2020, A Year in Review

Whoa, guys, it has been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything on Chasing Departures or anything travel related.

2020 is the year that has forever changed my life and I’m sure it has changed many of your lives as well.

Unlike so many of you, I never had the luxury to hide out at home. Adult life continued on for me as I work for a global shipping company now. In so many ways I am grateful beyond words for the job I currently have.

This is also the year that I am grateful beyond words to live in the “middle of nowhere” in podunk North Dakota. I went to Fargo the other day to go shopping and more and more I’m starting to feel like I can’t live in a city after being out here. The hustle, the bustle, the people, the lack of proper driving skills. I just can’t do it.

2020 is the year I began to realize just how different I was from the rest of the travel community that I once considered myself to be apart of. Where I thought I would find understanding and people willing to talk, I just found more walls put up by people that don’t really seek to understand anything other than what they are told. They believe, hook, line, and sinker.

My eyes, on the other hand, are WIDE open and I am questioning EVERYTHING. And I don’t mean everything having to do with whatever is going on in current world events (I have given up on the news and social media as a whole this year). I mean EVERYTHING I have ever been taught about our society, species, culture, etc. You name it, I have probably questioned it this year. And I am still questioning everything.

My last official trip (meaning I boarded a commercial airplane) was at the beginning of March to England. Can you believe I made it home the day before Trump closed the borders to Europe? THE DAY BEFORE.

At times, I wonder where I would be in life right now if I hadn’t made it back. I’m sure I would have made it eventually, but how much would it have cost me and so many other questions sometimes float through my mind.

Other trips from the summer have been around the area. I went on an epic solo storm chasing adventure in June out to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (I have yet to write about it and share pictures, but I will someday). Storm chasing didn’t go so well, but I thoroughly enjoyed spending a day in the national park.

I eventually got my lightning shot for the year out of pure dumb luck while setting up my camera to take photos in the backyard one night. I pushed the buttom to test for settings and BAM! Lightning.

And I went on several family camping trips to Wisconsin. I even caught some fish while we were there!

In years past I have posted my year in review as scenes from the window seat from my varied adventures. And while I did only take one flying trip this year, I do still have many photos to share from the sky. Except for this year they are from the cockpit in the pilot’s seat.

I finally went for it and gifted myself flying lessons for my birthday!

BEST. DECISION. EVER. The grin says it all.

On December 21st, of all days, Jupiter and Saturn decided to align for the first time in hundreds of years. Sadly, it was cloudy. Just like every single time the really good northern lights displays are out.

But there will be a pretty epic celestial event in January with Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter. So keep your eyes out for that. And pray I have a clear night for some photos.

In other celestial events news of the year, did any of you see the comet? Holy moley guys, that was quite possibly the coolest thing in the sky until they officially announce aliens are real (pretty sure that will be in 2021 😁)

My favorite shot of the comet features a meteor hitting the atmosphere and fizzling out at the same angle as the comet.

The Blueberry was stolen in late August while I was trying to sell it. The maan took it for a test drive and never came back. Mind blowing, right? But it gets better.

Mom was sitting on the entrace ramp of the direction he was heading (I saw him jump on I94) and followed him. She called his location in to the police and a high speed chase topping 130+ mph followed. They disabled the car just short of Fargo and the dude is now serving 18 months in jail.

Here’s the news article if you don’t believe me 😅 and the facebook post from North Dakota Highway Patrol. Some of the people on facebook even posted their own videos of the event in the comments under the news articles.

I also finally got around to editing some of my photos from the Spain/Italy trip in May 2019.

And had some of my Spanish photos featured around Instagram and the internet several times.

I started a dog blog and my dog shirt shop earlier this year too! Check it out at Love Newfoundlands!

Meet Olaf. He’s my turd of a Newfundland. He’s grown up a lot since these photos and doesn’t quite look like such a dopey puppy now. He love warm hugs and playing in the grass.

I’ve had my photos featured in a local gallery, and even sold one. Which fufilled a huge photography dream of mine.

I started off writing this post, wondering what I was going to say about this year. By all accounts, 2020 was supposed to be the worst year on record for all of us. This year I learned that just because life shuts down and changes doesnn’t mean you can’t find incredible things to do.

Travel used to give my life so much meaning as I’ve always felt like I was born to explore and experience all that human life has to offer. And the best way I thought to see and do it all was to get out there and travel. But life isn’t put on pause because the government says you have to stay indoors or you’ll die (a bit dramatic on their part if you ask me). You can still and need to experience life because it goes on whether you are willing to move forward with it or not.

I haven’t decided what to do with Chasing Departures. I still want to hang onto it and continue to post and share things from time to time. The blog is my baby after all and I could never get rid of it altogether. But this is and always has been just a hobby for me. A now self-sustaining hobby, but a hobby nonetheless.

Hope to see you all throughout 2021 and the hopefully many years to come.

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