Well it’s been a hot minute since I wrote one of these babies! The last time I did, it was 2020. I’d say I’m more than overdue to write another, and so without further ado, I present to you my 2023 mid-year goals review.
- Read 24 Books – Sooo we’re going to start with the not-so-good updates. Like, the really not-so-good updates. As of August 4th, I realized I haven’t even finished 1 book this year. I’m stunned! What I have done thus far is read bits of 4 books (Braiding Sweetgrass, Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From, Free Food for Millionaires, and The Vagina Bible). I have also bought a lot of books this year. Does that sort-of count? Definitely not. This crappy realization is exactly why I do a mid-year goals review. In my head I had read a few books this year. Looking at my pen-and-paper tallies, the reality is quite different. Now’s my chance to re-evaluate if this goal is a SMART one for 2023. Knowing what I want to do this year with the website and other goals, and the time they take, I’m going to make a better effort to read. However I’m changing this goal to 10 books for the remainder of the year. It’s a very low number for the whole year, but it’s only 2 less than the monthly average needed to scratch off my original goal.
- Health – I think this one’s on the upswing! Overall, I’ve been maintaining a relatively active lifestyle. I practice yoga almost daily, joined a once-weekly local run club (which I’m loving!), and have incorporated new classes like barre into my usual HIIT and strength workouts. Am I consistent? It depends on the month. January started really strong for about 3 weeks. Then my period arrived and that usually sidelines me for a few days. February and March were mixed bags. In April I was on fire, sometimes working out twice a day. I felt amazing, was having a lot of fun, and the momentum was fantastic. Then I went abroad in May for the WITS conference and working with a campervan company in Puerto Rico for 2 weeks. All of my habits went out the window. I did manage to get 1 run in during the conference weekend and I tend to walk and be a lot more active while travelling, but I definitely felt the difference. My schedule in June and July was wonky with travel and work and I’m just getting back to my daily fitness routines now that I’m stationary for this week. Another thing that has slightly changed some of my fitness plans has been the air quality (wildfire smoke) and storm warnings (these are definitely increasing).
Other areas I am focusing on are getting to bed before midnight (going well) and drinking enough water (mostly going well – the tap at my apartment has funky-tasting hard water and my Brita doesn’t seem to help much). I have looked into some vipassana (silent) retreats to attend but haven’t booked anything. At this point I’d rather attend something more focused on yoga and movement.
This has been a roller coaster! The world is more or less back to normal with regards to travel. However, I have had several (big, exciting) travel plans cancelled this year for various reasons, while crossing off other travel goals very quickly and easily.
- Spanish-Speaking Country – Okay, this one gets an honourary cross off the list! Technically speaking, Puerto Rico is a US territory. However, locals on the main island kept referring to it as their country. I spoke a TON of Spanish in Puerto Rico and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! It’s been a long time since I’ve used any more than rudimentary Spanish for teaching beginners, so there was a lot of dust to brush off the brain. I even emailed Puerto Rican tourism companies in Spanish, which is something that simultaneously terrified and thrilled me. I met a lot of wonderful, helpful, and friendly Puerto Ricans by interacting in (rough) Español and am so happy to have had those experiences. It just hits differently being able to communicate (however bungled) in someone else’s native language when you’re out in the world! I’d still love to book a trip to a Central or South American country for November sooo we’ll see if I do!
- Newfoundland – Oh man… The Newfoundland saga continues. As I mentioned in my 2023 Goals blog post, Newfoundland is the only Canadian province I have yet to visit. There were plans in 2019 and 2020, but clearly the world had other ideas for those plans. When I got my campervan I decided that this would be a great year to resurrect that epic road trip. I contacted the tourism board to work together but my blog doesn’t have the desirable numbers at this point. “That’s okay”, I thought, “I’ll go anyway!”. I had a trusted subletter lined up for my apartment to help reduce costs…and then that fell through in June. With gas as expensive as it is, and carrying the cost of the trip and the apartment on my own, I couldn’t justify the financial side of things for this year. The renovation on the campervan is still very much in progress as well, so the cards just weren’t lining up. I was disappointed at first, and embarrassed after telling people about this plan for 5 months…but life changes and plans shift and when one door closes, windows open up! Newfoundland will still be there when the timing is right but it won’t be in 2023.
- Cross-Canada Summer Road Trip – I tossed this one on the list in a random sort-of fashion. If I had gone to Newfoundland, it would have gotten a half-check. Instead I spent 2 glorious weeks in Northern Ontario, soaking up the nature, family, and van building. It’s not cross-Canada, but I don’t mind one bit!
- Visit 4 New Countries – Earlier year I bought tickets to TBEX, a longstanding travel conference. It was scheduled for October and would be held in Durban, South Africa. HELLS YES, sign me up! I would not only get to visit a new country, I would also be able to cross off my next goal of touching ground on a new continent. Well, spoiler, but those huge trip plans got cancelled as well. (There is a theme in 2023 it appears…) Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and damage to infrastructure due to severe flooding, the conference is pushed to 2024. My disappointment pales in comparison to the struggles that people in Durban and surrounding communities are facing. I tried finding a link where readers can donate to help the affected communities but was unsuccessful. If you find one, please email it to me at email@example.com or mention it in the comments below.
- Feel the Ground of a New Continent – I have travelled and lived in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. I think it’s most likely that I’ll visit South America this year for my next continent.
- Spend More Time by Water – Oh man, I just recently had more water in my life and it was heavenly! I was in Northern Ontario for a couple weeks and took every opportunity there was to swim, boat, hike, etc… around water. What a way to rest and recharge! Surprisingly, I also visited a local beach (Grand Bend, if you’re from Southwestern Ontario) and got some (bioluminescent!) swimming and kayaking in in Puerto Rico. This little mermaid is very happy to say I’ve been able to cross this goal off in the first half of the year.
- Write 3 Blog Posts per Month – In January I wrote 3 blog posts, my favourite being the one about Standing Room Only, the smallest bar in Canada. I heard about the bar’s opening and hopped on the chance to interview the owner. I ended up being the only non-traditional media to receive some of the owner, Doug’s, time in that opening week. He was so interesting to chat with and his space was incredible. I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you! I’m very proud of that piece. In February I completed another 3 blog posts, with a gargantuan one about how much campervans cost in Canada, thanks in part to the contributions of a few fellow vanlifers. In March I published the first in-depth Ontario cider trail coverage featuring Thornbury Craft Cider. I also had the chance to work with an amazing Airbnb in Fergus, Ontario. What a place! In April I covered 2 of the Harvest Host locations I’ve stayed at thus far, including Circling Hawk Honey Farm and Meadery, plus the monthly vanlife expense blog post. In May I worked with the Guelph tourism board to share about a really fun cycling campaign in the city before I headed to Puerto Rico for 2 weeks. Only 2 blog posts were published in May. Finally, in June I published 2 posts, including another Ontario Cider Trail featuring Grey and Gold Cider. Halfway through the year, the count is sitting at 15/18.
- Send 1 Newsletter per Month – Recently I was out for dinner with an old university friend and his wife. They are both on the mailing list and mentioned how they loved receiving the newsletter. I was really touched and a little embarrassed since I haven’t sent one out since the spring. Truth be told, I lost a bit of my enthusiasm for the newsletter until this past month. However their kind words, and my steady run of recent posts has me excited to send you all sorts of goodies!
- Social Media – At the beginning of the year I set the goal for 10 Instagram posts and 2 reels per month. The breakdown thus far goes like this: January (5 reels + 1 post), February (1 reel), March (9 reels + 1 carousel post), April (5 reels), May (4 reels + 1 carousel post), and June (5 reels + 3 carousel posts + 1 post). I’m “behind” on posts, having shared 7/60, however they don’t perform as well on Instagram so I’m alright with this. On the other hand, I’ve posted 29 reels and the goal was to reach 12 by this point in the year. Woohoo!
As a side note, we’re growing! At the end of 2022 there were 2,360 of wonderful fellow travellers and curious individuals following the Instagram adventures. As of August 4th, there are 2,811 of us hanging out on the Travel with TMc Instagram page. That’s 451 new people!
- Increase Travel with TMc Income – If you’re newer here, you might not be aware that in addition to travel writing and language teaching, I coach Canadians how to pay themselves to travel through the proper use of points and miles. Last year I spoke at the inaugural Travel Summit, hosted by The Prince of Travel crew, on this topic for beginners. I’ve been invited back to speak for a 2nd year at this conference in April 2024 and would love to see you there. (Discount code TRAVELWITHTMC can be combined with early bird ticket prices!) I also released an online course version of the 1-on-1 coaching services I provide, called the Pay Yourself to Travel course. The feedback from participants has been great so far! It’s the perfect option for people who want to go at their own pace and have access to all of the PDFs and notes in one place. There are also a ton of discounts available for many of the travel services that I personally use and recommend. I’ve also been doing a lot more active reaching out to places I want to work with, whether that be tourism boards, Airbnb owners, or other businesses in tourism. It’s been a learning curve so far, but I love learning and navigating new spaces.
- Write at least 10 Ontario 160 Blog Posts – As of August 2023, I have visited almost 40 of the 160 (or 170 if you have the book’s newest edition) unusual sites. I have not yet tackled these posts this year, so it’s time to get sharing more of these oddball Ontario gems on the website!
- Start a Podcast and / or a YouTube Channel – When I wrote my 2023 goals blog post I had finally bit the bullet on a new laptop that could handle video editing so I could start sharing Travel with TMc adventures on YouTube. Through the purchase, I earned a whopping 40,000 Aeroplan points! If you’re new to Aeroplan, that’s enough to earn me a short-haul flight. As needed, I’ve since rewired my PC brain to use Mac keyboard short codes and started editing photos in Adobe once again. …I’ve still been too chicken to tackle the mountain of video footage. I will though!!!
How Are Your 2023 Goals Coming Along?
I’m curious to know what’s been working (and not working) for your goals this year. Do you have a system? Are you tackling big projects or little ones? Where in life are you – student, working, retired? That changes a lot of things! Drop a comment below.