Hey Travel Family,

How are you? How was your week? I’m starting to freak out a lil bit that we’re at the end of September. I don’t know how we got to the tail end of the year so quickly but it’s going to be Christmas before we know it. I don’t know about you but I’m starting to get that ‘end of year’ feeling where you start to get really tired and ready for a good few weeks off to rest, recharge and reset for the New Year. (P.S the photos from TW are from our Canada trip this year just so ya know!)

It’s kind of weird how Matt and I work now because we don’t take holidays. I think there are people who probably feel like our whole life is a holiday but, really, we work the whole year without taking time off for a ‘holiday.’ I think it’s because we love our jobs so much we don’t usually feel like we need a break and because it’s our business, we want to keep working on it all the time. Also, when we try to travel and have a holiday without working we don’t really enjoy it! The only way we can have a ‘holiday’ now is to stay at home for a few weeks and not do any work because travelling and not working just isn’t fun! It’s weird.

We tried to take a work-free beach holiday two years ago and both got so bored we had to start working. At least at home, you kind of potter around the garden, clean out your cupboards, wash the car, try out those recipes you’ve been meaning to use and stuff like that. It’s been a hell of a year for us both and I guess it’s all just starting to catch up a little bit. I’m definitely looking forward to the few weeks off we usually take at the end of the year. I’ve got big plans to do a big clean and clear out around the house, get the garden looking beautiful again, get my kitchen organised and also spend an obscene amount of time watching movies on the couch. Viva La Netflix.

This week was nice and chilled out for us, for the most part, but disaster struck early in the week! Matt came crawling into bed one morning at about 4-5am after a frantic night at his desk because the website crashed! It had something to do with an update he ran, apparently, and because the theme we have been using on the site is discontinued, it just didn’t mesh well with the new update and things…. crashed. Crazy. Poor Matt used everything he had in the tank to get it back up and running and, thankfully, with the help of amazing WordPress staff, got things pretty much back to normal.

But, the WordPress team let us know that because our theme was discontinued we really ought to change themes because there would be more issues moving forward. We spent a whole day looking at new themes, trying to find something that fits what we like and also improves the site, fixing the things that have been annoying us.

It took a while but we eventually found the theme you see now and Matt spend hours customising it, getting it ready for you guys. We were a bit anxious to confirm the change because once we did, we couldn’t ever go back to the old theme so it was a little leap of faith. But, as soon as we got it live we loved it! There have been a few kinks Matt’s worked out during the week as we’ve stumbled across things we didn’t like or wanted to change and one lovely reader gave us her thoughts on something too. She was spot-on with it and we made a change based on her input, which only improved things! Amazing!

Now the hard work is done, I absolutely LOVE the new theme! It feels more modern, clean and classy – just the vibe I’m going for in my 30’s hahaha! But, seriously, I really do love it and I think it has a lot more benefit to you guys, which is really important to us. It’s easier to search for things now, it’s easier to use the menu to find what you’re looking for, it’s easier to read posts on your mobile phone and there are quite a few things that make life easier for us too. I’m a bit obsessed with the home page, the new ‘slider’ at the top heroes our images so nicely – they look amazing!

There’s a life lesson in all of this somewhere, right? Sometimes you’re not even thinking about changing something and all of a sudden it’s forced on you. You can fight it or you can trust the timing of life, trust yourself and just go with it. Because I gotta say, I was really happy with the old theme but now we’ve got the new one up and running, I realise we were ready for a change.

I’ve been working through all the written blog posts (a.k.a deliverables) I owe our clients from our trips this year. After each trip we take I sit down and add all the blog posts I want to write to this big note I’ve got on my laptop. Then, each day, I look at the list, choose one, write and edit it, post it and share it. This week, I’ve started tackling that list because I am pretty far behind. All the stuff going on in my personal life this year has meant I had to prioritise myself over my work, so there are loads of things I’ve wanted to write but haven’t had the time or mental/emotional energy to. With things feeling more on track at the moment, I’ve been able to get back into the swing of it and do what I love – write.

I also need to say a huge thank you! In TW last week I shared with you that I’d submitted an entry to try and secure a place in the ‘Fohr Freshmen Class of 2018.’ I told you all about it, why I want to do it and asked if you could help me out with a testimonial. Well, the testimonials are totally private so I don’t know who submitted one or what they said but Fohr sent me an email saying there have been some submitted. So, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to anyone reading this who wrote a testimonial. It’s corny but your support and validation mean more to me than Fohr’s – I don’t run this site for Fohr, I run it for you guys because I want to help you plan your travel and I want an outlet for myself and you let me do both those things. So, thank you. It really does mean more than you realise because when I’m having one of those ‘what am I doing with my life?’ doubtful days, I remember things like this and know that it matters to people and you guys support us. Again, thank you.

If you haven’t written a testimonial but want to help, I would absolutely love for you to do one. Again, it’s totally private so what you write won’t be plastered on the internet anywhere. All you have to do is leave a testimonial on our Fohr Freshman Class of 2018 page, telling the review panel what you love about Little Grey Box, or how Little Grey Box has inspired you since you started following us and why you think we should be part of the Freshman Class. Your testimonial will help strengthen our application! Help us out and write your testimonial here.

Today is actually my Grandma’s 77th Birthday! (I wrote a personal post about her here about how she feels about me travelling so much, you should read it) So I’m writing this and after I get it posted I’m going to go pick her up and take her out for lunch. My mum was a single mum until she met my step-dad so, when I was little, we lived with my Grandma and Pop. We didn’t have any money, we lived in a rough part of Brisbane and, at one point, slept in-between the cars in my Grandma’s garage because there was no room in the house. My mum had to work multiple jobs and fought really hard for me to get a good education and have a good life. There were nights she went hungry so I could eat. This was during a time when single mothers were seen in a poor light and weren’t given the recognition they deserve. My Nan and I became very close because while mum was at work, she would look after me and I’m lucky enough to feel like I have two mums.

I would do anything for my Nan – she’s done so much for me, my mum and our family and she’s so supportive of Little Grey Box and what Matt and I are doing. It was her dream to travel and she loves studying English, writing and reading books just like I do so, in many ways, I feel like me going after this life isn’t just doing it for me – it’s doing it for my Nan too and living the life she deserved. I feel like I’d be letting her down if I gave up and it really keeps me going when things are tough. Here’s a photo of me, my mum and my Nan at the beach this week. They’re so cute, right?!

You know this is the first time I’ve really told a story like that. It’s suddenly occurring to me I should be more open with you guys about stuff like that. Would you like to hear more stories about that kind of stuff? I kind of assume my life is boring and no one would care to hear about it haha which is probably true but if you want to hear more about things like that I’m happy to share ūüôā just let me know.

One last thing before I sign off and go pick up my Nan – we published the first video from our #SquadSQ trip last Friday and the second video is going up tonight! If you want to watch Matt and I (you creep!) and see what we got up to, the first video is below and the new one will be up on the Little Grey Box YouTube channel at 10:30pm Brisbane time, tonight! Woohoo! The first video follows us getting from Brisbane to Singapore and meeting up with the #SquadSQ and the video tonight follows our layover and getting to Cape Town.

Have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you next Friday.

Love, Phoebe xx

Watch the brand new video up on our YouTube channel this week!

Visit the Little Grey Box YouTube channel and peep all our awesome travel videos here. 

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