How wild is it that 2022 has ended and we’re already into the second month of 2023?! Although the days seems to go by slowly, the years seem to go by in a blink of an eye. Make it make sense. 2022 has been filled with laughter and tears; joy and frustration; healing and pain. I travelled to several new countries and two new continents. I spent time with some of my favorite people, and also made new friendships along the way. Through it all, I have so much to be grateful and thankful for during this past year. Let’s take a look back at the 2022 year highlights.
Senior Meet in Buies Creek, North Carolina:
At the end of January, my family and I travelled up a couple of states to celebrate my sister’s senior meet. Each athletic team on campus has a day/night game, meet, or match dedicated to their seniors. It’s a pretty big deal, with parents coming out, gifts being given, and friends celebrating.
Birthday Celebration in Nashville, Tennessee:
Each year I choose a different location to ring in another year around the sun. This year Nashville won out. I invited my cousin to go with me, and her initial response was no. What is there to do in the city besides country music things? Well, turns out – a lot. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about Black history.
Jo’s Birthday Celebration in Washington DC:
Fun Fact: My cousin’s birthday is exactly one week after mine. So we decided to go on a birthday trip for her as well, with Washington DC as the destination. We had a great time exploring the various museums and exhibits throughout the district.
Hiking with Black Hiking Club in Delta, Alabama:
I had connected with the Black Hiking Club on Instagram for quite some time; however, I could never make their group hikes. Finally, it worked out for me to join the one in Alabama at Cheha State Park. Of course it was projected to be cold and I thought I was going to be the only one to show up – but a large number of people showed up and it actually snowed!
The Little Grand Canyon in Lumpkin, Georgia:
For a ‘Make Larissa Do Things’ adventure, I explored Providence Canyon State Park. Not too far from Atlanta, it was a perfect day trip.
Easter Weekend in Chicago, Illinois:
When I get invited on a trip, my default reaction is ‘let’s go!’. So when my friend Sandra expressed she wanted to go to Chicago, I was excited to join. It was my first time in the city and I absolutely fell in love. The architecture, the food, the walkability of the city had me wanting to come back for more.
Spring Breaking with Bestie in Gatlinburg, Tennessee:
Ever since freshmen year of college, Heather and I have gone on spring break together. It was an accidental tradition that we now cherish. This year we explored downtown Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Wedding in Wilmington, North Carolina:
My good friends Marissa and Tommy tied the knot in along the coast in Wilmington, North Carolina. I was so honored to be a part of their big day!
Graduation in Buies Creek, North Carolina:
The fam and I headed back up to Buies Creek for my sister’s graduation. It was great to catch up with former professors, run into friends, and celebrate my sister’s achievements with family.
Caves in Bowling Green, Kentucky:
My friend Jessica and I took a weekend trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky to explore the various cave systems they have going on there. We booked a tour to explore the Lost River Cave, as well as the Grand Tour in Mammoth Cave National Park, which is home to the largest cave system in the world.
ABC Islands Carnival Cruise with the Family:
My immediate family and two aunts boarded the Carnival Horizon, making stops in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. It was great to get the family together in a relaxed environment, making memories on board and at various beaches.
The Sassafras Treehouse in Rising Fawn, Georgia:
I came across this incredible Airbnb (book direct and save yourself the fees) and knew that I had to stay there. It was such a relaxing weekend of doing absolutely nothing. Although it was a pricey staycation, it was much needed.
Reunions in Pompano Beach, Florida:
For the Fourth of July weekend, I visited my friend and former teammate, Geena, and also got to catch up with another one of our former teammates, Caroline. We popped by the pool, the beach, and downtown. It was great catching up after so long.
Galivanting with Mom to Munich, Germany:
It was my mom’s first time in Europe and it was incredible to see things through her eyes. We explored Munich and the surrounding areas, as well as took a day trip to Salzburg, Austria. One of the highlights of the trip was experiencing the Passion Play in Oberammergau, which only takes place every 10 years.
Hiking with Black Hiking Club in Cleveland, Georgia:
We hiked to the top of Mount Yonah, one of the hardest hikes I’ve done in Georgia. Although the hike was straight up, the views were definitely worth it.
Bestie’s Bachelorette Party in Charleston, South Carolina:
I headed to Charleston to celebrate Heather’s last hurrah as an unmarried lady. We hit downtown, Rainbow Row, various restaurants, and the beach. And we maximized the time we had in our amazing VRBO rental.
The Bridgerton Experience in Atlanta, Georgia:
I’m not a big fan of the Netflix series, Bridgerton, but when my creator friend Bryana invited me to the Bridgerton Experience to celebrate her birthday, I couldn’t turn her down. And I’m glad I didn’t. I had a great time!
Bestie’s Wedding in Hiddenite, North Carolina:
My best friend got married to the love of her life! It was my first time being in a wedding, and I was the Maid of Honor. I was stressed about giving my speech, but I had a great time and I loved being part of Heather and Carson’s big day!
Sarah’s Birthday Celebration in Charleston, South Carolina:
I headed back to Charleston to celebrate my long time friend and former teammate’s birthday. We played Cards Against Humanity, ate at delicious restaurants, and just spent quality time together.
Apple Picking in Elijah, Georgia:
I’ve been wanting to go apple picking for the longest and this year I finally was able to make it happen! We headed to B.J. Reece Orchards where we picked apples, purchased goodies from the bakery, and finished the day at the cidery.
Passage into Patagonia via Puerto Natales, Chile:
The trip of a lifetime began with a 4-day tour through Patagonia, Chile. The first stop was Puerto Natales, where we stayed at a super fancy hotel with impressive views. We were right across from the boardwalk and within walking distance to the “downtown” area.
Panoramic Tour of Torres del Paine National Park, Chile:
We hopped on a small tour bus and ventured into Torres del Paine National Park. We made various stops throughout the park, saw wanagos, and experienced the most intense wind I have ever felt. Also, the views were so picture perfect, it was hard to believe it was real. Talk about a 2022 year highlight!
Glacier Spotting in Parque Nacional Bernardo, Chile:
We hopped on a boat without any knowledge of where we were going and what we were going to see (because we didn’t fully read the docs). Let’s say we were pleasantly surprised with the views and the fact that we got to hike up to a bright blue glacier. We ate a delicious meal in a remote location, mostly accessible by boat.
Adventuring to Antarctica:
Literally a 2022 year highlight – visiting the Great White Continent. For me, it’s the fifth continent I’ve been to and I honestly didn’t think I would ever make it there. I met the most incredible people; had the best expedition team; and created memories for a lifetime. I camped on the continent; snowshoed across the snowy lands; and polar plunged twice! A better trip couldn’t have been had.
Making it to the End of the World, as Known as Ushuaia, Argentina:
When we returned to South America, we landed at the End of the World. Most of our crew was flying out that same day to Buenos Aires, Argentina. But while we waited for the time to head to the airport, we explored the town. Of course everything was pretty much closed, but we still made the most of our time.
Chaotic Energy in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
When little to no plans are made, that leaves space for chaos. But we definitely leaned into the adventures and embraced the insanity. I met a longtime blogger / Instagram friend, Carolyn (check her out on IG and her blog if you’re planning a trip to Argentina; she’s a great resource) and had the best time exploring with friends from the Antarctica trip.
Day Tripping to Colonia, Uruguay:
Fun Fact: Just a short 1.5 hour ferry ride away, Uruguay is just right there. This city is fun to visit for the day if you have time. It is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The Marietta Pilgrimage in Marietta, Georgia:
The Marietta Pilgrimage is hosted annually the first weekend of December. This was my fourth year visiting the decorated homes and I loved that I got to meet the owners of the 4th and 5th house. Also, my friend Sarah flew down just to attend this event, so it was fun sharing the experience with her.
The Harry Potter Exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia:
Currently the Harry Potter Exhibition is in two cities – Atlanta, Georgia and Vienna, Austria. My friend Sarah drove down for this experience and it was a lot more fun than I expected. I learned about design decisions, participated in the interactive activities, and really immersed myself in the magical world.
Ice Skating at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia:
Winter and ice skating go hand-in-hand so it was perfect to have the opportunity to hop on the ice with my friend and fellow Atlanta creator, Kita. It was kind of rocky at the beginning, but we got the hang of it eventually!
2022 year highlights:
As is with year, 2022 was filled with many trials and tribulations, but it was also filled with family, joy, adventures, and love. Thank YOU for supporting Life with Larissa – whether it’s through this blog (haha welcome back since we know it’s been awhile), on Instagram, or you personally know me in real life. I’m beyond grateful for the encouragement I receive as I continue pursuing this blogging journey. Here’s to 2022 and cheers to an adventurous 2023 ahead!