A New Year

by Kim on January 1, 2016 · 22 comments

On the last day of last year I went down to the beach, spread a blanket and stared off into the Pacific Ocean. In my journal I sketched out my annual reflection, an internal recap of where I’d been and where I was going.

Sayulita

In Mexico at that time there was a popular toy, little plastic men that you could shoot into the air and they’d waft down to earth on tiny parachutes. As the last light seeped from the sky above the ocean, I looked above me and saw a dozen of these toys drifting towards the ground. The toys glided downward in the breeze and grew bigger and bigger, life-sized, and then landed on the beach. Real people that I was sure, just moments earlier, had been plastic molds. It felt symbolic, somehow, a sign that my certainty could not always be trusted, that there were chambers and dimensions and beating hearts in forms that I was convinced were hollow and lifeless.

In a lot of ways, 2015 was the most important year of my life. I birthed not only a daughter but also a book, or at least the promise of one. Brian and I stopped traveling and moved to Ohio– the state that we come from but have not lived in for many years. I have been flung with such force into this new way of being that I haven’t properly digested it all (Here is a fact: no one tiptoes into motherhood).

2015 was heavy with transition. The biggest transition of all, though, has been internal. I spent the first three quarters of the year fighting my own ego. An ego that begged to go home and then, upon arriving, loudly proclaimed that I could not live a creative, inspired life in the midwestern town I came from. An ego that claimed that I’d outgrown this place, though life was showing me otherwise. But I am learning to accept my own happiness, even if, just like those skydivers, it took awhile for my brain to recognize what it was actually seeing.

If 2015 was a year of turning and tuning inward, than 2016 will be a year of creatively bursting forward. During my pregnancy I lost my creative spark. I contribute this to directing my energy towards growing a baby, but I did not feel like myself without it and I was afraid that I’d lost it forever. But it’s back and it feels fantastic to have that buzz again, that itching just underneath my skin that begs me to just sit down and write for godsakes.

I have a lot of work to do in 2016. And I will have to find a balance between the energy I give to my baby and the energy I give to my work, the work that feeds my soul and makes me a happier person and a better mother. I’m scared because I don’t know how I’m going to do it all, but I’ve got good people here and, somehow, I’ll figure it out.

2015 gave me the greatest gift of all, my daughter Juniper, and for that reason alone I’ll tally it into the ‘good year’ column. But overall 2015 was a rough one for me and I am not sad to see it go. But I have this uncanny feeling that 2016 will be a year that answers questions, a year that shimmers, an illuminating year. 365 days. Today is the first. The sun is shining.

I wish you all a new year filled with joy, adventure, love and so much light you have to squint.

(I also just realized I haven’t shared too many pictures of Juniper on the blog yet (I do post them on the S0 Many Places Facebook page) so here are a few of my favorites.)

So Many Places

So Many Places

So Many Places

So Many Places

So Many Places

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy January 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

Wishing you and your family creativity, health and wonder for the new year.

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Thank you Nancy. Happy New Year to you!

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Lucy January 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

Hey there! Happy 2016!
Transition years are definitely hard especially when they involve completely changing your life! It seems like your 2015 was a whirlwind of emotional and external changes. I hope that next year is fantastic for you, full of laughter with your daughter and hubby, excitement with “that midwestern town”, and creativity! I am excited for your book and to continue following along with your blog! PS Bryan’s beard is epic. My main squeezes beard is the same color when he has one! (love it)

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Hi Lucy. One of my words for 2016 is laughter- I think we’ll have a lot in our house this year thanks to Juniper. Transition years really are tough. I’m interested to see what a full year of nesting produces… Happy New Year to you!

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Clare January 1, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I relate to your year alot. I can’t tell you how much comfort I get from hearing that other new mums are not always finding it easy. My son turned one in November and we’ve just bought a house. I’ve always been a part time traveller, so the home base thing isn’t an issue for me. But finding the time to write the words I know will make me feel human again has been so hard. Especially as I’m working full time again. How do we balance everything? And do it justice? I don’t know. But we try. And we’re not alone. Anyway, happy New Year! I look forward to following your 2016 journey.

P.S. Juniper is beautiful!

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Ah, I do think balance is the goal and I’m not sure how to do it all (in fact, I’m sure it’s not possible to do it all). One of my 2016 words is also balance. I’m going to try my best…

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Katie @worldwidevegetarian.com January 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Your daughter is beautiful, and you look very happy with her. I understand what you mean about fighting with yourself and your ego. I recently had a similar experience in regards to taking a break from traveling to head home, but finally I realized I can be happy anywhere. Wishing you the best in 2016!
Katie
Katie @worldwidevegetarian.com recently posted..2015 Travel Recap: Lessons From a Year of Travel

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Happy New Year to you, Katie! It’s strange coming home and in some ways even stranger admitting my happiness here- but I feel grateful for it all the same.

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Mark January 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

I think it was Bob Dylan that sang “times are a changen” !
It’s not a bad thing? Kim. Take it from an old guy like me, I think it was only a couple years ago when I started following your blog, you were in India and I was I interested in traveling there, then the Camino, and I followed you there etc etc. You are settling down a bit, I’m traveling more I think 11 countrys now? Guess I’m trying to say, I think things may come full circle, it just may take a while, ? Have a happy new year and thank you for the inspiration getting me back on the road?

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Hi Mark. Carry the torch my friend! I do think things will come full circle but it may take some time. I’m okay with that!

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Gretchen January 3, 2016 at 2:28 am

Kim,
Happy New Year from Portland! Congratulations on putting family first and choosing Ohio as home for now. Juniper is beautiful, and you and Brian look so happy! Hoping 2016 fills you with joy and surrounds you with love. You are so loved, by so many of us who have never had the privilege of meeting you. You will remain in my prayers here in the soggy Northwest. Take care and enjoy this one wild and wonderful life you have been given!
Sincerely,
Gretchen Gear

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Hi Gretchen. Thank you so much. Please give Portland a big hug from me, I do miss that city (and all of it’s wonderful inhabitants) so. Happy New Year to you.

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Jewel January 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Happy New Year Kim!

I stumbled upon your page just a couple months ago as my voice within started getting louder…again. I just received your book, Life on Fire, in the mail and I cannot wait to leave work so that I can get back into it! I admire your courage to be vulnerable and transparent. Like you, I dream of travel. Indulging in various cultures, throwing off the shell that I have developed over time and just revel in being and truly discovering what it means to BE.

May this year be filled with great exploration within and without and may your family bond continue to grow stronger.

Love and Light,
Jewel Guy

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Thank you Jewel. I’m so glad you found Life on Fire… I can say for sure that those years I gave myself to BE certainly changed me forever (and changed the direction of my life forever). My your year also be filled with great exploration.

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Rhonda January 5, 2016 at 10:28 am

Happy new year to you all! Such great photos. I so feel where you are coming from… for us, as well, 2015 was a year of upheaval and transition, and not all in a good way. We are searching for our word for 2016 – it was Transformation for 2015 and we have certainly accomplished that! – and, also like you, are a bit intimidated by the year ahead and all we want to achieve and accomplish and create…but our new year is starting off in the camper on the beach in Mexico … at least thats a start right? 🙂 lots of love to you guys! J&R
Rhonda recently posted..Breakdowns and Beaches

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Hey, I’d say that 2016 is going to be a great year for you guys. I can’t wait to follow along on your adventure. I know you guys have worked so hard for this!!

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Rica January 7, 2016 at 2:55 am

All the best, always 🙂
Rica recently posted..Taking Care of Whang-Od’s Tattoo

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Thank you Rica. To you, too.

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rebecca January 11, 2016 at 9:03 pm

This is such a great write up! Happy new year
rebecca recently posted..Teaching English in the Black Forest with Englischhausen

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Kim January 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Happy New Year to you, too.

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Kathrin Schoenberg January 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Hi Kim,
I just found your blog, looking for family travel blogs. I’m a German Expat in California and I’m ready for change in my life and I’m trying to find out about my passion and the place I want to be next. But since I have a family, this is not a choice you can make yourself. Will look into your book “Life on fire”. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. That’s something I’d like to achieve, too, but I’m not sure yet for who I will be writing. Looking forward to read more from you!

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Kim January 23, 2016 at 8:54 am

Hi Kathrin,

Good to meet you! I hear what you say about having children because since having Juniper it has certainly complicated my “screw it- let’s go for it” attitude I had before, since I also have to consider what is best for her. That said, there are so many other traveling families with happy little kids and I think it’s an amazing experience to provide your children. Some good resources are Almost Fearless and Wild Child Travels, but there are many others. Best to you.

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