In the winter of 2014, I heard a podcast that changed my life. It was the Wildly Unconventional episode of the Art of Simple podcast where Tsh interviewed Stephanie Langford from Keeper of the Home who was just finishing up a yearlong trip around the world with her family (of four young kids!). That episode was just the spark I needed to send me on a journey that, almost two years later, has brought so much joy and purpose to my life.
I don’t often get very personal on this website, and I usually stick to the business of teaching art, but I am at the end of a very epic and impactful year for me. As 2015 comes to a close, I can’t help but feel reflective and grateful, and I’m excited to share with you the behind-the-scenes aspects of my journey with you.
Travel has also been something near and dear to my heart. My parents always made travel a priority in growing up, and I love nothing more than exploring new places.
It has always been a life goal to spend at least one year living in another country, and when I heard this podcast episode, I realized how desperately I wanted to travel and how I both wasn’t doing it and I wasn’t in a position in my life to even be able to do it. Immediately, I booked a trip to New York City to satisfy the original urge and set a goal to make a trip around the world happen in my life.
I realized that there were three major things holding me back from making this a reality. The first two deal with money–jobs and debt. I was working from home as an online teacher and had a very flexible schedule, but it was not a job where I could do from another country legally. We also have a good amount of debt (thanks, student loans!). We will never be in a position where both my husband and I can just not work for an entire year, so I needed to find a job that I could do from anywhere, preferably one where both my husband and I can work together for ourselves so we have ultimate flexibility.
At the risk of getting a little too personal (but I’m going to do it anyway, eek), the third reason why travel was not a possibility was my physical inability to travel. The physical logistics of travel at my high weight were daunting. Long periods of time on my feet were impossible and painful, and my lack of stamina and strength were holding me back in a serious way. I didn’t feel strong and secure in my body, and that made the idea of travel around the world sound scary and impossible.
Both realizing the real possibility of this type of experience (thanks to Stephanie and Tsh) and identifying my major setbacks allowed me to formulate a plan and take steps to change my life. I set a goal to do something like this for when my youngest daughter turns 10 (she’s now 3) and started taking steps to reach the goal.
The first thing I did was the first version of this website, Two Muses Homeschool. I’ve always had the urge to have a website, but I never had a very clear vision of what I wanted it to be. My original vision would be to write about art, about my homeschool journey, and about our travel but I quickly realized that the art content was where I could both truly add value to others and what I enjoyed writing about the most. A few months in, I rebranded.
I truly believe that my work here on this website is what I was always meant to do, but I just had to find it.
My goal was to be able to make enough money to quit my full-time job by 5 years in, but in July of this year (a little over a year from starting the website), I saved up money and took a gamble and an investment in myself and quit my job to focus on the website full time. I started my membership program, The Art Curator for Kids Resource Library, in September and am launching my high school art class, How to Look at Art, next month! I’m still a long way from financially supporting my family on a trip around the world, but I am confident I will get there!
The second big step I took, unrelated to this website, was to have weight loss surgery. I made the decision to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and in February 2015, I went under the knife. I can say with 100% honesty that it was the absolute best decision I could have made. I have lost 128 pounds to date, and I feel amazing and ready to tackle the world. I also have become addicted to Crossfit and feel strong and physically in control for the first time in my life.
I feel like in 2015 I took control of my life and started living the way I was always meant to live, and I am happy to take this opportunity to celebrate that. It all started because I took a step back and really thought about what it meant to live a full and meaningful life and then took the steps to make it happen.
LIFE. TO THE FULLEST.
The impetus for me opening up in this post was the Abbot LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. mission to help people around the world figure out what living fully means to them. This is such an important and worthwhile mission that impacts my life.
I took the LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. quiz. The first question asked, “What is one thing that makes you feel the most fulfilled?”
I don’t know about you, but I found this almost impossible to answer, but it is definitely worth thinking about. I ultimately chose Arts, because it drives me in many ways, and my work on this website feeds my soul in so many amazing ways, but how could I not choose family, community (my friends), travel, learning, and health?
I love that this question means something completely different to each individual person, but we owe it to ourselves to find out what makes our heart beat and what makes us feel most fulfilled. Abbot calls this your #fullosophy. Here’s the definition from the LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. hub.
It’s your own unique way of living that gets you to your fullest. Your joyfullest, your peacefullest, your hopefullest. Your #fullosophy is at the heart of who you really are, and it helps you become your best possible self.
I love it.
What will you do in 2016 to live your best life? Head over to the LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. quiz to share your thoughts.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.