2021 was the year of metamorphosis. Also health problems, pregnancy, a major shift in the way I think about my business, and puke. A lot of puke.

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Most of my yr in assessment posts have had some kind 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 yr? This was just like the yr of its-still-2020 and likewise the yr of its-not-2022 but. It was additionally the yr I had some extraordinarily disagreeable well being problems. So the unique working title of this submit was “the yr of in-between,” after which I added “and puke” to spice it up (there’s … lots of puke on this submit, honest warning).

However as I wrote, I spotted there have been some large highlights: like, we bought vaccinated (!!), and I bought pregnant (!!!). And as my mindset shifted and I began looking forward to what my life post-baby will seem like, I began making vital modifications in my enterprise. I stepped approach again from the day-to-day of Sensible Wanderlust, empowered my team to make choices 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 little one after I may also delivery a model new enterprise child on the similar time?). And in some unspecified time in the future, I ended 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 yr of metamorphosis. Not solely did my physique undergo a Kafka-esque transformation that fully 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 yr, little by little, nearly imperceptibly, all the things shifted.

However earlier than we dive into 2021, we’ve to do some little bit of time journey. As a result of I wasn’t completely forthcoming final yr…

In search of extra year-in-review posts? We’ve been writing them yearly because the 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 yr in August, there was this loopy lightning storm that lit 300 fires in California in a single day. A couple of days later, the solar stopped rising, the air went a sickly shade of darkish orange, air high quality was 300+, and we have been all hacking and coughing. A couple of weeks later, deeply anxious and fearful about Mulan’s little lungs and our personal psychological well being, we hopped on a airplane 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 have been in Louisville, Jeremy had the brilliant thought to go home buying. He thought it could 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 at some point for years. So why not simply have a look at some homes? What hurt may it do??

Effectively, my associates, 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 mentioned, pandemic-fire-induced terror. And I imply, this home was attractive – a completely refurbished 1870’s Victorian, all redone with model new all the things that very same yr. 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 supply him with the excellent 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. May 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 may 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 prepare for a mortgage, proper?

HA. We had no f***king thought what we have been doing. We actually didn’t notice that a suggestion isn’t only a “see what they are saying” form of deal, or that in Kentucky – not like the Bay Space – you aren’t competing with 196287836 individuals who all have extra money than you.

So although we provided LESS than asking, our provide was – to our compete shock – accepted. And we have been now in a legally binding contract with a house that we weren’t even positive but that we may truly afford.

What the hell have 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 regarded 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 truly consider? (To be trustworthy, 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 saved studying about on reddit, however no matter – and someway 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 may 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 lease (which was, by the way, double our mortgage in Kentucky).

I furiously performed with a number of extra spreadsheets, attempting to make numbers work. It’s not precisely like our enterprise was doing nicely – the truth is, we’d barely begun incomes cash once more across the latter half of 2020 when of us began touring domestically once more – however we have been doing okay, and fortunately, we had financial savings to spare, since for completely no motive, the inventory market was doing weirdly nicely.

However then we lastly got here up with an truly respectable thought (possibly the primary of this entire, hare-brained scheme): why don’t we get a tenant?? If we will discover somebody to lease out our home for the following 6 months, we will cowl our mortgage and fake this entire house-buying debacle was only a completely regular, cheap choice we made to I don’t know, put money into 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 underneath contract for some ridiculously inexpensive, attractive Victorian from the 1800’s…

Cue extra scrambling and calling individuals in Kentucky. A couple of weeks later, we managed to discover a property supervisor with implausible on-line evaluations who appeared assured they may lease our place out at a charge that will cowl our mortgage, property taxes, and residential insurance coverage. Solely they really helpful 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 varsity yr. However we may do a year-and-a-half lease, ending in summer time 2021. That may give us one other yr of Jeremy’s wage to make good and positive we have been financially secure (since operating a journey weblog throughout a pandemic isn’t a safeguard for monetary stability), and it could 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 would must 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 isn’t a home rental kinda space.

As we neared New Years Day, Jeremy and I each realized one thing: we have been truly each prepared to go away California and transfer into that large stunning Victorian dwelling in Kentucky. We needed to maneuver in the summertime of 2021. And we actually didn’t need to wait an additional yr 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 most likely 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 yr lease.

We have been shook. We actually didn’t anticipate how rapidly our home would lease, 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.

Truthfully, we have been gutted. It hit us then how badly we’d each been wanting to maneuver, and the way excited we have been to maneuver into this large, stunning home we’d spontaneously purchased.

So we did one thing form 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 have 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 have been a HOT MESS).

However they didn’t need our cash – they simply needed to stay in our home! Seems, they’d truly discovered ANOTHER dwelling earlier than ours, signed a lease, and have been on the brink of transfer in – once they all of a sudden 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 have 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 residing in that stupidly stunning home. A yr and a half felt like a longggg time. And so we hunkered down to attend it out.

Psst: You most likely need 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 yr on a tragic word, we additionally began 2021 with hope. A brand new president, a brand new vaccine on the best way – certainly, this could be the yr we put this entire pandemic factor away for good, proper?? HA.

However for the primary a number of months of 2021, we have been in a holding sample, just like the final yr was simply dragging on. We have 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 sometimes outside weekend day journey, we weren’t actually going wherever 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, all the things modified. As a result of he was a trainer, Jeremy was capable of get vaccinated February, and since I’ve a pacemaker which makes me immunocompromised, I used to be capable of get vaccinated in early March.

And actually? Getting vaccinated was unimaginable. I actually teared up each instances. It didn’t damage, but it surely was simply such a flood of … overwhelming aid. The psychological weight that had been tethering me launched. We most likely wouldn’t die each time we stepped inside a couple of toes of somebody! I hadn’t even realized how a lot fixed, never-ending 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 potential. 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 have been capable of resume a degree of normalcy that felt completely overseas. We ate at eating places once more (nonetheless principally outside, although). We took weekend journeys and stayed in accommodations. We noticed associates!! Issues we as soon as took without any consideration got here again in a flood of happiness and pleasure.

And, in fact, we began touring once more.

March-July: That Put up-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 have been vaccinated, however we waited anyway – we’ve a really low danger 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 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 an especially dangerous – however extremely thrilling – choice, to take a freakin’ trip. Like an precise journey. On a airplane! This could be our first trip since 2019 , and we have been so stoked.

We determined to go to Maui, Hawaii for a couple of 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 carrying isn’t enforced like it’s on a airplane) as a lot as potential. Second, as a result of it was one of many solely locations on the time requiring vaccines or adverse COVID assessments and implementing quarantine. And third, as a result of we had a free place to remain and a free automotive to make use of due to a household buddy.

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 without any consideration a bit of bit, and I wanted for a break to assist me regain my sense of surprise and awe for touring (lol, f**okay 2019 me). Effectively, want freakin’ granted. I can’t bear in mind the final time I had this sort 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 have been off. The airplane wasn’t full, the island was blooming and half empty, and we took full benefit! We spent a completely heavenly week consuming outside, snorkeling, swimming, taking a whale-watching cruise, watching the sundown, and taking lengthy, luxurious walks on the seaside within the heat night air. You possibly can see precisely what we did in this Instagram highlight!

It felt like we have been lastly, lastly getting again some degree of normalcy, and it rejuvinated us each.

For the remainder of April, I reveled in springtime. I sat exterior underneath our wisteria-covered pergola consuming strawberries and portray or studying. We took Mulan to the seaside nearly each weekend and found a number of new favourite parks.

Round this time we acquired some extremely disappointing information: the house owners of our dwelling have been coming back from the place they’d been residing overseas as a result of pandemic, and we’d want to go away our rental.

Truthfully, we have been gutted. That home was the excellent 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 condo we have been renting!

However, that’s the lifetime of a renter. So we began searching for a brand new place to stay – fortunately, we’d been given 3 months discover, which was enormous as a result of discovering a home to lease within the Bay Space is extremely tough. A lot of the open homes we went to have been so aggressive we knew we didn’t stand an opportunity.

One place rented out whereas we have 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 appliance to submit and we thought we had an excellent shot – solely to e mail us an hour later and inform us they’d rented it to another person. We have been having no luck, even after elevating the quantity we have been prepared to pay in lease 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 instances 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 yr was undoubtedly the yr of revisiting locations I’ve already visited and gloriously leaving my digicam tucked away within the resort room!

For our 5-year marriage ceremony anniversary in Could, we took a staycation in San Francisco. We booked one of many accommodations from our Where to Stay in San Francisco post, took a meals tour by way of Chinatown, and acquired tickets to a Giants Recreation (main kudos to them for requiring & implementing 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 because the pandemic started, and it was soul-quenching. With the ability to see and hug our household meant the world to us.

Oh, and throughout the pandemic they’d put in a very baller pool, which I didn’t go away for the complete weekend.

In June, we have been nonetheless scrambling to discover a place to stay, with just a few weeks left to go. We raised our lease consolation degree even increased – 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 in the marketplace but? We have been putting out like loopy, and we figured figuring out 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 outdated neighborhood, just some blocks from the condo we’d left solely 2 years earlier than. The home was greater 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***okay 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. Transferring is hectic each for individuals and fur-babies, and we didn’t need to stress Mulan out additional by leaving her at dwelling(although she’s fairly used to it by now).

We did, nevertheless, take a superb street journey all the best way right down to San Diego, stopping alongside the best way to go to household once more. We booked a beautiful dog-friendly resort close to the canine seaside and located an superior doggy daycare to drop Mulan so we may spend a day on the Zoo. And we just about adopted our actual 3-day San Diego Itinerary (which was already revealed, so once more, little or no work for me to do. Find it irresistible!)

I additionally picked up a brand new passion: swimming! In our outdated home, we lived simply down the block from a pool – but it surely closed down in March 2020 and didn’t open again up till over a yr 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 every week – as quickly because it bought heat once more, I mentioned. However we moved in November, and the pool shut down in March. Dammit.

Effectively, the minute it opened again up, I used to be the primary one in line, totally outfitted in my beloved swim leggings. I began swimming laps 2-3x every week and inside a couple of months, I used to be swimming a mile at a time.

In July, we took our first large, worldwide journey since 2019 and headed to Costa Rica for 10 superb days!

At first, I used to be nervous – touring is sort of a muscle, and I hadn’t exercised mine shortly. On prime of the same old traveling-in-a-pandemic anxiousness, I used to be fearful about all the same old pre-trip issues. Would we be capable 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 all the things we wanted, 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. Getting into the humid tropical air, talking not-great-but-also-not-terrible Spanish to taxi drivers, and attempting to navigate our approach 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.

Truthfully, it was unimaginable. Because it was our first large journey in years, we splurged, reserving all personal shuttles slightly than taking public transit (actually, it barely even value rather more and was nicely value it for a way a lot simpler it made all the things) 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 after 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 form of place you go on throughout your honeymoon, and actually, my sister truly did honeymoon there! (Through the a part of our year-long-honeymoon that spent in Costa Rica, we solely stayed in hostels.)

To my delight, it was as great as I remembered it being many years in the past – and though it was actually 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 seaside, 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 totally planning to write down up our total itinerary, but it surely’s a beast and I’m nonetheless slowly working away at it! Within the meantime, you may see all the things we did in this Instagram highlight, and I revealed 35 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Costa Rica.

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

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