My Year In Review – Looking Back at 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019!

Looking back on the previous year is always a lot of fun, and it’s interesting to see everything laid out in a one year period. I get to see what I did and didn’t do, reflect on everything, etc. So, I am happy to present my 2018 year in review. 2018 was a crazy year….

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

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My Year In Review - 2018 Was Full Of Hiking, Biking, RVing, Sailing, Working, And MoreLooking back on the previous year is always a lot of fun, and it’s interesting to see everything laid out in a one year period. I get to see what I did and didn’t do, reflect on everything, etc. So, I am happy to present my 2018 year in review.

2018 was a crazy year. But don’t worry, it was good crazy!

One of the biggest reasons for the chaos is that we made a major change in 2018 – we went from RVing to living on a sailboat.

That big change made for an amazing year.

Before that switch, we traveled to many new areas in the RV. We also climbed mountains, rode our bikes a TON, hosted several family vacations, then we sold the RV, bought a sailboat, and more.

On top of all of that, Wes traveled even more than I did – he logged over 5,000 nautical miles, sailed all over Europe, as well as sailed the Caribbean.

We saw beautiful mountains, oceans, beaches, deserts, and everything in between.

The dogs are doing really well on the boat too!

2018 was an amazing year, full of great travel, building friendships and relationships (the sailing community is absolutely amazing), and more. I couldn’t have asked for a better year.

If you want to read last year’s recap, you can find it at My Year In Travels – Where I Went in 2017 – Hiking, Biking, RVing, Sailing, and More.

Also, if you’re not following me on Instagram yet, I definitely recommend doing so. You can see even more photos and stories about all of the places we are visiting.

Here’s what we did in 2018:


January – Eleuthera, Bahamas

We started the year off by taking our family to the Bahamas for a nice long vacation.

We rented a house on the beach in Eleuthera, which is honestly the best place I have ever vacationed to in my life. If you have a huge family and you want a beautiful space, I highly recommend the Airbnb ZION, which is in Eleuthera, Bahamas. There were 13 of us, and there was plenty of space and amazing things to do at this beautiful, beachfront Airbnb.

Because the island of Eleuthera is a skinny island and only 110 miles long, we were able to drive from one end to the other and do pretty much everything there. We snorkeled, kayaked, swam, went to Queen’s Bath, Preacher’s Cave, Spider Cave, Glass Window Bridge, Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera Island Farm, Ocean Hole, and more.

It was an amazing vacation and it really made me realize how much fun a family vacation is!


February – Arizona and Europe (France, Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Germany, and more)

February was a crazy month because Wes helped deliver a sailboat from France to Croatia.

He left at the end of January and was gone for most of February. It was a 3,000 mile sailboat delivery, and he went to so many different ports and countries (France, Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Germany, and more). I am still very jealous of that trip!

I stayed back in Arizona while he was gone, worked like crazy, hung out with the dogs, and did a lot of solo hikes.


March – Arizona and beginning our cross country drive to start boat shopping

Before we left Arizona to start boat shopping in Florida, we had a ton of visitors on the RV.

We had several friends visit, and we also had our niece and Wes’s younger brother and sister come for spring break (all three of them are in high school). We visited Tombstone and hiked Picacho Peak, which is one of our favorite hikes and we’ve done it so many times now! It was a great vacation and we’ve really been loving all of these family vacations in the past year.

After the visits were over, we left Tucson in March to head to Florida to look at sailboats. We probably took the longest way possible so that we could visit all of our close friends and family since we realized this may be the last time for a while that we would be able to “conveniently” visit everyone.

Our first stop was just a short drive to Phoenix, where we hiked the Flatiron Trail in the Superstition Mountains, one of the hardest hikes in Phoenix with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. It was an amazing hike that I highly recommend.


April – Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Florida

After Phoenix, we went north to Colorado and visited my sister and her boyfriend in Fruita (we used to live there too). We also stopped in Columbia, Missouri to visit friends, as well as St. Louis, Missouri to visit friends and family in our old hometown. Our last stop before Florida was in Memphis, Tennessee to visit Wes’s parents and younger siblings.

We didn’t stay for long in each place, though, as we found a boat sooner than we thought, signed for it, and already had a contract on our RV as well.

So, we drove to Florida, stayed in the RV for a couple of weeks, and then the buyer wanted the RV pretty much right away. We were actually able to sell it back to the dealership that we bought it from for nearly the same amount we paid for it – total WIN for us!).

But, our move in date for the boat wasn’t until the middle of May. So, we had to find a place to live for about 20 days until the boat was ready. We found a nice Airbnb to stay in, but we had to move everything twice – from the RV to the Airbnb, and again from the Airbnb onto the boat. While we definitely don’t have as much stuff as we used to, there were still a lot of things to move.


May – Fort Lauderdale

Once we were finally able to move into our boat, things got really crazy! We had to find boat insurance, get our boat USCG documented, switch our domicile, have some additions done on our boat, find a dinghy, and more.

Honestly, it was all just a blur and I can’t remember if I did anything that wasn’t boat related, haha!

You can read more about our life on a sailboat here – Welcome To Paradise – We’re Living On A Sailboat!


June – Sail to St. Pete

With May being about moving onto the boat, June was about learning to sail it and then move it.

We spent most of June, and part of July, taking sailing, docking, and safety lessons. If you’re looking for a great instructor and/or someone to help move your boat, I highly recommend Captain Jeff Lewis. He helped us move our boat from Fort Lauderdale to St. Pete, and he taught us a ton of things along the way. He is an amazing teacher, and no, he did not pay me to write this glowing review. He is just a really that great!


July and August – St. Pete, Egmont Key, Tampa Bay, and Puerto Rico

Once we got settled on the boat, we had so many visitors in July and August, but that was only after we were signed off by insurance to sail our boat by ourselves. We had visitors almost every single day for the rest of the summer, and we sailed all over Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas.

Wes also helped deliver another sailboat, this time from Puerto Rico to Florida, and that took around 10 days.

From July to November 30th, our boat insurance required that we stay in the St. Pete area until hurricane season was over. That was completely fine anyways, as we had even more boat stuff to do and learn.


September – Orlando

September was a reminder for us about how quickly plans can change. It was supposed to be full of visiting family and friends in different states, but a family emergency occurred and we had to completely change plans. Everything will be fine in the end, but it really put life in perspective.

I went to FinCon later in the month and saw all of my favorite bloggers. It was nice to take a break from everything and just focus on the blogging business – life had been so hectic up to that point.

October – Annapolis, Rochester, Key West, and more

Once things calmed down in September, we got busy again in October with visitors on our boat and some travel.

We attended our friends wedding in Rochester, New York (congrats Liz and Jake!), and we decided to turn it into a 1,300 mile road trip – 2,600 miles roundtrip! We stopped at the Annapolis Boat Show along the way, along with several other places. We met so many great sailors, cruisers, great companies, and many people who were still in the planning stages of living aboard a boat. The energy was amazing.

The wedding was also amazing, and it was definitely the funniest and most entertaining wedding I have ever been to.

The bride jumped in a bounce house, there were lots of hilarious jokes, the wedding was rainbow themed, there was a candy bar, we played limbo, there were glow sticks – enough said, it was clearly a lot of fun.

We had planned to stay in Rochester a little longer but Hurricane Michael was heading close to our boat in St. Pete. So, we had to make the 1,300 mile dash down to our boat to make sure it was secured well enough, and thankfully, it was. Quick mention to our friends Jeff and Susan from Sailing SV Ohana, who helped secure our boat when we were too far away to make it back in time. They were also great friends that we made in St. Pete!

Also in October, we sailed down to Key West on Jeff and Susan’s sailboat with some of our friends from the marina, Martin and Angela. Then, we rented a car to drive back to our boat in St. Pete.

November – St. Pete and Nashville

November was a crazy month of fixing things on the boat and finishing up installations because we were getting ready to move the boat once hurricane season was over.

We got a new screecher sail, fixed our watermaker, fixed the water heater, and finished about 100 other things on our boat list.

We also visited Nashville, and Wes rode in the Tour De Cure with some of his family members. The Tour De Cure raises money for diabetes research, which is important to us because both his little sister and mom have diabetes. We made it a fun trip by renting a house and piling nine of us in there for a fun family weekend.

On top of all of that, I also launched my second course, Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. The launch went well and I’m hearing lots of great things about it 🙂


December – Left St. Pete for Key West and beyond!

Like I said, our boat insurance required us to stay in St. Pete until hurricane season was over, which meant we could finally leave St. Pete in December.

Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely loved St. Pete! We made so many great friends at the Harborage Marina (I would name all of you but I feel like I may accidentally leave someone out, since there were SO MANY amazing people in St. Pete!). They even had a going away party for us! That’s funny to think about because I don’t think we even had one when we left St. Louis to move to Colorado, haha!

We left St. Pete early in the month and sailed nonstop down to Key West. It’s the longest sail that the two of us have done alone. It was around 200 nautical miles and took a little over 33 hours. We did watches of three hours on and three hours off. It was a wonderful sail and sooo beautiful.

We weren’t in Key West long before we had family visit us for a week. We had seven people and two dogs aboard! And, it was a lot of fun. We explored Key West and did nearly everything that there is to do – the Butterfly House, the Aquarium, walked all of Duval Street about 50 times, went to the Southernmost Point, Hemingway House, and more.


So, what’s in store for 2019?

2019 will be an exciting year, and while we don’t have any firm plans, we know that we will be doing lots of sailing.

We will start by sailing the Keys and then to the Bahamas. We’re not entirely sure what we’ll do for hurricane season 2019, but we are thinking about possibly sailing up the east coast or going further south in the Caribbean. We honestly have no idea and don’t have anything planned after the Bahamas early in the year. We hope to spend a few months there sailing to the various islands – there are 700 islands in the Bahamas!

I also stayed up for hours and was able to score Spice Girls tickets, and I got the closest tickets to the stage that they sell. That means I’ll be going to England in June of 2019!

We will also be spending September in Colorado, celebrating a friend’s wedding as well as exploring the state since it is one of our favorite places (we miss the mountains).

As you can tell, we’re not sure what all we are going to do in 2019 just yet. Our plans right now are all just a little scattered. That’s the great thing about full-time traveling – it doesn’t really matter too much because I know we will have a great time regardless!

I do plan on working a lot less in 2019 and enjoying our new life on a boat by sailing as much as we can.

My personal goal for 2019 is going to be working on improving myself, and I am super happy about that. I will be covering this further in a future blog post, or possibly one of my next business income reports.

I just want to have a more relaxed year where I can learn new skills, read more books, become a better sailor, cook more, and the list goes on and on.


Here are my 2019 goals:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 40 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 40 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I have a looooong blog post being published on this goal in about 2 weeks. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Read 6 books. I have only read one book in the last several years that wasn’t work or sailing related. I would like to get back to reading books that have nothing to do with trying to learn something, haha.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

What are your life, business, and travel plans for 2019?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Eric

    Awesome article Michelle! You did a lot of really cool stuff in 2018- enjoyed reading about your adventures. That was some year! Congrats!!

  2. Nick

    I first came to your blog to see how you had made money doing what you do. I come back because I enjoy reading what you do with the freedom it affords you. Congrats on an amazing year, and no doubt another one to come.

  3. Congrats on another amazing year! Can’t wait to see where the wind takes you in 2019 🙂

    1. Thank you! I know 2019 will be amazing for you too!

  4. Janet

    Thanks for sharing! You’re living my dream life and I hope 2019 is even better for you 🙂

    1. Thank you Janet. I hope 2019 is a great year for you 🙂

  5. I’m thankful to have good people like you Michelle in my circle to keep me inspired and moving forward with creating lots and lots of content. I love the site also millionaire mentality because we can all push each other to achieve realistic goals. Keep doing what you’re doing my friend! 🙂

  6. Teresa

    What a great life you and Wes have created! You work, travel, and make time to invest in friendships and strengthening family bonds. Best wishes for another delightful and exciting year in 2019!!

  7. marco baatjes

    What an amazing year! Congrats you deserved it 🙂

  8. I love reading about the travels and am so happy and proud of you. You inspired me to start my blog back in August and are a continuing source of inspiration for me almost 5 months later.
    In December I joined the $1000/month club and am really enjoying this journey and how it has changed my life.There are so many bloggers out there selling stuff and sharing info.. but I still look to you for inspiration and enjoy your stuff the most.
    Hope you all have a great 2019!

  9. Wow, sounds like an amazing year! Now I want to go to the Bahamas – your picture is gorgeous! Hope 2019 is equally amazing!

  10. What a great way to start the New Year with new adventures and joy along with it. You’re living an amazing life and working and having fun while you’re at it.

    Great regards

  11. Charles

    Michele you are very inspirational. Thank God for your wonderful adventures in 2018, I am sure 2019 is going to be even more amazing!!!

  12. Sounds so much fun. It’s your hard work that is paying of well now. I wish you lot of happiness in 2019.

  13. sidharth

    I’m thankful to have good people like you Michelle in my circle to keep me inspired and moving forward with creating lots and lots of content. Best wishes for another delightful and exciting year in 2019!!

  14. Congratulations on a fantastic year! Moving from the RV to a boat must have been hectic (particularly with the moving twice part). It must be scary having to consider the Hurricane season too.

    I would love to achieve the life that you have worked so hard for, and you’re a real inspiration to me.

    Good luck with 2019, I will be following very closely!

  15. What a great year going to all these new places. I didn’t get to manifest my travel plans for 2018 because of other important things that came up but I hope to change that in 2019. Best of luck in 2019! 🙂

  16. Tracey

    Great post, Michelle! I am an avid listener to the ChooseFI podcast and just recently listened to your episode (and LOVED it, btw!)
    I have recently started my own blog as a side hustle and I look forward to taking your course and learning how you built such a profitable brand.

    I’m also excited to follow your “sailboat adventures” on your blog!