Reflections and Resolutions to Ring in the New Year

 

2013 was a bit of a game changer for us.

A Cruising Couple Adventure Travel

This exact time last year, we were home from Taiwan for a quick holiday visit. It was our first time returning to the US since we had moved to Taiwan a year and a half earlier, and an amazing reminder of why we do want to live closer to home one day. Most of our family and friends knew that our teaching contracts were ending in August. The conversation quickly then turned to our post-teaching plans. Where would we go, and what would we do? Luckily we had given it a bit of thought; we would apply for graduate school somewhere outside the US, preferably Austrlia. We were considering a few other volunteer programs and scholarships around the world, but the majority of our thoughts were dedicated to researching international masters programs (and subsequently ways to pay for them). We both always assumed we would go back to school, so it seemed like the sensible thing to do next. Looking back on it though, I don’t think either of us felt quite right about it. While we were telling our friends and family that grad school was the plan, we weren’t sure ourselves if we really wanted it to be the plan.

 

We rang in 2013 on a plane from Tokyo to Taipei. Just a few weeks later, we set off to Bali for our one-month annual leave, a bit of a bonus for renewing our teaching contracts with the same company. Bali was ridiculously amazing, because, well, it’s Bali! But more than anything else, it was a reminder as to why we began blogging in the first place. We rediscovered the thrill of blogging and how good of a team we are at it. We remembered what it was like to document new places, and to have a platform to reflect on and remember our travels. And even though both of us got ridiculously sick (thank you, Bali belly), everything about the trip felt so right.

 

It wasn’t long after our month in Bali that we found ourselves sipping wine in a private hot spring. It seems most of our best ideas come late at night over a bottle of wine, and this was no exception. We began discussing the whole school debacle. We had yet to fill out, or ever research, any applications—an obvious sign in itself. As we began talking about what we really wanted to do, we quickly came to the same conclusion: Bali. Not actually return to Bali, but we wanted the Bali experience. When reevaluated what we felt most passionate about, we were easily able to list: traveling, writing, and photography. We decided to shake hands on it. We would both give our alls to making the blogging thing work, at least for a year.

We received a lot of flack from people when we decided to treat our blog like a job. What do you mean you can’t go out tonight because you’re blogging? We received even more sarcastic remarks from people who honestly didn’t even know what a blog was. We stretched ourselves thin, often teaching upwards of 40 hours a week, only to come home and teach ourselves about SEO and marketing and social media.

 

I won’t say we ‘did it’, only that we are still doing it, slowly making our current dreams work for us. But it’s amazing to look back at only last New Year’s Eve, and to reflect on how much our goals have changed in just 12 months.

 

And though it took us 600 words, all we’re really trying to say is that we are really grateful for the past year, and really excited for the next one. In case you weren’t around for the whole shebang, here’s a bit of a roundup:

 

New Places Visited:

Indonesia

Prabanam

Hong Kong

Wine and Cheese Night Hong Kong Free Seating

Macau

Macau A Cruising Couple

Vietnam

Halong Bay A Cruising Couple

Costa Rica

Yoga Handstand

Panama

Relax

 

Biggest Accomplishments

 

Writing our eBook

We still don’t really know what we were thinking when we tackled this project, but we are so glad that we did. Not only was the process incredibly rewarding, we have received daily feedback from readers thanking us for the resource. That’s a pretty cool thing.

101ebookcoverlink

Saving $20,000

It was clear that we were going to need a bit of a buffer in our travel fund as we learned how to become professional bloggers and freelancers. We amped up our saving efforts while teaching English a bit between February and August, something we’re really grateful for now.

 

Making our first $90 on the blog

It may not have been a lot of money, but it was proof to us that we could do what we set out to.

 

Getting published

Dan had photos published, online, in print, and even for a campaign in Australia. (So keep your eyes peeled for a Taiwan hot spring photo if you’re in any elevators!) I also had my very first print article published. Small milestones on their own, but when combined, reaffirming proof that we are on the right path.

 

Eating stinky tofu

A Cruising Couple Stinky Tofu

It’s important to remember the small milestones along with the big ones. And when that small milestone is eating something that smells like sewage, you definitely count it!

 

Lessons Learned

Trust Yourself. More often than not, we are our greatest poison. Don’t let self-doubt hold you back—have faith in your power to succeed.

When you’re doing what it is you are meant to be doing, things have a way of working out.

There’s not such thing as ‘not enough time’. Stop saying you are too busy. Everyone’s busy. Prioritize what’s important to you, and then make time for those priorities.

 

Saying that we are excited for the New Year is a bit of an understatement. In many ways, 2013 was the preparation for all we have planned in 2014. We were going to be all secretive and surprise you guys with our travel plans as they happen, but we all know we’re not very good with secrets. Here’s a bit of a preview of what the next year looks like:

 

January 3-February 28: Mexico!! That’s right- we leave on Friday!

 

March 12-June 1: Europe. We fly in and out of Stockholm, but we aren’t limiting ourselves just to Sweden.

 

June __ – Undetermined: Brazil for the World Cup, baby! We’ve yet to book our airfare yet, though we definitely have tickets to the England vs. Uruguay game!

 

The Fall: Undecided. We have to have a bit of spontaneity, right? Though if we’re being honest here, we already have a lot of ideas.

 

Our Resolutions.

We used to say that we didn’t believe in resolutions. That’s not really all that true though. We are both very goal oriented people; as such we end up making resolutions for ourselves all year long. The New Year is a great time to make resolutions, as long as they are actually attainable. We’ll see how attainable ours turn out to be, but here they are as of now:

 

Stop eating processed food.

If we had a Trader Joes to follow us around the world, this one might be a lot easier. We aren’t very good at taking care of ourselves when we are on the road though; a lot of junk food we would never even consider eating in the US becomes fair game on a bus ride or in a hotel room. But this isn’t really who we are, and we want to make our health (and fitness) on the road a priority.

 

Start a photography website

Dan’s almost done with this one. Just a few more tweaks and he’ll be able to start the New Year with one of his goals already checked off!

 

Write three blog posts a week, assuming we have enough good content to talk about.

If we don’t incorporate this goal, we might be blogging about Costa Rica until it’s time to make resolutions for 2015! That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we do want to keep our content as relevant to our current travels as possible. With so many stories to share, it makes sense to blog more throughout the week!

 

Start making videos

I’m pretty sure this was part of our resolutions last year, but this year we are going to make it happen. We really want to start taking more travel videos, and devoting a bit of energy to our YouTube channel.  We know nothing about making video clips though, so if you have a few tips, send them our way!

 

Thank you for being a part of our 2013, and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas Cruise

 

What New Year’s resolutions do you have? Any travel plans for 2014? What was your favorite memory from 2013? Reflect and resolve with us in the comments below!

 

Meet: Casey Siemasko


Casey Siemasko is a blogger, content marketer, and co-founder of A Cruising Couple. She has been living and traveling outside of the US full-time since 2011. She finds her life inspiration in exploring the world and seeks to find the magic in the most ordinary of places.

34 Comments

  1. LOOOOOVE this post! So much value to everything you said that others should emulate, and as always, I’m re-inspired by your adventures and stellar successes along the way :) Cheers to all you’ve accomplished this year and to an even greater 2014!

    Reply
  2. YESSSSS my photo made it to the blog!!!! But seriously, unbelievably impressed with everything you two have accomplished in the past year:)

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    • 2013 certainly opened a lot of doors for us. Some doors that we never even knew existed :-) Happy New Year to you too and here’s to 2014!

      Reply
    • It was super fun meeting up with you and Yeison! I hope we get to see you two again soon :-) Maybe Taiwan??

      Reply
  3. Awesome post guys. It’s been an amazing year for you guys. What a milestone with so many great places visited. bet you feel fulfilled as travelers and bloggers. Wishing you all the best and more travel adventures in 2014!
    Agness recently posted…20 Unique Coffee Experiences From Around the World, Part 2My Profile

    Reply
    • Thanks Agness! We’ve been experienced a lot, but we are really looking forward to what 2014 has to offer :-)

      Reply
  4. Wow, what an incredible year you guys have had! It’s really inspiring to see what you’ve managed to accomplish in 12 months, not just personally but also professionally as well. It’s been great getting to be part of your journey in 2013, and I am really excited to see what you get up to in 2014 (eeee! Mexico!). Maybe our paths will cross!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Captured Moments: Our 50 Favorite Photos of 2013My Profile

    Reply
    • I hope we get the chance to get meet up! Judging by your photos you had a pretty stellar 2013 as well!!!

      Reply
  5. Hi Casey Siemasko,
    Thank you so much for making remember New Year celebration. I well remember last new year 2012. I couldn’t celebrate new year due to some personal reason’s so now on this New year 2014. I’m so excited :) & one more thing. I love these Beautiful pictures which you have shared Casey Siemasko :)

    Reply
    • I’m glad you’ll be celebrating 2014 this year! I hope it’s a good one :-)

      Reply
  6. Great round-up of 2013 – I’m excited to follow your journey this year. Funny reading about how you’re leaving teaching in Taiwan behind to begin travel and blog full-time as we plan to do the opposite in September 2014!
    Amy recently posted…Cost of Living in Chiang Mai for One MonthMy Profile

    Reply
  7. You guys! This is so exciting! Your ebook is most definitely something to be proud of, and I know exactly what you mean about making your first $90 with the blog, even though it doesn’t sound like much. Also, we’ll still be in Europe when you come this way; hopefully we can meet up! Yay! (Too many exclamation marks!)

    “Prioritize what’s important to you, and then make time for those priorities.” Love this by the way. So simple, but so powerful.
    Sam recently posted…Travel Diary: 2013, Weeks #51 & #52My Profile

    Reply
    • No such thing as too many exclamation marks :-) I feel like I somehow end up with smily faces after every sentence. As soon as we’ve got our Europe itinerary planned out we’ll let you know. We really don’t even know what we are doing next week after arriving in Mexico, so it may be a while :-p

      Reply
  8. It looks like you are going to be pretty busy in 2014. I’m so jealous about the World Cup, it would have been simply amazing for us too to be there… not sure yet what and where will go, but maybe we can meet up somewhere in the world, we learnt that the world is actually a ‘small place’ ;) Have a good 2014 guys! x
    Franca recently posted…How A Year of Travelling Changed Us For GoodMy Profile

    Reply
    • We are super excited to visit Brazil during the World Cup. I can’t even begin to imagine how it will be. Wherever you end up in 2014 I hope you enjoy it! :-)

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  9. Happy New Year guys!
    I’m also planning to take my blogging a step further in 2014… and as of tomorrow, I’ll officially be a freelance writer:)

    Reply
  10. Yes, we hope to get teaching jobs in Taiwan to start in Sept 2014 so that we can replenish our travel funds before heading to Canada and America. We’ll be travelling in Taiwan in May so if we like it we’ll make the final decision to teach there. While Andrew is already a qualified teacher in the uk I have no experience (just a degree and journalism masters) so I’m a bit nervous. I’m going to take a TEFL course in the summer; we’ve been reading your e-book in preparation too!
    Amy recently posted…Cost of Living in Chiang Mai for One MonthMy Profile

    Reply
    • That’s awesome you guys will be traveling to Taiwan! I hope you find the ebook helpful and be sure to let us know if you have any questions :-) AHHH I’m so excited you’re going to Taiwan!!! :-p

      Reply
  11. This has been quite a year for you two and you should be so proud of all you’ve accomplished! It’s been so fun to follow your journey and I can’t wait to see what you get up to in the new year! I’m moving to Europe in July, so I’m just going to miss you guys there, but hopefully our paths will cross one of these days :-)
    Heather recently posted…Top Ferreting Experiences of 2013My Profile

    Reply
    • Thanks Monica! I don’t think we realized what we were getting into (like many of our adventures in 2013) when we started, but we are very proud of how it turned out :-)

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    • Absolutely! Our plans are pretty loose at the moment so I hope we’ll be able to find a way to cross paths :-)

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    • Thanks Freya! I can’t wait to see what you get into in 2014 :-)

      Reply
  12. Congratulations, you two! It sounds like you’ve had a very successful 2013! I’m looking forward to reading about more of your adventures in 2014. Sounds like it’s going to be a good one!
    Carrie recently posted…Photo Essay: Where I Traveled to in 2013My Profile

    Reply
    • Thanks Carrie! We are really looking forward to it :-)

      Reply

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