Fifty-Two New: Getting Started

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Hello and welcome to our Fifty-Two New adventure! I say “our” because I’ve been doing this project with Lyndsey, my fiancé since January 2019. So what is Fifty-Two New? Well, as you might have gathered from the title, it’s a year-long project where we try to do one new thing every week. We have successfully completed it for two years now and have documented each experience with at least one photo culminating in a photo keepsake book at the end of the year.

Fifty-Two New started at the end of 2018, when I was talking with my best friend Rachana about our goals for the new year. She brought up the idea of trying a new thing every week and I originally thought I would do it by myself. When I brought the idea up to Lyndsey, she was more excited about it than I was, so I knew we had to do this together. And let me tell you, two minds is better than one in this case.

Having a partner to pick up the slack if you’re not feeling adventurous or creative that week is perfect. We both come up with different types of adventures and activities, and so far we have had no problem generating content, even during quarantine! Here are some examples of our Fifty-Two News the last couple of years:

Top to bottom, left to right: Trying Monsoon Chocolate, Visiting San Xavier Mission, Visiting Horseshoe Bend, Ignite Sign Museum, Dropping off books in the Little Free Libraries around town, Hiking Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona Zipline Adventures, Trip to Disney Land, Clay Ornament Workshop with Spring & Vine

As a proud introvert, this project helps get me out of my comfort zone and enjoy Tucson and all of the other places we visit. Having the accountability of a project with a tangible goal encourages us to look for the small (and big) experiences available around us.

Here are a few things to note about this project and some key concepts that Lyndsey and I have agreed on prior to starting Fifty-Two New. These are simply guidelines we use, feel free to tweak things as you see fit when you try it for yourself or with your family.

  1. It’s ok if we don’t do a new thing every single week. As long as we are getting to fifty-two by the end of the year, it’s all good! Some weeks are harder than others to try something new and that’s okay.

  2. Nothing is too big or small to be included! Some things on our list are big: Visiting Antelope Canyon & getting engaged! Some things are smaller: Trying out a new restaurant or taking a bike ride on the river path. The goal is to get creative and try new things. It doesn’t need to be a big or an expensive trip/activity to count. We also can’t afford that kind of commitment, so there’s that.

  3. At least one person needs to be in charge of documenting the adventure. For us, we have made a photo book each year. I like to think I have a decent memory, but no way would I be able to remember each thing unless we had a photo or list somewhere.

  4. At the beginning of the year, try and make a list of things you want to do and any other ideas you may have. This will be helpful to look back on if you're running short on ideas.

  5. And speaking of generating ideas, the best thing to do is keep your eyes and ears open. Some of our best Fifty-Two News haven't been planned, they come about from us driving past a historic neighborhood or listening to our friends tell stories of their past experiences. We also try to keep up with the local news for things happening around town.

For 2021's Fifty-Two New, I thought it would be more interesting if I shared our experiences here and wrote a little or a lot about each one. Since we live in Tucson, most of our adventures happen locally and my goal now is to share our finds with the community and spread the joy. We are also starting a new Instagram account for this project to help keep photos in one place along with this blog, and you can can find it @fiftytwonewproject.

If you're thinking about starting a similar project yourself, go for it and please let us know how it’s going! We want to get as many people involved in this project as possible because it has given us so many great experiences and stories.

My last hope in documenting Fifty-Two New this year is to keep myself motivated to be a tourist in my hometown and continue to search for the interesting and beautiful things in Tucson and beyond!

Thanks for sharing in this adventure with us!

Tatum & Lyndsey

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