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December 31, 2016

2016 was tumultuous for a lot of reasons (cough, politics), but personally, it was maybe the best year I’ve spent on this earth. I quit my full-time job, flew alone to the other side of the world, and spent three of the most glorious and hardest months of my life backpacking in Southeast Asia. I found strength and serenity in myself there, and met some amazing people who will be friends for life. At home, I dug into work with New Americans and somehow was able to pay my rent and feed myself in my first year as a full-time freelancer. I spent a month traipsing around Europe with my sister, spent time with my entire family in Ireland, a place that’s very close to my heart, and loved on friends in places near and far. The entire year was a whirlwind that left me exhausted, grateful, and ready for what’s next.


  • Started life post-full-time-job and became part-time traveler/mostly-full-time-freelancer.
  • Skiied for the first time in a few years. On top of the mountain is one of my happy places.
  • Did tons and tons of research on Southeast Asia and budget backpacking to prepare for the trip of a lifetime.
  • Cooked lots of family dinners with friends. Drank good wine, ate good cheese, learned how to make homemade pasta.


  • Said some tearful goodbyes and set off for a three-month-long solo journey through Southeast Asia.
  • Rode my first motorbike and didn’t crash (but definitely almost did a few times).
  • Discovered one of my new favorite places in the world in Myanmar.
  • Went on my first multi-day trek. Discovered I really love hiking.
  • Cried, felt homesick, actually sick, and scared.


  • Found joy in revisiting a place I’ve already been.
  • Found new parts of Thailand I fell in love with.
  • Ate ALL the Thai curry.
  • Traveled with my very favorite travel buddy.
  • Saw some seriously amazing temples at Ankor Wat.


  • Made some wonderful friends traveling in Vietnam.
  • Hiked a whole lot, and loved every minute of it.
  • Met up with friends form Omaha for a spectacular end to my trip in Japan.
  • Had the best (and most expensive) meal of my damn life in Osaka.


  • Made it home in one piece.
  • Watched my good friend Maddie marry the love of her life.
  • Jumped back into freelance with meetings, weddings, and shoots.
  • Flew to Seattle for Sasquatch Music Festival. Saw some of my very favorite bands perform live.


  • Spent a wonderful week shooting photos and video throughout Nebraska for the storytelling leg of Hear Nebraska’s Good Living Tour.
  • Started working with some amazing people on New American Voice to start telling the stories of refugees in Omaha.
  • Said goodbye to my childhood home and a lot of memories.


  • Embarked on a month-long adventure with my sister to central Europe.
  • Ate a lot of cheese and drank a lot of wine.
  • Watched Erin discover the wonder of traveling abroad.
  • Visited both new and old friends living in Germany and Sweden.


  • Spent a week in Ireland with our new little family.
  • Explored old places and some new ones, and had a lot of fun showing my family a country that’s very special to me.
  • Did a lot of yoga.
  • Took tons and tons and tons of senior photos.
  • Had a wonderful day shooting video for Maha Music Festival


  • Worked remote for two weeks in Spirit Lake, ID.
  • Spent time with so many good friends on boats and in the mountains.
  • Played Catan more than necessary.
  • Rode horses.
  • Reunited with college friends on a last-minute trip to Milwaukee.


  • Photographed concerts again at Lincoln Calling, one of my very favorite festivals.
  • Watched my mom get married to a wonderful human, and celebrated with some of the best people I know.


  • Visited Montreal with Hannah and ate all the food.
  • Crossed Vermont off my list of states and enjoyed time in Burlington.
  • Voted for a woman to be president.


  • Hung out with great friends in Chicago.
  • Spent time visiting and getting to know refugees in Omaha.
  • Attended my first photography workshop.
  • Spent lots of time with our new, now bigger family at all sorts of holiday parties.
  • Prepared for a great big adventure with Alex and some of our best friends to start out 2017.

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