I’m glad October is over. While it’s traditionally my favorite month, this year it looked something like this:
Lit-er-ally. This is what my upstairs guest room looks like no matter the week.
And while I am grateful for all the experiences—both work and play—that I’m afforded, I don’t think I can keep up that pace of travel anymore. Or rather, I don’t want to. In my 20s, it was alright; these days, it just means my piles of work mount while I’m gone and, correspondingly, my anxiety spikes. I’d like to avoid both of these things in the future, to space out my travels a bit more so they’re not all crammed into one month back-to-back.
Still, October was filled with so many good things, I can’t really complain.
A few of note:
A wedding of dear friends in Southern California. I wouldn’t have missed Daina and Brian’s Orange County wedding for the world, and the long weekend in the sun with our Nashville friends could not have been more perfect.
A work trip to Grand Cayman. After four days in LA and Dana Point, I jetted off to Grand Cayman for a project for Travel Mindset (with an unexpected night in Miami thanks to American Airlines). I never knew much about the place, only that it was a major cruise port—which I assumed meant it wouldn’t be that authentic—but man was I wrong; I fell in love with that little island and had a blast diving for four days straight (fire coral burns aside!).
A chance to be in Charleston for my sister’s engagement. Enough said. Let the wedding planning commence.
A visit with my in-laws, during which we pretty much covered all of Tennessee. Nashville, Sewanee, Knoxville, the Smokies, historic sites in the western division of the state, you name it, we went. I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure my niece is the cutest thing ever. Wouldn’t you agree?
Five days with my dear Norwegian friend Ellen. She was here at the same time as SVV’s family, but luckily Ellen is the easiest of guests and was more than happy to tag along for the ride. She also fell in love with Nashville, so now I’m tasked with convincing yet another friend to relocate from Music City—only this time with the added challenge of said friend being international!
Another trip back to California for two back-to-back industry events, during which I got ample time with one of my besties, Jade. We learned about Alaska travel in Santa Barbara and European destinations in LA, all the while Instagramming our every move, of course. It was a couple looooong days of professional “speed dating” (i.e. 15-minute sessions with different tourism boards straight from 9am to 5pm), but we both got a lot out of it, I think. And stole a few hours one morning for a beer by the beach. As we do.
And now I’m home and gearing up for a busy month of being at my home and in Nashville and plotting my next career move. I’ve had an influx of amazing writing and editing and teaching opportunities of late, and while I’m still doing plenty of magazine work, that’s no longer my sole focus. I really need to think long and hard about my priorities going forward (finally finishing a novel? who knows!).
On the blog front, I’ve had this site for more than seven years, and while I’m dying for a design reboot—my last redesign was a painful two-and-a-half years ago—for now, I’m thinking that starts with content (mainly because graphic designers are expensive, yo). While I still plan to recap my travels, I’d love to know what you like to read most: journalism stuffz? Weekend getaways? Life in my favorite city, Nashville? Wedding planning? Day-to-day mumblings? All of the above, a mixed bag of what’s going on in my tiny corner of the world? I NEED DIRECTION, Y’ALL.
I want to hear about it all, so general lifestyle from the point of view of a travel professional sounds good to me. After all our talks, I feel so inspired to reboot our blog too and focus more on what makes me happy to talk about and share on a daily basis. Excited to see how it evolves for you moving forward (and if that means more sunbathing and beer drinking, I’m good with that!)
I could easily just talk about Taylor every day…whilst drinking beers on the beach. 😉
The Personal Blog is making a comeback! 🙂 I always love hearing the everyday stuff that you are up to.
Yay to the Personal Blog! Have you noticed how so many niche blogs (particularly style) have shuttered and those of us who have been doing this Forever have reverted back to what originally brought us to the blogosphere in the first place? 😉
I will forever read your writing no matter what your writing entails! So if it’s lifestyle posts that make me envious of your Nashville life, then that’s cool too.
Ha! I love you =)
I love all your posts, I really do, they’re filled with gorgeous photos, helpful tips, pinnable links, and I don’t know that I can recommend where you take it (though I know that’s no help). But if you *do* finish writing that novel, let me know! I’d love to be a beta reader or pass it to some industry contacts or just repay some of the many kindnesses you’ve shown me over the years. XO
While I enjoy reading travel posts the ones that I find myself most interested in are the everyday life posts that people write. Maybe I’m just nosy and like a more real glimpse into peoples lives. haha I’d also like to see more about the Vic reno when that starts up again. I loved the glimpse of the condo we got recently on Instagram too.
Either way, whatever you decide to write about, I will read it! 🙂
I really do need to figure out how to do more day-to-day stuff, but honestly when I’m NOT traveling, I sit here in our house in my PJs all day long with Ella. Not sure anyone wants to read about me singing made up songs to Taylor Swift music to her, do they? 😉
Well, if renumeration isn’t a huge issue, then I’d decide what I most enjoyed writing about and do that……passion always shines through. And, I ll read whatever you write.
I love to read a more personal blog – insight into your life as well as travels but I agree with Leigh above. I’ll read whatever you decide to write!
You’re so sweet! Thank you for that =)
I haven’t heard from Country Dog in a while.. Is she only interacting with fans on Instagram now?
Well, tell her she needs to start writing for her keep then! Girlfriend’s getting lazy (or perhaps the fame is going to her head).
Goodness, I’ve been following you since my freshman year in college… Six years ago! You’ve got me hooked as my forever first and favorite travel blogger–you’ve even inspired me to live abroad and seek a non-conventional 9-5 job! So as much as I love your posts about travel, I equally love reading about your life, Ella, your beautiful house and your Nashville adventures. Keep on writing whatever your heart desires, and I really think you’ll be just fine. Thanks for being a constant inspiration and role model for me!
I love reading this! After TBEX, I’ve come to the exact same conclusion. Lifestyle is where it’s at. Travel will always be a focus, but it’s time to reign in the wanderlust – as much as I can anyway. As usual, we’re on the same page 😉
Interested to hear how TBEX was this time around 😉
Great writing indeed.Like your post very much. cool stuff.
I agree with others that lifestyle is super fascinating — how are things going with your house? Can you divulge more about the condo? How’s your sweet dog?
I love all of your travel recaps but I’m not a big fan of photo fridays — they just seem phoned in by all the travel bloggers who put them into their rotation. If you’re posting less, make it something you’re really passionate about!
And I am that nerd who goes back and reads old archives! Lol.
Thank you so much for this! I will definitely do more about the house, condo and Ella in the future.
As for the Photo Fridays, I sort of agree with you; however, it’s my way to share photos of a destination that maybe didn’t merit many words but that I got some nice shots from (for example, we were only in Slovenia for a day on a cruise so I didn’t really get a huge taste for it, but we did a long photo walk and I came away with some nice snaps). Any idea how to share such photos and move away from the model? I guess another option is to make a longer trip recap upfront and incorporate those into that.
Thanks for taking the time to reply to me!
I appreciate you clarifying your reason for photo Fridays — I know you’re a serious photographer so I did wonder if it was a way of sharing the photos you were most eager to share with readers.
Hmmm I really loved the recent recaps you did of smaller events vs long trip recaps such as the wedding you recently attended and your sister’s engagement. Or maybe just give more detail about the photo and the experience?
I like the travel aspect of your blog for sure, but I also really like reading about lifestyle stuff 🙂
I had a really hectic travel month in October too. Fortunately November is going to be a lot calmer! Glad you liked the Caymans.. I’m hoping to take a short dive trip there soon! Also, I agree with the others – the lifestyle stories are always interesting!
I’m going to join the chorus of “write what you love”, because I’d seriously be entertained by stories of you line dancing with dogs to Taylor Swift (particularly if there were video). I also agree with the common praise of your take on everyday life. You’ve got a way with words, and I love hearing what you think in general, but “A Life Update” definitely caught my attention and got my click. Also, I adore your reading lists and have totally gotten Kindle inspiration from them.
I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for years, ever since you guest posted on Secret Agent Josephine. I love the pictures of the places you visit, the short stories of adventures, the posts written by Ella … whatever you write. 🙂
I love everything you write! I really like the travel and lifestyle stuff. I also love the posts from your perspective as a entrepreneur & business stuff.
Wow you HAVE had a busy month of travelling, holy cow! Sounds like it’s been a lot of fun though, at least. (I’d certainly be exhausted if I travelled as much as you! ha ha) As many have already said here, I love everything you write but very happy to see the personal blog making a comeback! I’ve been reading for a few years and I enjoy both the every day stuff & lifestyle blogging but also the travel stories as well. I think a mix is great.
I also enjoy the entrepreneur-related posts as I work for myself as well and I’m still learning the ropes.
That’s fantastic you are writing a novel, I hope you get a chance to finish it. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Keep us posted 😀
I think it’s only natural that as your life progresses and changes, so does your blog. And it’s given you some fantastic opportunities, which is great! You have had a super busy October though, here’s hoping you can relax a little more the closer to Christmas you get ;).
I love the lifestyle idea! I think that as time has gone by yours is the only travel blog that I have continued to read consistently, and here’s my best guess of why: I like the travel stories, but I also like the book recommendations, I like occasional camera lens/photo tip details, I love getting inspiration for my ever-evolving travel wish list, as a fellow freelancer (graphic design–different, but with some similarities) I like hearing about the various aspects of your job, and I think the thing I like best is your writing style. It’s compelling, upbeat, and interesting (even when the topic at hand wouldn’t necessarily be). You could completely take out the travel aspect, and I’d still love to hear about what’s going on with your house, great ideas for gifts, your entrepreneurial ventures, book recommendations (and recs to stay away from), and really anything that’s on your mind! Whatever you decide, good luck!
Your niece is so cute! I’m glad to hear you liked Grand Cayman. The thought of a beautiful island sounds lovely, but I’m always afraid to “waste” my vacation time on an experience that won’t be authentic.
I like seeing a mix – travel, Nashville, weekending, life updates, the house, whatever! 🙂
I say all of the above. I love a good personal blog. But I would also love to read more about Nashville. It’s a city I haven’t been to and on the top of my list whenever I’m back in the states.
I love the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes because it includes it all – the travel, the home, the city, the man, the dog – it is what makes you uniquely you and I think it is what keeps people coming back for more.