Oaxaca, Mexico
Mexico, Roundups

Month in Review: January 2017

January gets a bad rap as one of the most depressing months of the year.  But I have to say, this year I wholeheartedly agree.  What a shit month, guys.

Ahem.  That being said, it wasn’t all bad.  Trial by fire is how we learn and grow and become resilient, strong-willed people, and this January sure put me through the wringer, so that means I must be superhuman now, right?  RIGHT?!?

The good: I’m in Oaxaca, a truly lovely little city with beautiful warm weather and so much delicious food.  I even have a handful of friends here to pull me out of my cocoon every now and then and force me to do fun things.  I’m making a living doing stuff I love, and I have a clear picture of what I want my future to look like.Oaxaca, Mexico

The bad: Just about everything else.

You have every right to believe I’m just being dramatic.  At the end of the day, I have so, so much to be grateful for.  Let’s just say there were a lot of tears this month, both for personal reasons and beyond.

But I’ll keep far away from anything political in this post and focus on what went on in terms of successes and lessons; changing the world starts with ourselves, after all, and no good will come from me spewing more negativity into the ether.

Without further ado…

In January of 2017…

I made the firm decision to finally stop traveling.

Yes, you read that right.  With the exception of my trip to Greece with my mom which is already planned (and I am VERY excited about), I will be plopping my butt down in Washington and staying there for the remainder of 2017…and possibly well beyond.

I shared the news recently in a post on my Facebook page that resulted in an outpouring of support from my peeps.  You guys know by now that this is really what I want and that this decision was, if anything, long overdue.  So if I haven’t said it enough already, thank you for showing me you want what’s best for me and always encouraging me to follow my heart.  To know that so many of you plan to keep reading even if I travel a fraction of the time is more heartwarming than you can imagine.Jardin Etnobotanico, Oaxaca, Mexico

I’m not giving up my identity as a traveler, I’m simply starting a new chapter in my life where travel is no longer the top priority.  It feels SO GOOD TO SAY THAT!

I have all kinds of plans to explore my own backyard more thoroughly, so you can still expect to see a fair amount of travel content coming your way, it will just be homegrown USA travel and nothing international.  In fact, after Greece, I don’t want to get on a plane for a long time.

I’m finally taking the leap…

…to full-time blogger!!  This is another one of those things I kind of wish I’d had the guts to pursue a long time ago, but hey, better late than never, as they say!  So what this means is I’m finally taking the steps to end all of my freelancing contracts in order to have more time and energy (all of it, as it were) available to dedicate to growing this site.

Scary?  Yes.  Definitely scary.  But I’m probably more excited than anything else, and with all the love and support from those closest to me, I feel like I can do just about goddamn anything.Mezquite restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico

I’ve also taken a big step this month by beginning to slowly outsource the things that overwhelm me or that I just can’t seem to make time for anymore.  Having someone to help me even just for a few hours a week feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so excited to see what I can accomplish when I’m not worried about a million little things.

I’ve got big plans, including (but not limited to): releasing the second edition of my e-book, complete with bonus chapters and extras; writing on a far more regular basis and publishing on a consistent schedule from week to week; and creating my first ever e-course!

So, there will be more than enough to keep me busy, and I’m feeling pretty confident that with this new focus, I’ll achieve my goals faster than ever.  Wish me luck! 🙂

I discovered that Mexico is far more veg-friendly than I expected.

I had my reservations before this trip that a meat-free diet might not be so easy in Oaxaca, but I have been and continue to be pleasantly surprised by the plethora of options.

Whether I’m eating at places serving traditional regional fare or modern restaurants with a variety of cuisines, there are almost always veg-friendly options at my disposal.  If not, people are typically more than willing to serve me a meat-free variation of something on the menu.Mezquite restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico

It’s not like I’m eating out at restaurants every day–I’ve been happily preparing my own meals from scratch most of the time, making good use of the fresh produce from the market up the street.  But, it’s nice to know I have the option and I don’t have to miss out on meals with friends for fear of going hungry.  Gracias, Oaxaca!

I learned that old habits die hard.  Really hard.

I have an embarrassing secret, one that only a handful of people in my life know about.  You see, back in 2013 when I was traveling in Peru, I became mildly obsessed with the TV series How I Met Your Mother.

It became my go-to show whenever I wanted to veg out instead of doing more sightseeing, and I quickly caught up to the most recent season.  But the fact that I watched so much TV while on a backpacking trip in South America is hardly the embarrassing part.  I haven’t gotten there yet.

The 9th and final season (you know, Barney and Robin’s wedding?) aired while I was working at Kokopelli Hostel in Peru, and a friend and I made sure to watch every episode the moment it came out.  By the time the series finale was over (and left me wanting to punch a hole in the wall, amIrite?), my mild obsession had become anything but mild.

I still can’t say for sure what it is about that show…perhaps I just identify a little too strongly with Ted Mosby’s unrelenting quest for poetic, fairytale love…?  Whatever the reason, it became a part of me.  It comforted me, especially in moments when I was feeling down or lonely.  After that, no matter where I was in the world, I knew I could count on my good old friends Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney to lift me up and to make me laugh.

Getting embarrassing yet?  Wait for it…

At this point, I’ve watched HIMYM on four different continents.  This often (okay, most often) takes place when I’m alone (unless half a bottle of wine fits your definition of “company”) and I often (okay, most often) end up in tears (okay, OKAY…sobbing uncontrollably).

This past month in Oaxaca has been no exception.  I thought I’d already hit my low point when this became my norm every night leading up to my departure from Sweden.  Turns out, I could still sink lower.

I think I hit rock bottom a few nights ago, friends, and it wasn’t pretty.  After finishing the 9th season for the umpteenth time with a face still covered in fresh tears (and finally almost kind of coming around to the idea of Ted and Robin, whaaaaaat?), instead of calling it a night like any sane person would do (or, I don’t know, reading a damn book or something) what did I do instead?


It’s hard to say how many hours of my life have been sacrificed to the cult of HIMYM at this point, but I do know that when it gets this bad, my heart is usually trying to tell me something.  In this case, and as was the case in Sweden, I think the message is: “Something is wrong!  You’re not supposed to be here!  GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!”

Or something along those lines.

My Most Popular Posts

Why Oaxaca?

Maintaining a Traveler’s Mindset at Home

My Best Instagrams

A photo posted by Leah Davis (@thesweetestway) on

What I’m Reading

Nothing this month, unless we’re still being generous and counting the HIMYM credits.

A Few Things I’m Loving

This girl’s hard-hitting advice on how to make it in business (and how to kill the game).  Among her best tips? Hire an assistant, know your worth, and charge what you deserve.

A little history and practical info about Hierve el Agua, one of the few remaining attractions I plan to squeeze into my schedule before leaving Oaxaca, as told by my friend Jodi.

That’s it for January…onward and most definitely upward!

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  • Reply Laura February 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I’m SO EXCITED for you that you’re full-time with blogging! That is my goal this year and I’m working my butt off to make it happen! So excited to see what you get up to and so happy for you that you’re listening to your heart and staying put for a while. Cheers to a good 2017 (or at least better than how it started)!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks a lot Laura! It will be a wild adventure, that’s for sure 🙂 Good luck with your blog too!

  • Reply Johnette February 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    So happy you are so honest with yourself. It will be so great to have you back in Washington, and see your sweet smile!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Thank you Johnette!! I can’t wait to be back and see all of you…only one more day now! 😀

  • Reply Justine February 1, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Ugh, it does sound like a crap month but it also sounds like the future holds good things for you. So keep your chin up! And if it makes you feel any better I’ve done the same exact thing with Gilmore Girls. Hey man, living abroad can be rough and lonely and when I find myself binge watching the entire series of GG (which I’ve done an embarrassing amount of times) I know I’m in a not-so-good place. Anyway, you’re so not alone. Cheers to the future!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Haha it sounds like a lot of people binge-watch their favorite show, I’m so glad I’m not alone in that 🙂 Thanks Justine! x

  • Reply Dalia February 2, 2017 at 3:22 am

    IT’S OK LEAH! I feel the same (um, minus the tears hahah) about Narcos! Nothing wrong with a TV series as a guilty pleasure ;))

    Also, I agree about January. Also hoping this last month has made me superhuman,

    When will you go back to Washington?? Seems like you haven’t cut the travels yet!! Though Oaxaca sounds lovely, maybe things will start improving once you fix yourself a base?

    Dalia recently posted…Why Kiev Ukraine is one of the most overlooked European capitalsMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      I will be back in Washington tomorrow! I cut my trip short by three weeks, I was originally supposed to be here through the end of Feb. I planned this trip several months ago and part of me felt obligated to take it (and I had already thrown down some money on accommodation, so there was also that). Anyway, I’m excited to see what happens when I am in a fixed location! I think they will definitely improve. x

  • Reply Mindy @ Nourish Vegan Journeys February 2, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Good that you listening to that inner voice Leah! Good luck with going full time with the blogging, exciting times ahead 🙂
    Mindy @ Nourish Vegan Journeys recently posted…A Vegan Guide to Derry ~ LondonderryMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much, Mindy! It will be a fun ride 🙂

  • Reply Jen Ambrose February 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

    As someone who’s just starting to pursue blogging, freelancing, and location independence, I so appreciate all the info you share on your blog. Good luck with the transition to full-time blogging, and the rest of your time in Mexico! 🙂

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you Jen! I always love to hear that the info I share here is useful. Good luck to you as well!

  • Reply Silvia February 4, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Lol that is me with Nashville, which I’m pretty sure is way more embarrassing! I’m really happy to hear that you’ll be settling down because it seems like something you’ve talked about wanting for so long now (also, not being constantly on the move makes running a blog SO much easier). Super excited for you!

    • Reply Leah Davis February 6, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks Silvia! It’s true, I’ve been going on and on about this for a long time now, so it feels good to finally “pull the trigger” on settling down. And yes, I’m so excited to see where my blog can go now that I actually have the time and energy to work on it!

  • Reply Brittany February 6, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I completely relate about binge watching while travelling. Just because we choose to live our lives on the go, doesn’t mean we don’t need some familiarity once in awhile. Plus, whenever I get down on myself while watching tv in my bunk bed instead of exploring the Greek island I’m spending time on, I just remind myself that all tje producers and directors and writers and actors who are part of that show are probably living out their wild, creative dreams by doing those jobs, so in a way, I am supporting them. 🙂 My question is a bit more random – I notice you mention working at a hostel while in Peru…I have been searching for answers on tons of travel blogs and can’t seem to find out – do you need a work visa in order to get a job at a hostel?? Or as a traveller, can you simply apply for work at a hostel without a visa?

    • Reply Leah Davis February 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Hey Brittany! I guess I did say working when I probably should have said “volunteering.” I was serving drinks in the hostel bar in exchange for accommodation and some discounts on food, so it wasn’t the kind of work that would have required a proper visa of any kind. Lots of hostels around South America offer this type of volunteer position. I know people who saved tons of money on their trips by doing this in every city then went to! Plus, if you work in the bar, you might even earn tips on top of the free accommodation 🙂

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