It is a New Year friends, so cheers to you and to starting anew. This is not your typical travel post, but it starts on one of our trips, and ends with a teaser of our big 2016 travel plans…naturally. 🙂
It’s the morning of January 1, 2016 and I’m sitting with a hot cup of coffee in the kitchen of a large cabin in the mountains after celebrating the New Year with family. It’s controlled chaos in the house, as the kids and their cousins run around and play while my brother in law is at the stove making breakfast for our brood. It is lightly snowing outside and the trees outside carry heavy loads of beautiful fluffy white, icicles cascade down from the roof like giant spears, the ground hidden under three feet of snow. The landscape is pure, white space outside my window, and I couldn’t think of a more fitting metaphor for starting the New Year. The New Year brings with it a chance for us to gather with friends and family and celebrate possibility for fresh starts, wipe the slate clean, close one chapter and begin anew.
This first week of January also brings with it my birthday (today), so I like to double down and reflect on the previous year and set goals for the year ahead. While I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I do believe in the gift the New Year brings for setting new goals, fresh starts. Goals give my creative, monkey-mind a north, help me focus my priorities. Keep me on track. I believe that just setting a course to something new can sometimes open us up to a more wonderful and unexpected place.
Starting the New Year
I typically start the New Year with a new journal and write out my goals for the year. But last year, as I turned 40, I pressed pause on the big goal setting and shifted my attention to evaluation and reflection as I wrote:
2015. Questions to ask this year:
Does it bring me energy?
Does it help me meet my goals of what’s most important to me?
Does it provide me with an opportunity to learn something new?
One of the hardest lessons I learned in 2015 is that I was dedicating too much energy and time to commitments that were not filling me with energy, or supporting my growth and goals.
In 2015, I asked a LOT of questions. I worked hard and put everything I dedicated my time to through the filter of these simple questions. I prayed. I traveled and celebrated time with my husband, family, and friends. I evaluated my commitments, stack ranking them with the answers to these questions in mind and committed to giving myself the year to evaluate what commitments would stay, and what had to go. I immersed myself in inspiring books, blogs and podcasts. I sought out and had lunches and happy hour with people that inspired me and explored lots of different types of collaborations and partnerships. I walked and talked with my husband and trusted colleagues to sort through and get clear on my what is next and refocus my priorities. I was eager to to jump in to the next creative project, but none of them felt like the best fit. I was afraid that I would miss out if I said no to the next amazing opportunity that came my way. I was burning myself out saying YES when I should have been saying NO.
In 2015, we experienced the constant pull between work and home commitments that we all face as parents. At home, we also felt the shift as our oldest started middle school and the commitments of school and sports activities took a front seat to our evenings and weekends. As I see my eldest daughter make those first steps into independence and teen years, I am even more aware of how fleeting this time with them is, making creating extra space for them even more critical before they fly off on their own adventures.
The result was that I had not left myself any margin or white space to breathe.
In November last year, something had to give and I started making plans to create more space. I removed the things that were no longer serving me. I pared down my work hours. Kept only the work that was putting energy back, clients that were supporting my goals. And now, starting in 2016, I have left some beautiful white space around the edges for only the HELL YES new opportunities.
Do you remember that BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) that I proclaimed last year to write a book? Well, I did manage to make some solid progress on writing my book, but it was not without its own share of struggles. With too many commitments and not a lot of margin in the schedule, I wasn’t able to the create space for my writing in the first half of the year as I would have hoped. I also struggled with significant writers block. I fought hard just to write a little bit each day, jotting notes after long runs, or when an inspirational podcast, book, idea or article inspired me. I pushed through it, and now looking back at the year, I now have a solid outline and base from which to build and can’t wait to get your feedback and share more with you as I create space to work on this project this year.
Meet my white space
And speaking of space…because every plan requires a solid first step, I have created a new, dedicated space here. In this new space for 2016, I will share my own story and experiences, ask questions, listen more and share other people’s stories and words of inspiration. As I journey down the road of writing my first book, I hope to bring with it a healthy dose of authentic dialogue around juggling our social media connected lives and the opportunity and complexity it brings – in our relationships, our parenting, in our work, and pursuing your passion – or finding it – and sharing stories about the joys, and struggles and keeping it all in perspective. I’ll share what I’ve learned from my own experience pursuing the impossibly imperfect task of juggling a marriage, raising kids, carving out time with friends, and balancing work you love with making money that pays the bills. I will share what I’ve learned managing a career in PR and marketing building trusted brands, and building my own brand in the last eight years blogging and traveling the world with my family writing and sharing our journey on social media.
Creating more space for travel
We have big travel plans for 2016 and I will continue to write and share our travel adventures, tips and experiences here on Hip Travel Mama and with my partners and media outlets. I can’t wait to share more on our travel plans soon.
Thank you for all of your support for Hip Travel Mama over the last eight years. I hope that this new year, you will periodically create space to support me here too.
You will see it has plenty of white space. ?
With much love, health and happiness in 2016,