From my latest trip to Big Sur, California. I am smitten.
Ask anyone who knows me, knows that I have a very intense form of focus. When I was a girl, I was very, very focused on boys- specifically boys that didn’t know I existed. As a young adult, I was very focused on college and getting as many scholarships and speaking opportunities as I could to help pay for my college classes…which luckily, was more successful than my attempts to win over the boys.
I took on two majors, joined several honor societies, a sorority and ran in a pageant (which I will lump in the same category as boys, I fail at being charming or competitively pretty) to help further my college career. Needless to say, I was able to completely pay for my time in undergrad and graduated in the top ten percent of my class, with enough sashes and honor cords at graduation to decorate a Christmas tree.
For three years, I was hardcore obsessed with running. I challenged myself to do 13 half marathons in 2013, exceeding that goal and doing about 16, then another half dozen the next year and several triathlons. I still run, but I have tapered a bit- I hate running when it’s icy or under 20 degrees, so Chicago living has proven to win out against my running, for now at least.
When I called off my engagement last fall, I suddenly had a void in my life- I was no longer planning a wedding from 2,000 miles away for 200+ people, yet the visions of California and the excitement of planning a honeymoon in a place I’d never been (we were planning on Hawaii, yes, it sometimes really blows to be both single and not hopping on a plane with a mai-tai in hand later this year) hadn’t left. Growing up, since my dad didn’t fly, I had never been outside of the country and rarely went out of our homestate. At 28, I still haven’t had to use my passport though I’ve been to Canada and across the border into Tijuana,Mexico when I was 18 (I don’t recommend that part of the country, at. all.)
Couple that with the fact it’s March here in Chicago and it’s still below 20 some days, with plenty of annoying ice to slip on as I go to and fro, I am stircrazy. For months, since my dad turned 70 last fall, I have felt a nagging feeling that I should go spend time with him, besides my normal Christmas/wedding type visits. I booked a flight to California and he and I are going to take a road trip together- which we haven’t done since I was about 10. So, this could be a good idea or a really, really bad idea. Stay tuned on that. Two stubborn people of Scottish decent trapped in a car together. Ha!
Sedona, Arizona. My Dad has always wanted to go, now I can afford to take him. (Source.)
My plan for the trip is to visit Palm Springs with some friends, then go grab my dad for a trip out to Scottsdale and Sedona, Arizona- swing by the Grand Canyon (which I have never seen though I’ve driven through Arizona three times) and maybe even up to Laughlin or Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is just the start. Travel is a new love of mine, which I feel like I have much to learn and I need to get my sea legs. I have come to the conclusion that I can fill my life with things- shoes, clothes, makeup and trinkets, but those things never fill you up, you always want more, the latest thing to chase. For me, at this chapter in my life, I’m ready to chase experiences, to feel and see new things. To collect photographs, laughs with friends and time with loved ones.
Being frugal in some respects of my life for the past few years have meant that I worked hard to pay off my student loan debt, usually working two jobs. I’ve packed my own lunches, had wine tasting parties at home, paid off my debt, worked side hustles and cut my expenses to empower what matters most to me now- aligning my spending with my passions, and cutting out the distractions. I save money when I can, where I can- to afford the things that truly matter to me. I love fashion, makeup and I love to snag a new Kate Spade handbag when I can- but I found that focusing on acquiring new shiny things doesn’t fulfill me. It’s just a bottomless pit.
So, over the next few months, you’ll (hopefully) see more of my travel stories on the blog, much as two years ago, I did race recaps. Maybe this will appeal to you- maybe it won’t. Maybe you’re not into travel in this season of your life- that’s okay, but I hope it will inspire you to put your spending where you heart matters. To stop funding things that don’t matter, or buying distractions that keep you from paying down the debt that weighs you down.
My adventures come to life on Instagram.
Travel, and time with loved ones is where my heart is right now- and frugality and debt free living is empowering me to follow that. Your frugality can empower to find what makes your heart flutter and then, fund it.
I have discovered that my money gets the most mileage when it’s actually paying for miles! Whether that’s running, or traveling- I love spending time with loved ones, exploring new scenery and I adore that feeling of checking out the guest soaps every time I check into a new hotel. (Yes, I geek out over the little bottles to see what the hotel offers).
I have the heart of an explorer- and I’ve worked for years to get debt free and save a bit too. That’s what this blog is for, to empower us to follow our hearts, and I hope that’s what it’s helping you do too. Thank you for being a part of my journey. My goal is to continue writing in ways that will help you follow your heart, pay down your debts and have fun along the way. If you’re not where I’m at, that’s OK, sometimes you have to embrace the gritty to get to the pretty, and you are in the drivers seat.
If you need some inspiration, I got your back- I’m sharing little tidbits of encouragement each Monday on Instagram to help us #LiveBeautiful as we pay down our debts, save up for our goals and live a more authentic life.
I know, I don’t talk about clipping coupons and crap, but I do want you to enjoy your beautiful journey as you incorporate frugality as a strategy to hit your personal goals- so stay inspired!