Hey Travel Family,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great time over the holiday season and found some time to rest, recharge and replenish. I’d love to know how you spent the end of 2018 and start of 2019 so please share in the comments and let me know what you got up to. Whatever you did, I really do hope you’re starting the new year feeling energised and inspired.

There have been a lot of things around our house I’ve been wanting to fix up and sort out. You know, all those little (and sometimes big) jobs you just keep putting off for another day. My plan for my time off was to tear through that to-do list and get my house looking perfect so I could start the new year feeling fresh and as though my life is under control haha. Well, as always, the Universe had other plans!

One or two days before Christmas a very good friend called and ended up staying with us. It was unexpected and exactly what I needed, even though I didn’t realise it! When a friend comes to visit, you tend to forget about all the usual ‘around the house’ stuff you do and, instead, spend your time chatting and doing things with them. It was almost like I was being forced to disconnect and relax, rather than run around doing loads of housework.

I spent Christmas day with my Grandma and cousin and my friend joined us too, while Matt spent the day with his family. New Year’s Eve was spent at home, watching movies and going to bed early. The rest of the two weeks was the carefree time-off I desperately needed. We spent hours sitting around talking, playing games together, drawing, going to the beach, watching movies, staying up late, sleeping in and eating great food. I barely did any housework, I didn’t pick my laptop up once, I steered clear of my phone and social media and just focused on enjoying each day and every moment.

By the time New Year’s day rolled around, I realised I felt grounded again. All the stress and crazy intensity of last year had me feeling like a leaf being blown around in the wind or that plastic bag in American Beauty! But simply spending a few weeks at home, disconnecting from everything else and reconnecting with myself was exactly what I needed. It felt so good to end the year feeling whole again.

As always, we had our annual planning day on 1 January. I won’t go into too much detail about it here but I have a post dedicated to how we do our planning day’s, which you can read here if you like. Just to give you a brief idea, we get out a saucepan and scrap paper and spend some quiet time writing down all the things we want to let go of, release or leave in the previous year. Then, we go around and share what we’re letting go of and why before scrunching up the piece of paper and throwing it in the saucepan. We each go turn for turn and it’s amazing how you grow in confidence and are able to share really personal things, even deep insecurities and fears. It’s also really great because you realise the other people there with you share so many of the same fears and doubts, it’s comforting.

When we’re all done, we set that paper alight and watch it burn! Safely, of course! It’s a cleansing experience to watch all your fears and doubts go up in flames before your very eyes. With all that clearing out of the way, we’ve got the room for all the new we want to welcome into our lives. So we start talking about what the past year has been about and the lessons we’ve learned, then onto where things are at currently for us before moving onto what we want the new year to bring. It takes a good few hours but at the end of it all, you really do feel like you’ve shed your skin and have a clear focus for what’s to come.

There was a lot I wanted to let go of from last year and it felt so good to get rid of it all. There were a lot of struggles that took my energy and kept me away from my business, which I felt very guilty about. But, I had some great learnings come out of it all which I’m very grateful for, as you know. Sometimes those lessons are difficult to learn but you have to keep going and through it all, I realised how much I’d achieved over the last five years and how far I’ve come. I wanted to let go of all I’ve achieved because I can’t keep clinging to past dreams and victories. Those moments have been wonderful and I appreciate them, but I’m ready for more now. I’m ready for new dreams and fresh goals.

The last quarter of 2018 there was a big focus for me on trying to restore and recharge, to get a sense of control and balance back in my life. I was so drained and exhausted, right down to my core, that it was hard to do anything sometimes. There were moments I was too hard on myself and felt overwhelmed by everything happening around me. But, I found my way out and got exactly the downtime I needed to be whole again for the start of the new year.

Now, it’s clear to me the past five years have been setting me up to get to this point right now. Everything I’ve achieved, failed at, learned, gained and lost has brought me here and I know I’m at the beginning of a brand new phase of my life. A new period of growth and change. This will be about taking everything I’ve learned over the last five years and putting it all into practice as I navigate a new era. It’s really exciting and I can’t help but feel like there’s so much good on the horizon.

I had a bit of forgiveness I had to do as well. Some of it came up in dreams I was having which, when I talked them through with Matt, suddenly became clear. I had to forgive people in my life and also forgive myself, leaving any past hurts or disappointments behind me. I also had to redefine my boundaries because, after having such a content, stress-free two weeks off, I remembered how peaceful life can and should be and that I’m in control of that. So, I’ve been protecting my energy better and putting my well-being first. It has already been tested a number of times but I’m sticking to it!

At the moment, I’m working on connecting with my higher self and trusting my instincts/intuition. Every time I listen to what my gut instinct or my heart is telling me, it works out. That’s how I got the idea to quit my job and go after Little Grey Box full time! So, I guess I’m just wading through my thoughts and ideas, trying to tune-in and find out what’s next. I’m shifting my focus more to creating videos for YouTube so I can free myself up to fall back in love with my writing naturally and, I have to say, sitting here this morning, writing TW to you feels so good. It’s a peaceful sense of flow I haven’t felt in a long time with my writing. I’m really glad you love reading TW because I love writing it too!

I know this year will test me. I know it will be hard and I know there will be times where my current strength and focus will feel like a fuzzy memory. But, I also know that I look back on who I was five years ago or even just a year ago and I see a version of myself who didn’t know as much then as I do know. That means in twelve months from now, I’ll be looking back at this moment and this version of myself, seeing just how far I’ve come again.

I really don’t believe in new year resolutions but taking the time to clear out the old, take stock of what’s happened in your life, celebrate the victories, release what no longer serves you and develop a clear focus for the new is very beneficial. If you haven’t done something like it already, I highly recommend! I’d love to know what you want to release, what you’ve learned last year and what you’re focusing on in 2019 so please share in the comments below.

In exciting news, we are off to Japan next week! So TW will be coming to you from one of my favourite countries of all-time. We’re visiting as part of a work trip with JNTO, Japan’s Tourism Organisation. They’ve asked us to create some videos for YouTube and it’s a pretty amazing feeling to be recognised for our videos. In the past, we get approached for written content here and social media posts so it’s a big deal and a sign that our videos are being recognised as well as our YouTube channel. I’ll share some of what we got up to here with you next Friday, in the meantime, you can follow along on Instagram!

Lastly, I just want to wrap up our first TW of 2019 by sending you a whole lot of love. Thank you so much for reading TW, following our adventures and supporting us. I hope 2019 brings as much love and goodness as possible into your life, as well as your friends and families (and your pets!!)

Have a great start to the new year and a fantastic weekend. I’ll talk to you next Friday.

Love, Phoebe x

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