2017 was a year of many things to many people. For me, it was a year of intense personal sacrifice, of fear, worry, risks, conflict, and some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. But it was also perhaps the most rewarding year of my life.
It was the second day of January – almost a year ago to the day – that I left the city I loved with the woman I loved, with a lot of hopes and dreams ahead of us. We spent 21 days on the road. By the end of the first day, we’d landed in extremely rural Arkansas. I spent eight days doing an archaeological survey in severe cold. Adrianne spent eight days doing anything she could to pass the time in a place with no internet and no cell reception, and a long drive to anything remotely fun to do in that kind of weather. What was supposed to be a 10-day project wrapped up more quickly than we thought, and at the end of my final frigid day in the field, we frantically packed up our car and continued our cross-country road trip.
The ensuing weeks took us to all the far-flung family and friends in the desert southwest and up through California on our path back to the Pacific Northwest. Unusually severe winter weather in the region foiled most of our plans to camp and hike and visit several National Parks, but on one leg of our drive – from Phoenix to Los Angeles – we took a short detour through Joshua Tree. It was there, on top of a huge rock in the middle of the desert, that I finally popped the question and Adrianne said yes.
The rest of the year was almost a blur. The sheer pace and heaviness of everything was more than anything I’d faced before. If my fiancé hadn’t encouraged me to take so many risks and pursue some long-shot goals, I probably wouldn’t have made some of the same decisions. I’m happy I did, and thankful for support from her and my family and friends.
Here’s a snapshot of the year:
- Ended my streak of over a year without a car (I only used a bike and public transit), and bought a Subaru.
- Started working full time with Codifi.
- Grew the Go Dig a Hole podcast through increased listeners, production quality, and depth of episodes.
- Bought my first house.
- Went to Hawaii to provide paperless solutions for an archaeological excavation at a native Hawaiian site.
- Worked with the Karuk tribe in Northern California on traditional knowledge, data sovereignty, and food security programs.
- Went on the toughest hike of my life and camped on the edge of a high alpine lake with my brother.
- Went on a ton of other hikes too, including my first time snowshoeing.
- Got a puppy. His name is Baloo and you can follow him on Instagram.
- Saw my first region-wide wildfires in Oregon and California. Climate change is real, y’all, and unsustainable land-use and water consumption aren’t doing us any favors.
- Became a co-owner of a small business.
- Founded Go Dig a Hole as a nonprofit organization.
- Gave two presentations on work I’ve done through Go Dig a Hole, with several more to come in 2018.
- Learned a bunch of new skills that make me a stronger collaborator and leader than ever before.
- Made good on several promises I made to myself almost a decade ago.
2018 is already stacking up to be a super busy, but very exciting year. I’ll share as I can along the way, but I’d love to hear from any readers on what you’ve been up to and what’s in store for you this year.
Archaeology • Travel
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