Last year, I ended the first day of the new year with this stormy, dramatic sunset over the beaches of Baja.
This year, I ended the first day of the new year with this gorgeous, jewel-toned glow over a glassy Lake Tahoe…
… After I started the day doing this.
Not a bad way to spend January 1, my friends. Nature and sunshine is easily the best hangover remedy.
And though I spent eight hours in the car yesterday exploring the Central Valley back roads (and heading home), I feel awesome. I’ve been on the road the past two weeks, traveling through Northern California and soaking in the last moments of 2013 (literally — it was the warmest Christmas and New Year I’ve had in a while! I brought a bag full of sweaters and scarves but spent most of my time outside in a T-shirt).
I also took a small break from the blog and aside from the occasional Instagramming, I stayed mostly disconnected and caught up with friends and family the old-fashioned way: through phone calls, letters and cards, and spending time with them in person. I read a great quote the other day that pretty much sums up my life these last two weeks:
“There is no wifi in the forest, but we promise you will find a better connection.”
I’ve been to places where going off the grid is an involuntary thing, as you won’t find a signal while you’re wandering the wilderness (and those are among my favorite destinations, the ones where I tuck away my phone for the weekend and take it out only when I want to use Google Sky Map). But checking out of the world, of your own volition, so that you can actually go into the world is such a refreshing and powerful change of pace.
I don’t have hundreds of pictures from my trip like I usually do, and I hardly used my “nice” camera as I didn’t want to risk missing that moment by running back to the car. After all, the best camera is the one you have on you — whether it’s your phone or your own two eyes. I truly believe that when you’re focused on feeling present in the moment, rather than just looking at it through a lens, your memory documents it better than any camera ever could. If I actually made New Year’s resolutions, that would be one for the list.
Here’s to a New Year filled with beauty, joy, the occasional disconnection, and many good meals from the ground!