Back in 2016 when I started ArtofLivingOntheRoad.com aka ALOR.blog Paolo and I had just hit the road as nomads. I’d come so far from Grove City, Ohio that I couldn’t wait to share my journey with family and friends. Thanks to Paolo’s photography it wasn’t long before our adventure gained an audience beyond family and friends. Right about the time ALOR.blog topped 10,000 visitors I started noticing two themes in the feedback we were getting.
The first, was that our life looked like a dream.
Growing up in the midwest pre-social media, I understood these reactions. Many of the people reading ALOR shared my roots. For us #Grovetucky kids, being able to make it in New York City was surprising in and of itself. Plus, back in Ohio, I was the girl who never really fit in, or stood out either. Yet here I was a New York Career woman being swept off my feet by a handsome Italian Photographer to travel the world as a nomad. My life felt like a movie and I poured that feeling into my writing. Be it wrong or right hearing our life looked like a fairytale wasn’t surprising, it was how I felt too.
It was the second camp of feedback, that woke me up, made me stop blogging and start thinking. Was I just bragging?
People had started reaching out directly through social media asking personal questions. How can you afford to travel so much? What do you do for a living? How do you find work on the road? It wasn’t until a classmate I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 reached out to ask “what do you two think of bitcoin?” that I realized there was an underlying assumption we were independently wealthy. I realized no matter what photos or travel tips I shared what people really wanted to know was how. How on earth could Paolo and I afford to travel the way we did.
What No One Knew
I had soul-crushing credit card debt for years before I met Paolo, but no one knew. No one knew how depressed I was over it. No one knew I started seeing a therapist to deal with the depression. No one knew how hard I worked to pull myself out of debt. How I changed my spending habits, stopped shopping entirely and moved into a 200 square foot apartment for the cheap rent in NYC. No one knew I got rid of that debt just in the nick of time. Right before meeting Paolo, a consummate saver. A man who when asked “how did you save so much money” said “I just didn’t spend it.”
No one knew because I hadn’t told them.
What Made Me Want to Start Blogging Again
When Paolo and I got married travel was already our priority. When I started blogging, I was open about our choice to sacrifice buying a home, having kids, even having pets. However, until now I’ve never shared the details of how deep our sacrifices go. Until now, I’ve never shared the fact that Paolo and I don’t order food in or go out to movies. That I cook three meals a day with the exception of one meal out every other week. That we no longer buy new clothes until the old ones have more holes than I can mend. Until now, I’ve not shared that I’ve been cutting my own hair for years. Until now, I haven’t shared how hard we struggled with working together at first. Or that we stubbornly stuck with it because we knew the reward was mobility.
By sharing the joy we got from traveling without sharing the sacrifices behind it, I was unintentionally propagating the myth that travel is something for the wealthy. Until now, I haven’t shared that while we didn’t start out as a wealthy couple, our flexible lifestyle and countless sacrifices over time have put us so far ahead that by 2019 we became financially free.
If I can do this, a woman who once had over $10,000 of credit card debt, others can too. This is what made me want to start writing again. Knowing if someone else is dreaming of seeing the world, I might be able to help them see it for themselves rather than just sharing my view of it.
Is Blogging Worth It?
With Instagram being dominated by Influencers and Facebook and Twitter by politics, I think it’s the perfect time to be asking, is blogging worth it? I’ve decided my answer is yes. Right now, blogging is worth it. But only if what I or any blogger writes is pure, honest and helpful. Or at the very least delightfully entertaining because these are trying times. We all need help right now. Help to see the positive. Help to pay the bills. Help to stay motivated. Help to see past COVID-19 to a day when we can once again, shake hands, hug friends and hop flights without fear.
Shifting Blogging Directions on ALOR
If you follow ALOR.blog moving forward, you won’t see any more posts about Portland, Oregon because we no longer live or work there. Thanks to Paolo and I having the-worst-possible-timing-ever our move to Italy was planned right in the middle of COVID-19 and we are in fact nomads again. Just like we were when I started ALOR.
My plan to breathe new life into ALOR is to try and be helpful. To help others, particularly women get out of debt and on the path to financial freedom. What you will see are posts about lifestyle flexibility, living lean and creative ways to save rather than spend money. I won’t stop there either. I’ll work to connect the dots. From financial freedom to freedom of time and from freedom of time to finding purpose. If it sounds lofty, it is. These are my goals. Blogging is a work in progress. My purpose in the making.
I’ll still be sharing posts about our travels because, at the end of the day, one of the things that keeps me motivated is the way Paolo sees the world. He has always taken time to see the beauty that others pass right by. I’m convinced it’s why he chose me. If I can share a bit of his view of the world mixed with how we’re able to see so much of it then ALOR.blog might just be useful AND delightfully entertaining.