Route 66 Begin Sign in Chicago, Illinois

So 2021 happened. I guess.

I saw this meme going around the other day. It was this photo of Bernie Sanders at the Biden inauguration, slumped on a chair in a face mask and mittens that went viral around the time it was taken. But this time the meme said, “I’m not saying it’s been a long year. But this photo is only 11 months old.”

And that seemed impossible.

2021…happened. In some ways it feels like it’s been eons since January 2021 and in other ways the year has gone by in a blink. And, in even other ways, like other memes right now are saying, I’m still processing 2019 how on Earth is tomorrow 2022?

I wrote here a grand total of three times this year and, even then, not since March. I remember the days, maybe 15 years ago, when I couldn’t wait to write here every single day to talk about my life. I’d stay up even later after coming home from whatever I was doing and share photos and quick memories. And I shared every place and every city and every moment and every meal from traveling around the world for three years. And, even when I stopped documenting my every move, I still often checked in to share photos and longer, deeper, essays on things I was thinking about.

But this year I just wasn’t really thinking about this blog.

Part of it, I guess, is that I still barley left my apartment this year so I didn’t have too much to share. Part of it is that I no longer am comfortable going to sit and write for hours at Starbucks, which used to play a big role in my writing routine. Part of it is that I am deeply addicted to Instagram stories where I now am more likely to check in with quick updates, thoughts, photos. And part of it is that my priorities have shifted.

I always loved having this space to share whatever the hell I wanted. But whatever the hell I want to share, doesn’t make me money.

As most anyone who is actually reading this knows, I run another blog called Silly America, where I write about road trips and roadside attractions. I’ve had big goals to get more traffic, more Instagram followers, more money, from that, so most of my free time has been spent writing articles and Instagram captions and making videos and TikToks there.

So, while my automatic populating weekly to do list tells me week after week after week to “write a new Choosing Fig blog post,” it’s often the first thing to be deleted in lieu of making time for something that seems more productive. Or to make time to watch the entirety of the Top Chef universe for the millionth time over.

But anyways. 2021 happened. I usually try to write some big grand recap of the previous year. And I usually try to write a post full of resolutions the next. But I can barely remember that January even belonged to this year. And I don’t really have any typical resolutions for 2022.

Now, I do have goals for the coming year. But those are all mostly blogging, traffic, money goals that I’m not going to bore you with. And I do know that 2022 is going to bring some changes in my life but maybe that’s for another blog post. Or maybe it’s not.

So, just know, that 2021 happened. And 2022 is going to happen as well. Whether I write about here or not.

I will, though, give one recap of the year. I took three road trips this year: a short Iowa trip; a trip to Casey, Illinois (a small town packed with giant roadside attractions); and a half Route 66 road trip from Chicago to Adrian, Texas. I drove a car (multiple cars) for the first time in six years (and only went down one one way street the wrong way). I saw so many amazing roadside attractions (and dressed to match them all, inspired by the way too many Disney bounding Instagram accounts I follow). And I created a lot of content that I wrote about on my other blog and posted about on that blog’s Instagram account and TikTok account and YouTube channel. (HINT: follow me on any and all of those to see more of that part of my life and help me meet all of my 2022 goals.)

I took a million photos, which you can find there. But here are some of the highlights…


Iowa Road Trip


Casey, Illinois Road Trip


Half Route 66 Road Trip


So Happy New Year. I hope 2021 happened for you too. And that 2022 will happen for you as well.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Ali
    January 2, 2022at3:24 am

    I hear you. I haven’t touched Ali’s Adventures since October 2020. I either had too much anxiety and depression to blog at all, or when I did finally start feeling up to it, I put energy into trying to improve my main site or working on my new site. Working on something that earns money, or that I hope will earn money soon, was definitely the priority.

  • cumi4d
    October 23, 2022at12:25 am
  • Travelbloggingacademy
    February 4, 2023at11:10 am

    I like your writing style. We are looking to connect with travel bloggers. 🙂

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