2018 End of Year Reflections
Not every year is exciting. We spent the majority of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 doing pretty normal, maybe slightly tragic stuff like staying out at karaoke bars way too late & way too often, and taking questionable steps to finish term papers we’d put off until the last minute. There were some exciting high points like college graduations, job promotions, trying to upkeep and grow our blog, new apartments and homes, etc—but nothing that was like flip-your-whole-world-upside-down bizarre. I guess that’s why we chose to make 2018 a little more, I don’t know, interesting?
At the end of 2017, we knew we wanted a big mix up and a year of travel ahead, so we did what anyone would do if they were going stir crazy and lacked common sense: we got rid of all of our shit, move out of our home, and decided to travel nonstop. We pretty much always live in extremes.
It went kinda like this:
In January, we popped up to New York for two weeks in the middle of one of those bomb cyclone things. We ate pizza everyday and even made a video about it. That was very very fun and also greasy. There was a mishap where we lost our camera, laptop, and iPad all at once, but a very kind pizza place manager and a bottle of champagne got it all sorted out. We left New York with full stomachs and empty bank accounts and got back home to Matt’s mom’s house (where we chose to stay between trips) and thanked all possible deities that we didn’t lose all of our equipment.
A couple of weeks later, we went to the Caribbean with friends on a cruise for a work partnership with Celebrity Cruises. This was maybe not the best decision after ten days of eating pizza in New York, but it was a fun time and our first trip to the Caribbean ever! We learned that we actually liked being on the boat more than doing shore excursions, and we NEVER thought we’d say that. Sometimes being basic is fun. We even got a couples’ massage with an ocean view. It was amazing, but nothing quite says, “you’ve been together for six years” like laying face down side by side in dead silence while someone else touches you.
We got home to New Orleans just in time to celebrate Mardi Gras, which we did in full force. This was kind of a hard time for us though, because we were preparing for a long road trip (more on that below), living our lives on a tight budget, and weren’t inspired to create blog content because we had no kitchen or home of our own. We were fighting more than usual (stress and having no home does that to you) and feeling kind of blah. I know it sounds remarkably ungrateful to be like, “we had two weeks vacationing in New York, followed by a cruise, followed by Mardi Gras” and then say we felt “blah,” but we were quickly realizing how important having our own space and home base was. With such big life changes and so much going on, even good stuff, it’s easy to retreat into a negative mindset if you can’t catch your bearings.
But, there wasn’t really time to worry about that, because a few weeks after Mardi Gras we hitched up our vintage camper Rosie and took off west. We were gone for three months! You can read more about it here, but basically we explored Austin and Marfa, Texas, and then spent several weeks in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Central Coast, Northern California, Utah again, Colorado, and then home. What a fucking whirlwind that was. At this point, if you’re like, “hey literally what do you do for work where you can just leave town for three months”… in the beginning of 2018 we were doing our blog and Instagram full time through sponsorship partners, and still make most of our money that way, although now Matt dabbles in real estate and we take on freelance design projects here and there.
Anyhow, the road trip was completely life changing and weird. We made so so so many new friends, explored tiny strange towns in the middle of no where and got to see a few of our favorite big cities. There were good times and bad times, as there are with every trip ever taken. The highlight was seeing the gorgeous Central Coast of California, which had rolling green hills covered in happy cows and vineyards everywhere and cliffs with million dollar homes and gorgeous beaches with long piers and small towns with amazing seafood and shops and old school main streets. The low was staying in a trailer park outside of Las Vegas while binge eating our feelings in Papa John’s (whoops). Did I mention we always live in extremes?
We got home from our long road trip at the end of May, without any real plan. We stayed with my mom for a little while to figure out what our next move was, and decided that after six months or so of being nomadic it was time to settle down and do normal things like watch Netflix on an actual TV and make popcorn and go to sleep at 10 p.m. and get into small arguments about fabric softener preferences.
So in August, we found a really cute and simple little apartment just about 45 minutes north of our hometown of New Orleans. It’s the perfect distance to let us maintain our friendships in the city, while still giving us the space to kind of just nest and be boring. And it’s been fantastic. We’re still furnishing it but it really feels like our own little cozy corner of the world.
Since we’ve moved in, the only big trip we’ve taken is to Mexico City for Dia de Muertos. It was, quite frankly, a highlight of our year. We’ve never been somewhere that was simultaneously huge and still so culturally rich on every single street corner. You can read more about our trip to Mexico City here, but if you’ve ever got the chance to go… you… have…to. It’s incredible. Since then, we’ve been working away on projects small and large, and taking time to get ourselves in order.
This year of constant change has definitely taught us quite a few lessons. Having spent so much of it in no single city or near most of our friends, we’ve learned how strong a lot of our friendships are… and how important investing time into those relationships, in addition to our own, is.
We’ve also learned how to say “no.” This one is HUGE. And it sounds so damn cliche, but like, saying “no” is hard, y’all. We wanna please everyone. We want people to think, “Oh, that Beau and Matt, they’re just so generous and kind!” But the reality is, particularly in freelance work but also just life in general, learning how to say “no” allows you to focus even more energy on people, projects, and plans that you truly value… and that’s so important to us right now.
Wowweeee. That was our year. It had its ups and downs. There were times when we were down and still posting pretty pictures to Instagram, and there were times when we were on a high and didn’t put it online at all. Life, and pretty much everyone in it, is complicated and wonderful and awful and all we can really do is be kind to each other and most importantly (and perhaps hardest) be kind to ourselves.
Thanks so much for reading about our year, and for following along in general. The comments and emails and messages mean more to us than you probably know!
Looking forward to a beautiful 2019.
xoxo Beau and Matt