Yes, it is that time of the year again where every blogger narcissistically writes about all the amazing stuff they’ve done the past year. They give you a list of about 10 things they did during the year, that you have probably already heard about a million times on the blogs, on social websites, and (if you happen to be so lucky), in person.
And I am going to be no different because this year ROCKED!
1.I got a media rate with JetBlue Airlines!
It was the first time I pitched a major company, and the first airline I’ve pitched, and I got approved. It was awesome! I love JetBlue and fly with them (at any rate) whenever possible.
2. The next week, I WON TICKETS ON JETBLUE!
I was totally flabbergasted. I filled out a Facebook contest the same day I sent in my pitch, expecting neither to happen. Never in a million years did I think I would get the media rate AND win 2 round-trip tickets to Cartagena along with $1000USD of hotel stay. Let me say, it was an amazing beginning to a new year!
3. I met the girl I donated bone marrow to!
A few weeks after this amazing beginning, the most wonderful and emotional meeting happened. The girl I donated bone marrow to, Brooke, came to Vegas with her husband, and I finally got to meet her 2 years after giving her my blood.
It was the most beautiful, emotionally-confusing night I think I’ve ever had. I love Brooke and knew from the moment I was told I “might be a match” that I would want to meet whoever I donated to. It was awesome and I can’t wait to see her again.
4. I got married!
Well, I got semi-legally married. It’s legal in Colombia. (The USA only recognizes civil marriage – ie: married at a church, not at an office in a bus station). Diego and I went to a notararia located inside the Caribe Station in Medellin and for $6USD, signed a paper, and got common-law married. Colombia is great that way. They are very religious and would rather have you married (even before the ‘2 years of continual living together’ requirement), than be ‘living in sin’. Funny thing was, the questions they asked us were all in Spanish, with Diego translating for me, and the one thing they said to me was “If you break up, he gets half of everything you own”. Really? What’s half of nothing? Basically the notarias gave me the “Ok, stupid gringa” looks and Diego the “Good job getting a stupid gringa!” ones. Silly stereotypes finally worked in our favour.
5. I went to TBEX!
6. I rode the largest roller coaster in Canada!
The Leviathan is the largest coaster in Canada and 7th largest in the world. I even made a video of me riding it. It was super scary (I am not a fan of roller coasters), but let me tell you how much of a bad-ass I felt like when I finished the coaster and realized I didn’t die! Go me go!
7. I started making self-hosted travel videos!
This was something I was really nervous about, because I wanted to make videos, but I’m not used to being in front of the camera. But at TBEX, I met Mike Corey (a video host whose videos I love, and is one of my influencers) and not going to lie, had a mini nerdgasm when he actually knew who I was. Mike basically told me to just do it and get in front of the camera. And that day, I left TBEX, still pumped up, and recorded myself on my phone (I sucked). But I have been getting in front of the camera more and more and loving it. Sometimes you just need a simple encouragement from someone you admire to get your butt in gear.
8. My dad met Diego!
In October I used the JetBlue tickets I won in January to bring my dad down to Cartagena with me so he could finally meet his semi-legal son-in-law. No one in my family had yet met Diego in person, and of course, it’s a daughter thing that I wanted my dad to meet Diego first. They got along well and we all had a great 5 days exploring the steamy Caribbean city.
9. I became a fancy person!
I luxed it up with Diego, at the Tcherassi Hotel and Spa in Cartagena, Colombia. Diego and I stayed one extra night in Cartagena after my dad left to go make some travel content for the Tcherassi, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Old city of Cartagena. It was unbelievable – the attention to detail, the little nuances (like fresh, hand-crushed, mint lemonade upon arrival).
We also had hands-down, the best Italian food i have ever tasted at Vera, the restaurant located inside the hotel. Coming up shortly you will see some of the videos, photos, and review of the hotel on GoingNomadic.com.
10. I went to Altavoz baby!
I met Diego when I stumbled upon the Altavoz Festival, a free, three-day music festival in Medellin, in 2011. This year, I went back to photograph the show. It was 3 days of amazing music and bands and photos and reviews of the concert are also upcoming on the blog.
My biggest nerdgasm moment of 2013, however, was the day I found out @SlashVohaul, aka Scott Murphy, aka one of the creators of the best DOS game ever – SpaceQuest – started following me on Twitter.
I know. I’m a nerd. But I grew up playing these games with my dad and brother, and when I got a message from Mr. Creator of the Best Games Ever, I may have danced around the house, while shouting over social media, my total nerdout happiness at this event. Best part, he actually talks with people on Twitter and randomly says hi just to say whats up. Yes, I am nerdgasming out a little right now thinking about it. Whatever. Its awesome and I can’t wait for their new game, Spaceventure, to come out. Oh yea, the Two Guys from Andromeda are at it again.
So that’s my awesome moments from 2013. No, it wasn’t all amazing. There were some bumps and drops in the year too, but why focus on those? Overall 2013 rocked!
What’s coming for 2014? Well, attempting to get Diego into the USA again (including creating work that allows me to make enough to meet visa requirements), committing to increasing GoingNomadic’s influence and building the brand, and taking time each week, for myself, to do what I want (like getting back into dancing again). I have a bunch more ideas and plans, but I’m keeping those to myself for now.
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.