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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
STARTED THE SERIES OVER FROM THE BEGINNING.
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
My Best Instagrams
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!