Aspirations for 2019
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Where to begin? Maybe it's my age but I no longer believe in all that “New Year, New You” sentimentality. I think it disappeared with my interest in holidays (ruined by over-commercialization) and birthdays (seriously people, do you need a birthday month?!).
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However, there is something to be said for having a reset button. Putting a stake in the ground. Declaring your intentions. And January always seems like a good time to do that.
If for no other reason than to have someone hold you accountable.
I love blogging. I love bloggers. Sadly, I don't recognize all of them, but I love them nonetheless. I don't disparage anyone trying to “make it” in this space. After 10+ years, I haven't. But I haven't hung my hat on my blog, I have a day job and this continues to be my creative outlet.
I just get tired of all the “stuff” that goes with it. Granted, some of it is fun, but lots of it is ridiculous (here is a great post on that)!
Everything is cyclical. If you can get past the noise and stay diligently true to yourself and not get bogged down, then this space will shift again.
In the meantime, I announce my aspirations for the year!
For many years I did a post proclaiming my word of the year. For many of those years, that word was REFINE. Those posts have been removed from the site, but that word still haunts me! Then I read a 2018 retrospective from Angie Away, someone who I have been aware of off-and-on over the years due to her friendship with Kristin Luna, but whom I've only started reading more often! These words in her post struck me:
Rachel and I have one big goal for 2019: work smarter, not harder. (Don’t even remind me that it has been my goal for like 10 years. I KNOW.)
Angie empowered me. If she can laugh at having the same goal for 10 years, then I can do the same for having the same Word of the Year. I want to be very intentional about everything I do and make sure that I am optimizing all my efforts. I just need to do everything I am doing that much better so that I can gain efficiencies and maximize the energy I expend.
All You Need is Less.
I don't know how to put this in writing without being offensive. I am trying to express something about satisfaction. At the end of 2015, Mr. Misadventures and I left the Bay Area and our very lucrative jobs. We took an 18-month sabbatical. We made the decision to have more life balance and in doing so, moved to Phoenix.
The hubby left his 30+ year career in IT and followed his lifelong passion for photography and started a real estate photography business. New business equals no money. Or little money, but it is going well. I am still in the corporate world in the social marketing space, this time focused on influencer marketing, but at half the compensation I was making in San Francisco.
We are extremely happy with our decision. But it did come at a cost. We don't have as much disposable income as we once had and from time to time that rear's its ugly head, however, I really am far happier and healthier than before.
I have a life I am thankful for and I have a lot more than many others, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't a big change and that I am still adjusting. The world today pushes you to have more, more, more, but I think all you need is less. Even if you have to be reminded of it. I hope in 2019 I need less reminding.
Can't help it. At nearly 11 years in, there is always something to do, change, fix and write! My blog is a fixer-upper and I am always tinkering! The things I want to focus more on this year are:
Doing a better job of responding to comments.
I used to respond to every single comment, but since the time we RVing when I didn't always have WiFi and I had to prioritize my online tasks while sitting at a coffee shop, etc. I got out of the habit and haven't really gotten back in. Your comments are very important to me, I read them all, I just suck lately about letting you know!
SEO. SEO. SEO.
Oh goodness, how I hate this. But traffic doesn't happen by magic beans and with all the content I have on the site, I have got to optimize. I am working on a few posts at a time, but I am not going crazy. I'm a storyteller and am not going to change my style, but there is definitely low-hanging fruit I can take a bite out of!
More paid collaborations.
In my earlier blog years, I was definitely guilty of lopsided deals with brands. And until this year had never been on a paid trip. I like to travel and I write about travel, but I also went to Hawaii 4 times on trips that I wrote great content for but didn't have a penny to pay the bills with.
I've had paid brand ambassadorships in the past and will continue to do so, but I am not going to do unpaid trips. On Instagram too, although I have done some nice collaborations with brands that I like where there was some bartering involved.
Back to that being happy with fewer things. Traveling is in my blood, absorbed through my childhood as a military brat, through my career as a global marketer who was sent all over the world on projects, and through my insatiable appetite to discover new places. I've traveled a lot. And most of it internationally.
But the period where I can go on a 14-day trip to Moorea or spend 17 days in Italy and only use points are gone. And I think we went a little overboard going to Paris 3 times in 12 months. For the last 5 years, I haven't had travel as part of my responsibilities for work and with the reduced incomes and expenditures, credit card points aren't getting me there either!
I'm not going to stop traveling, but I am going to be more domestic. In fact, the Misadventures family has declared that unless it is a paid trip, we aren't going international in 2019. [Don't worry, there are some potential paid trips in the queue, shhh.]
We love road trips and finally got a new vehicle. The Jeep was awesome for RVing but not comfortable for road trips. We purchased a GMC Canyon truck (I'm a truck girl now!) thanks in part to my wonderful relationship with Buick and GMC (i had great experiences with them last year in Flagstaff, in the Grand Canyon North Rim, and in Ojai) and we are getting it decked out with a tent, etc. We're going to be seeing a whole lot more of the Southwest.
I am already starting to make the mistake I did when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the first 15 years, I probably only went to San Francisco once a year. Then I moved to Europe for 3 years and on my return, I swore I wouldn't take San Francisco for granted.
For the next 10 years, I not only visited the city way more often, I even changed jobs to work there. I got to know the city really well and it gave me lots of fodder for content for the blog. We've been in Phoenix for over a year now and we haven't spent a lot of time exploring the area. We've gone to Tucson a few times and all over the region (Flagstaff, national parks, etc.) but not much in Phoenix. That is going to change!
One of the best things I did last year was to attend the Catch Me at the Luxe event in Tempe, Arizona. I got me well on my way to building a network of Phoenix-based bloggers, photographers, and businesses. I am also very grateful to the photographers that made me feel comfortable about getting in front of the camera.
You are seeing a lot more pictures of me on the blog and on social media and it is kind of fun! I met so many talented peeps this past year and have enjoyed working with them. In fact, one of them is my new business partner.
Catch Me at the Luxe inspired me to team up with Liz and do a mini-version to bring bloggers and photographers together and we are planning to launch a full-scale event this year in the Phoenix area. I will also be continuing to build my network and support local businesses.
Is it weird to have a life goal to meet someone you only know online? I've been a fangirl following and connecting with Kristin Luna of Camels & Chocolate since she was living in San Francisco and that includes trying to get an invite to her knitting club. Did I knit? No. But it was a knitting club with Kristin Luna! We've had a couple of close calls and almost trips, but I really truly want to meet Kristin one day. And not to pick her brain!
I also want to do a mastermind retreat with some of my blog pals. Everyone has different skills and I'd love to get together with a group of gals for fun and sharing.
What about you? Do you have any aspirations for 2019? Do you have something to say about mine?
P.S. I did a little design change. After many years of the header with my San Francisco/Paris illustration, I updated it last year to reflect my living in the Southwest, but I never really loved it. I have been wanting to do a change and after a year of photoshoots, I figured, why not put me out there!? Hope you like it!
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I recently discovered your blog and have really enjoyed your content. I, too, have been blogging for years and have had peaks and valleys in my readership. I’ve never been paid for content, probably because I’ve never pursued the possibility. Nonetheless, I carry on knowing that my blog is own daily history in words and photos — a personal creative space.
Thanks for the practical and inspiring ideas. Happy 2019!
@Melinda, salut and merci! Your comment helped me discover your blog and I am so delighted! You are doing a fantastic job of documenting your daily life with gorgeous photos!
@Andi, thank you for visiting me too. I just migrated my content from Blogger to Squarespace and lost all of my stats. Every like and comment is so motivating. Merci mille fois!
Thanks for sharing that post from The Traveler’s Journey! I almost quit blogging last year (after 8 years) when I started to realize how fake a lot of it can be. I guess I was just naïve, but I had no idea about comment pods and all the tricks to grow followers. I started feeling bad about my blog and my social media stats, so I got caught up in all of the comment for comment, follow for follow stuff to try to keep up. Then I saw an article about a blogger who complained on Instagram about how one of her kids gets less likes than the others and statistically wasn’t as popular. That was a huge wakeup call for what I never wanted to be, so I unfollowed all of the people who I was only following because they followed me back and decided to share what I want to share and not worry about followers or likes (although it’s VERY hard sometimes) and focus more on my blog and the dreaded SEO. Anyway, good luck with your aspirations for the year! I’ve been in the Phoenix area for 10 years now and there’s so many things I still want to see and do! We’re going to the Japanese Friendship Garden for the first time this weekend!
@Sam, so glad to meet you a local AZ blogger! It is so hard not to get sucked into the numbers and no one is immune, it just depends from person to person how long we are temporarily insane! I haven’t been to the Japanese Friendship Garden and it is definitely on my places to visit! I’ll be watching your Instagram for photos!
“All you need is less” – I agree. I left my payroll job of 17 years in 2014. We have less spending money, but the time with my little guy makes it worthwhile. This past year I discovered the concept of minimalism. This recovering clutter bug loves the empty spaces I have been creating, both in my home and my schedule.
@Tami, funny how it is a huge trend at the moment, it is something I have been practicing for a long time, but I love it – the less “stuff” there is in the world, the better!
Work smarter not harder is also one of my goals for 2019. We bloggers put so many hours into our blogs that we really have to be selective about where we focus our energy to get the maximum results.
@Lori, so true, blogging can really creep up on you and take over your life!
Andi! You’re so sweet, and you know I 1000% feel the same about you. How did we never hang out in SF? (And I totally would have invited you to knitting club, but I suspect you were at your grown-up job as we typically met at random times, like 2pm on a Tuesday, ha. Such is my life! Always ships passing in the night with the best of folks like yourself.) 2019 is the year of our IRL meeting, I just feel it!
My aspirations are similar to Angie’s: We’re trying to get more long-term work that values our brains and skillsets and not so many gigs that are grounded in deliverables (because I feel as if we’ve hit our ceiling on the amount of work we can take on that requires producing). So we’re exploring various consulting contracts for the years and dabbling in some other side ventures, which I’ve told you a little about!
I’ve also always been a YES Woman, but our lives are so booked so far out (see: having a deliverable-centric business) that I am hoping tweaking our business model goes hand-in-hand with allow for more spontaneity not just this year, but all years going forward.
Cheers to you and exciting plans for both of you guys in 2019!
@Kristin, I know that we will eventually make a meet happen, in the meantime, I love watching your business grow, thrive and evolve!
My aspirations for 2019 is to focus only on the essential and necessary. Last year, my family has been through several illnesses and it has caused a huge dent in our finances. I have to work harder and do a lot of cuts here and there until such time that we can be financially stable again.
@Eileen, I am sending you warm wishes that you and your family recover soon!
I totally understand where you are coming from. I also want to have a simpler life. And yes, it greatly comes with a cost. This made me realize that money is not everything. I find peace by having a laid back life away from the stressful corporate work and being content with my freelance business.
@Clarice, hear! Hear! Means I’m not crazy and neither are you!
I love this! Having goals are so important! I think sharing them is even better because it gives others hope and inspiration! I hope you get to meet Kristen one day! I think that would be amazing for you. Good Luck in all your future endeavors!
@Cassie, yes I need something to work towards, I am definitely Type A!
Lovely post! A refreshing read and I do share some of your aspirations for 2019. One major one of mine is to work on being more intentional with my time and focus. To make sure I am working towards a goal and not just wasting time or being distracted. Here’s to a “fresh” year! Aloha!
@Julie, Aloha, I wish you the best of luck in your aspirations and thanks for the well wishes on mine!
Thanks for sharing your journey! I agree, less is what we all often need and slowing down and enjoying time together is priceless. Good luck with your goals, it’s good to recognize them, this makes a big difference as you make decisions. So happy to hear you are happier and healthier with your life change and move. Good luck!!
@Julie, taking the time to enjoy each day is so important – when I am 90 I don’t want to have regrets, I want to cherish each day leading up to that!
Your goals for 2019 are amazing and I really hope you succeed in doing them. Happy New Year.
@MommyPeach, thank you!
Loved hearing your goals for 2019! You’ve got this!
@Kelsey, thank you!