad with in 2016 (more about that in a later post)! I definitely learned that I really do need my alone time and that when I’m overstimulated by large crowds, I really shut down. Hence, the copious amounts of time alone on the porch.
Once the camp was done, I had 2 1/2 days by myself in the city of Atlanta to explore, and I have to say, I was greatly looking forward to it! I had a darling studio mother-in-law apartment from an older gay couple in the heart of Midtown and walked a good majority of that area into the downtown area. I randomly decided to take the MARTA to Buckhead and that experience proved just how comfortable I’ve become being out of control and not completely prepared as I had no idea what route to take, but confidently walked to the station knowing I could just figure it out. And I did! I saw the MLK historic site, ate amazing Southern food, reveled in street art and architecture and visited an old blues bar for live music. But ultimately, hands down, my favorite part of Atlanta was the Southern hospitality I encountered and the Apache Cafe which I attended on a Sunday night for their open mic poetry night. Next to sitting at the Medici Fountain in Paris and writing my revelations, this experience was tied for first place in 2015. The talent I saw in that room, the space, the vibes, the love, the art….my God, the art. My heart was so incredibly full when I left that all I could do when I got back to my room was sit in awe trying to process it all. I have never been so moved. The MC was so right when he opened up the night stating that that night was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, because no other night would have that exact group of people. The energy that flowed in and out of everyone was magical. And I’ll stop now before everyone thinks I’m a complete nut. Aside from that, the city itself wooed me. I loved it so much.
Next came a couple more concerts, the first being The Lone Bellow which is a trio out of New York. I was privileged to discover them right before their first album dropped and bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale knowing that they would be amazing. Making the night even better was their opening act, Anderson East, who is a bluesy artist out of Nashville who I also discovered right before his first album drop. Suffice it to say, it was an incredible night, set in the historic Neptune Theater in Seattle. With harmonies flowing and talent beyond most, I rode the wave of an incredible show, with an all-cast closing performance of Purple Rain. It was epic.
I bought tickets to see Chance the Rapper after missing him at Bumbershoot, but I have to be honest, I bailed half-way through the show because I just couldn’t get into it. He was good, but I just had no connection to him. I’m glad to have seen what I did, but really, kind of a fail on my part. However, the next show I saw was A$AP Rocky and there was absolutely no disappointment there for me! I love him so much and found him to be an incredible performer. Being in a sea of teenagers was a little off-putting, but what can ya do?
In November, I attempted to participate in Nanowrimo for the first time and failed miserably. Out of the 50,000 words I was supposed to write, I wrote about 2,700. But, that’s 2,700 more words than I had written, so props to me for something! And I have a partial draft for each chapter of my novella that I hope to finish one day about my 2015 travels. I definitely want to participate again in 2016 and strive for better.
Closing out my travels was my trip to Puerto Rico. This trip was the only other trip aside from Austin where I traveled with someone and had no alone time built in. To say that was a learning experience is an understatement. I really, really need my alone time. But first, the trip. Puerto Rico was stunning. I was so amazed at the color of the water and how it changed depending on where you were on the island. The food was incredible, though lacking in large quantities of vegetables, and cocktails, while good, not that much cheaper than the state surprisingly. I was able to put some of my new swimming skills to use in the pool at our condo and a little bit in the ocean. I ended up renting a car so that we would be able to explore the island at our leisure which was good, but also terrifying because those people drive like maniacs! However, I loved being able to see the areas that weren’t populated by tourists, to see how the average Puerto Rican lived. Old San Juan was so incredibly beautiful, with their colorful buildings and blue-tiled streets. Oh man oh man, do they know how to party. The culture was friendly and warm. The weather was a balmy 85 degrees every day, and my skin has never felt so great from all the salt water action. I have always said that I was not a beach vacation kind of gal, but after this trip, I can freely admit that I was wrong. So wrong.
The remaining month of the year was filled with holiday parties, busy work days and catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I also found a lot of time to think and ponder my year, to really contemplate what I want and what I’m going after and to set some good ideas in motion. I can definitely feel myself elevating to a new level and I’m excited to see where that takes me. I can already feel some uncomfortable changes relationally, but I’m trying to stand my ground and let things fall where they may. Instead of dragging people into the spaces I love, I’m going into those spaces either alone to find people who already love it, or taking people who I haven’t spent as much time with who are interested. Ah, transition…such a “fun” time.
2015 – The Experience = Complete!