2018... quite possibly the wildest year yet.

12 January 2019

... becoming a nomad... 
... being surrounded by wild elephants... 
... floating down the Ganges with my dad... 
... watching the sun come up over Cappadocia from a hot air balloon... 
... lounging on a bubble bed in an Andorran spa... 
... taking care of a mini menagerie in the south of France...
... giving the eulogy for one of the best people ever...
... watching my brother marry his person... 
... moving halfway across the country...

... just a few moments of 2018. 

Istanbul - May
2018 came to a close with a cozy Christmas spent with loved ones in Edmonton... similar to the past 5 years of Christmas celebrations spent between Ryan and I and our awesome families. There were a few new faces (including a new niece!), a new sister-in-law, and one very obvious and heartrending empty space at the table.

It wasn't until I started to look through the past year's photos that I started to grasp how huge 2018 was for us.

For the past few years, we've been working hard and living frugally in hopes of saving up for future goals, including our dream adventure - a trip around the world. For the first few months of the year, I continued to work hard with my business, PopJukebox, DJing weddings and events. I performed at Relay for Life, a fundraiser run by U of A students to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. I performed at an intimate '70s-themed birthday party where the guests had created hilarious outfits and studied Soul Train episodes for dance moves. I even performed in my biggest venue yet - the Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall! DJing continues to bring me great joy.

I also started recording an online radio show, Feel Good Music, which explores music to make you smile, and inspires you to follow your dreams. You can listen to it here.

In March, we spent my 33rd birthday finishing the process of moving out of the apartment we've lived in since we got married (and that I lived in since 2013). We sold all of our furniture, packed up the rest of our belongings, and became nomads. I thought it would be bittersweet to leave a home that was the longest I'd lived anywhere since leaving my parents' home when I was 19... but on that day I couldn't stop smiling. It was the start of a new season, something we'd dreamed about for years.

Words can hardly do our adventure justice... so I'll start with some photos.

Sri Lanka

Galle Fort - Sri Lanka - April

Galle Fort - Sri Lanka - April

Matara - Sri Lanka - April

Kandy to Ella train - Sri Lanka - April 

Haputale Tea Fields - Sri Lanka - April

Haputale Tea Fields - Sri Lanka - April

Haputale Tea Fields - Sri Lanka - April

Matara - Sri Lanka - April


Kaudulla National Park - Sri Lanka - April

India

Udaipur - India - April 

Udaipur - India - April

Jaipur - India - April

Jantar Mantar - India - April

Jaipur Monkey Temple - India - April 

Amer Fort - India - April

Taj Mahal - India - April

Taj Mahal - India - April

Varanasi - India - April

Varanasi - India - April

Israel

Jerusalem - Israel - May 

Tel Aviv - Israel - May

Cesarea - Israel - May

Mount of the Transfiguration - Israel - May

Sea of Galilee - Israel - May

Jerusalem - Israel - May


Turkey

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Cappadocia - Turkey - May

Istanbul - Turkey - May

Greece

Parthenon - Greece - May

Santorini - Greece - May

Santorini - Greece - May

Oia - Greece - May

Italy

Amalfi Coast - Italy - May

Amalfi Coast - Italy - May

Positano - Italy - May

Assisi - Italy - June

Assisi - Italy - June

Venice - Italy - June 

Vatican City - June

France 

Grenoble - France - June

Mirepoix - France - June

Foix - France - June

Foix - France - June 

Foix - France - June

We did it. We travelled around the world together. I've dreamed of another around the world trip since before Ryan and I were together. After travelling around the world with YWAM in 2006, I always wanted to do it again, either solo or with my person, if I ever did end up getting married... and WE DID IT. After all this time chasing dreams... He's still faithful, they're still coming true. In the words of Jonathan Van Ness, can you believe!?

And guys... we had so much fun. It was challenging and crazy and hot and stressful... but it was also breathtaking and beautiful and inspiring and just plain fun. We laughed SO. HARD. so hard. over silly things, and ridiculous things... at ourselves and at each other. I hope to share more photos and stories here in the coming months. 

It was a year of growing together, and there's nothing like living out of suitcases and being side by side 24/7 to make that happen. I'm so proud of the relationship we share, that we spent the majority of most days together and we still found ourselves up at 4am talking about life and giggling like 8 year olds having a sleepover. I'm proud of all of the moments that we've been in the midst of doing something difficult, challenging, unbelievable or tiring, and looked over at each other and said 'we're doing it!!!' there's nothing like the satisfaction of doing something you've talked about for a long time, or that you didn't know if you'd be able to do.

A huge highlight of our trip was when my Dad joined us in India. Dad and I have talked about visiting India together for a very long time - maybe even 10 years. And we did it! The three of us had so much fun taking in the beauty and madness that is India, from monkey temples to sacred cows standing in heaps of trash, from tuktuks to neverending train rides. Our dream was to see the Ganges and the fire ceremonies in Varanasi, and we did it. I sat on a boat on the Ganges with my dad and my husband! It was an evening that I'll remember for the rest of my days.

In July, we returned to Canada, and went from adventure to sadness, as we had to say goodbye to my Grandpa Jim. He was the best, and I can hardly believe he's gone. I'd like to write more about him, but I'm not sure I'm ready.

In August, my brother Taylor got married, and with a wedding comes plenty of work and preparation. We spent the week of Taylor and Jordyn's wedding helping get their home and the community hall ready for the wedding, which was really fun. I made the wedding cake, and was really happy with the result.




Another big source of joy this year was spending time with our nieces and nephews. From their 3rd birthday onwards, our gift to them is a "Birthday Adventure," and we had a lot of fun adventuring this year.

At the Cat Café for Ellie's Birthday Adventure



At Prairie Gardens for Ben's Birthday Adventure

At the Edmonton Valley Zoo for Max's Birthday Adventure

The move... 

This year one of the best decisions we made was to move to Vancouver. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been good. It's just felt right.

In August we came to the west coast to start a new chapter, and we have settled in a sweet little apartment in Gastown. We've enjoyed building a routine, getting to know our neighbourhood, and creating a new home for ourselves. I'm personally loving being back by the ocean - I missed it so much! Our apartment is a block from the waterfront, and I couldn't be happier about that.

Come visit!

Our new city from the sky. 


Crab park - we live one block from here! 

Our Monday routine - getting a coffee & donut at one of our favourite cafés

Wherever this post finds you, I hope you're well. If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're one of our valued friends that we haven't been able to connect with during the roller coaster year of 2018. Now that we're in a new city, many of our relationships are limited to emails and phone calls - if we haven't chatted in a while, email me! staceyewasko [at] gmail [dot] com is my current email address. Better yet - come visit! We'd love to show you around our new home. ♥️

Lots of love,

Stacey
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