The Yr of “Oh No”


Couple and dog on a blue couch, surrounded by plants in front of a colorful bookshelf.

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I’ve a confession to make.

On the finish of 2019, exhausted and burnt out, I made a New Years decision that, in hindsight, could have doomed all the world: I wished to journey much less and spend extra time at dwelling, baking and taking lengthy walks and watching birds within the yard.

Yep: I put that out into the Universe, after which the Universe was like “oh, dip?” and right here we’re, in month 976827682768 of the worst international pandemic in over a century. Alexa, play “Be Cautious What You Want For.” (BTW: I needed to Google this, however it seems that there’s a nation tune with this title, together with, weirdly, an “erotic thriller movie” starring one of many Jonas brothers. What the what?!?!)

Anyway, you guys, I’m actually sorry about… you understand *gestures broadly at the whole lot*

However you’re most likely questioning: was all of it value it, Lia?!?! Did you get your silly want and spend 2020 taking lengthy walks, watching birds within the yard, and baking bundt muffins??

And the reply is … kinda. Let’s get into it.

Estimated Studying Time: 35 minutes

On the lookout for extra year-in-review posts? We’ve been writing them yearly because the starting of our journey weblog. Right here all of them are, or simply choose a yr:

2020 by the Numbers

Earlier than we dive into the small print, let’s begin with a fast abstract of how the yr went. I promise that solely a few of these are made up.

This is my home office! It's filled with travel things, from postcards to globes to smaller globes to travel-themed cups to a big scratch-off map. Yes: I literally wrote a gift guide for myself and then bought everything on it.

Sensible Wanderlust

  • Staff Members: 10
  • Weblog Posts Revealed: 27
  • Books Revealed: 1
  • Complete Readers: 2.06m
  • Complete Web page Views: 3.02m
  • Site visitors In comparison with 2019: -24%
  • Gross Revenue In comparison with 2019: -16%
  • Months that Internet Revenue was Destructive: 4
Girl in yellow jacket in San Francisco, California crossing the street, with a view of the Bay Bridge in the background.


  • Existential Crises: At the very least 5
  • Domains Bought: 3
  • Succulent Pups Collected: 2768728627
  • Succulent Infants Grown: 92768
  • TV Exhibits Binge-Watched: 18
  • Greatest-Promoting Books Written: 1
  • Bundt Truffles Baked: 0
  • Take-Out Dumplings Consumed: 983
  • Lengthy Walks Taken: 582
Jeremy holding Mulan in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, in front of a lake.


  • Sourdough Loaves Baked: At the very least 30
  • Cookies Baked: At the very least 300
  • Truffles Baked: 4 (vegan almond olive oil, black forest gateau, thunder cake, yuletide log) plus 24 cupcakes (almond muffins full of orange curd and topped with ginger buttercream)
  • Woodworking Initiatives Accomplished: 4 (herb backyard, cloud shelf, mountain shelf, trellis, canine feeder, birdhouse)
  • Podcasts listened to: 60 hours
  • Piano songs discovered: 23
Dog in a hammock on camping trip


  • Tips Realized: 15 (Sit, keep, down, excessive 5, shake, meerkat, up-up, off, leap, converse, don’t converse, don’t leap, discover it, watch me, contact)
  • Bully Sticks Chewed: 267
  • Stuffies Destroyed: 20
  • Tiny Bits of Stuffing Strewn Throughout the Home: 9268296787
  • Canine Beds: 5
  • Chairs Claimed: 2
  • Seasonally Themed Outfits: 6
  • Tenting Journeys: 2

Grasp on … who’s Mulan?? Let’s get to it!

Kissing in front of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Bear in mind when photos like this DIDN’T trigger visceral emotions of tension and disappointment? Ahh, February 2020, we have been so harmless then.

The Starting of 2020: The Glory Days

January, 2020: a brand new decade. The world was vibrant and stuffed with promise. Jeremy and I have been fortunately settling into our new rental dwelling in Oakland, full with a giant yard and a devoted workplace – no extra working in a nook of our front room behind the sofa!

Our journey weblog had by no means been extra profitable, however I used to be feeling burnt out after a yr full of 26 journeys – that’s one journey each two weeks on common, when you’re number-crunching – and I wished to spend extra time at dwelling (*cringes in hindsight*).

Little did I do know that I’d already discovered the primary of many humbling classes of this yr: there’s such factor as an excessive amount of of factor, and I had reached my restrict.

The starry-eyed marvel of hopping on a airplane to go to a brand new vacation spot had light to a sense of routine. I’d stated “sure” to too many unbelievable alternatives, and I wasn’t giving myself an opportunity to savor the thrill of planning a visit to a brand new place. I used to be dangerously teetering in direction of the brink of feeling ungrateful for the ridiculous, wonderful, and unbelievable alternatives that my job as a journey blogger afforded me.

Plus, I felt like an actual hypocrite working in direction of a zero/low-waste life-style at dwelling… solely to hop on airplane after airplane.

So, a few weeks after I turned 30, we tied an anchor to ourselves to assist us keep grounded and at dwelling… within the type of a cuddly, fluffy pet.

Black and white puppy in front of a snowy cabin in Lake Tahoe, California.
Meet Mulan! This fluffy bundle of pleasure joined our household in January 2020.

Meet Mulan

I’ve all the time been a self-proclaimed cat individual, however I fell head over heels in love with Mulan earlier than we even met. Jeremy and I have been looking adoption listings, and I noticed a blurry picture of her on the web site of an area shelter (the great Jelly’s Place in San Pablo, when you’re a Bay Space native on the lookout for a brand new buddy). All I knew about her was that she was rescued from a meat farm in South Korea and that she was named after my favourite Disney film, however one thing deep down was telling me that this was The One.

Positive sufficient, the second I picked her up, she snuggled proper into my arms and gave me kisses. By no means in my life have I been something apart from supremely grossed out by a canine licking my face … till that canine was Mulan.

I’d solely felt love at first sight as soon as earlier than, after I caught sight of Jeremy for the primary time wanting like a tall drink of Ginger Ale along with his crimson beard set ablaze within the night mild. With Mulan, it was a special sort of love – however it was intense.

We turned in our adoption utility instantly, solely to seek out out that actually everybody else on the shelter was doing the very same factor. Mulan was the preferred canine on the shelter that day by far – seems she was giving snuggles and face kisses to everybody! (We’d later uncover that she has the ability to make each single individual she’s ever met really feel like she’s their favourite human in all the world .)

So we confirmed up a number of days later, armed with paperwork from our landlord displaying that we have been welcome to undertake a canine, to beg our case and persuade the shelter that we’d be, like, actually nice canine dad and mom. We had an enormous yard! I labored from dwelling! Jeremy spent years working as a handler at a doggie daycare! Please, please, PLEASE choose us!

It was a bit of creepy, however it labored. The shelter allow us to take Mulan dwelling on the spot!

…. which we have been fully unprepared for. We bee-lined for the pet retailer on the best way dwelling, frantically Googling issues like “what to purchase to maintain a pet alive.”

The subsequent few weeks have been a blur of late-night wakeup-calls, potty coaching, leash coaching, crate coaching, journeys to the vet, and researching. Neither of us had ever adopted a pet earlier than, and we have been ill-prepared for the way extremely tough it might be. As Mulan wailed and scratched at her crate at 3am for the millionth evening in a row, we discovered ourselves questioning if we’d gotten ourselves in method over our heads. Was it all the time going to be this difficult?

However after a number of weeks, all of us adjusted. Quickly Mulan was our little journey companion, tagging together with us on hikes and even using together with Jeremy on his bike commute to high school every day.

Since then, we’ve come to see Mulan as greater than only a pet or perhaps a beloved companion: she is a member of our household, and we each really feel as if she is our little one. We’re liable for her well being, happiness, and security, and it’s by way of us that she learns learn how to navigate the world. Coaching, socializing, bodily actions, and exposing her to new experiences all helps develop her confidence whereas additionally serving to to stimulate her thoughts and maintain her physique wholesome.

We’re additionally extremely lucky to dwell in a dog-friendly place: Mulan is welcomed in every single place from our favourite cafes and eating places to the native outlets in our neighborhood. We convey her with us almost in every single place, and he or she’s made pals throughout Oakland!

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