Joshua Tree National Park
Adventure Sports, Blogging, California, Roundups

Month in Review: November 2017

Man, so much was crammed into November that it absolutely FLEW by! At the start of the month, we were still recovering from our incredible trip to Hawaii, but we had so many other exciting things on the horizon that I’m not sure we even had time to fully process everything!

The start of November also marked some huge shifts in our personal lives. As I’ve mentioned more than a few times, our trip to Maui changed us–made us more eager to pursue meaningful work, and in a lot of ways, less excited about the work we were already doing.

For me, that meant figuring out how to make blogging exciting again, and figuring out how it can be used to serve my life’s highest purpose. For Hans, that meant making some bold moves and diving headfirst back into his true passion of music.

So November turned out to be kind of messy, but also really, really good. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and we’re moving in a new direction with our lives, unsure of where it’ll lead but excited nonetheless.

Without further ado, here are the highlights of November!

In November 2017…

I “un-niched” my blog once and for all.

Astute observers have probably noticed a shift happening over the last few months. My content slowly became less focused, my posting erratic and unpredictable (okay, maybe the latter is par for the course, but whatevs). I needed to find my way back to a style of blogging that I LOVED. A style of writing that felt easy, honest, and true to my most authentic self.

And you know what I discovered? My “most authentic self” is a moving target.

Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada

I’m not a static, unchanging thing, I’m a goddamn human being. A complicated one, at that. My “true self” is always going to be changing and evolving, and I’ve decided to finally make peace with that and accept that niche blogging just isn’t the path for me.

So I experimented a lot this month with different types of posts. I published a lot of new content one week, and then wrote nothing the next. But the real key was that I stopped giving so many fucks about what people would think.

This is not a model blog, monetized to perfection and raking in tens of thousands per month in passive income. But it is a pretty close reflection of my life and my evolution, and at the end of the day, I think that’s pretty cool.

Mount Shasta, California

Of course, there are topics I am more passionate about than others, and those will still form the bedrock of my content “non-strategy.” Things like travel and photography and yoga and personal growth and the messy stories about how travel changes us. Ways we can be better, kinder, more loving humans. Ways we can make the location independent lifestyle work for us.

So hopefully, my vibe will attract my tribe. My content will be from the heart, and my voice will be my niche.

We took a 10-day road trip through five states!

In mid-November, we headed to Joshua Tree National Park for a four-day yoga and rock climbing retreat, and the pre-trip prep turned out to be the most stressful part of the whole thing. With several mountain passes between us and a two-wheel drive car that doesn’t even make it up steep driveways in the winter, the weather had us pretty worried that we’d have to call the whole thing off.

Thankfully, as our departure date drew closer, the weather gods gave us their blessing. We took off for Boise, Idaho on Monday the 13th giving us three full days to make the 20-hour drive to southern California. Our first stop included a visit to my aunt and cousins in Boise. Seeing family is always delightful, and this was no exception.

Next, we motored down through middle-of-nowhere Nevada (which is actually quite beautiful) to spend a night in sprawling Las Vegas. We did nothing more than rest on this stop. I’ll admit that we’re not exactly the biggest Vegas fans, but we scored a nice room for cheap and for that we were so grateful.

Driving from Nevada to California

Finally, we arrived in Joshua Tree to get acquainted with our tour group before the yoga and rock climbing began on the 16th!

The park itself was absolutely STUNNING. A truly otherworldly destination that I would encourage anyone to see in their lifetime. I’ll have a lot more to say about the retreat though, so stay tuned for those posts!

Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park

Following Joshua Tree, we continued our loop and moved toward the California coast where we’d arranged to stay with some old college friends of mine in Santa Barbara, who I hadn’t seen since their wedding something like six years ago! It was such a treat to catch up and meet their two beautiful daughters.

The next several days of the trip took us to San Francisco, Mount Shasta, and finally Bend, Oregon before we made the final push for home on Thanksgiving day. Time willing, I would have loved to add more visits with friends to the itinerary. Seeing friends on trips has become a big priority for me since the people I love are scattered all over the globe. But, there’s always next time.

Balmy Alley, San Francisco, California

We moved out of our apartment.

Yep, we’ve already moved out of the apartment we moved into just six months ago. We sold what we could and gave away the rest, and officially handed the keys over on the last day of the month.

The reason? We’re hoping to save up money to make a move somewhere new (but I won’t say where just yet, since nothing is certain at this point) and since we’ve got generous family members, we’re going to be able to do it all the quicker.

It will also make traveling easier since we won’t have the guilt of leaving behind an apartment we’re paying rent for, so we may use this time to take some trips to new places. I love taking the train in the winter and there are plenty of places within reach. If you’ve got any Pacific Northwest destinations that are particularly nice in the winter, let me know!

Mount Shasta, California

My Most Popular Posts

You Can’t Outrun Your Pain: Why Travel Isn’t the Answer to Trauma – In this post, I dove to new depths of vulnerability by opening up about my father’s death and how I used travel as a coping mechanism for far too long.

Why “Niching Down” Isn’t for Me, and What I’m Doing Instead – I was so grateful for how this post was received. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in feeling this way!

There Is Freedom in the Now – Musings on staying in the moment, something I am continually working on (that’s why they call it practice!).

My Best Instagrams

A Few Things I’m Loving

Amazon’s Hilarious White Elephant Gift Guide – Hans’ family Christmas tradition is a white elephant gift exchange, and I know where I’ll be finding the perfect silly (but awesome) gift. Among things I want from this list: mug with unicorn that reads “I Poop Magic”; ugly sweater with cat face that reads “Meowy Christmas”; The Gentleman’s Beard Oil (for Hans, naturally).

The Crucial Thing Missing From the Work-Life Balance Debate – This article posits a new way of thinking about work-life balance that maximizes joy and purpose so that we are ultimately fulfilled and able to flourish. It makes the point that not all things we do at work are unpleasant, and not all of the things we do in our home life are pleasant. It’s probably my favorite article on work-life balance to date!

That’s all for this month, my sweet friends. Onward and upward!

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