Kayaking with Maui Kayak Adventures
Hawaii, Roundups, Washington

Month in Review: November 2015

Before beginning this post, I couldn’t resist checking out last year’s roundup from November.  Now that this little series has been going for more than a year, it’s always so interesting to see where I was all those months ago and reflect on how far I’ve come.

Funnily enough, though, I’m feeling a lot of similar emotions as I was exactly one year ago.  I’d just moved into a new apartment in Medellín and was struggling to keep my head above water with income as a newly-minted freelancer.  Now, I’m about to move to an entirely new country and even though I’m much better off financially than I was last year, that same ugly fear of going broke is once again rearing its head.  Oh, and in case you missed the announcement a few days ago, click here to find out where I’m going and I’m sure you’ll understand my anxiety.

I have come a long way in terms of understanding myself and what I want both professionally and personally since last year, so at least there’s that.  Another funny similarity to last November is that I’d just purchased my first ticket to a TBEX conference, and just last night I was toying with the idea of buying another one for TBEX Europe next year, coincidentally being held in the same city I’m heading to in a few short weeks.

Anywho, I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the past, so let’s focus on the present.  Here are the highlights of my November!

My November of 2015…

Has been all about family.

From an adventure-filled couple of weeks in Hawaii with my nearest and dearest to a Thanksgiving reunion here in Washington, this month has been all about family time.  For me, this is a rarity these days, which makes me cherish it all the more.  And I don’t want to jinx anything by saying this, but it was probably the most drama-free month of family time we’ve ever had.  We are all adults at this point so I’m sure that probably doesn’t sound exceedingly impressive to most of you, but it’s a big deal for us!  We love each other, we really do, but you know what happens when too many different personalities are confined to close quarters.  Shit can get ugly real fast, and I’m proud of how well we’ve gotten along this year.  That doesn’t exactly make it any easier to leave, but it has been really lovely to be home.

Wailea, Maui

The fam in Wailea

I put my business skills to the test.

I’ve been testing out loads of new ideas this month to make a living doing what I love, and let’s just say not everything has been a smashing success.  I never used to consider myself the entrepreneurial type, but I think it’s even more accurate to say I just lack any sort of business sense whatsoever.  I’ve done myself proud by standing up for myself and receiving respect in return, but I’ve also let myself down by simply being disorganized, failing to follow through on things, or missing out on perfectly good opportunities just because I didn’t know what to do with them.  I’m doing my best to take every failure as a learning opportunity, though, and when I look at it that way, I’ve learned a ton this month!

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting down to serious business

I made fitness a priority again.

I’ve always been a firm believer that you don’t need a lot of time, space, or fancy gym equipment to stay in shape.  This means that on the road, I’ve got no good excuse for letting fitness fall by the wayside.  That being said, I finally picked back up with the most effective at-home fitness program I’ve ever found, Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide.  Oh, you’re not familiar with the Aussie Instagram star?  Well if you want to whip your ass into shape, you should be.  I purchased the first edition of her e-guide last year and have used it on-and-off since, but every time I do (regardless of whether I ever get her abs or not) I feel an immense sense of accomplishment and newly motivated to keep up with it.  It’s a solid investment for anyone who finds themselves making excuses on the reg to not workout.  You need very little equipment (and you can easily get by with none if you want) and only about as much space as a yoga mat.  If you don’t want to buy anything just yet, I dare you to try one of her free workouts and not get hooked.  I also tried my best to stay active as much as possible in Hawaii, which always resulted in fun outings.

Snorkeling in Maui

Snorkeling in Maui

I’ve struggled to feel any true connection to my home country.

I typically try to keep anything even remotely political from sneaking into this space, but this month I’ve silently struggled with something.  Over the last couple of years, my love for the United States has dwindled considerably, and this year has done further significant damage to our relationship.  There are so many values that I don’t identify with anymore, things that might as well form the definition of “American.”  I find myself feeling embarrassed by the idea that some people still consider America the greatest country in the world when all I can see is gun culture, ignorance, a failing education system, consumerism, debt, obesity, bigotry & racism…and the proud obstinance to do absolutely nothing about it.  I’m sickened by the fact that shootings have become so commonplace that they hardly garner a reaction anymore (a Planned Parenthood?  Really?) and frightened by the fact that someone as obtuse and overtly racist as Donald Trump could actually be considered a legitimate presidential candidate.  I truly fear for the future of our once-great nation and events that have taken place this month have only put our relationship on shakier ground.  At this point, the idea of ever settling in the US almost seems laughable; I no longer feel like I belong.

Maui, Hawaii

Even in Hawaii I felt out of place

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts and feelings on this, particularly if you’re American (but other opinions welcome as well).  Do you identify with American culture?  Do you want to settle here someday?

And now, a few fun extras…

My Most Popular Posts

Long-Term Travel, Transitions, and What’s Coming Next – The big reveal!

Where to Travel in 2016: My Top Picks & Wishlist

My Best Instagrams

Both from Hawaii this time, no surprise there!  A sunset and a sunrise. 🙂

A Few Things I’m Loving

Thanksgiving from the Road: Five Gifts Travel Gave Me – Miss Wanderland had me all choked up with this one, talking about all of the wonderful things a life of travel has afforded her.  In fact, if you haven’t taken that trip you’ve always dreamed of, this post might be the motivation you need to finally get out the door.  It’s hard to deny all the positive things that come out of travel, and Alex hits the nail on the head with her top 5.

Traveller Collective – The guys over at Traveller Collective are doing amazing things.  They’ve teamed up with charity:water to help raise funds for sustainable water solutions around the world for communities in need.  The products they’ve created make great travel mementos and could be the perfect gift for a traveler on your list this holiday season.  The cool leather clip seen here is a reminder of all the amazing places I’ve been–each metal washer is engraved with the abbreviation of one of the 30 countries I’ve been to.  And being so small means I can carry it with me wherever I go.  How cool is that? Traveller Collective

My new GoPro Hero4Session – This teeny tiny camera can do big things, and I can’t wait to show you some of the awesome Hawaii footage I’ve got!  If only I weren’t so intimidated by video editing…

That’s it for November, how did the month shape up for you? Onward and upward!

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