another year in review, 21.0

Years have felt less year-like.
In the time warp following 2020, there’s just pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.
Dates seem to drip, flowing without delineation into a blur.

That’s why it took be so long to pull this year in review together.
It’s a tradition I’ve kept since 2012 that usually brings me a lot of joy and gratefulness.
So let the reminiscing begin!

In 2021, I traveled to 67 cities.
Sometimes twice. Sometimes thrice.

Afton, OK · Baltimore, MD · Banks, ID · Banner Elk, NC · Barga, Italy · Bartlesville, OK · Baton Rouge, LA · Bluffton, SC · Boise, ID · Bologna, Italy · Boone, NC · Bozeman, MT · Catahoula, LA · Charleston, SC · Chicago, IL · Dallas, TX · Darien, GA · Denver, CO · Detroit, MI · Essex, MT · Fishtown, MI · Florence, Italy · Frankenmuth, MI · Guyton, GA · Irvine, CA · Jennings, OK · Joshua Tree, CA · Kansas City, MO · Key West, FL · Laplace, LA · Leland, MI · Livingston, MT · Longview, TX · Los Angeles, CA · Lowman, ID · Miami, FL · Milan, Italy · Missoula, MT · Metter, GA · Naples, Italy · New Orleans, LA · Newport Beach, CA · Omaha, NB · Palm Springs, CA · Parma, Italy · Pisa, Italy · Pittsburgh, PA · Polebridge, MT · Pompeii, Italy · Positano, Italy · Pray, MT · Rehoboth, DE · Rome, Italy · Saint Francisville, LA · San Diego, CA · Santa Monica, CA · Sapelo Island, GA · Sapulpa, OK · Savannah, GA · Sullivan’s Island, NC · Traverse City, MI · Tucson, AZ · Tulsa, OK · Twin Falls, ID · Wendell, ID · Venice, CA 

Last year, I only bought one pair of sneakers, and they weren’t Nikes.

Check them out here.

My commitment to being a less willing consumer has drastically changed the growth of my closet. But don’t worry, I’m still a Nike freak.

Here are the beaters I wore all year long:

After my pizza-making obsession in 2020,
I went on a pizza tour of Italy in 2021.

*It was the only time I officially took off all year long,
which I don’t advise.

The day after Italy opened back up (and by a stroke of luck bestowed by the points god), we booked last minute tickets on a COVID tested flight. With 2 days to plan, we mapped out an 18 hour road trip from Milan > Parma > Bologna > Barga > Pisa > Florence > Pompeii > Naples > Positano > Rome.

We walked over 90 miles, ate 4 zillion pizzas, and slept very little.
That’s Italy done right.

I doubled down on buying less
and doing more.

-always worth it-

Things I learned this year:

  • perfected the cappuccino with my new espresso machine
  • learned a few Gullah recipes with Sallie Ann Robinson
  • tried my hand at gardening after watching Ron Finley’s Masterclass
  • went to Tucson, learned more about my dad’s first few years in the US as a refugee
  • learned about Italian cuisine firsthand–from Parma (the birthplace of Parmesan) to Bologna (you guessed it, the birthplace of bologna) to syrupy balsamic from Modena, fine Tuscan wines and the most incredible pizzas

Other 2021 moments to remember:

  • saw the Foo Fighters (not knowing it would be among the last of Taylor Hawkin’s shows)
  • traveled around northern Michigan in the dead of winter for the making of a Guinness-Carhartt masterpiece
  • climbed to the top of the Duomo and the Tower of Pisa
  • went to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and saw some of my favorite pieces up close
  • walked the ancient streets of Pompeii, with Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance
  • was one of the first Americans back in Positano since COVID
  • went to Chicago, New Orleans, LA, and Detroit 3 times each
  • celebrated the Martinez family with a reunion in Miami
  • hiked all over the US: from North Carolina to Idaho to Montana and California
  • spent a few weeks traveling around Savannah, Tulsa, and Baton Rouge for work–photographing folks and learning about their various industries.
  • helped create Carhartt’s largest production to date in the foothills of Livingston
  • got the closest I’ve ever been to Cuba, visiting The Keys with friends
  • looked for a new city to live in…and found it…

Well, 2021 is over.
And 2022 is partway through.
I’m exhausted.
How about you?

Travel back in time to see my previous yearly reviews:
20122013201420152016201720182019, and 2020