Every year, I prepare for the next by reflecting on current accomplishments. I’ve been sharing the written details of those reflections here, since 2015.
Last year, I worried that after sacrificing so much of my personal ambitions for family life, I wouldn’t have much to share. But once I started writing, I found I had not let life pass me by, after all.
This year, I have the opposite concern. I’ve been trying to cut down my list! I can say with confidence that 2017 has been the absolute best of my 28 years.
I didn’t meet all the goals I set, but I’ve made peace with that. I am one woman, after all, and not all the goals were in my hands. Here’s what my 2017 looked like.
Tamed a Semi-Feral
I ended 2016 mourning the loss of my kitten, Smokey. She went missing while I was away one fall weekend, just as a cold front swept through Atlanta. She was never found.
A month later, I adopted a semi-feral by the name of Shadow. He started his relationship with us, hissing and hiding. Within three weeks, however, we somehow managed to tame him. In short, I started the new year off as a cat-whisperer!
I can’t imagine my life now without this pesky little feline, though I can’t help holding out for hope that Smokey will eventually come home. There will always be a home for her here, and I’m sure Shadow would love having a big sis around.
Featured by NBC News
In the spring, I had the honour of being included in an NBC News better piece about how social media can help people to develop healthy habits. Of all my personal and professional accomplishments this year, this is one of those I prize the highest.
Can you blame me?
Finished Renovations on My Home
In July of 2016, I published 5 Benefits from a Year of Minimalism, where I talked about my journey as a minimalist and how it affected my life for the best. In the article, I shared a picture of my tiny home, and how bare it was at the time.
By spring of the following year, I finished renovations on that tiny home — minus me procrastinating to stain the cabinets. Here are some before and after pictures.
I had my house-warming on November 9th, which is when I took that picture of myself. The black wall behind me is where my office now is. It’s probably the one place in the house where my presence is most strongly felt.
Saw Tristan for the First Time in YEARS!
I met Tristan in 2007, after returning from Atlanta to start my second year at Montego Bay Community College, in Jamaica.
He was a high school student then, and had dropped by campus to meet up with some of his friends. One of those friends happened to be one of my classmates, who took it upon himself to introduce us.
Tristan and I have been friends, since.
Around 2010, however, Tristan moved to Las Vegas for school. Thereafter, he visited Jamaica maybe once or twice. Being able to visit him in Vegas after all that time had passed was amazing.
Not only did I get to see my longtime friend, and the Junior Editor, at my PR firm; I also had the amazing opportunity to explore further west with him, and to meet other mutual friends.
Headed to Vans Warped Tour
In the summer, before my Cali beach trip, Vans Warped Tour came to Atlanta. While attending the music festival, I saw one of my now favourite bands, live. I was completely blown away by their performance.
I also had the pleasure of seeing other highly anticipated acts, like Dance Gavin Dance, The Ataris, and Hawthorne Heights. I’m glad I made it to Warped Tour for the past two years in a row, because 2018 will be their final tour. 😔
Retweeted by Our Last Night
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Watching our alleged managing director go total fan girl this morning after her fave band reposted her full featured write-up on them. Congrats @alexischateau_ ! Now please stop hopping up and down like an overexcited bunny! 😂 #ourlastnight #entertainmentjournalism #music #rockshows #journalism #vanswarpedtour #warpedtour #writer
I had no idea Our Last Night existed before purchasing Vans Warped Tour tickets. But when I saw their name on the lineup, I decided to check them out.
Seeing a band live is a defining moment for how you think of them, thereafter. For me, their live performance was the moment I knew they were going to be a favourite for a very, very long time.
Naturally, I had to dedicate an entire post to them, calling them The Best Performers on the Atlanta Leg of Vans Warped Tour 2017. So can you imagine my surprise and exquisite delight when they retweeted it to their 100,000+ fans?
I totally fan-girled, and I am not ashamed.
Volunteered in the Great Wild West
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On Day 27 of our travel launch with @1viewpointllc here's a #ThrowBack to when we (@rumcreamgod @bulle345 @alexischateau_ ) took a day out of our vacation to volunteer at a beach cleanup the day after Independence in California, this year. Good times! — @alexischateau_ #November31 #AskMeHowIGotHere .. .. .. #volunteer #volunteering #volunterwork #california #travel #travelers #beachcleanup #dogooders #teamwork #beachday #nofilterneeded
While still riding the high of my Our Last Night retweet, I headed to California to meet up with Tristan and Ericson. Though the entire Cali trip was amazing, the opportunity to volunteer at a beach cleanup was one of the best high points for me.
Volunteering was a really big part of my life in Jamaica. I’m glad I took the opportunity to do some good, with the ocean in sight, again.
Completed My Novel Series
The following month, after three years writing on-and-off, I finally completed the last installment of a 4-book series I worked on for years.
I first wrote the books as a trilogy, from 2004 -2005. When I graduated from college in 2012, I decided it was time to revisit that work and refine it, before tackling anything else. I finished the first four books in one year, making the ultimate decision to delete one of them from the series.
With only one more to write, I was sure I would be done by the end of 2013. Well… that didn’t happen until September 2017. I then finished my first rounds of edits in November.
Better late than never, right?
Experienced the New England Fall
A few weeks after completing my novel, I travelled to New England to celebrate my 28th birthday with a solo trip. I often travel alone, but this was the first time I was doing so in a place I had never been, and had no plans of meeting up with family and friends once I got there.
It was an amazing experience, and one I am not like to forget soon. Next year, it will be a tough match between going back to New England to see Maine and Vermont, or heading to Hulaween.
Launched Travel Agency
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It's the first day of our travel launch at @alexischateaullc and our partners at @1viewpointllc, who books all the trips I've taken in the past year. Yes, a year. We spent that long testing our product! Being a travel ambassador has been such hard work… 😵 . . . #desert #bluesky #nature #landscape #travelagency #travels #traveler #wanderlust #travelbug #travelblogging #traveling #ocean #seascape #naturephotography #landscapephotography
In November 2016, I struck up a business partnership with an indie travel agency. We originally planned on launching the travel services as part of my PR firm in the spring, but one travel ban after another put a damper on our plans.
After a year of testing, we launched the travel agency in the United States and the Caribbean. Trips to all other areas are still in beta testing mode. In fact, my relationship with the company is the reason I’ve traveled as often as I have all year.
I still pay for my own trips, but at a reduced booking fee, and there’s no beating their deals. I usually take 5-day trips, and have never spent more than $600 for flight and accomodations, even while staying on the Vegas strip during spring break.
Went Viral Within the Jamaican Diaspora
14 English Words & Phrases that Mean Something TOTALLY Different in Jamaican Patois has been shared on Facebook almost 10,500 times. I’m grateful to all the people who felt moved enough to tag friends, and pass it along.
Awesome!! My mom heard about your article on a Jamaican morning radio program in the week and loved it! Asked me to show her ur others 🙂— Nikki J (@NikkiJamaica) November 3, 2017
Many of my Facebook friends shared the post, not realising it was written by me. It was fun watching their reaction when I thanked them for sharing, and they finally put two and two together.
Since this post, my other posts on Jamaica and Jamaican culture have also become increasingly popular. I foresee a great 2018 if I manage to keep writing articles that resonate with my country[wo]men!
For years, I watched writers suffer on Twitter every November, while participating in this mysterious thing called NaNoWriMo. While in college, I didn’t have the time. And while working in corporate, I didn’t have the energy.
This year, I had both, so I decided to do my research and join the madness. Thanks to that madness, I’ve upped how much I write, grown my audience, and wrote a second novel this year. I finished it this month.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t foresee a bright future for the novella I completed, but I’m proud to have finished it all the same.
Impromptu Trip to Miami
When Winston first suggested we head down to Florida for a week, I didn’t really think he’d follow through with it. I’ve had friends propose tonnes of trips that never pan out. Only Tristan and Ericson have ever been true to their word, especially on such short notice.
And yet, a few weeks later, we were on our way to Amelia Island — the Atlanta cold behind us, the Savannah warmth between, and beach days ahead. I hadn’t been to Florida since I was nine years old — if we exclude passing through the airports — so it was quite the experience, seeing the state through adult eyes for the first time.
I don’t want to say too much about the trip to Florida, as I haven’t shared any of the blog posts about it just yet. But from white sand to black rocks to green woods and beached trees, Florida’s diversity is unmatched.
This was one of the best trips I took this year — especially considering we neither paid for flight nor accommodation!
On the way to and from Florida, we stopped in Savannah to walk the cobblestone streets, look at artwork, and explore River Street.
Both times, we only spent about two hours or so, but it’s amazing how much more I saw of (and learned about) Savannah in that short time, compared to when I was there for three days in 2016.
And with still so much to see, I spy with my little eye… an impromptu trip to Savannah on the 2018 horizon…
Did your 2017 play out the way you planned? Why, or why not? What do you plan to do differently in 2018?