Wrapping up 2021: A year of changes and adventures

It’s hard to believe I started ClairesHoliday.com in 2017. I created this blog mostly for myself— a digital record of my adventures and to mark my progress in life as a human. 

The underlying theme was always growth. This desire for growth stems from my imminent death, which is no longer all that scary, sad, or taboo to think about. It’s a part of life and it sparks my inner flame to do more, be more, and to live each day like it matters. 

My goals are to be better each day, to love myself, continue building strong relationships, and savor the little things that light me up. (Like experiencing the first snowfall of the season in Tahoe! See below pic!)

Photo: Truckee in December 2021.

Everywhere you go, there you are

I started this blog as it related to my travels, but an adventure doesn’t always mean I need to jump on a plane to go somewhere. I want peace from within and to be happy with where I am, right now. (A trip to a new place is always a bonus of course.)

There’s no running away from myself. No matter how much I wanted it to happen, no exotic country or charming town I visited ever soothed my soul when it was broken.

My travels in 2021

Who knows what the future of travel will entail. As I write this, another hurdle to international travel has resurfaced in the form of Omicron and a 10-day quarantine upon arrival to Japan. Specifically, I wanted to fly to Japan to snowboard in Niseko this time and potentially Hakuba again. Even my happy country, Canada, seems so out of reach.

Traveling within the U.S. this year was tremendous and I’m so grateful. I managed to almost get on Southwest’s A-list (maybe next year!) and I went on a bunch of road trips to Utah, Colorado, and Arizona

Photo: Gorgeous views of Maui.

I also spent some time in Hawaii in May, eventually setting down some temporary roots in Honolulu. I checked out Kona and hopped on a 20-minute flight to Maui last week. The highlight of the trip? A gathering of humpbacks vying for a female in the warm Maui ocean… what could be more jaw-dropping! Especially when you’re innocently cruising on a catamaran not expecting to see anything?!

Photo: Hello, Mount Rose!

But it wasn’t all beaches and sand. I managed to catch some snow in Reno and Tahoe when I was in Truckee in the beginning of December. None of the mountains were quite open yet (I missed the record-breaking 17 feet of powder that pummeled Tahoe this month), but yours truly spent a day at Mount Rose going up and down one chair for a few hours. 😂

Photo: Opening day at Mount Rose featured a DJ and as we stood in 16-degree weather in front of the chair, they passed out free Mount Rose tank tops.

Holidays on an island

Photo: Honolulu’s giant Christmas tree in downtown.

It’s my first holiday in Hawaii, and although it’s so wildly different from previous ones spent in Reno, Tahoe, Colorado, or a foreign country, I’ve accepted and embraced the warmth of 80-degree days and tranquil island rain. The other day my yoga teacher said, “Stay warm guys! It’s cold out there!” It was 75 degrees. 

Oh and yes, I brought my snowboard to Hawaii.

2021 was a year of change

This year’s escapades started with long roadtrips (#HoboLife) from Cali to Colorado to snowboard as much as possible. When I returned to Cali, I threw my stuff in storage, not knowing how this decision would impact my future. It was liberating to not know, to just go with it, and temporarily stop paying rent! 

That choice opened up new pathways—I finally bought my first rental property and can relish in the fact that I’m living (a tiny piece) of the American dream. I landed a new, fully remote job and made a few new friends along the way. 

2022 resolutions 

Photo: Cruising around in Maui.

Life is good, and in thinking about new experiences in 2022, I’ve come up with new year’s resolutions, if you can even call them that. These go deeper than ones I’ve made in the past. They’re more growth-minded habits to continue improving upon.

An actual new year’s resolution is to write more on this blog and my other one!

1. Lean into feelings of discomfort and explore them. 

I have a history of never allowing myself to feel uncomfortable with certain thoughts or feelings. I became an expert at running away and “protecting myself.” I now approach discomfort with a lot of mindful breaths and with curiosity. I’m sitting with it and letting it marinate, rather than trying to push it away or solve it ASAP. 

2. Continuously accept what I can’t change or predict. 

The future makes me nervous. The present stresses me out. The past sometimes consumes me. I’m working on getting better at acceptance and trusting that everything will be fine. It’s all out of my control. 

3. Slow down and delight in the small moments in my day.

Photo: The view from a local hike near my apartment in Honolulu.
  • I wake up ridiculously early and love the quietness before the sun comes up. It’s when I write, watch my local news, listen to my podcasts, make my bed, do my laundry, tidy up, and make my first and only cup of coffee (I cut down drastically over the last few months!). 
  • Taking short afternoon naps to offset the fact that I wake up so early. 
  • Mini road trips (they’re only 30 minutes or so, but in Hawaii you might as well be driving to the mainland). I am always blown away by the expansive, lush mountains and huge white clouds nestled right on top. 
  • Feeling the constant, mild island breeze flowing through my apartment. 

4. To grow the love I have for myself, within myself. 

Craving love from others and seeking validation that I’m good enough hasn’t served me, so I’m learning to not only love myself more, but in the process, get better at showing others love too. 

5. Breathe into anxiety 

I tend to be a busy body—jumping from one thing to the next. The problem is I’m sometimes riddled with anxiety when I move from one task to the other. I’m learning to pause and breathe. It’s helping a lot and I’m hoping to one day reach a place where this doesn’t bubble up so much. 

So that’s it. Happy New Year. Let’s make next year awesome.

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