Travel

2018: A Look Back

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2018 was, hands down, the best year of my life. It’s also been really hard in other ways with a terminal illness, loss, and suffering in my family. Sometimes life builds you up and other times it punches you right in the gut.

Despite the grief my family has felt in the latter part of the year I did get to do some pretty amazing things in 2018: Close friends were able to celebrate Nick and I at a cabin upstate in February, I had the most lovely low-key bridal shower surrounded by the key women in my life in April, I left a corporate job in May in order to make room for new life adventures, I got married, and then we traveled around the world for three months. I’m so grateful and thankful for every single thing that has happened to me this year (good and bad), as it’s made me appreciate life and the simple things in ways I didn’t even know were possible.

Bachelor-ette Weekend
We kicked it off in upstate New York with our closest friends
Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods Tour
We saw Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods Tour at Madison Square Garden
My Bridal Shower
I had the loveliest bridal shower
Bridal Shower Ladies
With my favorite women
Celebrating the mama-to-be!
We celebrated this glowing mama to be
Had an amazing rehearsal dinner with family
Then we were off to Greenport for our rehearsal dinner with family
And then had welcome drinks with friends
And then had welcome drinks with friends
Married the love of my life
I married the love of my life | photo @sammblake
My dad let us borrow his vintage car for the day
My dad let us borrow his vintage car for the day | photo @sammblake
And then we were beach angels
And then we were beach angels | photo @sammblake
Our venue was perfect
Our venue was perfect | photo @sammblake
People still talk about the food
People still talk about the food | photo @sammblake
And we danced a whole lot
And we danced a whole lot | photo @sammblake
Then we left for a few days in the Dominican Republic and kicked off the most incredible honeymoon
Then we left for a few days in the Dominican Republic and kicked off the most incredible honeymoon
Then we went to Paris
Then we went to Paris
And Nick ate all the croissants and drank all the espresso
And Nick ate all the croissants and drank all the espresso
We beached hard in Nice, France
We beached hard in Nice, France
And #nicksleeps was born
And #nicksleeps was born
Then we went to Provence and spent a week in an old, stone cottage
Then we went to Provence and spent a week in an old, stone cottage
And we drank Ricard
And we drank Ricard
And pooled so hard
And pooled so hard
And we saw French lavender
And we saw French lavender
Then we drank some spritzes in Croatia
Then we drank some spritzes in Croatia
Then we popped over to Athens for a quick ruins tour
Then we popped over to Athens for a quick ruins tour
Then off to Bali where we scootered
Then off to Bali where we scootered
And yoga-ed
And yoga-ed
And saw incredible sunsets
And saw incredible sunsets
And then we drank bia hoi in Vietnam
And then we drank bia hoi in Vietnam
And we ate bun cha
And we ate bun cha
And went on a food tour and ate the best things
And went on a food tour and ate the best things and realized we’re both too big for Vietnam
And then saw one of the wonders of the world
And then saw one of the wonders of the world
Then we went to Cambodia and saw the sun rise over Angkor Wat
Then we went to Cambodia and saw the sun rise over Angkor Wat
And went to Ta Prohm temple
And went to Ta Prohm temple
And I rode a bike
And I rode a bike
Then off to Hawaii for some hiking
Then off to Hawaii for some hiking
And some snorkeling
And some snorkeling
And some beaching
And some beaching
Then a quick stop in Vegas
Then a quick stop in Vegas
En route to the Hoover Dam
En route to the Hoover Dam
Then we hiked the Grand Canyon
Then we hiked the Grand Canyon
And got In N Out afterward
And got In N Out afterward
Then we went to Joshua Tree
Then we went to Joshua Tree
And lived that pool life in Palm Springs
And lived that pool life in Palm Springs
Saw friends in San Diego
Saw friends in San Diego
And more friends in Pittsburgh
And more friends in Pittsburgh
And more friends in Charleston
And more friends in Charleston
Then we ate well in Savannah
Then we ate well in Savannah
And I discovered I like beer
And I discovered I like beer
And we saw more friends in Atlanta
And we saw more friends in Atlanta
Then off to Asheville to get one more hike in
Then off to Asheville to get one more hike in
And we flew home in first class with happy, happy hearts
And we flew home in first class with happy, happy hearts
Once we got back I turned 31
Once we got back I turned 31
And birthday dinner was more bun cha
And birthday dinner was more bun cha
We reunited with our New York crew
We reunited with our New York crew
And our volleyball crew
And our volleyball crew
We saw Paul Simon's last concert ever
We saw Paul Simon’s last concert ever
And celebrated more love
And celebrated more love
We repped the American Greats
We repped the American Greats
And saw old friends
And saw old friends
We were thankful
We were thankful
I geeked out over my favorite band
I geeked out over my favorite band
And celebrated Christmas with friends
And celebrated Christmas with friends
And family
And family
And rang in the New Year feeling happy, blessed and excited for what's to come
And rang in the New Year feeling happy, blessed and excited for what’s to come

Even putting this post together was a bit surreal–I can’t believe how much Nick and I did this year! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in 2019. 2018 is going to be hard to beat but we’re sure going to try.

Ashley

P.S. –  I struggled with whether or not I should do a year in review post. I saw a lot of people posting things over the last few days about the really tough year they had and I wasn’t sure if my words would come across as bragging, conceited or ungrateful. The last thing in the world I want is to have a “look at me, look at me” attitude. After much debate I decided to put my recap together. Not because I’m bragging. Not because I don’t care about other peoples’ struggles. Not because I’m trying to rub my year in anyone’s face. But because I think the wins don’t always happen and when they do we’ve gotta celebrate them. Hard times are inevitable but I’m SO genuinely happy and blessed to have had the year that I had.

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