Roots, Writing Retreats and a Book Giveaway

by Kim on November 16, 2017 · 23 comments

Friends, it’s been awhile!

As I mentioned in my last post, at the end of September we packed our bags and moved on down to the mountains of western North Carolina, just outside of Asheville.

In the weeks since moving we’ve unpacked, painted, welcomed lots of visitors, and done so.much.yard.work. There have been adjustments, sure, but I’m amazed at how quickly we have settled right in. On one hand, that’s a skill we learned while traveling– to make each new place home, and fast. Yet this house feels different, like it has always been ours.

The view of our house from the top of our yard

Our house from the fenced-in part of our yard… perfect for, ahem, a dog

Three seconds after this pic was taken Juniper started licking that stick. 

Our street

But I have hesitated to write, not just because I’ve been busy moving, chasing a toddler and maintaining some semblance of a freelancing career, but because I’m not traveling anymore and, well, this is a travel blog. Or at least it used to be.

I guess it has taken me longer than it should have to admit to myself that I’m not going to be one of those nomadic, free-spirited hippy parents that I follow on Instagram. My days of 24-7 travel are behind me, at least for now.

For the past two years I’ve told myself that I’ll give more attention to this blog just as soon as I head out on my next big adventure. Even as I adjusted to coming off the road, and became a mother, and navigated the wild world of writing and publishing a book, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t have a real story to tell until the next adventure began. In fact, the adventure was unfolding all around me.

So, I’m changing my attitude.

In the future, I hope to blog more (yeah, I know I’ve said that before) about life as it happens for me: writing, mothering, and making a home in the mountains. I hope you’ll enjoy these smaller adventures as much as you enjoyed the larger ones.

And truly, there are so many adventures to be had here. Not just exploring Asheville’s many great restaurants, breweries and tourist attractions, but also discovering the surrounding small towns, trails, lakes and rivers. Even walking the rural country roads around our house gives me the same feeling I get when I’m traveling: the excitement of knowing I’m about to round a bend I’ve never rounded before.

When I traveled, I knew that I would only ever be passing through. I grasped for a hint of what it might be like to live in a certain country, culture, life. Now, I get to do the opposite. Instead of moving through the landscape I am sitting still and letting the landscape move around me. And how it moves! Each day there is a surprise: the burning bushes transform from green to fiery red, the leaves drop from the trees and reveal a view of mountains.

It’s so beautiful here, and so quiet. In our neck of the woods, the land still rules. I like the feeling that gives me, a daily reminder that I am not the main event.

I started this blog seven years ago this month (!!) and what I realize as I look through old posts is that it’s become a kind of living document of my life. When I read posts from the beginning I can barely remember that person, in many ways she’s very different than the woman I am today. But we still have the same grit, the same desire to dream big. This blog is where I express those dreams and plot to make them possible. It’s a gift that I have this space, and it’s a gift that you share it with me.

Asheville Writing Retreat

Speaking of dreams, a few weekends ago I fulfilled the first step in a larger dream of hosting an annual writing retreat here in Asheville. Thus three amazing writers descended on my home for the weekend and it was… perfect. We wrote all day, hiked in the afternoon, wrote more in the evening, gathered in a writer’s circle for feedback and brainstorming and then ate, drank wine, and sat by the fire in the light of the full moon.

Starting the day with a little coffee mug pep-talk

Four writers on a little post-writing hike

I’m going to do it again next year, in a larger space, and I’d love if you would join me. You don’t have to be a professional writer or a blogger or whatever. The purpose of the retreat is to give yourself space and time to engage your creativity while growing friendships old and new. Join the mailing list for updates and come hang out with me!

“The Yellow Envelope” giveaway

One more thing. You may have noticed that we have entered the holiday season even though it was July like five minutes ago. To celebrate, I’m giving away five signed copies of The Yellow Envelope because books! make! the! perfect! gift! But there’s a catch. (Insert evil cackle here.)

If you win, you can keep the copy, or give it away to a friend (or a stranger… anyone you want!) And I’ll be happy to make the book out to you or whoever you’re gifting the book to. But here’s the catch: There’s a yellow envelope in the back of every book. If you’re going to give your book away, I would looooove if you tucked a little something into the envelope: a love note, a gift card, an artists rendering of your favorite quote. Use that envelope the way it was intended. Surprise someone. Make their day.

So, how to enter? Leave a comment here on the blog and let me know what you’ll do with your copy. I’ll randomly select a winner next week. (Sorry to say I can only ship in the US, so this giveaway is only open to US residents.)

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlene November 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I am not only commenting because I want to win five signed copies of your amazing book. Rather, I am writing here to tell you that every single day is an adventure, and you are figuring that out simply by being in your gorgeous new environment where you can stay put in your beautiful home every night. And sleep in your own bed. And put your daughter to bed every single night. That FOR SURE is a daily adventure. Look at how 3 beautiful women came to your home to write with you. You created that adventure. Look how you have taken a walk and know not what is around the bend, and there it is! There’s the adventure! Even though you may not be on a Salt Walk in India, that’s okay. Life is adventure and I am so glad you are viewing that way. Best wishes, dear, Kim. I admire you so much and loved your book.

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Michelle November 16, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Even though you are no longer a travel blogger, I still love reading you. Please keep blogging. I love that you demonstrate so wonderfully that life is permeable, things change, our dreams meander in different directions, wanderlust urge can transform into a desire for roots. I love it all. Keep sharing with us. I’m an Australian and I think your book and yellow envelope deserve to transform a few lives in the Southern Hemisphere too. How I’d love to attend one of your retreats but alas the tyranny of distance.

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Dorene November 16, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Loved your book, and love hearing about your new adventure I. Thmountaons! Would love the chance to pass along a copy of your book!

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Sarah November 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Regardless of where life leads you I will continue to enjoy your writing. I love your book and passed it on to friends and they loved it too. I’d love to share with more because I think everyone needs to be reminded is ok tonwuestion things in life, it’s ok to take a leap and figure it out along the way and it’s ok that after years of exploring to find your way back home.
Congratulations on your new home, I bought my first home this summer.

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Linnea Smith November 17, 2017 at 1:58 am

I read this and would like to give a suggestion, a person never changes neither his/her dream. It is just the change in situation, environment or responsibilities. Being a great traveler you were, you still be the same, it is just the change in the destination. make your travel spirit come out again, explore place near your new home and do adventure with new people.. I haven’t written this just for the book, it just come in my mind after reading this. I guess after reading your own earlier blog, you must come alive and experience the same in the mountains of western North Carolina that you had experienced before or be a source of inspiration to the people in the roots…
have an amazing life ahead, will be waiting to read an amazing new blog from the TRAVEL LOVING KIM

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Marisa Grimes November 17, 2017 at 4:36 am

I’ve always tried to frame life as the biggest adventure of them all — sometimes a trip to a new city even feels like another country! I can’t wait for your pivot; and I know that you will still have SO many adventures 🙂

I already have a copy of The Yellow Envelope (I’ve been waiting to read it in December so it can inspire me for my own RTW trip in 2018) so I would want a second copy and mail it to a friend who is working in TZ still but thinking about traveling soon with her husband!

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Jo Larsen November 17, 2017 at 7:38 am

If I were to win a signed copy of your book, I would keep it as one of my special treasures. I have already given away my yellow envelope to a random person with a note to do something that makes them happy and a $20 bill. I drove away before he opened it. Thank you for the inspiration!

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Laurie Mills November 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

Dear Kim, congrats to you, Brian and Juniper on the beautiful home! I’ve been in the area, what a perfect place from which to contemplate life! I would love a copy of the book to read and savor, and then would pass along to my daughter Holly who has a toddler named Annabeth June. 😉 Holly shares my love of adventure. I have a friend in Hendersonville! Your property photos give me inspiration to retire there. I enjoy all your posts! Have a wonderful holiday season making more memories and new traditions! Hug to your little sweetie.

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Angie Stegall November 17, 2017 at 10:24 am

This blog is so perfect I can hardly stand it. You so called this into being when you chose your logo of a house nestled in the mountains among the trees. In my eyes, you are still an adventurer…but more importantly you are a storyteller. I love that about you! And I am on your list to hear about your next writing retreat – if the timing is right, I’m there. ❤️
Angie Stegall recently posted..The Wonder of Wandering by Nelson Stegall

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Mary Jane November 17, 2017 at 10:31 am

You were kind enough to send me one of your earlier yellow envelopes to give away. That one went to an amazing street performer here in NYC, with a few dollars and a note of encouragement. Should I win, I will likely keep the book myself, but this envelope will go to a friend having a difficult time. The envelopes are such a great reminder to do something nice for someone else.

I love to be on the road too, but family circumstances make it impossible right now. But we can still bring adventure into our lives, anywhere we are!

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Kim November 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

Hi Mary Jane! Excited to tell you that you won a free copy of The Yellow Envelope! Please email me at kim.somanyplaces@gmail.com with your address and who you’d like me to make the book out too (plus any special message you’d like) and I’ll put it in the mail this week. Happy holidays!!!!
Kim recently posted..Roots, Writing Retreats and a Book Giveaway

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Peggy Pearl November 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I’m grateful to receive your message today. Your photography is beautiful.
How your little sprout has grown!
Our loves do have many levels of adventure. It sounds like now you’re appreciating the strength of staying in one place.
Thank you for your sweet honesty. It heartens me.
I’d love to be a part of your writing forum next fall.
Gratitude is the theme of this season of the year and of my life, and yours, too, it seems.
Joy to all.

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Lauren November 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“In our neck of the woods, the land still rules.” I, too, am fortunate enough to live in a place where that is true, and the luxury of going deep into a place is one we don’t take for granted. Thanks for this lovely post. I enjoyed your book, and if I win a signed copy, I’d ask you to send it directly to my friend Sara Beth, who’s going through a tough year in ways that remind me of the questioning you did before setting out on your global journey. Sometimes, when answers aren’t coming easily from within, we have to go far outside to search for them.

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Maddie November 18, 2017 at 8:17 am

Good to hear that you’re going to be blogging about your new adventure in the mountains 🙂 I think with most long-term blogs the readers become attached to the author rather than whatever they set out to write about originally. We’re here for your stories, wherever and whatever they may be.

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Ashlie Woods November 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

I couldn’t agree more.

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Judy November 27, 2017 at 11:36 am

Amen. A good blog becomes a relationship between the writer and the readers.

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Alecs November 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm

I haven’t read your book yet so I would want to keep the copy for myself. I look forward to your new lifestyle posts.

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Jeanne November 19, 2017 at 6:45 am

What a generous offer! I would Love to win a copy. I would read it again and then pass it on!

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Kelsey November 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

I’m so glad that you are hoping to write more on the blog. As so many of your readers, I started following your blog for the stories you tell, not their specific topics. Yes, I dig through your archives often as I plan my own RTW adventure (coming 2018!), but it’s also so wonderful to see the other sides of your life–to know that you can transition away from the 24/7 travel lifestyle and find peace in being still.

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Amy November 25, 2017 at 1:05 am

I just finished reading The yellow envelope and I just loved it. The book spoke to me so much, as a fellow traveler who would love to do what you did. Maybe someday I’ll be able to. I would love to win a copy of your book to pass on to a friend of mine who I think would benefit greatly from reading it.

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Susan Steiner November 25, 2017 at 9:33 am

I have been reading you for years and am glad to hear that you are going to blog more. I would love to win a copy of your book. I would read it and pass it along to someone else.

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Liz Zelandais December 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm

I am using this as a bragging-rights platform. We were SO lucky to have you in Madison for a reading, and I bought enough of your books to get them personally signed for my nearest and dearest, plus generically signed ones for others who might become (and indeed ARE becoming) near and dear. I am populating the Midwest with your books. So even if I weren’t way late to this party for the give-away, I would ask you to give your book(s) to someone who is thirsty for it/them and might not otherwise have the opportunity.

I’m also SO THRILLED to see The MUG! Woot! xo Liz
Liz Zelandais recently posted..My Election and New Year’s Manifesto!

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