Posted on Jan 1, 2017 in LIFE


On New Year’s Eve, I got my ass out of bed and went to my favorite yoga class. I hadn’t been all week, and I was feeling anxious. I knew I wanted to prepare for the new year and not enter it completely crazy (only a little bit). On the last day of what has been a tumultuous, trying year, my favorite teacher instructed the class to imagine it is December 31st of 2017. Where will we be on that day, a year from now? Even though my mind had been racing the minute before, thinking of all the things I needed to do and how the house is a mess again, I switched gears at this thought. I meditated on this idea and imagined myself lying on that same mat, in that same studio, a year from now. I imagined the things I will have experienced by then, and tried to feel them, even though they haven’t happened yet.


More writing and exploration of myself and my family.

My sister’s wedding.

Another year of yoga practice.

Maybe another half marathon.

Mountain Gypsy as a business.

These are all things I imagined and tried to see within my mind. It felt good thinking this way and seeing the next year, concentrating on all of the amazing things I’ll witness and experience. I thought of these imaginary, future things, but also of everything that has happened in the past year to get me where I am.

While I think 2016 was an overall shit storm, it wasn’t all bad. Some of the things that happened in my life prepared me for what’s to come in the year ahead. This time last year, I was in a pretty terrible place mentally. I was depressed and unsure of myself. I was angry. I questioned everything and everyone. I lost trust in people and trust in myself. My career had taken a turn I wasn’t expecting, and I wasn’t sure I would ever figure out why in the hell that had happened to me. But now, a year later, I can look behind me and see all of the little steps, each microscopic shift in my world that made me better. All of it truly happened to get me where I am right now. If all of that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be writing or working on the projects I am. I wouldn’t have seen that I actually have a lot to offer the world or come to feel confident in my writing. I wouldn’t have decided I want to get my PhD. I wouldn’t have begun tackling the book that’s been on my heart for years. I wouldn’t be getting my work published and accepted, even if on small scales.

In preparing for the year ahead and appreciating the year behind me, I revisited my 30 before 30 list that I posted last year. I’m not able to cross off that many just yet, but I have definitely made some progress. Here’s a little update.


1. Buy an airstream. — There is one I have my eye on that looks a little run-down but might do the trick.

2. Start a shop. — While I haven’t officially opened a storefront or shop, I have hosted two Open House events, where I basically turned my living room and dining room into a store, and I applied for a business license with the State of West Virginia.

3. Start a magazine with Kyle. — Sadly, this one is a bit on the back-burner. Here’s to getting back to this plan very soon. 

4. Turn my blog into a business. — Mountain Gypsy is registered with my state as a business, and I am currently waiting to receive the certificate in the mail. I am working on a bit of rebranding in the coming year, as well.

5. Start a YouTube channel. — I’ve worked with some video, but nothing too great yet. I did start my Whiskey with a West Virginian series, though, and it includes some video work. This series will be picking back up in the new year! Sorry, guys, grad school is a beast.

6. Run in another half marathon. — I lost the running bug, but I think I’m getting it back. Running has felt good lately, even though I’ve very much out of practice.

7.  Be able to hold an inversion. — Eh. I can’t really hold one for very long, but I can get up there with some help. Here’s to continuing that work.

8. Travel to another country with Kyle. — We’re going to Ireland on Spring Break! So next year, I’ll be able to cross this one off. 

9. Go to a music festival. — My sister got my brother and me tickets to a festival in Louisville this spring, so technically, I could cross this one off next year, too! However, I’m hoping to hit a few more festivals in the summer. 

10. Host an outdoor dinner party. — Not yet, but I’m hoping maybe this summer it will happen. I did host a crazy fun Christmas dinner party, though!

11. Go on an overnight hiking trip. — Hopefully next fall!

12. Go camping. — We are going camping with my parents and family in April! However, it’s in a cabin, so that doesn’t really count. However, my sister and I did sleep in a tent during the yoga retreat, so I feel like that counts, but I don’t want to cross two off the list in one trip. I feel like that might be cheating. Anyone know the rules for these lists? 😉 

13. Travel somewhere alone. — This is a really important one for me, especially now. I would love to travel somewhere alone and work on some writing. Preferably somewhere in the woods or near a creek. 

14. Volunteer somewhere. — Sadly, I suck and haven’t volunteered anywhere yet. Suggestions are welcomed.

15. Take a cross-country road trip. — Kyle is all about this one. He’s been talking about it for years, so I’m hoping it will happen within the next two years! Maybe the summer of my 30th.

16. Take an art class of some kind. — I’m really hoping to take a ceramics class soon!

17. Go on a yoga retreat. — Wild Spirit Yoga Camp, Summer 2016. My sister and I had the greatest time on this trip, and it was truly life-changing. I would totally do it again next year.

18. Get my teaching license. — Working on it. 😉 

19. Read the Rory Gilmore book list. — I have not put a large dent in this giant list, but I’m hoping to make more progress this year. Audio books to the rescue.

20. Finish reading through the whole Bible. — Again, I dropped the ball. Haven’t finished this yet, but I have apps to help me along. 

21. Get something published. — This one is tough, because technically, I’ve had something published online, but I’m hoping to get something published in print. Then I think I’ll feel okay about checking it off the list.

22. Take a train somewhere. — Hopefully next fall!

23. Go out dancing like when I was in college. — I am embarrassingly tired these days, so this one is always at the bottom of my list. 

24. Hike the Appalachian Trail, or at least some of it. — This. Needs. To. Happen.

25. Finish decorating our house. — I’ve realized that I may never be able to check this one off the list, but hopefully by the time 30 rolls around, I’ll feel a little better about it. Or at least when we finish painting the bedroom, which has been in a state of half-finished for about 6 months now.

26. Get a tattoo. — I go back and forth on this one, but it’s really just a matter of deciding.

27. Upgrade my camera equipment. — One day. 

28. Perfect my wardrobe. — I’m working on this, and am learning what really works for me on a daily basis, and what just gets in the way. I’m planning a capsule wardrobe post for later in the year, so hopefully by then, I’ll have a better grasp on it.

29. Get a dog. — One day. 

30. Take a trip with my girlfriends. — Where should we go, ladies? 


So, one item completely checked off the list. Not great, but I feel like the progress on some others is pretty impressive.

I’m ready for the new year. I’m hopeful and excited for a fresh start. I definitely have concerns about what’s to come (i.e. the election), but I am trying to be positive. In the coming year, I am marching in Washington in January with a million people. I am traveling with my husband and seeing concerts with my siblings. I am writing. I get to see my sister get married this summer. I bought a new planner. I posted a blog, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t want to discount the year behind me. It got me here, after all. Don’t forget everything that happened to you, but look at the next year like something exciting. The year will come and go no matter what we do, it’s all about how we face it.

Let’s face it with gumption. With activism. With acceptance. With love.

Hello, 2017. I’m ready for you.



  1. Lambie
    January 3, 2017

    You certainly need to and can get your writing published in print. Your writing is inspiring. Anywhere is perfect with your female friends. We have gone to 3 different beaches and rented a cabin on the Greenbrier. Be careful…I may sneek that Airstream right out from under you.I have yearned for one since I was 13. Every year I have a dinner party in my yard for my birthday. Spectacular! ! Need help painting that bedroom? i’m your woman. Love you oodles, Ms Kayla.

    • Kayla
      January 4, 2017

      Thank you so much, Lambie! I know I can always count on you for support. 🙂 Love you to the moon and back.

  2. Marge Wimmersberger
    January 4, 2017

    Hi Kayla,

    I couldn’t resist replying to your latest post. I love your writing style – you’re not afraid to put your feelings out there for all to see. I see a lot of myself (though I’m twice your age) in you. Just wanted to let you know that you still have time, our most precious possession, to achieve/accomplish your goals – but don’t wait to be happy. We aren’t promised one more breath. I’m a new West Virginia resident, having moved from New Jersey by way of Maryland, so I can relate to your tumultuous year. By the way, I live only 90 minutes from Skyline Drive and also another small piece of the Appalachian Trail in Smoke Hole – only 7 miles away. Would love to accompany you on a hike in either location to help you fulfill one of your 30 before 30 list. You’re welcome to come stay with me if you’d like!
    As I mentioned, I’m twice your age, but I volunteer teaching fitness classes at Moorefield Health & Wellness Center. I consider myself extremely fit for my 62 years.
    Having lost my job and made the move to our favorite part of the country in the last 8 months, I can relate to your feelings. I learned a long time ago, that even the bad things that happen in our life makes us what we are today. I’ve had my ups and downs but wouldn’t change a thing. Being happy with where you’re headed is important, but not always evident at the time.

    I won’t take up anymore of your life, but wanted to thank you for your heartfelt words.


    Marge Wimmersberger

    • Kayla
      January 4, 2017


      I can’t thank you enough for your kind and encouraging words. I feel like I know you already. When I make my plans to hike, I am definitely going to be in touch with you! I’d absolutely love to visit and meet you in real life – I feel like we’d have so much to discuss! I definitely believe in grabbing ahold of life while we can, and I get that vibe from you, as well. It’s so good to hear from someone as encouraging and inspiring as you are, and I’m so happy to have you here in West Virginia. Again, thank you for your wonderful comment, and I hope the new year is treating you well so far. Please continue to comment whenever you feel like it – you are not taking up my time at all! Reading your comment has just made my whole day.


      • Marge Wimmersberger
        January 8, 2017

        Hey Kayla,
        When you’re ready to hike (in the Spring I hope) contact me: margewimmersberger@hotmail.com. Would love to meet you. We definitely have more in common than I think we both realize. Years may separate us, but I think we’ve both lived former lives as friends! Attitude is everything and I admire yours. I know how hard it can be to remain positive and see the good in every situation, but we both choose to live our lives with gusto, ignoring the naysayers. It took me many years to finally make the move to beautiful West Virginia – I don’t regret the journey – even when it looked as if it would never happen. We know what we want and work toward those goals in tiny, sometimes imperceptible ways that ultimately lead to complete happiness. I’ve been lucky, though I think luck is the wrong word – maybe it’s just a strong desire to follow intuition without fear. I always say “jump off the building – something good will happen before you hit the ground”. We don’t let fear of the unknown rule our lives and we’re happier for it. Hope to meet you down the road on one of those unknown journeys!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: