2020 12 months in Assessment: the Good, the Dangerous, and the Ugly

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Similar to everybody else studying this, 2020 disrupted actually each plan we had in place for the final 12 months. However, I’m nonetheless going to recap it to see if I can dredge not less than a couple of constructive moments out of the clusterf*ck. 

Conveniently divided in seven sections for every of the seven circles of hell that 2020 subjected us to, this yr in evaluation covers far more than you ever wanted to find out about me, Dan, and the dumpster fireplace of a yr that simply occurred. Let’s dive in!


Dan and Di at a river in Mexico

Just about the one good pic of us from 2020


7. Journey Shiz

As I mentioned in our 2019 yr in evaluation, Dan and I began our yr in Mexico. We have been planning to spend the second half in Dubois, Wyoming and Calgary, Canada however, after all, none of that occurred. 

We spent January in Puebla, February in Queretaro, after which briefly moved to Guadalajara in March. Nonetheless, when borders began closing, we flew again to the US amid all of the uncertainty. Now, seeing how lengthy the pandemic has dragged on, I do know we made the appropriate choice. 


at the top of Malinche Volcano in Puebla, Mexico

14,000 toes up on the peak of Malinche Volcano


Outdated Mexico 

Nonetheless, there have been a couple of journey highlights not simply from these first harmless, naive, pre-pandemic months in Mexico however right here within the US as effectively. 

In Mexico, they embody climbing Malinche Volcano (a troublesome however stunning 14’er) and seeing the well-known Monarch butterfly migration within the mountains of Michoacan. A whole bunch of 1000’s of butterflies winter over within the heat mountains, and the impact is like strolling into an enchanted forest. (Watch the video right here.)

Sadly, their numbers are falling quick due to local weather change, habitat destruction, and pesticides, so this phenomenon received’t be round for much longer. Monarchs will probably go extinct in our lifetime. 


Dan at a converted bus in Madrid, New Mexico

Transformed bus Airbnb in Madrid, New Mexico 


New Mexico 

After we spent a while with our dad and mom in Ohio throughout the heyday of coronavirus, we moved to an Airbnb in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We’ve at all times thought this may very well be the state we calm down in, and it’s confirmed to be completely beautiful. 

Our yellow casita has sweeping mountain views and I repeatedly see jackrabbits, quails, coyotes, cottontail rabbits, scorpions, tarantulas, hawks, roadrunners, and an truthfully ridiculous array of cacti outdoors our home windows right here within the Chihuahuan desert. 

We’ve hiked a ton – my New 12 months’s decision was to finish 52 hikes, which was simple with covid cancelling the whole lot else – and we traveled throughout New Mexico. I’m woefully behind on visiting nationwide parks so it was thrilling to knock out 5: White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Large Bend, and Joshua Tree.

After Christmas, Dan and I’ll transfer to Albuquerque for a couple of months after which select someplace within the US to lastly calm down and get an condominium, a canine, a job (please rent me) and mainly simply have a real-life right here in America. Goodbye, nomad days – 2020 killed ya useless (however truthfully, it was time so that you can go anyway).


Dan on a cabin porch

Turning 30 in fashion in Large Bear, California


6. Private Lives 

2020 wasn’t all dangerous. 

We welcomed a brand new niece, Maeve Laureen, and received to spend nearly two months with my nephew Rhone in quarantine in Ohio. We additionally welcomed a brand new sister when my brother Joe received married in a (super-small) marriage ceremony in Chicago.

In the course of the first lockdown in Dayton, OH, me and Kell created an 8-part Youtube Collection about her quest to grow to be TikTok well-known. Episode 4 and episode 5 that includes interviews with the very unwilling members of our TikTok collab home stay fan favorites. Kell, Rebecca, and I additionally began work on a e-book we’re writing collectively that includes a collection of essays by three sisters residing very totally different lives. 

And at last, we celebrated Dan’s thirtieth birthday in LA on a 10-day California highway journey. It wasn’t fairly as large as he wished it (RIP Oktoberfest plans), but it surely was very enjoyable (and scrumptious) nonetheless. 


Rhone waving to the camera

The cutest nephew on planet earth


5. Antarctica Replace 

For those who’ve been following alongside since 2018, you additionally know that working in Antarctica has been a years-long aim for us. 

In January 2019, we utilized and didn’t hear again, and in January 2020, we tried once more. This yr, we each received interviews, adopted by job affords and a large stack of paperwork and medical kinds we would have liked to fill out. 

After physicals, dental visits, drug checks, EKGs (after which a second EKG as a result of they tousled the primary one), gallbladder ultrasounds, payments, and extra paperwork to get refunded for the payments, we have been instructed that the USAP was reducing employees due to covid and that we truly wouldn’t be taking place this yr. 

The excellent news is that we have been supplied jobs for subsequent yr if we wish, however we don’t wish to wait in limbo till October 2021 and more than likely received’t go. 2020 was the yr, and covid took it from us. 

We are going to probably by no means expertise Antarctic life with cramped dormrooms at McMurdo analysis base, 6-day workweeks within the kitchen, -50-degree temperatures, and southern lights dancing throughout the skies, and I’m fairly bummed about it.


Di in Joshua Tree

This simply in: Joshua Tree has actually large rocks


4. Work Stuff

 We didn’t get to go to Antarctica, however the expertise did give me an excellent journey article concept: how are scientists protecting covid off essentially the most remoted continent on earth? I pitched it to Nat Geo, and so they accepted! 

That set me off on a journey writing spree, and I wrote two articles for Nat Geo, one for BBC Future, and have one within the works for The Guardian as effectively. (Examine ’em out in my portfolio). 

As a result of covid decimated site visitors to Slight North (nobody is touring, so nobody is studying about it both), this introduced much-needed revenue and inspiration to my work life. 


our Airbnb in New Mexico

Our pretty Airbnb within the New Mexico desert


3. What’s Subsequent?

We’re undecided. Dan received into the Knowledge Analytics Grasp’s diploma program at Georgia Tech, so Antarctica is off the desk. The diploma is on-line, although, so we in all probability received’t be shifting to Atlanta. 

I additionally utilized for a twin MFA in nonfiction writing / Environmental Assets on the College of Wyoming and have my fingers crossed. Nonetheless, the acceptance charge is 5% as a result of this system is totally funded, which implies as a substitute of charging tuition, they pay college students to attend.

If I do get in, we’ll transfer to the tiny school city of Laramie, Wyoming, in Could. 

If I don’t, we’re debating between Albuquerque, New Mexico, Madison, Wisconsin, or Chicago. We are able to’t resolve and alter our minds day by day, so in case you have any strategies or convincing arguments on the place we should always transfer, please go away your feedback under!


everything bagel sourdough crackers

All the pieces bagel sourdough crackers, essentially the most scrumptious snack you’ve by no means had


2. Last Shenanigans 

As a result of there’s at all times a shenanigan. 2020 birthed a brand new dream to begin a sourdough cracker empire. 

I began making essentially the most ridiculously scrumptious sourdough crackers in quarantine, and once we calm down, I’ll start promoting them at farmer’s markets. I’ve tons of huge concepts and would like to develop it right into a small enterprise. 

I constructed a web site (that’s nonetheless very a lot below building) as a result of it’s 2020, and I’m caught inside and don’t have anything higher to do. Join our e-newsletter updates and keep in mind to return to me for all of your sourdough cracker wants sooner or later. 


Di in front of her Airbnb door

Placed on make-up as soon as, instantly made Dan take an image of me


1. 2020 Wrapped

I really like writing these year-in-review articles as a result of they assist me keep in mind how actually-pretty-good life often is (and, if not good, not less than at all times stunning). I like to check them to the earlier yr and see which plans materialized, and which blew up in a cloud of lethal airborne virus particles.

Final yr, I launched a brand new partnership with the One Tree Planted non-profit, Dan was making use of to grad faculty, and we have been crossing our fingers in our second spherical of Antarctica purposes.

Now, Slight North has planted over 300 bushes within the Andes mountains, Dan’s been accepted to Georgia Tech, and we have been nearly in (after which very a lot out) of labor on the coldest continent on earth.

Craziest of all, after six years of residing overseas within the Center East, Japanese Europe, and Latin America, we’re lastly settling down within the US for good.

Change is sweet, and I’m excited for what’s to return. I put up much less articles right here these days, however I nonetheless do put up, and I hope you stick round. Keep wholesome, attempt to keep sane, and keep in mind that that is in all probability all-time low, and issues can solely go up from right here. (Most likely.) 

See ya in 2021! 


This text is a part of the 12 months in Assessment collection. Learn the remainder under:

2019 12 months in Assessment

2018 12 months in Assessment




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