What Even Happened in 2014

2014 flew by in a whirl wind full of avoiding the responsibilities of the real world, misdirection that lead to be the perfect direction and meeting new people, which included meeting a new or forgotten side of myself. All this with a whole lot of bumps and mishaps along the way.

This year has been full of meeting new people, spontanuity, laughter, silence, chaos, and exploration of place and self. Last year at this time I was getting ready to go back to Prescott, Arizona after I broke my foot on Christmas, I was enrolled in what became my favorite class I’ve ever taken, and I had a plan I was sure I wouldn’t divert from. A few months later I got that feeling again, the one where I feel like I’m in a microcosm and I can see outside of the microcosm but I can’t get out of it. Each day made me want to never leave Prescott and also made me want to leave that minute. I loved the people, loved that class I was in but hated the bubble that I was wrapped in. In May I left. My good friend Paul dropped me off at the shuttle station that I had left and arrived I. So many other times. The same shuttle company that dropped me off at the college for my first time (when I literally had no idea where I needed to go to move in), the station that I picked my brother up from to start our road trip across the states, the shuttle station that my three good friends Clay, Conner, and David picked me up from with lasagna in hand because they knew I had a long flight. This would most likely be my last time at this shuttle, I couldn’t think of a reason to go back to Prescott, Arizona, I couldn’t think of one practical reason why I’d go back. At 2am Paul dropped me off at that shuttle station and in my exhausted state I hugged him as if he was Prescott and I said goodbye.

I got home to Vermont became a Wilderness First Responder, ate good food and packed up my car to go drive across the country to Tahoe, California for my summer job. After two weeks home I put in my Harry Potter book on tape and started to drive the Volvo out West. This road trip across the country ended up only being an eight hour road trip because the Volvo smoked up and completely broke in Herkimer, New York. In that desolate town, I’ve never felt so stuck or lonely. Thank goodness my mom and dad love their daughter a lot because they rescued me. Even though I hated to be rescued but if I learned one thing this year it’s that it’s okay to ask for help. And help is what I needed in Herkimer, New York.

I didn’t drive to Tahoe like planned but I got there. My summer in Tahoe at Mountain Camp began. After one day with these new coworkers who were strangers to me at that time I turned 20. I didn’t tell anyone. Until a little but loud Irish lady, who later became someone who I could always turn to help me laugh at the real world with, asked me how old I was and I told her “well today I’m 20.” She was a stranger then but made sure to help me feel like it was actually my birthday.

Mountain Camp was a whirl wind of long days, lots of children, great friends, hanging out in trees on the ropes course with people who made me laugh and beautiful summer nights. Mountain Camp was a also a collaboration of people that when they began to talk their ideas turned into a combustion of inspiration, usually about travel and seeing the world. I had never been around so many other people who wanted to see the world and they reminded me that you might as well do it now. So I did, I booked a one-way ticket to New Zealand.

The decision came easily. It was as though somewhere in my subconscious I always knew I wouldn’t go back to school that next fall, but until then I didn’t know what else to do. I remember calling my dad. The most sure decision I think I’ve ever given him. More sure then telling him what college I was going to go to, more sure then telling him I was going to go to Nepal, more sure then telling him I was going to transfer. In all those choices he was also a part in the final decision, but this time I called to tell him a fact not ask him a question.

After a summer in Tahoe I went to Colorado to see friends that mean the world to me. I got to see great music, drink great coffee, see my brother thrive in the real world that I was running away from and live in a home that will always have a place in my heart. My time in Colorado was simple, I didn’t climb, I didn’t do any big adventures but I was with great people, eating great food and laughing a lot, which apparently adds up to one of the most memorable times I’ve had. After all that love and support I ended up here in New Zealand. Goofing around, hiking about, smiling a lot, fishing to catch and release and playing in rivers. Somehow I got here.

2014 was full of big choices that I may have made too easily, I may have made them too quickly, I most likely should have made some sort of pro and con list for a lot of them, but it ended up all okay. A good friend of mine from Mountain Camp helped me gain confidence in my choice to go to New Zealand by saying this “No matter what happens in New Zealand, you’re not going to look back in ten years and say that you wish you never went.” That simple idea has hung in my head and has helped me through some of the harder times over here.

I love all the spontaneity that appeared in my life if 2014 and I don’t regret one of those quick but big decisions I made but I do hope that in 2015 I take a little break from the exciting but exhausting way of life that comes with last minute choices and no plans. 2015 is the year to implement what I’ve learned from following life and to hopefully find some comfort in stability. But who knows, according to my track record that could change in a week.






  1. David Barrett · December 31, 2014


    What a great way you have found. Sometimes bushwackin’ is the only way. Sometimes it’s the necessary way…and probably always…well, just, the way. What a beautiful traveler you are, flitting around bravely, and with a lightness that is a gift to all you touch.

    Make sure you swing back thru. You always have this Colorado home to return to. David

    Sent from my iPad



    • emmacyardley · December 31, 2014

      Thanks David! So nice to read your comment, I can hear your voice through your writing and it’s so nice to hear. I will most definately be in Colorado on my way home. Can’t wait to see you all 🙂


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