The air is cooler, the leaves are crisper, and pumpkins are absolutely everywhere. It’s officially Fall, so we figured we’d reflect back on all that the WFA team was up to this past summer! From a trip to a dude ranch, to reuniting with family members, to awesome hikes with beautiful views, the WFA team had a lot of fun this summer. While we usually write about financial planning and investment-related topics, we thought it would be fun to share what we were all up to outside of the office. Read on to learn about our 2021 summer adventures!
Jim: Our summer included some relaxing time at the beach and the ability to enjoy some freedoms (albeit temporarily it turned out) that we didn’t have over the past year due to Covid concerns. It also marked the summer before our son Mason reached the milestone of entering high school, our daughter Ava entered the all important and challenging junior year of high school, and our daughter Liza made her way into the last year of middle school. In addition to being able to enjoy this seemingly fleeting time with our kids, the highlight for me was our second trip to the Rainbow Trout Ranch, a dude ranch in southern Colorado. It’s a magical place run by a wonderful family and staffed with amazing young adults from all over the country. We’re all different and there are lots of different types of vacations one can take, but this is my place. And unlike my first time to the ranch, I was even able to safely stay on my horse all week. Thanks Barnum (a beautiful Apaloosa), for keeping me upright!
Vic: The highlight of my summer was a trip that my wife and I took to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier national parks in early August. Our goals were to see some wildlife, catch a few fish (well, that might have been just my goal…), not get eaten by a grizzly bear, and hike until we couldn’t hike any more. We started by flying into Jackson Hole, Wyoming and renting a car. We quickly were engulfed in smoke from nearby wildfires, but got lucky when the smoke cleared a couple of days later. We camped in a remote part of Bridger Teton National Forest, and succeeded in our goal of NOT being eaten by a grizzly bear. Whether a mouse scurried, or a cricket chirped, it didn’t matter – every sound at night was a bear.
After some of the most memorable hiking we’ve ever done together (particularly a 15 mile day to Lake Solitude where we saw 8 different moose!), we packed our Jeep Cherokee and headed North. We drove all the way to Columbia Falls, Montana (after a day in Yellowstone and a quick night in Butte, MT on the way).
We were excited to see Glacier National Park perhaps more than any other part of our trip, and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. It’s one of the most unique places we’ve ever been. Unfortunately everyone else seems to have had the same idea, so we were having to deal with some serious crowds until we got off the road and onto the trails (which we happily did). We prefer the company of mountain goats and even grizzlies to the company of stressed out tourists… especially when we’re the tourists who are stressed out. When our trip was all said and done, we were ready to go home to the animals (refer to our Fall newsletter for more details on the whole crew), but tired and happy for the time spent in an extremely special part of our country.
Joe: My two summer highlights were visiting my parents in Florida and sending my daughter off to college. First, my trip to Florida. We had postponed this trip for a year due to COVID but now that all parties were vaccinated, we decided to make the long drive to Florida. After braving the I-95 corridor we arrived 12 hours later! And for the first time we decided to stay in a rental rather than crash at my parent’s house; I figured that with two teenagers it was best for everyone that we stayed in a separate place. I also didn’t want to add stress to my parent’s lives and disrupt their routine. We had a really nice relaxing visit and are looking forward to another trip next year.
My second highlight was dropping my daughter off at college – a difficult but necessary experience. She’s at UNC Chapel Hill and we’re proud of her. At the parents’ orientation, the UNC speaker told us that within one week of move-in we parents would likely get an emotional phone call from our children telling us that they couldn’t do this and it was too hard (I can neither confirm nor deny that I received such a phone call). The speakers recommended that we help encourage and support our kids to manage the situation themselves. Things are going well so far and my wife and I stay in touch with her via text on a near daily basis so it’s different from when my generation went off to school and we called home once a month (to ask for money).
Roni: I had a really enjoyable, albeit very busy, summer. The biggest highlight of my summer was getting to see my family in person for the first time since 2019, due to COVID. We met in the middle in VA (my parents and my brother and his wife live in PA) in July and spent a week relaxing and hiking in Shenandoah National Park. I haven’t gotten to hike with my dad since the summer of 2019 when we were in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I really enjoyed and appreciated getting to do that again – my favorite hike was summiting “Old Rag.”
My parents also travelled down to Durham for the first time in over 2 years to visit over Labor Day weekend. We had a pretty low-key weekend and spent much of it relaxing and casually walking around downtown Durham, but I made sure to take them to a few of my favorite Durham restaurants, too, like Mothers & Sons and Nana Steak.
Another highlight of my summer was finding a handful of vintage mid-century modern “treasures” for my house. I’ve been slowly collecting mid-century pieces over the years, but happened to score an item that had been on my wishlist for a while – a 1959 Grundig stereo and record console (complete with the original working turntable and owner’s manual).
Austin: The summer of 2021 was easier to navigate than 2020. Our family went to the beach, which is a tradition of ours. We appreciated it even more because we missed it the year before. Our time there was spent playing in the waves, playing hide and seek, fishing, “trying” skim boarding, and relaxing. During the latter part of the summer at our local swimming pool, I taught my son how to do a back flip off the diving board (and in the process taught and encouraged other kids interested in learning dives and back dives). We spent lots of time outdoors, playing basketball, going for walks and bike rides, playing with our dog, and eating tomatoes from our garden. We also enjoyed several relaxing and delicious cookouts with friends.
Alex: When I look back on this summer, joining the Woodward Financial Advisors team was certainly the headline. I am excited to be part of this small, passionate team. Having previously only worked for large financial institutions with tens of thousands of employees, I can say that the move to a smaller firm was the right move for me. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to contribute in ways I could not in the past, including recording for our podcast, influencing business processes, periodically helping on the IT front, and more.
Joining a new firm and the restrictions from the ongoing pandemic, self-imposed and otherwise, all contributed to a quiet summer on the travel front. Most of my free time this summer was devoted to getting back into the gym or exploring some of the local hiking trails. One of the unique experiences I had this year was riding a OneWheel for the first time. I skateboarded in middle and high school, so riding the OneWheel, affectionately referred to as “floating”, was both novel and nostalgic.
Megan: This summer I got to spend a little bit of time in both the mountains and the sea. My fiancé and I took a trip back to my prior home - Charlottesville, VA - to visit one of my closest friends, and we spent the weekend hiking in Shenandoah National Park and visiting some of our favorite wineries. One of the things that I miss most about living in Charlottesville is the elevation, and it was nice to revisit those beautiful mountain views!
Although the mountains were wonderful, the highlight of our summer was visiting the low country! We had some family move to Charleston, SC and we spent a week visiting them and exploring their new city. We were able to enjoy some days at the beach, as well as time walking around the historic downtown area.
Our favorite day was when we booked a kayak and paddle board tour through the marsh. We got to experience the calm coastal waterways up close, and stayed cool despite the southern heat. This was only my second time on a paddle board, and I learned that the first time I tried it the river current had been doing a lot more of the work for me than I realized…. Nevertheless, if anyone finds themselves in Charleston, I highly recommend a marsh tour!
Wilson: This summer was a little bit unusual (as it was last year due to COVID), since my brother and I weren’t able to make the trip to Taiwan that we usually try to take during the summer to visit my parents. I’ve also been taking college courses online full time while working at Woodward, so it was certainly still a busy summer!
Although I didn’t get back to Taiwan, I am very happy to have been able to take time out of my busy summer to enjoy the Tokyo Olympics. Watching the Olympics is a must for me. I especially love to see the lesser known sports that are not talked about as much in the US. Some I am familiar with since I grew up around them in Taiwan, such as badminton, table tennis, and taekwondo, and others are sports that I don’t know much about, but am fascinated by, such as handball, diving, fencing, and water polo. There were also some newcomer events that I had a surprising amount of fun watching, especially skateboarding, mountain biking, and rock climbing. It was great to see so many of these unique sports being put in the spotlight with athletes from countries all over the world. Equally, or perhaps more impressive were the Paralympics that followed shortly after the conclusion of the Olympics. Although the Paralympics were, unfortunately, barely covered by the media, it was eye-opening to see how each sporting event differs (if it does at all). It was extremely motivating and inspiring to follow each athlete’s story, and how they overcame their disabilities to perform at the highest level.
Jess: This summer was eventful and just seemed to fly by! With my recent move to Chapel Hill, I got to spend many weekends just getting settled in and exploring my new home. From going on hikes, making new friends, and trying out new restaurants, I stayed busy. Even with the move, I still managed to make time to spend a ton of time with my family back in Salisbury. Whether I was front porch sitting and gossiping with my Grandma or sneaking my Grandpa chocolate ice cream in the Nursing Home, we made time for a ton of laughs and love.
Like many people, the craziness of Covid last year kept me separated from dear family members and friends. Most painfully, I wasn’t able see my best friend, who is a NICU nurse, due to social distancing. After almost 2 years without seeing her, we were able to be vaccinated and re-united at last. It was the highlight of my summer. Just being able to come together after such a traumatic year and celebrate the new home she bought closer to the Triangle lifted my spirits. It reaffirmed to me how precious the people we keep in our inner circle can be, and that connection is really what life is all about.
Maggie: While we can’t speak for Maggie regarding what her summer highlight was, we have a pretty good guess. Maggie and her husband, Chad, welcomed their third child – a boy – in June!