Sponsored: No More Planned Trips; Surprises Only!

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Millennial Central Consulting for Marriott Rewards. I received Marriott Points to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Guess what? I’m actually in Colorado… for good. My project in Dallas has ended, and now I’ll be working on a project right here in Colorado this fall! I’m kind of in a little bit of shock over this.

This week has been pretty surreal. I’ve been working in Dallas for 2.5 years straight, and before this project, I was working on another project that was in Dallas as well for about six months (in a pretty similar area, so I stayed at the same hotel for both). It was really strange on Monday checking into my hotel for the last time (the hotel that feels more like home than my actual home, because I sleep there more than I sleep in my own bed). It felt weird to figure out what restaurants I wanted to eat at one last time before I left (believe it or not, sushi was high on my list). I felt a huge sense of loss when I dropped off my contractor badge with our client’s department admin. And then last night, when I was on the plane for the last time and had to write a farewell email to all the clients I’ve been working with for the last few years… I tried to keep it funny, but I’ll admit, I got a little teary. Maybe I should have thrown my hat into the ring to get a full-time offer there and leave consulting?

But that’s not really the right path for me. I love consulting, and I love Colorado. I’ve spent more than five years traveling Monday through Thursday every week (and on this particular project, a lot of weekends too), but now that I’m actually home, I’m realizing how nice it’s going to be to live a normal life for a while. I can go buy tons of perishable groceries to eat over the next week or two, without having to worry about using it all up before I get back on the plane on Monday. I can clean my apartment a little bit every day instead of in one marathon session each Sunday when I look around and get frantic about leaving it in that condition. I can make plans with friends to do things on weeknights (Wednesday night trail sessions, here I come!). And in Colorado, I can also do some extra cool stuff, like go hiking before work or biking after work. People here are so active, and I’m excited to really become a part of that!

Big Dry Creek Trail

View from my morning run today on the Big Dry Creek Trail, with the gorgeous Flatirons in the background. This state is PERFECT!

It is going to be very strange not to get on a plane Monday morning, though. I have become so used to flying and staying hotels that I’m worried about getting a bit of wanderlust being home! I have a short trip out to Western Colorado planned for next weekend, but otherwise, I plan to be sleeping in my own bed a lot. However, I’m sure there will be a few last-minute surprise trips that will pop up…

…and that brings me to talking about the Marriott Rewards® Year of Surprises campaign. I’ve written about this in the past, but to recap, Marriott Rewards is celebrating their 30th birthday this year, and they’re selecting a few lucky people to win a surprise party for one of their loved ones.

Marriott Rewards has already announced eight winners from the first two nomination periods, and their parties were pretty awesome. I really loved hearing the story of Stephanie, a 26 year old who underwent brain surgery and then was hit with a stroke – doctors told her that she would never walk again. But Stephanie’s BFF Cameron threw her an amazing country-themed engagement party at a winery in Virginia. With Marriott Rewards’ help, and Stephanie spent the evening dancing to her favorite country songs with all her closest friends! I teared up a little bit watching this video (okay, so maybe I’m emotional lately) – it is a great story.

You can go to YearOfSurprises.com to enter; just remember that they’re looking for really memorable celebrations, so get creative! The final round of nominations closes on Sunday, August 31, so hopefully you can carve some time out of your holiday weekend to enter. For more details on the contest, check out the official rules at YearOfSurprises.com/Rules.

As a Marriott Rewards Platinum member, I know that this party is pretty representative of how they treat all their guests. I’ve thrown some tough stuff at Marriott Rewards properties (like, um, showing up with 30 pounds of Alaskan fish on dry ice and asking for a place to keep it frozen? They had that covered!), and they’ve always done their best to accommodate my crazy requests. Next weekend, I’ll be staying at a Marriott Rewards property in Western Colorado for a bike tour of the wineries out there, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing their hospitality. If you’d like to join Marriott Rewards (which I highly recommend, since it’s free), visit Marriott.com/Rewards.

Disclaimer: Millennial Central is providing me with a promotional item and Marriott points in exchange for this post series, but I was not pressured to write a positive review and all opinions expressed in today’s post are mine alone. 


  1. Now you’ll have an easy time adapting to the elevation. Climbing just got easier.
    David recently posted…A Day Without DairyMy Profile

  2. This is so exciting!! Can’t wait to hear more about Colorado :) I love all your pictures!
    Kaitlin recently posted…Greetings from California!My Profile

  3. YAY FOR COLORADO!!!!! :)
    lynne @ lgsmash recently posted…Road Trippin’ Through The SouthwestMy Profile

  4. I think you’re going to go nuts being in just one place ;)
    Theodora recently posted…ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Haha perhaps :) I will likely have a few business trips sprinkled in there; just not a regular Monday-Thursday away from home.

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