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Aurora’s Best of 2018 Review

Confession: I’ve been writing 2019 on documents since May. It was soon after the death of my friend/co-worker/former student that subconsciously I wanted 2018 to be over. I wanted a fresh start. However, 7 months later despite the difficult experiences of 2018, there were some truly bright spots.

Today, I want to take a moment to spell it out for myself how darkness and dawn can co-exist to culminate in a good year. So, here is my look back on some of the best things of 2018.


In 2018, I traveled to 5 countries, 13 cities, and an upwards of 30 towns. That’s the most I have ever done in my life! This number includes 7 capital cities (3 U.S. state capitals and 4 country capitals). I still have a lot of writing to do about these places to share my experiences and tips on the blog, so stay tuned!


I will always remember 2018 as the year I was able to see all of my best friends. My closest friends are from my years in college and in the Air Force, so we don’t live near one another and I don’t get to see them very often. 2018 started with a 10-day Scandinavian trip with my friend Carina. We froze our butts off but it definitely was an experience that bonded us further. In May, Kristen came to Buffalo, New York for a work trip so I spent 3 nights showing her around the city. Since I hadn’t seen Jaimi in 3 years (and hadn’t met one of her babes), I flew to Boise, Idaho to spend a long weekend with her and the fam. Then, in October I celebrated Halloween with Audra and Kristen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Seriously, if nothing else had happened in 2018, this would have salvaged the year!


2018 was the year that I experienced three new modes of transportation. In February, I took a cruise boat from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden. I traveled on a train for the first time from Stockholm to Olso, Norway and from Oslo to Bergen, Norway. In August, my husband and I blindly followed the GPS and we ended up on the Lake Champlain ferry from Charlotte, Vermont to Essex, New York with our car.


In July, I traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to present at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network‘s national conference. I serve on the board of Buffalo, NY’s chapter of YNPN, so this experience centered on my volunteer and 9-5 commitments. I was terrified to speak to a national audience. However, my nerves were calmed once people started talking! My presentation discussed how nonprofit staff can work to activate their volunteers to become active citizens in the community. I incorporated my own experience as a volunteer and how it was the catalyst for my zero waste journey.


2018 will forever be the year that I started this blog. To date, I have written over 17,000 words. Right now the word count is more important to me than readership. I have been able to break the levy. I always loved to write, but it had been impossible to do unless it was something work related. My creativity was nonexistent. I am really proud of what I was able to accomplish in the last 6 months of 2018.

Honorable mention: I bought a camera to keep my creative juices following in 2019!


I FINALLY went to New York City! Yes, I live in New York State, but literally on the exact opposite side of the state. My parents never expressed a desire to visit, so it wasn’t on my travel radar. In truth, I was only in NYC for about 12 hours. The city served as a stop-over before heading to Scandinavia with Carina. However, now I can say I have been there!

I hope as you’re reflecting on 2018 there is more good than bad. I hope that you too have pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and have gathered new experiences. If not, let’s make it happen in 2019! As my grandpa used to always say, “andiamo,” let’s go!

And if you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of my journey in 2018. I appreciate you.

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