First off, I cannot believe it’s almost 2016! Though this year has flown by, I think this has been the most reflective, daring and eye-opening year of my life. Everyone needs one of those years that makes you realize how far you’ve come as a person. I’m glad 2015 was the year of growth for me. I hope it was for you, too.
A lot has changed for me in Chiang Mai these past several weeks, and I would be remiss in not mentioning everything, as it’s truly shaped my perspective on life, the future of this website, what I’m doing with my work, all that jazz. So let’s dive in since it’s been a minute: here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in Chiang Mai.
You can create your tribe anywhere.
Being abroad made me realized how much I missed my friends, and the time difference certainly doesn’t help. Though no one can replace them, I have found a group of friends that I enjoy spending time with here in Chiang Mai (disclaimer: we’re still friends with Neil; we just have more than one friend now). I’ve also gotten close with a group of ambitious Black women (who I’m pretty sure will rule the world) who live here (3/4 of us are pictured below). We’re all bound together by our passion for traveling and our desire to live a freedom lifestyle. We also support each other so much in our work and projects. #BlackGirlMagic is real.
Self-care is the best thing you can do for yourself.
For my first three months in Thailand, I was reluctant to write any blog posts about the food here. It wasn’t because I hated the food; on the contrary, I love
drowning my head in a bed of pad Thai eating here. It was because no matter what I ate, I got sick. Morning, noon and night. Day in, day out. So sick in fact that I could barely move some days because I felt so incredibly awful. And I didn’t want to eat (which is rare for me).
But I refused to go to the doctor.
I had no real excuse not to go, because it’s affordable to see a doctor and get medicine here. For instance, I had a minor skin rash from an eczema breakout that cost me one hour of my time and $30 for a doctor’s visit AND medicine. But yet, I didn’t want to go to the doctor for this debilitating matter?
Being prideful doesn’t make you healthier. It makes you more sick. I’m now taking steps in the right direction when it comes to all aspects of my health, because shortcuts and/or “waiting it out” are insane and unnecessary.
I’m revamping the blog in 2016.
Blogger burnout is so real, and it’s affected me multiple times in the past four years. I’ve felt extreme pressure to churn out mind-blowing content lately, but the experiences haven’t matched up. I feel like I’ve lost my voice and it’s been harder to inject some of my personality, unless it’s a post like this. Basically, I’ve been conflicted about the direction of this blog, more than ever. After some soul-searching, I realized I need to do some tweaks, both from a design aspect and content aspect, to see real change happen here. That’s all coming in 2016.
I’ve also felt disconnected with the Atlanta section, simply because I haven’t been there since late October for a short stint and things change so quickly in the restaurant scene. After I wrap up some final posts for the year, I’m focusing on developing content for Chiang Mai and the next place we call “our city”. Obviously, I will still write about Atlanta, but just not with the same priority that I put on it in the past few months. Though I won’t be writing as much Atlanta-based content anymore (and I know many of you are in Atlanta), I really hope that you stick with me and continue to read all of the adventures that Corey and I embark on!
Entrepreneurship is tough, but rewarding.
I’ve been using my marketing and public relations experience to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and bloggers share their story, promote their brand and get more money. At this point, I’ve consulted with a few entrepreneurs, hosted a webinar and developed a website, among other things. I’m super pumped to see where this path takes me, as I feel like I can continue helping others with what I’m passionate about. So, I’m dialing back on the freelancing and upping my own biz game. I’m so excited
Jessie Spano scared but I know it will be worth it in the end.
As you can see, life has been keeping me on my toes these past few weeks. However, I’m so thankful for spending time with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who traveled to Chiang Mai to visit us.
I’m also grateful for being able to run into and hang out with one of my former co-workers, Suzanne, and her family, during their around-the-world tour!
Last but certainly not least, we may be in Chiang Mai a little bit longer than expected! Our Australia wine gig fell through (womp womp), so the world is literally our oyster and we have no obligations to be there at a certain time. Of course, we’ll keep you posted on what we decide.
How’s 2015 closing out for you? Let me know in the comments; I hope it’s with a bang!