Final thoughts on 2011, and cheers to upcoming adventures in 2012

It’s here once again – my favorite holiday. The best day of the year for reflecting on the best and worst moments from the past, and looking towards the future with hope and an eager resolve to make the upcoming year even better than the last.

This year was the first year where I began to dedicate my life to the art of road tripping. Over the span of two cross-country trips and countless climbing excursions, I traveled to 21 states from Alabama to California. I visited ten National Parks – thanks to my wonderful annual parks pass. From the swamps of the Everglades and camping in Yosemite to the giant towering trees of Sequoia and the sand dunes at Death Valley, my explorations through America’s National Parks were one of the defining aspects of my adventures.

I graduated from Florida State University in April, and quickly sped off on my first road trip of 2011 – a six-week delve into car-dwelling and extended travel with my boyfriend, Niko. As we traveled across over 6,400 miles together, we climbed some of the most beautiful rock formations in the country, sampled amazing grub, and slept beneath the stars.

During our four-month relationship hiatus, I embarked on my own solo road trip. Embracing the idea of solitude for the first time, I traveled alone across 17 states and 6,657 miles. I also made my first ‘adult’ decision, and moved up to Denver, Colorado to get a taste of mountain living.

And now here I am, on the eve of the new year. You’ll currently find me holed up at Tallahassee Rock Gym, the place where it all began. It truly feels like I’ve come full-circle this year, and I couldn’t be most satisfied with where my life has led me. It feels so appropriate to be ringing in the 2012 with a final day spent slaving away setting new routes and cleaning the rock gym, then by the time the clock strikes midnight I’ll be on the road to Rocktown for a climbing trip to start my year right.

So, I propose a toast.

Here’s to 2012.

New adventures, new destinations, new climbing ascents,
and lots of saving up for 2013.

Readers, expect huge things from The Morning Fresh in 2012. My goal for this upcoming year is to position myself as an established travel and adventure blogger, and to begin truly dedicating myself to my photography and other creative projects. Here’s to finally catching up on overdue posts from my cross-country adventures, an increased social media presence, and working to inspire others to join me in the quest for living a simpler life on the road.

Thank you for your readership, comments, tweets, and unwavering support. I appreciate each and every one of you, and can’t express my gratitude enough. Have a wonderful new year, and keep your spirit high on adventures.

Mud, Beards, Fire and Beer – Warrior Dash 2010

I recently happened upon an insane video with costumed people diving through mud pits, jumping over rows of fire and drinking a truckload of beer. This wild ruckus was footage from a competition called Warrior Dash. I’m talking men in viking suits, scantily-clad women drenched in mud – it’s glorious. Check out the video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyZVWwzb8Rc]

The event has dates throughout 2010-2011 all over the country. Floridians, our Warrior Dash is going to be held on January 29, 2011 in Lake Wales. Personally, I think it’s going to be absolutely miserable during the winter months. I’m holding out until the May 14-15 event held in Mountain City, Georgia. I’ll be freshly graduated, ready to get dirty and drunk. If anyone wants to join in, let’s form a caravan of insanity. I thought about camping near the event site, but realized that I’m going to need a real bed and shower after the race, so hotel it is!

Warrior Dash promises to be the wildest competition of your life – are you up for the challenge?