thirty-three and six

my thirty-third birthday was a few weeks ago, which means a few days after that, this blog turned six.

sharing a birthday/blogiversary post is kindof a tradition around here, and though I've been slow to get back in the swing of regular posting, I couldn't let the occasion drift by unmarked.

so here are six facts about this blog, and thirty-three randoms bits about me:

1-- I came up with the name "ink and adventure" as we were driving back to Princeton from the job fair in Boston where Luke was first hired to teach in Taiwan. I actually launched with the name "hello, adventure" because I was nervous about the ink part implying I was a writer. [yeah, I know.] it lasted for maybe a month before I changed it to this title -- the one that just felt right in my heart.

2-- there have been 493 posts published on this blog. [16 have been reverted back to drafts. anyone remember the nail files?] the hands down most popular post of all time: 10 days in Bali packing list. it's definitely not the most minimal or useful packing post I've done, but Pinterest just loves this one.

3-- ink and adventure has had too many design changes to count, but I'm proud to say that I've created them all myself. I'd like to think as I went through phases in life and grew as a person, my blog also changed to reflect that.

4-- I shared the highest number of posts in 2014, but earned the most pageviews in 2016 [with a third of the posts.] 2017 wins for annoying marketing emails and unrelated guest post offers received. November 2012 was my most prolific month thanks to scoot crash recovery, with 16 posts published.

5-- of all the thousands of photos that I've shared on this blog, there have maybe been 5 that I have not taken myself. [this doesn't count those from the random month of guest posts I did, or the hundreds of photos my poor husband has been subjected to taking of me -- several included here --but I still think that's pretty impressive.]

6-- I have debated deleting this blog a hundred thousand times. I have thought for hours about changing the content I share [and, actually, have changed it.] I'm not sure where the future will lead us, but at the end of six years I am so happy to have all these memories to look back on.

1-- this birthday post feels weird compared to last year's. but as I'm writing this from Starbucks two weeks belated, I'm just going to roll with it.

2-- I love lists. I love making them, and I love checking them off. sometimes I will add something I've already done to my to-do list, just so I can have the joy of crossing it out.

3-- next month I get to go back to Tokyo Disney and I am so.freaking.excited.

4-- but aside from that, I will be spending this summer in Taiwan. for the first time. it's going to be really sticky and hot, but I'm also looking forward to exploring this island in a new way.

5-- BUT. so long as our savings plan stays on track, we are hoping to take some really exciting adventures in the year ahead.

6-- I write almost every day. it's usually just in my journal, but it's become such a habit that I hardly consider it writing anymore. [also, I get really cranky if I don't write.]

7-- of the twenty countries that I've traveled to, New Zealand is my favorite. and probably always will be. I would move there in a heartbeat, even if it meant living in a campervan forever. [actually... that would be awesome.]

8-- despite gardening skills running in my mom's side of the family, the only plants I can manage to keep alive are ceramic cacti.

9-- I still wear my hair in braided pigtails. those are cool again, right?

10-- it [usually] takes me a long time to make a decision, but once I've weighed all my options, done the research and made my choice -- I go all in.

11-- my mom mailed me a letterboard for my birthday and I'm kindof obsessed. also, half the messages I have put on it thus far have to do with wine.

12-- I've always been a writer. I can't remember a time when I wasn't making up stories, scribbling secrets in notebooks, or in search of the perfect writing implement.

13-- the book I'm currently writing has been a huge source of joy in my life. revising and editing aren't actually fun, but I've been known to squeal and jump up and down when I think of a new plot point. and sometimes leap out of bed in the middle of the night to run into my office and scribble down a thought before it escapes.

14-- related: the wall of my office is plastered in a mess post-it notes. half of them are in latin or french. the other half have been re-written after I deciphered my 4am in the dark handwriting

15-- my biggest pet peeve about living in Asia is the difference in how personal space is perceived. basically: you get the amount of space that your body physically occupies, and not a millimeter more. and actually, sometimes less.

16-- IKEA has become my new Target. [since there is no Target in Taiwan.] the only thing that reigns me in is that I have to hand carry all of my purchases home.

17-- I still use an actual planner, because the glide of ink on paper makes me happy.

18-- I hate facebook, but it's a necessary evil as an expat. I go through phases of trying to use it in a way that's less distasteful. but mostly, I'd rather have actual conversations with people to be updated on their lives.

19-- I would almost always rather be wearing pajamas.

20-- and if I can't wear pajamas or workout clothes, then a dress.

21-- I'm a video game nerd. husband bought me a Nintendo DS for my birthday, and it is designed to look like Pikachu's face. and I love it.

22-- as much as I'm enjoying Pokemon Ultra Sun, the Legend of Zelda series is still my all time favorite video game franchise. [BUT I am still dreaming of the day they release a game where Zelda is the main player.]

23-- even though I am gluten and lactose intolerant, pizza is still my favorite food.

24-- oddly enough, moving closer to the MRT has gotten me out to explore more of our own neighborhood instead of the rest of the [now easily accessible] city.

25-- washi tape is the solution to 80% of my problems.

26-- I'd rather stay in and split a bottle of wine with a friend or two, sitting on someone's couch than go out and have a fancy drink at a bar.

27-- turquoise is apparently my favorite color. I've been working on decorating our apartment and nearly everything I put up is some shade of blue or green or in between.

28-- instead of feeling guilty that I haven't blogged about so many of my adventures these past few years, I've decided that time has been a good way to winnow through and let me pick the best things to share. [sometimes us travel bloggers can be obsessed about posting every small thing we saw or did.]

29-- three really simple things that make me happy: kittens, sunshine, and wine.

30-- when I get food cravings, they are 80% for something salty and crunchy [potato chips] 15% for something green and leafy [no really, I crave salad] and only 5% for chocolate or sweets.

31-- I've started going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 6 or 7. I don't care if it makes me a grandma, I love it. I get so much more done with my day.

32-- the past two years have been the hardest of my life. I've struggled with both my physical and mental health, and had to fight every day to do anything beyond just taking care of myself. it was hell, and I would never want to relive it, but I know it's made me so much stronger.

33- I'm relying on that strength to help me make 33 a better year. I'm hoping that it brings fierce self-love, heaps of creative energy, peace of mind, and of course -- lots of adventure.

[and a few more happy but blurry moments like this, please.]

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