Was 2015 the LONGEST year ever, or is it just me?! I definitely don’t feel this way because it was a bad year for me, actually quite the opposite. I think I packed so much into 2015, that it feels like I couldn’t possibly have done it all in just one year.
As I look back at 2015 and write this list of great things that happened, I am amazed at the number of things I did, none of which I had actually planned on doing. When the year began, I wasn’t in the greatest head space so I didn’t set any intentions; I made no resolutions. I felt like there was no sense in setting goals that would probably never be reached. I was in the middle of a period of self-doubt and uncertainty, so I decided to just let life happen.
I sit here now, leaps and bounds from my condition one year ago, and it’s because – by just letting life happen – I stumbled upon things that finally lifted my spirits and lit a fire under my ass. Here they are.
All About Blogging
I went to my first travel/blogging conference.
The Women In Travel Summit is a travel and blogging conference for women by women – the first of its kind. Conferences and I don’t normally get along, but even if for nothing more than a weekend in Boston, I went for it anyway. I am so glad that I did! I left WITS 2015 full of inspiration, focus, and the tools to transition my blog from an embarrassing mess to something I’m proud of. PLUS, I met some amazing, interesting, supportive, and accomplished women who love travel just as much as I do.
Join me at the 3rd Annual WITS in Irvine, California this March!
I signed up for Travel Blog Success.
Once I got home from WITS, I began absorbing all the blogging information I could find. One of the sources I turned to was Travel Blog Success. Initially, the cost deterred me from joining because I figured I could find the same information on the web for free. I was wrong, though.
Taking this course was a phenomenal investment. Not only did I get forever access to all the course content, but also interviews and webinars with travel’s top bloggers. There’s a members-only Facebook group where all your blogging questions can be answered by hundreds of experienced and successful travel bloggers, which has been an overflowing well of information for me. It’s a wonderful, supportive network well worth the money. If you’ve been thinking about joining, now’s the time!
If you sign up for Travel Blog Success using a link from this page, I will earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you, of course! Give yourself the tools to build a successful travel blog while helping me build mine!
Transformed Thru Travel was created.
My blog used to be called Footprints On My Heart. It was more of a personal blog with the same general idea of writing about my experience with depression. Only I was completely terrified to admit that I was depressed. So instead, I sporadically wrote money saving tips. The connection between my happiness, travel, and writing about it did not become clear until just last year.
Writing is becoming much easier.
I’m still working out how to share my stories — the ups and downs of overcoming trauma and the connection to travel — in a way that will be helpful to others. I spent a lot of time in the first few months fretting over small things, waiting until posts were absolutely “perfect” before hitting publish. It wasn’t all for nothing, striving for perfection, but there was a distinct turning point.
That turning point came the night before leaving for Belize. My most popular post this year was written and published in just a few hours… in the middle of the night… after being awake for almost 24 hours… AND only hours before my first trip abroad in nine years. Buzzing with excitement and nerves, I just let my fingers type whatever came to mind. The result was an honest rendition of the state of my emotions in that very moment. At first, I felt vulnerable and at risk of ridicule, but the outpouring of support and understanding I received was heartwarming. Feeling like people understood and connected to my story and to me, made me realize that just getting the words out there is more important than them being perfect.
All About Traveling
I traveled at least once a month.
When I moved home to Massachusetts in 2012, I vowed to take a break from traveling and funnel the money towards annihilating my credit card debt. Traveling for weddings and around New England were the only exceptions, but this only worked for so long and in 2015 I made up for lost travel time.
Taking advantage of attending AmeriCorps conferences, I added extra time either before or after to explore new places. Taking my time driving to a regional conference in Hartford, Connecticut, I stopped to admire the ocean view and elaborate mansions along the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island and had lunch at Mystic Pizza (also a classic 80’s movie) in Mystic, Connecticut. Later on in 2015, I met up with a friend for a girl’s weekend in Austin, Texas after attending a national conference in Houston.
I spent a couple weekends on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, utilizing my hometown proximity to save money on transportation. I also spent a few relaxing, mid-week summer days in Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, my favorite Cape Cod towns. I also made weekend trips to Salem, my old stomping grounds, to visit friends and familiarize myself with the North Shore again. I treated each as getaway even though these places are not far from home.
Vacation days were spent well on a train trip from Boston to New Orleans, during which I had a six hour layover in Chicago, unexpectedly bumped into two people I knew from college who were also visiting the French Quarter, explored coastal Mississippi, ate chicken strips and watched Mad Max (Mel’s version) at Flora-Bama, and stopped by Bayou La Batre, Alabama looking for signs of Bubba.
I went abroad for the FIRST TIME IN NINE YEARS.
I visited a friend in Belize and traveled by bus through Mexico, which saved me a lot of money. Up until this point, I have only traveled internationally with friends or on school trips. I was able to look to them for guidance through customs or exchanging currency, and help with speaking the language. So, I nervously made the trip alone, but it was a challenge I needed to accomplish. I’ve been thinking about where my next independent trip will take me ever since.
These are the highlights and pivotal moments of 2015.
These are pretty great things to come across by chance. Yes, traveling took some forethought, but only with a couple months or as little as a week of planning. I didn’t intend to travel somewhere each month, and I didn’t exactly begin the year thinking I would dive into travel blogging or go to Belize. These things certainly paved a new path for me, which I am excited to see where it will lead me. I plan to keep the momentum going by focusing on my mental and physical health, traveling evermore, and learning how to share my experiences and insights with you.