2014 has been a year of change.
Many of you know that I've been working as a freelance writer and photographer over the past several months. It all began in 2013 when my partner, Rachel, and I started blogging about hiking and craft beer in Bellingham. Our hobby blog opened up lots of other opportunities, and in March 2014 our first feature article was published in Washington Trails Magazine. There's something really cool about seeing your work in print for the first time. I was hooked. Fast forward to today: I've made the majority of my income this year as a freelancer. It's been a most challenging and rewarding journey. More on that later...
March was a busy month. A few days after our article hit the stands, I quit my retail job and moved out of Bellingham to embark on a 3-month trip through Asia. I backpacked around Thailand, relaxed at the beach, bathed elephants, and participated in Songkran – the Thai New Year – which is celebrated with a nation-wide water fight. Blasting Thais and tourists alike from the back of a Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok was one of the most unforgettable moments of my trip.
From Thailand I flew to South Korea to visit my best friend Nathan who was teaching English there. We hiked and drank craft beer in Seoul, ate lots of kimchi, and went for several motorcycle rides around Pohang. It was great to catch up and finally visit the place that Nathan had called home for so long.
Next I set off for Japan, where Rachel was teaching English in a city north of Tokyo. We took weekend road trips to the coast, explored Tokyo's parks, restaurants, and bars, and visited majestic Mount Fuji. Nathan and I met up in Nagoya to walk the Nakasendo Trail and stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). I also spent a few days traveling alone in Kyoto, where I stayed in a capsule hotel, got food poisoning from bad convenience-store sushi, and rode a shinkansen (bullet train) capable of speeds up to 200mph.
Back home in June, I was jobless and homeless but excited for the summer ahead. I landed my first paid writing gig with a Seattle-based company called Tmber. Getting paid to write about hiking trails while house-sitting in Big Lake and Bellingham became my surreal reality for a month or so. Then it got even better. I accepted a writing and photography contract with Portland-based Outdoor Project as their contributor on assignment in the North Cascades region of Washington State.
The rest of my summer was spent hiking, camping, and documenting my outdoor adventures. I learned a great deal about freelancing and for the first time in my life, I really loved my job. Unfortunately all things must come to an end, and my contract was limited to 4 months. Come November, it was time to start looking for work again. And after experiencing the taste of freelance freedom, I wasn't about to go back to retail or a traditional office job.
Which brings me to today. I'm happy to share that I've accepted full-time employment as a virtual assistant, meaning I can work from home – or anywhere. Nathan landed the job too, so we'll be virtual coworkers. Isn't that neat?
Additionally, I plan to continue doing freelance writing/photography on the side and recently completed this portfolio website to showcase my work. Please take a look around, and let me know what you think!
I'm not sure what next year will bring. But if it's anything like 2014, I'll be in for another exciting year of positive change and personal growth.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. May the New Year bring positive change and personal growth to us all.