“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream.” – Ray Bradbury
I can’t believe another year is in the bag. Before we head into 2018, I wanted to share some of my favorite memories and moments from 2017. This little blog sure has kept me busy with one exciting project after another. Unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of all these projects, many incredible stories have unfortunately fallen through the cracks.
Which is exactly why I wanted to write them out here; as a small reminder of the special moments that made this year so big. These moments are small, but they are ones I want reflect on, in both the good and the bad times.
My 6 Favorite Memories from 2017:
Marching with 50,000 in Downtown Austin for the Women’s March
One of the first big moments in 2017 was the Women’s March on January 21st. The march in Austin was just one of the 300 sister marches that happened around the world on that day. I marched in Austin with three girlfriends and 50,000 other people.
Being surrounded by everyone, young and old, as we marched through the streets of downtown Austin made me feel so much more confident about this country I love so dearly. It was a feeling I reminisced during many rough times throughout 2017.
Experiencing a New Kind of Silence in Marfa, Texas
I’ve always been in love with city lights and the ‘bustle’, but this year I got to experience the darkness and quietness in West Texas and it’s something I will forever treasure. Everyone knows Texas is huge, which is hard to understand. Unless you take a crazy eight hour road trip to visit a small quirky town in the very corner of your state. And that’s exactly what we did this February.
At one point, we pulled over to capture this photo and all we could hear was the steady, and seemingly loud roar of our car’s engine and soft swishes of the blowing tall grass. Once I turned the ignition off, everything but nature was silent. I looked around, half-expecting a tumbleweed to drift across the road, but it was nothing and no one for the several minutes we stayed there.
The nights in Marfa sure make you feel small, especially when you’re bundled up and staring up at massive night sky. When you’re this far away from street lights and busy highways, you see the stars brighter than you could even imagine. I highly recommend a drive to Marfa, even if it is just to experience the eerie silence or a beautiful night sky.
An Unexpected Change of Plans in Belize
For our two week trip to Belize this past March, I didn’t plan much. Pretty much just a car rental and a few reservations. Our last few days were going to be exploring the incredibly rural, ‘central’ area of Belize at a eco-resort that was very much ‘off-the-grid’. This was a working vacation for me. So when we arrived at our last destination, the lack of Wifi there meant we had to find someplace new.
Bummed out, we headed back to a nearby town to find Wifi and a new place for the last few nights in Belize. Somehow, luck was on our side and we were able find a spot (with great Wifi!!) in the nearby town of Bullet Tree Road.
Once we got to our new spot, a hidden riverfront, eco-lodge, it took us a few minutes to realize this was going to be an incredible place. Thanks to the nightly community dinner, we quickly made friends with everyone staying in the jungle cabins and treehouses. It was relaxing and magical in a way that we could have never planned for. And it left us flying home from Belize with hopes of returning soon.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party is a long-standing tradition that makes me wonder if it was inspiration for marking “Keep Austin Weird” as this city’s slogan. It’s a beautiful, crazy party that happens every April in Austin’s Pease Park where family and people of all sorts and shapes come to celebrate the special occasion that is Eeyore’s birthday.
Before moving here, I had heard of this party and seen plenty of pictures. It was weird, funky, and full of great hippie vibes I recognized (and strangely craved) from my hometown, Floyd, Virginia.
It’s a pretty wooded park, but there was an open field where most of the fun was happening. There was a maypole, local artists, henna hand painting (in which I 100% indulged and got my whole arm covered), and even Eeyore himself.
The coolest part though was walking into the wooded areas surrounding the party and finding bongo circles and hammocks scattered everywhere. It was a magical afternoon and I felt that I was surrounded by some of the coolest (and weirdest!) people in my city.
The Perks of Being a Blogger
So while I’m still not making much ca$h from my blog, I have been blessed with a constant stream of surprises and fun adventures that I would never get to experience otherwise. I’ve had many moments this year that kept my blogging endeavors fun and rewarding.
One of the best surprises this year was when we were gifted last-minute wristbands to Austin City Limits music festival! I’m still speechless over how it happened.
Wrangler Jeans had invited us out to an ACL party at the flagship YETI store, and we attended with only expectations of having a great time and getting a free drink or two.
As we headed back home at the end of the night, I received a message from the PR gal who had invited me out. She was wondering if I would be interested in some extra sponsor wristbands they had. And of course I said, “HECK YES!”
It was our first time at ACL, and the festival did not disappoint. We went Sunday on the last weekend, and I looked forward to discovering new bands and seeing some of my favorites perform live, especially the closing act, The Gorillaz.
The weather was absolutely perfect and there was so much to do and see and drink, and we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. Moments like these make it not so bad that I’m not making a paycheck off my blog, yet. ;)
Feeling Like a Baller at an All-Inclusive Resort
Normally when I travel, I’ve got my backpack on and I’m trekking around, hostel to hostel. I love traveling on a shoestring budget and meeting new friends at local bars. This year though, I went to my first all-inclusive resort as part of a work retreat for our members.
I heard that there would be unlimited food, drinks, and entertainment at this expansive park located near the beautiful Xcaret Ecological Park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. When we arrived, we were not disappointed to find out we were about to have our most indulgent weekend yet. The resort was beautiful and full of wildlife, great parties, and delicious drinks. While different than my normal traveling style, it was a blast nonetheless.
2017’s Most Popular Posts
Of course, these are only some of the memories that I didn’t have a chance to blog about this year! There are plenty of other great adventures that did make it on the blog though. In fact, here are 5 of this year’s most popular posts on Big World, Small Girl:
- 29 Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants in Austin
- 7 Essential Dallas Breweries Not to Be Missed
- Everything You Need to Know About Traditional Belize Food and Drinks
- Austin’s Best Brewpubs: A Guide
- Relaxing in Style: Texas Glamping with Mystic Quarry
Looking Forward to 2018 and Beyond
Looking forward to 2018, and things are pretty wide open, for at least the first half of the year. There are only a few adventures in the works such as my sister coming to Austin soon, a trip to explore some Texas beaches in the spring, the 2018 Beer Bloggers Conference in Virginia this summer, and a work retreat to Bali in October, which I hope turns into a long trip through SE Asia! But I’m sure there will be plenty more incredible moments along the way.
As great and incredible as 2017 was for me, I always like to remind myself of C.S. Lewis’s words, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” So cheers to 2018 the best year yet!
What was your favorite memory from 2017? Let me know in the comments!