In case you missed it, our subscribers received an email in January prior to having our website ready. Here is part of what they received:
January 2023: Not every day is glamorous. Don't get me wrong, we are fortunate to travel and explore the world. However, the majority of our days are actually spent at home, behind computer screens, cooking meals, planning our next destination, and watching Netflix. Boring. Normal. Brad is still working full-time online. I've been learning what a "reel" is and how to make an Instagram "story". Watching YouTube tutorials on building a website, how to take better photos with my phone, and how to use my selfie stick. Little by little, I'm plugging away and learning more every day, but in all honesty, it has taken WAY longer than I expected. Additionally, we're simply adjusting to our new "normal" and trying to figure out what that means on a daily basis. It's different. It's also exciting and weird and fabulous and unfamiliar. We're finding our groove and slowly establishing routines. We're plugging along and figuring it out as we go. No matter what, we're learning to enjoy the process.
For the sixth consecutive year, I started the new year by reading "One Word that Will Change Your Life" by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton & Jimmy Page. According to Amazon's description, "One Word explains how to simplify your life (or business) by focusing on just ONE WORD for the entire year. The simplicity of choosing one word makes it a catalyst for life change."
This book has changed my life in so many positive ways. Most people never keep a resolution past the end of January, much less the entire year. By choosing ONE WORD to focus on for the entire year, all dimensions of your life are impacted. Past words I've chosen include: Less, Patience, Mindful, Finish, and Freedom. I have several choices I'm considering for 2023 and will pick one in the next few days. Try it and see what you think!
Fast Forward to February 15, 2023 - Today: We've been nomadic for 100 days - which is equal parts holy #*$@ and WOW, we're really doing this!
I've chosen GROW as my 2023 Word. I have slowly refined my process of finding a word since picking my first in 2018. It looks a little different than what the book outlines. Here are my basic steps:
Start thinking of my new word in November/December. I don't overthink - I just write down anything that comes to mind over the next several weeks. What do I need over the next year? Is there anything I'd like to change in my life?
Sometime between the holidays and the middle of January, I take time to reflect on last year and look ahead to the next. I complete my own "One Word Yearly Guide", which is a hybrid I've created by meshing several together I found online. I wanted something short & simple but impactful. Google will find you several options. (If you'd like to try mine for free, send me a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll email it to you!) Short version? I list 3 good things & how they made me feel in addition to 3 low points and how I handled them. I extract the biggest lesson I learned, what I'm proud of, and what my hopes & dreams are for next year. The last thing I ask is what I could have done better. I then focus on the coming year. What I need and what I want to change.
Lastly, I review my word list. What word will help me achieve my hopes & dreams for the coming year? At this point, it's usually fairly obvious.
Low points in 2022? Our year was full of death and pain. No way to sugarcoat that. The biggest lesson I learned was to breathe. Then breathe again and repeat. Good things in 2022? We freaking achieved our biggest goal yet and left the USA to travel full-time. We are proud of making that dream come true!
Hopes & dreams for 2023? I hope to step outside my comfort zone more. Meet new people. Travel to new places. Launch this website. Grow in my writing. Love the process. Give myself grace when I inevitably mess something up. All of these things scare the living crap out of me. One of the obstacles I've listed in achieving this growth? My own shortcomings in handling stressful situations. I tend to want perfection and when it doesn't instantly produce itself, my patience goes to zero in less than 3.2 seconds. (Sidenote - my 2019 word was PATIENCE. I'm still working on this, as Brad would love to explain to you at length! LOL)
The great thing about focusing on ONE WORD? When something scary, unknown, or unfamiliar comes up, I take a deep breath and remember my word is Grow. I remind myself I am growing in 2023. Do I want to continue reacting to the same situations in the same manner, or do I want to try something different and grow?
I still think about all of the words I've chosen over the years. They never leave you and this is beautiful. After a year-long focus on one word, it leaves an indelible mark on your soul. It's ingrained in your being. You're "reminded", which is sometimes all it takes. A gentle nudge to say "you got this, girl".
A question I pose to close friends and family members during my process: What is one thing I could do better in the coming year? This year, my friend Joel gave me an awesome answer: Enjoy each day. Read that again - Enjoy. Each. Day. Remember how hard you worked to make your dream a reality? Don't overlook each day by getting caught up in planning the next destination, adventure, or move. Enjoy each day. This just hits - Thanks, Joel!
Building a Website From Scratch
I love to learn, so when I decided the best way to keep in touch with our family and friends around the world would be to start a blog, I jumped in with both feet. How hard could it be? What I very quickly realized was, I had no idea what I was doing and it was waaaaaay harder than I thought.
Yet, I've created this website all on my own. While it may not seem like a herculean feat to any of you, I am over 50 and didn't know the difference between a domain and a landing page. Watching YouTube videos on creating a website/blog brought me down one dizzying rabbit hole after another.
I perfected the cry/laugh. I actually cried in the bathtub one afternoon thinking I couldn't do it. The tasks felt monumental when every little thing was new. I was stupid to think I could start a blog at my age - what did I know? One negative thought spiraled into a second, and a third, and blah, blah, blah, negative thought, blah, blah, negative thought, negative thought, negative thought.
And then....and then.....I got out of the bathtub and kept going. I started small. I reminded myself I wanted to grow. I started to realize my previous/current perfectionistic tendencies were taking over. I wanted a full-blown, state-of-the-art, completely engaging, aesthetically pleasing, grammatically correct site website right freaking now. (Funny story, I was 75% done with my website before I realized those "gridlines" are there for a reason. IYKYK.)
No! I knew how to do this. This isn't the first and will not be the last time I've screwed something up before getting it right! Why would this be any different? Who cares if it isn't perfect?
"If one is never lost in life, then clearly one has never traveled anywhere interesting"
- from Richard Osman's book The Man Who Died Twice
I recognized I needed to be mindful and have patience. I gave myself time and space to remember everything in life is better "a little rough around the edges". I stepped back and resorted to pen/paper to draw out my vision. Sometimes there is nothing better than writing something on a piece of paper. It calms me. It helps my visually-learning mind organize the chaos in my head.
I started loving the creative process in addition to remembering it is a process. It was fun, frustrating, hilarious, and pull-your-hair-out maddening. Mostly rational, but partly insane and I embraced every minute. I forgot how much fun it is to create something. It felt a bit like scrapbooking - organizing content on pages with photos, text, and other elements. I used to love scrapbooking, as well as other creative things like sewing, quilting, lettering and crafting. I hadn't done much of that in the last several years.
The beauty of creating at my age? Basically, IDGAF. Don't get me wrong. It isn't that I don't care what people think, it's that I'm not defined by it. Feedback from people can be transformational - when appropriate, requested, and constructive. However, unless I ask for your opinion or you're in my inner circle of people who love me despite all of my imperfections, I don't need or welcome your (very subjective) criticism or feedback. I'm secure in my relationships, feel confident in my own skin, and am past the point in life where I need approval for everything. I've achieved thick (and now sagging) skin and I'm damn proud of it. There were many times in my life when this wasn't true. But now? Seriously - don't care and boy is that FREEING! Believe me when I tell you, once you can leave that shit behind you, your real life starts.
"Judging a person doesn't define who they are. It defines who you are" - unknown
I guarantee I will make mistakes and that's ok. Every last one is mine and mine alone. Right now, I have no goals for this website/blog. I know, SHOCKER! There are people shaking their heads right now and I don't care. There may come a time when that changes, but for now, I am mainly doing this for me. I don't need nor will I focus on likes, follows, or shares. Follow me, don't follow me. Like me, don't like me. Share this with your friends or don't. I'm really not here for any of that. To be completely transparent, I'm naive enough to admit I'm not even sure what all those things mean, but I'm ok with that, too. I'll figure it out as I go.
I will likely not always use the best grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure (sorry, Mrs. Landwehr & Mrs. Johnson - no reflection on your amazing teaching abilities!). I'm hoping you can look past these flaws for a greater message. If you enjoy reading my content and want to follow our journey, then I'm glad you're along for the ride! Our greatest hope is that we will expand your view of the world just a bit. What I ask in return is for an engaged, authentic, welcoming, and kind community. Your support, comments, questions, and emails make me smile every day.
Where Are We and What's Next?
We are in southeast London until the beginning of March watching Max, a very
charming & lovely Froodle (French bulldog/poodle mix) with the most interesting mohawk! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see the adorable photos. He turned three on Valentine's Day so of course we threw him a mini-party. We've had the most gorgeous weather since arriving 10 days ago. It's been 45-58 F during the day, which means locals don't wear coats, parks are full of kids & dogs playing, and the wild crocuses are blooming.
I'm planning to venture into the city on my own over the next couple of weeks while Brad is working. Maybe go to a show in the West End, tour Westminster Abbey, and just enjoy city life. This is new for me. I haven't done much solo travel so it's definitely outside my comfort zone (GROW!)
We hear talk of blizzards and horrible weather back home. I'll take Spring in February any day!
Cheers, Peace, Love, and Kindness,