Taking advantage of opportunities. Taking risks. Taking a step back. Taking my career on a whirlwind. Taking the hands of loved ones. Taking full control over my happiness.
2014 was a year for taking.
Yes, I gave. I gave my time. I gave hope. I gave expertise. I gave love. I gave advice. I gave my best. Giving is naturally a part of who I am. But as I closed the chapter of 2014, I have been focusing on what I took from my journey around the sun and I am using it as momentum for 2015. It is shaping up to be just as unpredictable and candid as 2014.
Every month in 2014 brought new challenges, new people, craziness and everything I needed in the present moment. There were a crazy amount of kickass moments where I had to pinch myself, but equally I had those shitty moments where I was left wondering why the eff things were sucking so bad. If someone would have told me in January what my life would have been like in December, or explained the revelations I would have or the accomplishments & failures I would encounter throughout the year, I would have laughed my ass off.
But, being open to the uncertainties is what makes life fun. And that is exactly what I did. I let the uncertainty fuel me. It kept me guessing, kept me motivated, kept me courageous and kept me honest. Some months were more adventurous, some more challenging and some went by in a flash. However, I can confidently say that I grew and positively evolved from every single month.
2014 best year ever? It's definitely up there.
- Took a chance on fundraising and reached my $5,000 goal to fund #lucastouganda.
- Took a step back and held my family close as we came together to fight cancer. We won.
- Took off on the adventure of a lifetime to Uganda as a field volunteer with charity: water.
- Honed in on my photo & storytelling skills.
- Drove through the Ugandan bush in a truck (l learned how to drive a manual) with my translators Fred and Dennis. We laughed a lot.
- Finished clean water assessments in 65 villages in Uganda & took over 5,000 photos.
- Visited Krochet Kids Uganda, rafted the Nile and showered in waterfalls at Sipi Falls.
- Spent time at Abide Family Center & took a 12 hr bus to the Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi.
- Took photos at a baby elephant orphanage, kissed a giraffe and practiced yoga, a lot.
- Explored the Kenyan coast, chatted with Mama Aliya & sailed a sailboat in Lamu, Kenya.
- Drank coconuts from a tree, did sunrise yoga and chased dolphins at 6am in Zanzibar.
- Ended my time in Africa with a 3-day safari in Murchison National Park. I SAW HIPPOS!
- Wandered the streets of Istanbul and caves of Cappadocia & then went to a turkish bath.
- Stayed with new and old friends in Berlin, Amsterdam and Gloucester, England.
- Got my annual sis/bro passport stamp in Barcelona, Spain - drank mucho sangria & gin.
- Returned to NYC jobless & had the WORST reverse culture shock. I cried in the park.
- Had 4 job interviews, went to Boston, went
home to reset & returned to NYC to hustle.
- Resumed my role as "resident house elf"
at my sister, Emily's, apartment. She rocks.
- Met the badass Miki Agrawal & partnered w/ her to make Do Cool Sh*t a movement.
- Started training for Boulder 70.3 Ironman.
- Accepted a summer internship with TOMS.
- Worked on DCS @ Centre for Social Innovation, a hub of NYC's most talented.
- Woke up each day and either swam 40 laps or ran at least 6 miles.
- Learned how to use inDesign and Photoshop.
- Lived off of $600 for the entire month.
- Spent Memorial Day on Nantucket with my
friends from THINX - we painted and beached.
- Biked 50 miles along the Hudson River & on
New Jersey's Palisades cycling highway.
- Executed the first ever Do Cool Sh*t Meet-Up
@ WILD Williamsburg - hosted over 85 Doers.
- Launched the DCS Bootcamp Website!
- I left NYC for the summer literally buzzing.
- Roadtripped to LA w/ my badass mom, saw the
Grand Canyon, ate In-N-Out and sang a lot.
- Moved into a beach studio owned by a hippie.
- FINISHED Boulder 70.3 Ironman in 6:34:25!
- Kicked off my dream internship at TOMS.
- I auditioned for SURVIVOR for the 2nd time.
- I was blown away by having a complete stranger feel like I had known them forever.
- I spent July 4th in Malibu with some of the
coolest new friends LA could have given me.
- Went to a Dodger's game, to Disney-Lund, Soul-Cycled, explored DTLA & chilled in WEHO.
- I road-tripped to Sequoia National Park w/ my soul-sister Sarah. We chatted, camped, ran out of gas & fist pumped into Santa Barbara.
- I modeled for TOMS Holiday Catalog - what?!
- I met #TEAMTURNER for a TX family triathlon.
- I won the TOMS watermelon eating challenge.
- Took 2 spontaneous road trips along the
amazing PCH to San Diego & Santa Barbara.
-The Head & the Heart @ The Hollywood Bowl.
- Flew to San Fran for an interview w/ buildOn.
- Hosted a TOMS Giving Night for 30+ guests.
- Made the toughest decision to close my
LA chapter & had the hardest goodbye ever.
- Drove thru Vegas, Zion, CO & KS w/ my dad.
- Made the incredibly tough choice to stop working on Do Cool Sh*t.
- Packed my car & hit the road w/ Sarah to NYC & celebrated 24 in CHI w/ tons of amazing pals.
- Started my Trek Coordinator job w/ buildOn & earned my 1st salaried paycheck - woo hoo!
- Earned my WFR certification in Detroit
(I got you for head trauma or travel diarrhea).
- Saw Broadway shows Once & Rock of Ages!
- Moved into a studio apt in Stamford, CT.
- Spent a weekend in Boston w/ camp friends.
- Hosted my parents for the weekend in CT.
- Ran the Staten Island 1/2 Marathon w/ my dad.
- Interviewed 30+ Bronx students for trek.
- Took off to Nepal for my first 2 buildOn treks.
- Briefed Kathmandu & flew over the Himalayas.
- Lived in Jamunipur Village, broke ground on
buildOn's 700th school & celebrated Diwali.
- Danced in traditional Nepalese clothing, took
cold bucket baths & spoke Tharu language.
- Scaled the Monkey Temple, saw a cremation ceremony & received tika from a Hindu priest.
- Welcomed 18 Dubai Cares trekkies to Nepal.
- Dug a latrine, failed at balancing things on my
head & ate with my hands ... also ate SNAILS!
- Missed flights, took buses & slept in the UAE.
- Attended my first buildOn gala.
- Went to KC for Thanksgiving & faced one of
my biggest fears eye to eye - I won.
- A million emotions - Nov. ended - thank God.
- My buildOn "unselfie" made it on Mashable.
- I became incredibly close to my siblings.
- I was inspired by charity: water's TRIBUTE
event in NYC & connected w/ old colleagues.
- I attended many a Christmas parties.
- Led Haiti pre-trek workshops for my students.
- Began hating my studio & planned NYC move.
- Flew home for Christmas - lots of family time.
- Ended the year by partying w/ some of my
closest camp friends in Miami - bc why not?