Wow, 6 years of blogging, that went by fast.
I don’t think I’ve ever committed to anything that long. Ever.
I honest to god cannot believe that my blog is my life now. Sometimes when I look back and see the other paths I could have gone down (and didn’t) I make a long “woah” sound out loud. Every day, no matter my mental state, I pinch myself and try to be grateful for the life that I now have. I know I’m lucky.
That’s one thing I’m trying to work on now, being grateful and happy.
Things could have been very different for me. 6 years ago I was a different pesron with different goals and plans.
I could still be teaching English in Spain. I could be living back home in the US working. I could be in graduate school studying medieval Spanish history (don’t ask).
Instead I took a giant leap of faith and decided three years ago to give this whole blogging thing a shot and quit my job to travel. I still have goals and plans but they are so far removed from what I imagined my life would be when I graduated college.
The only constant thing throughout all these years has been this blog, which means more to me than anything.
My blog has been with me through 3 heart-wrenching break-ups, 5 big moves around the world, 2 big career changes, and finally led me to this life I have now.
So where were we? 6 years and I’ve run out of shit to write about, I’m done.
I always have something to say, which has been a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish my brain would just shut up.
Last year I shared some lessons from 5 years of blogging – I love that I have this blog as a record of my adventures to look back on, and I totally believe that everyone has a story and blogging can be an amazing place to share those stories, moments, memories and adventures, for yourself and maybe for some others.
That’s something I learned over the years – that my stories, my opinions, my experiences could inspire others. To be honest, I still don’t really get it. WHY ME?
And I certainly never started believing that by now over 10 million people would have read my words. Mind-boggling. Again, why me? Why?!
Buuuuut my story was not always a fairy tale. Let’s go way back. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared any of this before.
I was never the popular kid. I was super quiet growing up and I lived in my head. I’ve struggled with anxiety and bouts of depression since I was a teenager.
Also I was randomly a bit of rebel – fighting tooth and nail when my mom remarried when I was a young teen and lashing out whenever I could – I was even expelled from school (don’t ask). By high school all I could think about was escaping small town Virginia and all the small-minded people I felt were suffocating me. All of the bullies that shoved me into lockers and threw peanuts at me during lunch breaks.
Bastards. I will always hate people who try and put other people down.
I threw myself into my studies in high school and worked on competing in tennis. I wanted to get out. I worked, studied, worked more and played tennis. When I was accepted into college in New England, I knew that was my chance.
I went to Mt. Holyoke, a women’s college and studied Spanish and Medieval Studies (again, don’t ask). I was always a nerd. I will always have a deep love for my fellow nerds. Nerds are curious people, and curiosity is the most important thing.
Then boom – procrastinating during my senior year finals 6 years ago, my blog was born.
I’d like to take this opportunity to praise all my fellow procrastinators out there – see? Look what amazing things can come from procrastination!
I’d like to think that in some ways I’ve grown wiser and more experienced. Well, can’t confirm the wiser part but I have gotten heaps of experience! The good, the bad and the ugly.
My whole life I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough, that I was crazy to do the things I do. Do you know how goddamn satisfying it is to stand here and know that I did it? Nothing motivates like a fear of total failure or proving people wrong, amiright?
At the risk of sounding like an arrogant prick, I have made it and it feels awesome.
People will always try and put you down for your success (especially if you are a woman) but it’s important to ignore them. Or laugh at them. Or feel sorry for them. But never let it keep you from creating what you want to or following your dreams.
I’ve seen the worst side of people in this industry – people who not only want to ruin you or tear you down, but do it gleefully to. I’ve seen people tear my work to shreds with a smile on their face and deal with comments all the time that would have made me cry in another life.
I’ve seen the greed, the jealousy and the hate that can stem from this lifestyle and it makes me want to go away and hide and never talk to anyone again.
But I have also seen the most amazing things, been privileged enough to be part of the most incredible experiences and receive daily feedback from you guys about how I’ve helped or inspired you in one way or another, and to me, THAT IS EVERYTHING.
I’ve learned so many lessons and have gained new skills I don’t think I would have gotten in any other way.
I’ve learned confidence in myself and my work, and have worked hard to keep the passion for what I do every day alive (sometimes it’s a struggle). Who knew that I would grow to love public speaking or co-launched a travel conference?
I’ve made friends around the world, met so many of you guys, and been involved in projects and communities that have opened my eyes and inspired me even further.
But I totally didn’t learn my lesson about Tinder. Fail!
So where do I want this blog to go?
The moon and back!
As the years go by, what I have always loved the most is simple – storytelling and creating things. Oh, and keep having adventures. I want to experiment more and try new things. Recently I’ve been a bit bored and I want to shake things up. Take more risks, both physically and with my work.
The list really goes on and on.
I want to have a better balance between my work and travels and my life in Wanaka, New Zealand.
Oh yeah, and personal happiness. In some ways this blog has been part of my journey to happiness.
I don’t really know how to wrap this up. I fucking hate conclusions.
I think blogging really is for everyone. It’s therapeutic. All of this narcissistic me-me-me nonsense I just wrote about? You can have it too. Go make something.
If you have a goal or a dream, go for it. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can.
And maybe think about starting a blog and sharing it too.
Here’s to another 6 years guys! You’re stuck with me!