Where we are headed 2020 – travel, life and business plans

So much to write about since our return to Raleigh (and last year’s travels) but it will all come soon enough.

Settling back into normal life has been particularly challenging for the past few months. More on that later.

For now, we wanted to kick start the new year and decade with enthusiasm and insight for the year to come. There is so much we are excited about.

I’m intent on getting back to the old days of blogging where we shared more of our personal thoughts and stories to inspire you more. The state of our lives over the past year especially has made it very difficult to do that. More on that later.

This year is going to be different. I woke up this morning determined to stick to my intention for this year.

No more delays in saying, “I’ll write to it tomorrow.”

No. I’ll write it today.

We used to always end our year in review on the blog and then begin the new year with a post sharing our plans and intentions for the coming year.

That fell by the wayside.

I missed the end of year review for 2019. That’s okay. Life was just too much for me to handle and make it work.

I can make the plans for the year post happen. Because this is a fresh new decade start!

So let’s get started.

Where are we headed in 2020?

Focus word: EASE

I don’t ever set resolutions, instead I focus on a word for the year.

What do I most want to feel during the year?

For this year, it’s EASE.

The last decade was spent hustling a lot.

Working hard to grow our business, overcome near bankruptcy to create a life we love. Working hard to raise two young girls. Working hard to figure out my health challenges. Balancing all of it with homeschooling and traveling a LOT, which is just hard.

I feel I’ve finally figured out all the pieces to the puzzle: what works best for me and all the aspects of our lives.

Now we have our home, it’s time to embrace all those aspects and let life be a little more easeful.

Let it all flow in instead of having to work so hard to make it happen.

And for this decade, I want it to be more about service.

How can I do more to make the world a better place?

We’ll be diving into that through our work and life projects: caring more for the environment, promoting eco-conscious travel, and helping others live their best lives.

Travel Plans

people standing in front of an old building

Wahoo – we don’t have much!

Long term travel is no longer what we want from life. We want to embrace more of a normal life style with a home base.

We love Raleigh so want to be here as much as we can and enjoy the many wonderful things to do here.

Travel won’t stop for us though. We’ll be doing shorter trips. Plenty of getaways and road trips.

This is also the year we reintroduce international travel. (See more on that below with the Green Card). We want to exposé the girls to other cultures so unlike their own.

We’re laying as low as possible for January and February so we can attend to our health, replenishing our energies and complete some fun projects (see business section)

Tulum, Mexico

We’re very excited that my sister Jen now lives in Tulum. As soon as we can, we’re going to visit her in Tulum and experience the many wonderful things this jungle by the sea has to offer.

While there we may extend our time in Mexico and visit a few other places including Mexico City and our friends are Guanajuato. Any tips?


We love living in the Northern Hemisphere so close to Europe. Yay for European vacations!

The girls are longing for London. I am longing for a return to Ireland. So I’m guessing we’ll start with a UK road trip. Why not visit Paris while there?

Australia/ South East Asia

We’re not sure if 2020 will see us returning back to Australia to visit family and friends. We’ve been very fortunate to have our family visit us since we’ve been here for the past few years and we keep trying to pull them back over each year!

If we do find our way back there then we may incorporate a Southeast Asia trip. I’m dying to return to Vietnam.

I’d say this trip would be more likely to happen in 2021. But you just never know.

To be honest, we’re open to traveling anywhere in the world!

Life Plans

Green Card

This is the year, we finally get our green cards in hand. We started the transferring process at the beginning of December. It can take 12 – 18 months to get it! We’re focusing on the 12 months.

Our international travels this year are reliant on this. We can’t leave the country until we receive travel authorization cards, which can take up to four months. So the first half of the year we’ll remain exploring the US.

Vegan Diet

food on a table
Our vegan Christmas – YUM!

After watching The Game Changers documentary, and having my vegan sister stay with us for six weeks, we’ve decided to switch to a Vegan based diet, not just for our health, but because the planet needs us to eat less meat.

The girls decided immediately after watching the documentary.

Since Savannah has a serious aversion to vegetables she struggled with her good intentions and quickly switched back to meat. I’m proud of her for wanting to have a go and her intention for this year is to try more foods. I am sure once our super super fussy eater embraces more dishes she may pick up becoming a vegetarian again.

Kalyra is going great with sticking to her choice, with the odd dip back into the meat world. She was actually a vegetarian for the first 6 years of her life, as Craig and I both were. She is not going vegan but vegetarian.

I am doing my best to be vegan and probably hitting it 95%. At home it’s so easy for me to do and I love love eating this way. I was vegetarian for 6 years and never felt better.

When I look back at my health challenges for the past 6 years it s no coincidence in the correlation between that and my return to eating meat. I returned because traveling full-time and having gluten intolerance made it almost impossible to be vegetarian.

Thankfully these days there are loads more choices, especially in the US.

So I will only break my vegan rule if I can’t find an alternative meal that doesn’t have gluten in it. This is only when I eat out , which due to the nature of my travel life and business happens a bit.

However, I would prefer to eat grass fed butter over vegan butter which mostly has evil vegetable oils in them – so bad for your body.

I would also prefer to eat wild salmon or grass fed beef over GMO soy or corn. Sadly so many vegan dishes have soy, corn and wheat. Do you see my challenges?

Do the best you can, with what you have, from where you are.

The Return of Fitness

Daily exercise will continue to be a focus of my life. I was quite fit before we left for our RV road trip. I want to get back to that level.

My sister convinced me that sprinting is one of the most effective and efficient forms of training. So I’ve been finding myself down at the local grassy strip running sprints – something I have not done since I was in school.

I dreaded the thought of doing this again, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it…. sort of. It hurts like hell and I could only manage 10 sprints of about 70 meters each. I’m working to improve that and will do this at least three times awake.

You will be surprised how sprinting uses every muscle in your body. I felt all of them the next day.

I’ll be alternating the sprints with strength work and yoga. But amongst all this training, I will be incorporating ease. I don’t have to train every day for an hour. 20 minutes is enough and if my body says rest, I’ll rest.

I use Grokker for online fitness and yoga training. (Read my Grokker review here)

Buy a Home

We’re hoping this is the year we can buy a home. It depends on how well we can save this year, and what happens with our Green Card which impacts our financing capabilities through US banks/credit Unions etc.

At least now we know we want it and we’re exploring our options. Thankfully, we live in an amazing home rental while we wait.


The girls have returned to school, by way of online school. I’ll publish a post to go deeper into that soon. We’re all very happy with it and are glad we found the perfect fit for our lifestyle, the girls education and growth, and what they wanted.

Here is our in-depth post on this new homeschooling choice to fit our travel lifestyle

Girls’ Hobbies

This year, we also focus a lot on exploring the girl’s hobbies and hopefully, finding new friends with them along the way.

They are both starting tennis lessons this week. Kalyra has already landed a role at a production put on by the local Cary Theater this month and will continue acting lessons.

Savannah is also starting hip hop dance classes and will look at soccer and basketball in the spring.

It’s really exciting to experience this part of their lives with them. But, I won’t lie to you, the commitment side and balancing it with travel is pretty scary!

Forming Friendships

Orlando vacation homes are perfect for large groups of family or friends
Hanging out with 20 friends in an Orlando Vacation home

I feel so lucky that I have friends all over the world. I get to see so many of them through the year thanks to our business and the various conferences we go to.

We’re also very lucky to have our friends from all over the world stay with us and meet us on our travels. I always welcome and plan for these moments.

We have some wonderful friends here in Raleigh as well. We are looking forward to having the time to spend with them more this year.

We’re also looking forward to forming new friendships this year as the girls start to pursue their passions, hopefully new friends will come with that.

As we move into a new business world in Raleigh we hope to form more friendships that are close to home so we can catch up regularly.

We’d also love to rent another top villa like the one in the photo and have our friends hang out again. (See more about Top Villas Oralndo vacation home in this post)

Travel Blog & Business Plans

people sitting at a table


The most exciting project and collaboration we are working on this year, is with Participate Learning.

Participate, formerly VIF, is the teaching program I joined in 2004 to teach in the US. It was because of Participate we discovered and fell in love with Raleigh and are now live here.

That program also showed us how we can make a difference in bringing the world closer together, which eventually led us to starting our travel blog.

It’s amazing how we’ve come full circle to now be running a travel program for the company.

We’re creating a series of training videos and in-person workshops to help their current teachers travel more in the US and fulfill the mission of true global education.

We all know that travel is one of the best ways to learn about the world and change as a person.

It’s the most exciting project as we get to share our travel passion and expertise to a community that is already there.

We don’t have to worry about SEO, formatting, social media algorithms and all that other stuff that has really dampened the enthusiasm for what we do and why we started in the first place.

This is a return to that – a fun passion project that has oodles of potential.


Green Card Travel blogging

Conferences are a big part of what we do and we have some fun ones lined up for this year.

  • IMM and New York Times Travel Show: We’ll be attending a networking industry event (IMM) this month and the New York Times Travel Show, where I’ll be speaking on a panel on how brands and content creators can work to overcome current challenges like overtourism!
  • Camp Indie: I’m excited for this summer camp for adults. I’ll be speaking at this event for those seeking to live an unconventional life. After years of chatting online, I finally get to meet founders, Jason and Travis in real life. Will I see you there? Click here for more
  • TBEX Lafayette: I had such a blast keynoting for TBEX last year. I’m excited that this year it will be in Cajun country. How can we not go?
  • RV Entrepreneur Summit: Our RV life is definitely over, but I can still learn from those who are running successful business from the road. We’re still not completely 100% on this conference in Alabama, but the main drawcard for us they are hosting a kid’s entrepreneur conference at the same time which Kalyra wants to attend with her friends. So we may end up doing a Mother Daughter road trip for this one.


More and better videos are high on our list every year.

We feel we constantly fail at this one due to our limited tech abilities and our lack of time and inefficient use of it. It’s just been near bloody impossible with the lifestyle we’ve been leading.

We’ll share a full post and video on the pros and cons of that and how it was a struggle for us.

We thankfully have a wonderful video editor, Konstantin who makes our terrible footage look good!

Now that we have all the equipment we need for good at home studio shooting, we’ll be producing more content this year that is related to travel tips and listicles. More of us on camera sharing our authority on things, interspersed with short videos on our travels when we take them.

We’re looking forward to be able to properly plan out videos rather than always be shooting while on the run and just hoping we get something.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here. 

Website Redesign

It’s time for a facelift for this site.

We’re already putting together the plans for a new look and feel. If you have any requests for how this website functions, let us know in the comments so we can create the best possible website we can!

New website: This is Raleigh

people sitting at a table
This is Raleigh

This is the year we start a new website and focus: Raleigh. We already have the Instagram @thisisraleigh and Facebook @thisisraleigh accounts. So go follow us over there.

Next will be blog and video content so we can dive deeper into this amazing city and those areas surrounding it.

Thank you for being with us for yet another year. I really needed to write this post. I appreciate you reading it. It’s helped me find a little of my mojo again and reengage with what I loved so much about this blog and why I did it.

I want to write a more personal post, similar to the stories I share with my newsletter group every week.

You can join that free community here.


There is a lot that happens in our world that contributes to us living this dream life, which is what we want for you. so we’ll share the stuff that might not always be travel related, but definitely contributes to the inner YOU you need to be to create the dream.

So stay with me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories, questions, feedback Anything that can help me stay motivated to write in this style to you and keep this wonderful community going strong.

I also want to hear about your plans for this coming year. Tell me in the comments: your focus word, your life plans, your travel plans, and career/business plans?

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