career break

Busyness is a good hiding place

October 22, 2017
iceland glacier

Travel, and travel with others give you different perspectives and ways to view things in life. Looking over my journal, I learned a lot on this year’s six month sabbatical – what I value, my strengths, who I am outside of my career, areas to work on and how I want my every day life to be. The first lesson is, busyness is a good hiding place. Let me explain…

A while back

While completing my Masters degree in library and information science, not only did I study while working full-time, I was involved in conference organising committees, blogging, reading blogs and participating on Twitter, and organising local events for other new information professionals. I fully immersed myself into my new career, learning all I could, and from whoever would share. At the end of 2013 when I had finally finished my Masters degree, I was burned out.

I recognised then, the need to slow down a bit. A career isn’t built in a day. I had learned more about my limits and what I could take on. But when I started to feel a bit better, I put commitments back on my plate. Or rather, commitments found me, like sorting out my Mum’s estate after she passed in November 2014.

I filled the space. I kept busy. I kept busy because I knew tasks had to be done.

The first step is noticing

Within the first two months on sabbatical, I noticed a few things.

  1. I talked about work far more than others in my tour group.
  2. When conversation turned to normal things like hobbies and sport or books, I didn’t have a good sense of myself in relation to any of those things.
  3. I didn’t really know who I was anymore, only what I did for a living and that I’d worked my toosh off to be successful.

These are captured in the following snippet from my journal…

12.04.2017 – “My mind reels with self doubt, fear and almost a longing for home. The sound of the waves provide some comfort. The beach looks and feels like home, but the smell is different. The salt air is welcoming. I was feeling down yesterday – little confidence and a fear of being unlikeable to our tour group. What comes as no surprise is that I think and talk about work related topics for too much, much more than perhaps all the others in our group. I’m yet to let go, be fearless and be the me I had once been. I worry too much. I worry about every damn thing and I can’t seem to break out.

The ‘holy crap’ moment

We were staying with friends in Brasil when I was reading ‘Present over Perfect’ by Shauna Niequist. I highlighted these passages in my Kindle.

“…my ability to get-it-done is what kept me around. I wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t have a special or delicate skill. But I could get stuff done, and it seemed to that ability was my entrance into the room into which I wanted to be invited.” (p. 41)

“The chaos is all me, as much as I don’t want to admit it. I create it, am drawn to it, kick it up when things get too quiet, because when I’m quiet I have to own up to the fact that quiet terrifies me, that all my life I’ve been wrapping myself in noise and chaos the way Pigpen is all wrapped up in dust and dirt. And that noise protects me from feeling all the things I don’t want to feel.” (p. 142)

Sound familiar? These passages did to me. I recognised a pattern I had been in for years. Probably since I was a teenager when my life then, crashed around me.

What about this…

“What powers our work when it’s no longer about addiction to achievement?” (p. 216)

Yep, holy sh*t, alright.

Enough was enough. Changes need to be made.

The real issue with busyness

The real issue with my busyness and inability to have some space in my life was that I was afraid I wasn’t enough.

I was afraid of…

…not doing enough….

….not giving enough…..

….not achieving enough.

And so because of this fear, I was also afraid to just be, experience and face my thoughts and feelings.

Being busyness was a good hiding place to skip over what was really going on and keep producing.

My husband knew me before I built my career in library and information science. I wanted that girl back. I had to re-learn who I was so I can have more meaningful connections with others, experiences in life.

What I learned on sabbatical was that I AM ENOUGH. And I am more than what I do for a living.

Take away my career, and I’m still a person who is still worth hanging out with, still deserves to be loved.

Not working for six months was the scariest and best thing I’ve ever done.

Be comfortable with discomfort

Now, I’m learning to be comfortable with discomfort. I’m trying to have real weekends and leaving room for spontaneity, actually switch off and be more available to those close to me. I’ve started back at barre classes and look forward to being more involved in that community.

When life isn’t so full and so full of busyness, there is space. Mental, physical and emotional space to just be. Learn, be in tune with feelings, thoughts. Sit with them and feel exposed and vulnerable. Because that’s where life is meant to be truly experienced.

Being busy isn’t life. Constant achieving and productivity isn’t life.

Experiencing the space in between is living.

Over to you…

Do you think busyness might be taking over your life? Is your self-worth tied to what you do for a living, rather than who you are?

To explore this a bit more, here are a few journaling prompts to get started….

  • If you didn’t work for say, a month, or work was somehow taken away from you, how would you spend your time?
  • If you took a professional commitment off your plate, how would you feel?
  • Choose a time in the week when you’d normally work on something related to your job or career. Don’t do that thing. Document your experience.

P.S. This post’s feature image was taken at Skaftafell National Park, Iceland. September 2017.

Podcasts I listened to while on sabbatical

October 15, 2017
kerry cliffs ireland

In the months leading up to the six month sabbatical, I started to dip into podcasts. Regularly listening to podcasts was a stop-start process of trying to find the most suitable times to listen to them. When I started my job an hour away from home and the campus shuttle bus took over 1 1/2 hours to arrive at the furthest campus, Toowoomba, I was able to use these pockets of transit times to listen to podcasts. 

Some of my most peaceful, mind wandering times on sabbatical were in transit. You couldn’t do much while sitting on a bus, car, train or plane; you’re stuck in a seat for some time. I usually get a bit of motion sickness on a bus, I can’t look down and read a book on a bus, for example. So podcasts became my go-to for making the time productive by learning new topics and about other people’s experiences of self-care, self-improvement, discovery and careers.

There were a few podcasts I started to listen to, then dropped, but here is the list of podcasts I regularly listened to while on sabbatical:

Colorful Eats

This podcast is mainly nutrition related, but also dives into topics on healthy, non-toxic living and emotional well-being. The hosts bring their own experiences into the conversation and provide inspiration and tips based on what has worked or not worked for them. Also being nutritionists, the tips they share are grounded in their professional knowledge.

Episodes I’ve enjoyed so far: Episodes 28 and 29 – Detoxing Your Life; Episode 30 – Stop the Glorification of Busy; Episode 35 – Stress-less Entertaining with Lauren Kelp; Episode 45 – Slowing Down is the New Hustle.

Nourish + Flourish

Nourish + Flourish is also a wellness type podcast that takes a holistic approach covering mind, body and soul. Topics include self-care, finding calm and contentment, creativity, curiosity and happiness.

Episodes I’ve enjoyed so far: Episode 12 – How podcasting has helped us be better people; Episode 14 – What does self-care look like for you?; Episode 19 – Can yoga really make that much of a difference?; Episode 28 – The power of female friendships and how to nurture them.

The Couragemakers

This podcast is simply inspiring. I have enjoyed listening to other people’s stories in becoming themselves, going out to pursue unconventional lives or paths to achieving what they seek in life. The host says it beautifully – “…a weekly podcast for creative and passionate, mission-driven doers, makers and world-shakers designed to inspire and encourage fellow courage makers, and spark a movement of women who are choosing themselves.” From a woman who took a personal sabbatical just to draw, to a mathematician slash comedian, this podcast bares all – the grit, the hurdles and what makes them tick.

Episodes I’ve enjoyed so far: Episode 49 – Quiet Bravery & Conscious Living with Vana Feliciano; Episode 50 – Living a Creative Life & The Power of Making Things with Nicki Rochead; Episode 51 – Getting real about Trailblazing with Katie Snyder; Episode 52 – Combining Passions & Being Excited to Be You with Fran Day.


I’m intrigued by blogs and blogging (one reason why I have a blog) – their potential influence, a way to build community and what blogging can do for the individual. So ProBlogger has become a bit of a staple in my regular podcast listening. I have little interest in monetising Notebook + Tea at this stage but I do enjoy learning about blogging and the incredible world of bloggers. ProBlogger definitely hits the mark for me. This, and the fact the host is Australian, Darren Rowse, I find his style accessible, easy to digest and somewhat familiar. It’s amazing what an Aussie accent can make you  feel while away from home.

All of Darren’s episodes are stand outs, but here are the ones that have helped me the most: Episode 157 – Perfection is a Fairytale – An interview with Brian Fanzo; Episode 158 – How to Get Moving Again When You’re Feeling Stuck; Episode 166 – Editorial Strategy – 11 Factors to Consider When Shaping the Content Strategy for Your Blog; Episode 186 – A Step-By-Step Guide to How I Write a Blog Post.

Straight and Curly

Definitely a favourite podcast of mine, these Aussie women are truly inspiring with what they have achieved. Their podcast is ‘make yourself a cuppa for a chat’ on a variety of topics related to self-improvement. The hosts road test life hacks and report back; discuss their experiences with everyday life challenges and hurdles and share their tips.

Episodes I’ve enjoyed include: Episode 81 – How We Eat; Episode 79 – Life Hack Experiment – Single-tasking; Episode 64 – Decision Fatigue; Episode 63 – Striving vs Life, and plenty more.

For me, listening to podcasts is being mindful and taking control of what I listen to, and not just turning on the radio out of habit. My focus during and now after the sabbatical is to take better care of myself and be inspired by others in how they spend their time doing what matters to them and how they balance different interests and work roles.

Home again, I can fit podcasts into my day on my work commute. When I get into the car, I select a podcast episode that’s between 40 minutes and hour long and off I go. The shorter episodes I can listen to during lunch breaks or pockets of idle time at home in the evenings or weekends.

Do you listen to podcasts? How do you fit them into your day?


P.S. This post’s feature image was taken at the Kerry Cliffs, Ireland. June 2017.

Home, sweet home: my first week back after sabbatical

October 8, 2017
Sunday afternoons between 3pm and dinner time is one of my favourite times of the week. I’m winding down from a productive weekend of de-cluttering, spending time with local friends yesterday, and then meal planning, grocery shopping, baking this week’s morning tea, a bit of house and yard work today.
I’m finally sitting back at my desk with my laptop, the Supercars Bathurst 1000 race on the telly. I love these weekend afternoons of nothingness and pottering around the house. My husband and I have been home just over a week, after six months of overseas travel. It’s good to be home. Here’s how the rest of the week went.

A family welcome

We arrived back in Brisbane after our six month traveling sabbatical on the Friday late-afternoon and were met at the airport with my husband’s Mum and sister. Upon climbing out of the car in our driveway, the kids (our nieces and nephews) were firing party poppers at us and everywhere else. A ‘welcome home’ banner was taped to the back deck above the doors. Dinner was already in the oven and drinks were quick to come out of the fridge. The house was full. Laughter, stories, banter and chat filled our living room and back deck. I find much joy in seeing our house like this. A home to more people than just the two of us. I loved every moment of it.

The next day

I was awake at 4.30am. Darn jet lag. We resolved to having our favourite breakfast out, at a place less than a kilometre away called ‘Putia’. We are very spoiled here at home. The best brekky in Brisbane.
scrambled eggs on toast

Breakfast at the local – scrambled eggs on sourdough and potato beignets. Mmmmm….

We had a 1st Birthday Party to attend on the south side of town in the morning, then I dropped my husband off at a mate’s place for the AFL Grand Final. I was content to spend the afternoon at home, setting the place to rights – buying some groceries, cleaning the bathroom, tidying. I had a low-key catch up and beer with a close friend in the evening.


I rose out of bed on Saturday morning feeling overwhelmed. As I looked around the house at the boxes we packed our stuff into prior to leaving for overseas, I couldn’t believe we had that much stuff. I had grown content with my limited possessions and wardrobe I had been carrying around for the last six months. Although ready to not be living out of a bag, I wasn’t ready to contemplate that I might have a larger wardrobe or more stationery than I needed (though I found out I still have a weakness for beautiful notebooks and journaling supplies).
I started de-cluttering straight away. I’m not even giving myself a chance to grow an attachment to stuff again. I need to do this quickly. The spaces most ripe for de-cluttering so far has been the wardrobe, digital storage on the laptop and books.

Back to work

I was fortunate to have a full-time, permanent position at a university prior to us leaving on sabbatical, and that my six months away was approved by the powers that be. These circumstances made coming home less stressful. Pay day is this week.
I only worked Thursday and Friday last week as I wanted to ease myself back into things. I knew I’d also still be fighting jet lag at that point. The library staff held a lovely ‘welcome home’ morning tea for me (seriously, libraries will take any excuse for cake). I sorted through email and caught up with my supervisor about the major things happening and current priorities for the library.
In library land, there is a online professional community mainly via blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter. Over the last few months, I didn’t keep up with any of it, apart from responding to a few direct mentions on Twitter and one Skype meeting. I intentionally shut myself off so as to fulfil the purpose of the sabbatical and learn more about myself.
On my first day back, I felt my brain couldn’t keep up, couldn’t process all the information I was taking in during conversations and via the countless emails that told the story of what had been happening. I started to doubt my abilities and my level of passion, drive and overall care factor for my work. I wondered whether I belonged there anymore and if I had what it took to be a productivity ninja, switched on, on the ball and do a brilliant job. Then, my second day….
….was much better. I realised I have a different lens to my work now, and that this is a good thing. I assisted some colleagues on a conference submission, talking through the idea, clarifying it, shaping it and giving the submission focus. I could hardly believe the words coming out of my mouth. I was on fire! Afterwards, I thought ‘yep, I’m totally fine. I’ll be ok’.

Definitely a common thread in coming home after six months away has been overwhelm. I expected this. Easing my way back to every day routine and new home and self-care habits will be a process and will take time. But I love being home. There’s no place like home. And no place like Queensland, Australia.




Life after sabbatical: what’s the story from here?

September 26, 2017
iceland volcano

I’ve placed far too much pressure on this post. My first in a long while, too long a while, I had to draft with pen and paper. This post has been on my mind for weeks. Yet every time I’ve had a quiet moment, I’ve felt too knackered to take the laptop out…or too scared.

I drafted this post sitting in a campsite common room in Iceland while our devices were charging. Hot chocolate brought a welcome treat and much needed warmth. Iceland, though only at day five into our road trip, had already become a highlight over this whole, six month adventure. I now sit in a hotel room in London, with a cup of tea in bed and enjoying a slow start to the day. We arrive home, back to Brisbane at the end of the week.

iceland volcano

Taking in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.

I’m so excited to be going home. But terrified as well.

The sabbatical has been a journey, not only physically, but one of personal growth, understanding and acceptance. The sabbatical has delivered by the way of scratching the travel itch, personal development, emotional recharge and mental reset. And it is for all these reasons I’m afraid to go home. I’m afraid of every day life going back to the way it was before the sabbatical. I’m not talking about making significant changes such as a new job or a move, but the small habits that amount to time away from what is really important. I don’t want mindless TV watching, social media scrolling or more than one mid-week takeaway. But on reflection of those fears, those things were symptoms of burn out. Emotional and mental burnout and a life that was too full. I’m not going back there.

I have a better understanding of what I like and don’t like, and what my life and hectic schedule of commitments were doing to my well being – mentally, emotionally, my relationships and what I was achieving (or not achieving) each day. One thing I do know now is, I can’t keep going the way I was before the sabbatical.

So all this thinking about how I’d like my life to be after the sabbatical, I’ve thought about the next chapter for Notebook + Tea. Where do I take my story? Where do I take Notebook + Tea? What will I write about? Where do I pick up from?

The answer to the last question is right here.

I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself over the last six months. Last night my husband and I caught up with a fab bunch of people we met in our first two weeks in South America. The girls and I reflected on how much we had learned about ourselves through travel and how powerful travel is for self-discovery and acceptance. I revealed that not working for these six months (apart from my conference presentation in the UK) has been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. Not working. Not being associated with libraries, doing library work, checking library world Twitter every day, work emails. Nada. Who was this Alisa girl outside of libraries? Turns out she’s a pretty cool chick. 😉 We ‘cheers’ to that.

The sabbatical gave me head space, time away from the ‘every day’ and the pressure brought in from work, social media and that general sense of conformity or the ‘shoulds’. The sabbatical gave me physical space in that I’ve been living out of a bag of limited possessions and wardrobe for nearly six months. My schedule has been cleared and I have a clean slate going forward. I’m slightly cautious of that clean slate, determined to integrate and put into practice all that I’ve learned, realised and listed as wanting more of in my life.

I’ve enjoyed this extra space so much, I want to keep some. Where my story goes from here is sharing how I make space, keep it and ‘be’, be able to breathe, process and experience in the space.

Life after sabbatical will be about slower, more intentional and simpler living.

Making space

Physical decluttering of our home started in preparation of the sabbatical. We had a garage to tidy and make room for a mate who house-sitted for us; wardrobes to put away; bedside tables to empty and a home office to pare down. I did some digital decluttering on the road. I sorted through Evernote, email inboxes and folders, files on my computer, and will continue when I arrive back home. Making space will also include my schedule, commitments and what goes back into our home and wardrobes. I aim to make space to take better care of myself such as taking the time to plan our meals for the week and attending more barre classes (soooo looking forward to these!). Making space is about feeling lighter and able to make better decisions.

When I started my new job at the beginning of the year, I purged my work wardrobe and got rid of anything I didn’t feel good in or had held onto for too many years. This process left me with what I loved to wear, what fit me and what I’d purchased from the university’s corporate wear catalogue. I LOVE my limited work wardrobe, and have (almost) enjoyed my limited wardrobe on the road. I packed multiple layers that mixed and matched depending on the climate and overall, this has worked a treat. I mean to continue this process throughout my home after sabbatical.

‘One thing at a time’ will be my mantra.

flamingoes in bolivia

Braving the windy cold in Bolivia.

Keeping space

This part is largely about priorities, habits, setting boundaries and taking pressure off myself to do all the things. I need to be conscious about what goes on my plate. As I am passionate about my work, I’m easily taken by new ideas and projects. ‘One thing at a time’ will be my mantra. Keeping work at work during the week will be challenging, but absolutely necessary if I’m going to embrace the other parts of me. I will be enlisting some assistance from a few colleagues, family and friends to achieve this. Keeping space will help me to be more present, available to my relationships, as well as headspace to work on my writing projects including Notebook + Tea.

‘Be’ in the space

My life before the sabbatical didn’t have enough space to just be. Thinking back, everything seemed rushed. I thought I had slowed down a bit, but not even close to enough. Being in the space, to me, is a guilt-free cup of tea on the back deck, or a spontaneous chat and drink with a friend, even mid-week! Being in the space I create is about feeling, being exposed and vulnerable, sitting with emotions, doing nothing sometimes and free from all the ‘shoulds’.

The journals I’ve kept on my travels will serve as reminders and I look forward to going through them again and pick out details and lessons to share with you. Settling back into routine (oh, thank the Lord!) will also be a process in itself. I certainly don’t estimate the challenges of re-entry that lay before me.

Though physically exhausted, I’m happy with where I am right now. I’m happy with all that I’ve achieved, seen and done on sabbatical. I feel so blessed to have been able to do this with my best mate and husband. These past six months have been insane, incredible, epic. A deeply personal, life altering experience.

I’d love to hear about any questions you might have about my sabbatical – how to plan and do one, my experiences….give me a shout! xo

Sabbatical overwhelm

March 14, 2017

I’m writing this on a Saturday morning. I did half an hour of yoga earlier. Part of me was screaming, ‘What?! You have no time for yoga! There’s too much to do!’ The other part of me, fortunately, won by reasoning with this madwoman that I really needed to move, stretch a bit and put my mind together to calmly face my ‘to do’ list.

There is a lot to do. I haven’t done a ‘over a cuppa’ for February because there’s just been too much on mind. But be rest assured, I’ve had a cuppa beside while I wrote this post. 😉

Before I leave…

My departure marks a deadline for a research output. I need to write one more literature review and these bad boys aren’t easy. Literature reviews never seem to get any easier, no matter how many I do. A literature review is a piece of writing that identifies key studies, discussion points and developments within a field of study. Literature reviews tells a story of what’s been done to reveal the gaps where the current or future studies will fit. Enough about literature reviews.

Some will know I am chair of an advisory committee to the board of my professional association. My vice-chair and the other committee members will no doubt be fine without me. I’ll be on email, though sporadically. But there’s the 2016 annual report and a review of the committee’s manual, and an update to be provided to the board before I leave. I also need to brief my vice-chair on the duties I can and can’t do while away.

A presentation proposal I submitted to a conference in the UK earlier this year has been accepted. Another task added to the list, as I need to have the presentation almost done so there this not much to do on the road before submission in June. This is a very exciting opportunity to make my first international speaking appearance and hopefully make some new connections. I will be presenting on behalf of the advisory committee and the professional association (Australian Library and Information Association) about the issues around engaging the new generation of library and information professionals into conversation about our practice and contribution to the research literature. What’s perhaps even more exciting is that *the* Librarian of Congress is the opening keynote. I will be in such awe!

Then there’s the bits and pieces of travel planning and preparation, like

  • spanish homework and practice
  • compiling and making copies of travel documents
  • finishing tidying and clearing our house for the house sitter
  • organise money arrangements
  • appointments with the exercise physiologist and physio
  • packing and buying last minute things
  • etc

…and all this in addition to the full time job. Phew!

 Feeling overwhelmed

All this past week I’ve felt I needed a paper bag to breathe into every time I looked at my ‘to do’ list. I haven’t felt this overwhelmed in a long time – too much to do, so little time. And I’m known as a productivity ninja. But over the years, I’ve come to recognise this pattern of overwhelm, or train of thought that happens when I reach this point.

Feeling overwhelmed starts with ‘OMG’, followed by procrastination and distracting myself (cue Instagram, Twitter or anything else that’s shiny and has caught my eye) because I can hardly believe I’ll either 1) get on top of it all, and 2) make a deadline.

The biggest reason why I feel overwhelmed is because I don’t believe. This, together with my insanely high expectations of myself that I can’t see a way to scale them back to a normal and healthy level and focus on the ‘done’. Even ‘done’ takes time to achieve.

Here’s an example – literature reviews. I have a love/hate relationship with the little ba*tards. I hate research when I find myself in tears on the floor of my study because I fear I can’t do the task. I’m frustrated that I haven’t broken through the muddiness of theory and data and nothing makes sense. This is similar to how I feel when I’m overwhelmed.

Breaking through the ‘overwhelm’

I’ve come to recognise overwhelm as a break through point. This point is when I’m about to hit my stride. I finally stop with the snow balling thoughts and pull my head in. When I feel overwhelmed, I try a few different things.

  • Don’t look at my ‘to do’ list every 20 minutes, or just frequently, or try to re-arrange the ‘to do’ list so it looks even more organised. This doesn’t get sh*t done. The list ain’t going anywhere, that’s why I wrote it down in the first place. Unless there are things I can push back or take off that list.
  • Think about why I feel overwhelmed. Is it the volume? Is it my own expectations? A deadline? Combination of all three?
  • Have a cup of tea. It’s amazing how much my mindset can change if I just pause, take a breath and have a cuppa.

When we become anxious or overwhelmed, our minds can start believing our thoughts, and these thoughts, when given more and more attention, can snowball out of control. We start to believe those thoughts. Our thoughts are not facts. So the next time you feel overwhelmed, have a cuppa, think about what’s on your plate with a more rational mind and then proceed with a plan of action to tackle that list.

2017, bring it on!

January 5, 2017

A new year brings optimism, opportunity and a fresh start. I’ve been looking forward to 2017. Excited, yet overwhelmed by what’s in store. Keeping well and achieving goals will look like challenging my self-belief (and growing some), balancing and managing my energy across all I have planned, committed to and want to do, and generally, smashing some goals.

After spending the better part of last year wondering about my next career step, next fitness goals and patiently awaiting for 2017, a couple of big, big things came together in 2016’s final weeks.

The first thing is a new job which I start next week. Unexpected opportunity, but awesome.

The second thing is having made the first travel bookings of what will be a sabbatical.

Yes. A sabbatical. A career break. Overseas.

A new job and a sabbatical this year?

Well, the two coincided. The sabbatical has been in the works for over 18 months or so. But I couldn’t, not have applied for this job. The job description could have been written for me, if the comments from colleagues and peers were to go by. And I really hope it is. I feel like this job is an indication of having ‘arrived’ in my career and profession, stepping into ‘big girl shoes’. I no longer feel like an early career professional. I’m now a professional who is hired not only to experience and grow but also to impart my knowledge and expertise and make an impact.

I was up front with my plans in the interview, and was prepared for my plans to be a deal breaker. All I could do was be honest and put my plans on the table, out in the open. I was fine with not getting the job because 1) I knew the sabbatical is absolutely the right thing to do for me and my husband and I’s relationship, and 2) if I didn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. Turns out, one of the interview panel had taken six months off in the past and she described it as the best thing she’d done for her career. I was not expecting that!

I’ll explain more about the sabbatical in another post, but for now, I’ll just say I’m terrified of this trip, which is all the more reason to break out of the comfort zone and the ‘every day’ routine, to just ‘be’ for a while and come out the other side a better person and a more effective professional.

My word for this year

This year is full steam ahead and is about enjoying the jigsaw puzzle pieces that have finally fallen into place. My word for 2017 is ‘oomph’.



It’s time to embrace and enjoy, be present and commit to all that is important to me. This includes bringing out my best self when it comes to my new job and facing challenges during the travel adventures. I’m ready to give my all.

By living with this word, I hope that by the end of 2017 I will have:

  • developed strategies for sticking to my priorities and not allowing myself to over commit
  • achieved more by focusing on less stuff (not be so scattered)
  • more writing done
  • built self-confidence

My 2017 would be awesome if I make strides in the new job, make the most of the sabbatical by letting adventures unfold, love each day, keep a journal (and this blog) and still have energy leftover at the end of the year for all the homely things I like to do for Christmas such as baking, decorating and hosting family and friends.

Goals for 2017

  1. publish six blog posts a month
  2. climb Machu Picchu
  3. present at a professional conference
  4. make at least one, behind the scenes, international library visit
  5. keep a travel journal
  6. limit the number of freak outs when travels don’t follow the plan

If you haven’t set a direction for 2017 or set some goals, I recommend setting yourself up somewhere quiet for half an hour with a cup of tea, or other beverage of your choosing (mine was a glass of red 🙂 ). Try not to think too hard as this is more about taking a pause to consider your intentions for this year – the ‘what’, not the ‘how’. Consider what might be different for you if you embraced your word; what might stop you and how you can overcome obstacles such as bad habits or patterns of thinking.

I wish you all the very best for 2017.

What do you hope to achieve? Are there any changes you’re looking to make? What new habits will you develop to better take care of yourself?