Year in Review: 2015 in Photos

This year was one of the best ever. I say that every time but that’s how you want things to go, right? Better and better each year. It wasn’t without its ups and downs, however. If I were to summarize what this whole year’s been like for me, I would say defining yet doubtful. I worked a dream job, succeeded in personal journeys, forged really good friendships, and traveled my home country; at the same time, however, I experienced new levels of crushing anxiety, fought the rising bile of doubt, and faced loneliness.

Most of all, 2015 was a year in which I truly felt responsible for my own life. In a way, I grew through the knowledge that I could make of it whatever I wanted; yet I also shrank from what a magnitude of responsibility that was to me—a 24-year-old. What if my choices created a future that I was not willing to live with?

But, I’ve gained confidence in myself throughout the course of the year. And I’m looking forward to some more clarity that 2016 will have to offer.

Anyways, so much has happened this year that I’ve hashed and rehashed—I thought it would be easier to express in photos this time.

Austin, TX

At the beginning of 2015, I was still serving my AmeriCorps term in Austin, TX at an education non-profit. Through it, I had tons of fun exploring Austin with my fellow coworkers.


While in Austin, I kept the travel spirit alive through various day- and weekend- trips to the surrounding areas.

Pedernales Falls State Park

When my parents visited me in Austin, I took them to one of my favorite state parks nearby: Pedernales Falls State Park.

IMG_0408Enchanted Rock

Traveled 2 hours to visit Enchanted Rock with some buddies. Enchanted Rock, Texas-9865

Houston Rodeo

I headed to Houston to visit a close friend I hadn’t seen in years. Luckily for me, the Houston Rodeo was that same month!


San Francisco

At one point, I even flew to San Francisco for a week to visit a dear friend. This was before I knew I was going to habitually be in San Francisco.


First-time goer at SXSW

Unfortunately, no photos of any of this! 

Arrived in Santa Rosa, CA

After finishing up with AmeriCorps and Austin, I left for my dream job of being a U.S. adventure tour guide with PEAK Adventure Travel (now AmeriCan Adventures). Arriving in Santa Rosa was on of the most scary and exciting things I’d ever done—I didn’t even know if the position was real until some managers picked us up at a motel to start training! IMG_8150

Went on an incredible training trip

Part of training was on a mock-trip that took us through California, Nevada, and Arizona. In these 2 weeks alone, I explored more of the lower 48 than I ever had before! IMG_8567Not only that, but I met 20 amazing fellow guides, some of whom I consider my closest friends today. IMG_8376

Started working as a U.S. adventure tour guide

After training, we were all thrown into the water to sink or swim. And boy, did I swim. Through the job, I visited places like… The Grand Canyon IMG_8589Zion National Park IMG_8340Monument Valley IMG_8414Shenandoah National Park  IMG_8770Memphis  12046664_10153684342644704_8480995598066378743_nNew Orleans  IMG_8861Yosemite  IMG_9034San Francisco


Las Vegas Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 13.24.01Death Valley National Park IMG_8960Joshua Tree National Park



Puerto Vallarta

After the season ended, I headed to Puerto Vallarta with a friend for some much-needed relaxation after a whirlwind of a season. IMG_9237G0714807

Michigan Reunion

While I was waiting to head off to the year-end party, I headed back to my old stomping grounds for a reunion with my college friends… just in time to witness a devastating loss to a rival. UM

Year-end party

I had a few weeks after Puerto Vallarta to not start a routine a home before I jet-setted off to Denver to start a trip that would end in Reno just in time for Halloween! There, with around 200 people affiliated with the company, we spent 3 hazy days partying our faces off. IMG_9385 fam

Road trip to Dallas

Afterwards, I went on a 2-week road trip, where I visited…  Tent Rocks National Monument  IMG_9744Arches National Park IMG_9574Marfa, TX  IMG_9801Amarillo, TX IMG_9778Big Bend National Park IMG_0148

Let the good times roll

I remember some time during 2015, I started a “Good Things That Happened” Jar. And, surprisingly, I kept track of it and kept up with it. Here are a few precious highlights from 2015:

  • I conquered public speaking through AmeriCorps and especially through tour guiding
  • When I lost my license in Austin, TX while on a trip, my passengers called HQ to ask if I could stay on
  • Spending 5 days in LA with some of my closest training trip friends
  • Saw Russell Peters live in Austin
  • Went to a Martin Garrix concert for FREE
  • Went to see Bill Bryson talk in Austin
  • Fostered 2 wonderful senior cats

As I was going through my GTTH jar, I was surprised at how many moments I remembered—and wrote about! At the time of writing these things, I thought they were moments that would be easily forgotten… which is why I wrote it in the first place.

Turns out that because these moments were so good, they were memorable to me.


I knew a lot happened this year, but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the year would fly by. It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting down to write the Year in Review for 2014!

I’m looking forward to how I’ll continue to grow and craft my life in 2016. These few years to come are going to be fundamental and I’m interested to see what will happen!

Thanks for being a good one, 2015. But it’s now time for 2016!

How was your 2015? Link me some year in reviews!

Linking up with Courtney and Lauren!

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  • Melanie Fontaine

    I can definitely see why this year was so defining for you and I hope 2016 will be so even more for you, but with less of the anxiety! I think when you’re in a transitional phase of life, there is always some more doubt than usual, but it’s what we do to overcome those doubts that truly brings us closer to who we are meant to be – and looking at the many adventures you’ve had this year, I’d say that you’ve done a pretty darn good job at being responsible for your own life! :) I hope 2016 will be an even better year for you! :)
    I’m working on posting my own yearly review post in the next few days – it’s been like six weeks since I’ve posted anything, so it’s about time! ;)

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks so much, Mel!! And welcome back(ish) :) I’m learning to get over the anxiety a little bit and to just embrace the transitional part of my life haha. After all, a few surprises here and there are better than knowing what’s coming all the time :)

      Hope 2016 will go well for you too!! And that you enjoyed the HELL out of 2015. Can’t wait to read your yearly review!!

  • Van @ Snow in Tromso

    Think you have a typo in the second paragraph – or did you actually time-travel and already experienced 2016, haha??!! No seriously, seems like you had an amazing year in which you’ve pretty much seen half of the US?! So awesome! I’m jealous!!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Oops! You’re completely right! Thanks for noticing haha :) Yeah, I’ve seen a lot.. .but there’s always so much more to see!! Hope you had a wonderful New Year’s celebration, Van!

  • Lani

    I’m so glad you had an amazing year of travel, growth and connections. Here’s to 2016! Hope the magic continues. All the best, Mich-l :D xxoo

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Lani! It means a lot to me :) Hoping the same to you in 2016!! <3

  • Jordan Beck Wagner

    You’ve had such an awesome, adventure-filled year! Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for you!!!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks Jordan! Hopefully it’s something like this one :)

  • Ruth Rieckehoff

    Wow! Didn’t know you worked as a tour guide. Is this something you are going to be doing on a constant basis? Love all your photos. I want to visit more places in the United States too.

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Yep! It was a big part of my 2015. For now, it’s not on the burner for the upcoming year, but who knows what’ll happen. Thanks Ruth! Hope your 2016 goes well :)

  • Anna | slightly astray

    Wow!! You had such an amazing year!! I can’t imagine that any of your choices this year would lead to an unhappy future. Being a tour guide was an insane amount of responsibility and I’m sure have taught you so much, most of all that you can have your dream job! I hope 2016 will be an ever better year for you! x

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks Anna! Love reading your comment hahaha. We’ll see what happens in 2016! Hoping for the best for you too <3

  • laurenonlocation

    What. A. Year. This all looks more than amazing! The US Adventure Tour Guide gig looks unreal ….. I actually would love to talk to you about that some more! Can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for you (PS I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t had a chance to catch up on your blog. Sorry for the intense stalking!!) :D

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Yeah, definitely! Shoot me an email or something if you want to talk more about the tour guide job :D And it’s great to hear from you again!! I’m going to have to return the favor in stalking ;)