I’m cocooned in a cabin in the heart of the Cascades in Washington State, watching oversized flakes fall from the sky and the mountain of snow on the ground work its way up past the windows. It’s a world of white, punctuated only by the green of the evergreens and the muddled browns of their armor-wrapped trunks.

Sky and earth grow closer together by the minute, and I am, quite thoroughly, stuck.

Snowed in.

Geese take flight over Lake Tahoe

I’m equally thoroughly content, however, considering that I’m inside actual insulated walls and have a fireplace and have slept 26 hours over the past two days. When I’m in this ferocious shade of winter, I’m more than happy to trade my car home for insulation and warmth for a bit.

The past month has been a blur of miles and blizzards and state borderlines and baby cuddles and twinkle lights and 150 hours of driving and home.

A few days before Christmas, I set out on a 50-hour drive to be with family for the holidays. Fifty is a lot of hours, particularly when they’re spent in a car. I began to question my sanity somewhere along the way and nearly pulled off the road in Salt Lake City to book a flight the rest of the way, but I pressed on and made it to Indiana for Christmas.

The Niece and Nephews 😉

I have a beautifully large family, but there were four little faces in particular that made every second of those 50 hours worth it.

The thing about family is that no matter whether or not you see through the same eyes, touch the same part of the elephant, or traipse footsteps along the same paths, it doesn’t matter, because unlike any other relationship in the world it’s not based on having any of those things in common. It just is…love and chaos and constancy… and that’s pretty extraordinary.

So traveling 50 hours to have a few days with family is always worth it.

After the holidays, I took a roadtrip through the coldest states in the country: 2,175 miles in-between blizzards, through punishing winds and the most intense cold I’ve ever experienced.

I raced the snow to the Cascades and I won, fever and all, so now it can blizzard as much as it wants… I’ve nowhere to be for another month, when I say goodbye to cold for the year and fly away to Guatemala to play in the sun. In the meantime, I’m counting flakes, pricing plane tickets, planning destinations, dreamscaping my year, and watching the view from my windows be erased by that upward-creeping mountain of snow.

Where will 2017 take you?

Sunset behind Mt. Shasta