End of the Year Goal Dash

I guess I technically didn’t need to have an end of the year goal dash.

Sometime around 2011, I decided to jump on the 101 in 1001 goal train. Instead of making yearly resolutions (which I rarely stuck to), I made a list of 101 goals that I wanted to complete in 1001 days (about 2.5 years). This gave me the freedom to place some bigger “stretch” goals on the list that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to complete in a year. Earlier this year I finished my first 101 in 1001 goal list, and I immediately started my current list.

In the last two weeks, I completed a few of my goals all at once. Like I said, I didn’t need to complete any of them by the end of 2014 specifically, but my holiday plans worked out so that I finished three big goals all at once.

My first goal was to visit three states I had never been to before. This year I went to South Carolina with my grandparents, then to Alaska with my husband and brother, and finally visited Virginia this month. My trip to Virginia was part of a road trip to New York for the holidays, but I spent the night there twice and stopped at Shenandoah National Park along the way. I’ve completely enjoyed all three new states that I’ve visited, and I can now easily say that I’ve been to most of the states in this nation. I used to be obsessed with getting out of America and seeing what was “out there,” but I’ve realized in my travels over the past few years that I still have so much to learn about the U.S. and its various regions. Simply put, America is beautiful.

My second completed goal was to visit family in New York. Apparently, I was in New York when I was about a year old, but I obviously don’t remember a thing about it. I finally met some of my extended family this year in South Carolina, but I decided I wanted to go visit everyone again this winter. That, and I wanted to see some snow. Snowless Floridian winters hurt this Pacific Northwesterner’s soul. Originally, I was supposed to go with my husband, but he had to leave on an extended trip to the sandbox, so I packed up myself and my dog and made an extended solo road trip.

Thankfully, she's great in the car. She sleeps until we get to a rest stop, walks a bit, then hops back in for another nap.

Thankfully, she’s great in the car. She sleeps until we get to a rest stop, walks a bit, then hops back in for another nap.

I had a great time meeting new family members (on my side and my husband’s side), catching up with those I already knew, and seeing more of the area where my mom grew up. I also got to see the houses that my grandpa built, the college my grandma went to, and the cemetery where my great grandparents were buried.

My cousin Amanda's house, which was built in the 1840s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's such a neat place!

My cousin Amanda’s house, which was built in the 1840s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s such a neat place!

SUNY Oswego, where my grandmother went back when it was primarily a teacher's college.

SUNY Oswego, where my grandmother went back when it was primarily a teacher’s college.

You know what I didn’t get to see though? Snow. I’m now convinced that the pictures of those alleged huge snowstorms back east are just government propaganda meant to keep tourists from swarming the Adirondacks in the winter. There was no snow. There was never any snow. You all are liars! 😉

On the way back to Florida, I drove on Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. In this park, and in Pennsylvania, I had the chance to complete another goal – hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. Both sections were beautiful and ensured that one day I will complete the entire trail. I could talk for days about how amazing this trail is, and how thankful I am to those who paved the way for this trail, and for those who continue to work on the trail to keep it going for future generations, but I’ll just leave you with a few pictures.

Pennsylvania:

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NOBO (Northbound) hikers for an hour!

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She definitely enjoyed the hike after a few days in the car!

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It was about 28 degrees out, so I put this lovely purple fleece on my freezing Florida dog.

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Virginia:

Starting our drive through Shenandoah National Park. As with all National Parks, military members and their ID carrying dependents get in free!

Starting our drive through Shenandoah National Park. As with all National Parks, military members and their ID carrying dependents get in free!

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The fog started rolling in thick

The fog started rolling in thick

DSCN1445 DSCN1436 Appalachian Shenandoah

Skyline Drive in the winter.

Skyline Drive in the winter.

We can't get enough of the AT!

We can’t get enough of the AT!

So, that was the end of 2014. I still have quite a few goals on the list, but I have until November of 2016 to complete everything. For those of you who never really stick to resolutions, you should give the 101 in 1001 list a try. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s challenged me to do some things I might not have otherwise done. If you google “101 in 1001” you’ll find plenty of lists to glean ideas from. Who knows? Maybe it’ll have a massive positive impact on your life. I know it has improved my life for the better!

Here’s to a joyous and productive 2015!

-Stephanie

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