Happy Halloween, guys! Can you be-LIEVE the end of 2015 is only two months away?! I can’t! Do I say that every year? YOU BET!
Is it just me, or does time go faster the older we get?
October has blown the rest of this year out of the water for me. I had a feeling it was going to be good, I just didn’t know how good.
October gave me knowledge, confidence, and peace of mind. The knowledge was a given; the confidence and peace of mind were completely unexpected (and pleasant) surprises. If you hadn’t gleaned my exhilaration from yesterday’s post, I’ll just come right out and say it–I feel GOOD! Things are GOOD! I can’t remember the last time I felt so confident in saying those words.
Here’s what went so right this October and the (very few) things that went wrong.
In October of 2015…
I learned. So. Much.
Hallelujah, I’ve FINALLY grasped the importance of investing in myself and my business! It’s scary as hell to pour not only significant time but now significant money (I need that to eat!) into this little blogging project of mine (although I suppose it’s not so little anymore) but after trusting the process a little bit more this year, I can see that these investments will not only be repaid, they’ll be repaid and then some.
This October, I attended not one but TWO blogging events here in Thailand. The first, the Travel Bloggers Retreat in Koh Phangan, was not planned. I only heard about it a month or two before it happened, and only gave it any real thought when a fellow blogger found out I was just one island away and made me realize how stupid it’d be not to take advantage of the opportunity (Thanks Michael, if you’re reading this). The second, TBEX Asia, was a part of my initial motivation for returning to Thailand in the first place.
Both events were worth every last penny.
I’ll admit that the Travel Bloggers Retreat gave me more in terms of pure knowledge and inspiration. Being in close quarters with an intimately-sized group of people for an entire week created the perfect conditions for collaboration and knowledge exchange. I couldn’t have been happier with how it went, the amazing bloggers I am now lucky enough to call friends, and the inspiration it gave me to charge ahead at full throttle.
Compared to TBEX Costa Brava, the first Asian edition of the conference fell flat content-wise. I didn’t get much out of the sessions I attended that I didn’t already know; at times this was my fault for choosing poorly, but overall the selection of talks just wasn’t as stimulating as Spain. A few of the highlights were getting to hear some inspirational ladies share their knowledge on stage, gaining a better understanding of my own blogging goals, and remembering why I got into this to begin with. Jodi Ettenberg’s closing keynote on storytelling was my favorite moment of the whole weekend.
My freelancing career took on a new, exciting form.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been slowly carving out a space for myself as a true digital nomad for the last year or so by working as a virtual assistant, social media manager, and most recently a Pinterest consultant (bet you didn’t know such a title existed, did you?). It hasn’t always been what I’d call lucrative, but this month has proven to be a major turning point. This summer I began taking on more clients and earning decent rates for the work that I’m doing, and finally it seems people are taking notice. It certainly didn’t hurt mentioning my line of work at TBEX and writing this monster blog post that spread like wildfire among the blogging community.
The result? I’ve had more inquiries for work this month than literally ever before.
I think much of this success was borne of my newfound confidence. I’m now able to say “Hell yeah I know what I’m talking about!” without hesitation (and I have results to back it up). I’m now able to ask for the rates I know I deserve and don’t falter when people try to undercut me. I never suspected there was this cunning businesswoman inside of me, waiting to be unleashed! Okay, OKAY so that might be a bit of a hyperbole…but I think you get my point.
This month, I’ve begun offering an array of different services relating to Pinterest, and so far it’s off to a wicked start. I met with fellow bloggers here in Chiang Mai and led a workshop on the subject and have been getting nothing but positive feedback. It’s fun and exciting and fulfilling all at once. I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here!
I made my peace with Chiang Mai.
Holy hell, has it been good to be back in Chiang Mai! Not that I didn’t enjoy my time in other parts of Thailand, but my heart has always been here in the north. I’ve loved revisiting all my favorite old haunts, discovering new ones, weaving through traffic on my motorbike, actually using my Thai on a daily basis, and yes, even remembering why I left.
The first few days were surreal. Once that feeling faded, it was simply comfortable. There aren’t many places in the world where I truly feel at home, but Chiang Mai is definitely one of them.
Not only that, but there are so many fun people in town (both bloggers and non-bloggers) right now that I didn’t even have to TRY to be social. The opportunities to hang out with friends sprang up so often I just rolled with the punches, and it was perfect. Wine nights, breakfast dates, birthdays; barbecues, work parties, brunches. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the last two weeks. They’ve been absolutely divine.
My one regret is missing out on the opportunity to meet up with my former Chiang Mai roommate Allie–you may know her as the girl who sang a baby elephant to sleep. She’s currently volunteering with a non-profit organization an hour’s drive outside of Chiang Mai and we were in contact from the day I arrived; sadly, work obligations never eased up and thus my plan to visit kept being postponed. When we met a few years ago, we were both teaching English and still very much unsure of where we were headed in life–I think it’s safe to say we’ve both changed a bit since then.
What went wrong…
I worked a lot and let inconsequential things stress me out. I didn’t make time to play tourist and wound up with very few photos of this beautiful place. I spent a few too many nights up late on Skype and felt like a zombie some days. But really, none of these minor things take anything away from how wonderful this month went overall.
And now, a few fun extras…
My Most Popular Blog Posts
My Best Instagrams
Pool views over Bangkok…
A little self-reflection on the island of Koh Phangan.
I may not be in the Thai islands anymore, but this day has indeed been one of great reflection (and I don't just mean my badass lenses). I'm back in Chiang Mai, the city that cranked up my love of travel and living abroad by about 20 notches when I moved here nearly four years ago at the end of 2011. Now it appears Chiang Mai will be one of the last cities I visit before I reconcile with the fact that it's time to slow down. Travel has been SO good to me these few whirlwind years, but now I'm looking for something different. I'm looking for stability. I'm looking for strong connections. I'm looking for a place to put down roots. At the TBEX conference last week in Bangkok, I had a funny thought–I realized that I felt more at home when surrounded by a bunch of other people who also HAVE NO HOMES (my travel blogging community) than I have felt all year. And it was just that, being surrounded by people I love, that made me feel that way–not the city I was in at the time. All this is to say that I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I need at this stage in my life, and I'm hell-bent on making it a reality. #Thailand #KohPhangan #amazingthailand
A Few Things I’m Loving…
Adele’s new heart-wrenching single, Hello. I just wish I hadn’t heard it for the first time while watching the video, which leads you to believe you’re about to witness domestic abuse (spoiler alert, you don’t–but it’s still tragic).
This guy, who pretty much wins Halloween in my book.
That’s all for October! Onward and upward!
Featured image credit: Lightworks360 Photography. You’ll be seeing plenty more of their work around here!