2018 Reflections - Fall

Fall was the season when I thought I could do anything. Well, I didn’t think I could, but I took on everything as if any amount of work was possible.

In September, I left working for the dance studio I was running, knowing I would have to leave mid-year because of the pending move. My temporarily jobless allowed me to get organized again. I went through everything Luke and I owned, got rid 1/4 of it, and sold many of our belongings on Facebook Marketplace. I also sent out my resume and a cover letter to about 20 companies, which helped me land an opportunity at a digital marketing agency, an online men’s clothing store, and a temporary position helping a local art nonprofit. I also started my photography business and assumed the role of Web Chair for The Army of Survivors, a nonprofit formed by the survivors of Larry Nassar.

When October came, Luke and I quickly planned an anniversary trip to New York City. We also came to the realization that if we are going to actually make the move to LA, we need to get preparing right away. Following my normal list protocol, I whipped up multiple different types of lists that needed to be accomplished for the move to be possible. They ranged from important purchases to financial planning to professional development to social gatherings to apartment fixes to trip planning, and so on.

In the midst of the 3 jobs, the nonprofit work, preparing to move, attending dance classes, weekly dog training, seeing every friend and family member, and the holidays, Luke and I decided we should add planning a 40 day road trip to the mix. We landed on a trip that would bring us through the warmer areas of the country. Here’s where we will be traveling from December 29-Feb 12:


Grand Rapids, MI > Cincinnati > Nashville > New Orleans > San Antonio > White Sands National Monument > Saguaro National Park > Phoenix, AZ > Sedona, AZ > Grand Canyon > Monument Valley > Lake Powell/Antelope Canyon > Las Vegas > Joshua Tree National Park > Downtown LA > Venice Beach > Whistler, Canada > Vancouver, Canada >
Final Destination: Los Angeles


Though it’s going to be a wonderful road trip, adding this to the already long list of to-do’s made fall a very stressful and jam packed season for me. Since I am writing this in Cincinnati (we’re at the first stop of the plan), I can say that I’m on the other side of it all. I am thankful that we did complete everything we needed to and more, so that the next 40+ days can be rejuvenating and peaceful. The levels of stress I experienced may not be worth these upcoming days of peace, but nevertheless, I’m excited about the journey we are beginning.

Our final month in Michigan was a whirlwind. I had more social engagements in December alone than January-November. Sometimes, I saw 3 people a day. Even with living in this frenzy, I am thankful that I created space for seeing people in our final days in Grand Rapids. Throughout December, I saw almost every person on my list of 20+ people, made wonderful memories, and had the opportunity to thank each friend that has brought meaning to my life.

I’ll finish my 2018 reflections with photos of these dear people.

Melody van der Veen