We’re halfway into January already – how is this possible?! Sometimes I want to press pause on time so that I can get caught up on everything and then press “GO!” again.
With the new year, comes a different city and another adventure. I’m back in Canada for a bit, to work on Travel with TMc, save some moola, and prepare for future adventures. Ontario might not be the place that digital nomads and travelpreneurs flock to buckle down and snap pictures of themselves working poolside, but it is where family and friends reside, which is also pretty fantastic.
2018 was an interesting year. I crossed off a few goals, like living in a new country (NZ, I miss you!), nailing down a capsule wardrobe, and starting my day with things that are important to me while establishing a different pace of life than in North America. I also began laying the foundation to have the flexibility to work from anywhere. In the process, I learned heaps more than expected, made some wonderful friendships, and crossed a 10-year old dream off my list.
With the excitement also came a lot of low points. Doubt, friction, and isolation popped up more often than I would have liked, and for the first time in my life, close ties weren’t even a phone call away because of the time difference. On the bright side, I gained the confidence to trust myself and found new people to reach out to for help.
2019 already feels a bit wonky, but I’m determined to see through a few personal, professional, and travel goals. Here goes!
- Read 12 Books – As a child, I was a voracious reader and chose ink and paper over people pretty consistently – even over road trips and basketball, two now favourite pastimes. Eventually in middle school and high school I was persuaded that spending time with people is also fun and the pendulum swung away from my paperback companions. Then came university and any thought of reading for pleasure was riddled with guilt. Ever since then I have been working to convince myself that reading is enjoyable. Bizarre, right?! I’m happy to say I’m almost halfway through my first book, The Joys of Travel by Thomas Swick, and have a whole bursting bookshelf of options when it’s finished.
- Move Daily – Perhaps it’s the reader in me who likes to cozy up with a book and not move for hours, but I tend to need to remind myself I enjoy movement and exercise as well. Whether it’s a yoga class, a game of pick-up, a walk around my new neighbourhood, skating outdoors, or something else that gets my heart pumping and limbs moving, I’m aiming for once a day.
- Learn a New Skill – There are only about a million new things I want to learn, but I think I best start with one and go from there! Some of the skills I aim to acquire and improve are: photo editing, writing, and knitting (I’m always cold and who doesn’t want to make a sweet as blanket?!).
- Live Clean – As trendy as this may be, reducing the amount of chemicals and junk in my life is a train I’m excitedly willing to board. We moved on December 31st, which couldn’t have been better timing to start – new living space, new year, new way to clean. Back in university I was an energy trade for my yoga studio, Modo Yoga. We used one soap for everything – mopping the floors, cleaning the sinks, laundry, shampoo, hand soap. I’ve done some research and have decided that I’ll begin using Dr. Bronner’s as my first trial. I’d love to hear any safe (and yummy smelling) ways you take care of your home.
- Spanish-Speaking Country – I began learning Spanish when I was 15 and, despite how much I love the language, have only visited 1 Spanish-speaking country thus far. This is the year that changes. Central and South America have long been on my list, and I can’t say I’d mind revisiting España either. I’m contemplating either attending school and brushing up my linguistic chops, or a multi-country trip to soak in the southern hemisphere.
- Ireland – For those who know me well, hearing me speak (nay, gush) about Ireland is a fairly common occurrence. I first visited as a 14-year old and didn’t care much to return…and then I moved there from 2012-2013 and fell madly in love with the isle. I’ve been back to visit twice, but there’s always a pull at my heartstrings to return.
- Work & Live in 2 Countries – You could safely say I’m a gypsy. I prefer to live in places rather than visit them, and there’s always somewhere new my feet are taking me. This goal may sync with my first travel goal, as I’d like to spend at least a month in a Spanish-speaking country (ideally more). Argentina is somewhere I’ve wanted to live since university, but I’m open to other opportunities too.
- Road Trip – “Where” doesn’t attract me, so much as the desire to be moving in a small space while exploring a much bigger one. In 2017 my partner and I went from a long-distance relationship to living in a compact car while travelling around Iceland (and then Australia, and again in New Zealand) for two weeks each at a time. A “steep learning curve” accurately depicts our first stint in a 4-wheeled abode, but by Australia we were pros and by New Zealand we were looking forward to planning another road trip. Who knows, maybe we can spark the #compactcarlife as the new #vanlife! Talk about taking minimalist living to new limits!
- Spontaneous Travel – It has long been a desire of mine to show up at the airport with nothing but a credit card and a carry-on and to buy the next (affordable) flight out. While finances and a “maybe next trip” mentality have restricted me in the past, let’s just say I’m ready to throw caution to the wind!
- Family Travel – Growing up my parents filled our summers with family road trips around Canada and the US, and then later for a 7-week odyssey through western Europe. Now that my siblings and I are older I think it would be amazing to take a trip together, even for a weekend. Everyone’s travel styles are fairly different, but my main goal here is to spend time with the people I love, while enjoying a new place together.
- Solo Travel – A weekend here, a few days there, is about all the solo travel I have done in the past (if you don’t include moving to another country as solo travel). This year I’d like to push that to a week or two, including limiting my use of technology to communicate with friends and family while away. I can honestly say I’ve never been homesick while living abroad, and I’m positive that can be attributed to the ease of access we have to loved ones through technology. Time to push that boundary a little farther.
- Consistently Create Content – When I started this blog it was easy to create content. Living on a new continent, it was a way to reflect and de-stress, and I could combine my creative interests in writing and photography. In 2017 when I returned to my blog it became more of a technical and learning project. Now that some of the foundation is set, I’m looking forward to harnessing the skills I’ve acquired over the past year to support creative endeavours again. With that being said, it is slightly overwhelming to look at a few years of stories, pictures, and videos and begin to dissect, reassemble, and share it. Bring it on 2019!
- Attend 2+ Conferences – In September 2018 I attended TravelCon in Austin, Texas, hosted by Matt Kepnes. Let’s just say he knows what he’s talking about and he surrounds himself with powerhouse individuals who also extremely motivated and dedicated. I’m pretty excited to attend again in Boston this year, as well as to reconnect with the friends I made. There’s nothing like being in a room full of like-minded individuals who understand and support your ideas – the energy is insane! Additionally, I’ve had my eye out to add other conferences to the mix, either in linguistics or travel. Let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!
- Build My Network – Remember I said I used to choose books over people? If you met me now, you might not believe that because I love meeting and spending time with people. If I could schedule my days around reading, travelling, and spending time with people, that might be the ideal. Oh, and eating…definitely can’t forget food! In all seriousness though, a large goal of mine is to reach out to people I admire. While on our ’round the world trip in 2017, I thought “why not” and contacted a few people through Instagram whose sites had been informative prior to us leaving. They were on similar travel paths, and as luck would have it, were open to meeting up! I’ve got to say, I was pretty nervous – how do you start a conversation with someone you’ve read about and learned from when they know nothing about you? It was a great experience though and with time and practice I think I will feel less awkward. (Chanel and Steveo, thank you guys for taking time out of your vacation to grab a drink with us. It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope our paths can cross again!)
- Earn Income through Travel with TMc – Last January I signed up for Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course. I came across Matt Kepnes’ budget travel website about 10 years ago when I was procrastinating studying and instead dreaming of far off places. Since then, I have followed his and Canadian Jodi Ettenberg’s Legal Nomads journeys, learning about “travel hacking“, “rtw” flights, and the possibility of continuous travel through alternative income streams, before any of them were mainstream. Needless to say, when I discovered he wrote a course on the business of blogging, I knew it would be packed with legitimate information and signed up right away. Over the past year I have learned far more than I thought I would through this course. Now it’s time to put everything into action as an entrepreneur. Stay tuned because I’ve got some exciting plans in the works for this site – and they include you!
Phew. Now that that’s out there in the world, time to get cracking!
What are your goals, intentions, and desires for 2019? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Happy New Year, Friends!