We usually do “a year in review”. As I was challenged to do it for a decade I thought it wouldn’t fit in a blog post. How do you summarize 10 years in a couple of sentences? What angle do you choose?
I have decided to go for what got me to create The Earth School, my online holistic school, as I see it as an accomplishment of all I’ve learned and lived. Today I feel more in charge and confident than I ever have and I am grateful for it. You wanna know how I got there?
This was an important year fo me. From deciding to take charge of my life to actually do it, there has been a hard and yet necessary mind shift. How did I achieve that? Early 2019, I was living in Bali with my family. I started to do yoga. After a life of thinking I was not good at sport, it was a big step. First step into empowering me.
I also lost my grandma whom I loved very much and who couldn’t do all the things she would have wanted. Important lesson.
After Bali we went to Iceland for a 2 weeks road trip before spending the rest of the year in Switzerland. And I started my online business, for real this time, in November. No more excuses, no more overthinking. Action!
What changed in my mind is that I used to wait for things to happen. But with time, I realized this wasn’t the way you get what you want.
With my husband we sometimes call it the “brackets year”. We started the year in Mexico, traveling with our RV. We went to California and bought 4 old VW vans to start a renting company in Spain with cousins. Shipping them and getting them in Switzerland has been a pain in the neck. The cousins divorced. The project died. And we still have 4 VW buses in the garage…
We sold our RV in California and after a summer of doing nothing in Switzerland we went to Bali for a volunteer program in coral management. We needed purpose.
It was fun but didn’t help us feel like we were going anywhere with our lives. I joined SOMBA and created my concept but couldn’t actually “take action”, like my coach says.
With a step back, I feel like I needed this floating year to shake myself and be in the spirit of “move it girl!”.
We were full time on the road. We had the most amazing new year in a jazz club in New Orleans. After that we went to North Mexico for rock climbing and then we headed to the Pacific coast with a family of friends. We found crags on the way, and we had a great time. Altogether we had 5 kids between 4 and 10. By this time, there were able to climb and belay by themselves, they were used to traveling and homeschooling and were a bunch of happy, free children.
After a while we drove all the way back to Quebec with a lot of rock climbing on the way. We spent the Summer in Switzerland and flew back to Montreal in Autumn. With our friends and our RVs we started the road back to Mexico again through the beautiful mountain range of Virginia, rock climbing in Tennessee and crossing Texas.
The kids were attending an international school in Bali and we were living a quiet, simple life. We had to be carefull with money and our little one was at home with me to save kindergarten fees.
This was my first « stay-at-home-mom » experience and I could tell it didn’t suit me. At all. I’m hyperactive, scanner and probably hp. Don’t try to leave me in a house… I needed a project. So I decided to build awarness in our children regarding our planet. I started a plan to discover endangered animals. At the same time, we met a family from Quebec. We went together to Sulawesi to learn more bout boat builders as we thought of traveling the 7 seas. Eventually we realized that RV was more suitable with 5 young kids.
So after a Summer break in Switzerland we joined them near Montreal. And since the flight had a stop over in Iceland, we rented an RV there for a few days. Our friends bought their own RV and we started our trip. We did all the east coast of the US and then went West through Florida and Louisiana.
After New Year in Thailand we had to make choices. Money was spent faster than we expected and I was exhausted after several years of giving a lot of energy. We decided that a year in Bali would be a nice break. My husband is a dive instructor and we thought he could get a job. We left our RV in Malaysia and flew to Bali. We found a house, a school and a job in the diving industry.
For my husband to get his working visa, we had to go to Singapore. It’s such a big city!
This was routine again but without the stress of Europe, so we quite enjoyed it.
I definitely needed some time for myself, after having three kids, doing a bachelor and renovating a house. I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted anymore. I needed some distance, and some time. I can see a pattern now, as every few years in my life I need to step back and think.
Big year for us as we had decided to leave Switzerland for a 4 years trip around the world in our RV. The beginning of the year was about getting ready. I quit my job and we left in May. Our kids were 9 months, 3 and 5 years. FIve years later, I understand why our family thought we were crazy! We went through Europe to Turkey and Georgia. After some borders issues we went back to Turkey to cross to Iran where we spent a beautiful month. My husband’s beloved dad died while we were in Iran. We came back to Switzerland for 2 weeks. This was a terrible event.
From Iran we went to Dubai and then to Malaysia and Thailand.
We learnt so much during these first months, about travel, education, ourselves, life and the world. Traveling with such young kids in unknown countries where people don’t speak a word of English and have totally different cultures was amazing. We were happy to fulfill our dream and be with our kids full time.
I was working as an educator in a house where 8 teenagers were living. We were also working with about 20 others who were staying with their parents. I loved my job. Supporting families and helping those kids to grow was fantastic. Though it was made difficult by the fact that our mission was to reintegrate them into society in a short time, without consideration for their personal issues.
We had just bought my grandparents house and were spending our weekends working on it, and in the Spring we could move in.
In August I gave birth to my third child, Vasco. This baby was the trigger of our decision to travel. He made us realize what little time we had spent with the eldest.
This was my last year of studying for my Bachelor and I had to write my thesis. I tried to do my best in the very little spare time I had between studying 2 days a week, working at 60%, raising 3 kids and taking care of a house.
This is the year where we bought my grandparents house and sold the one I inherited from my dad when he died in 1998. We learned a lot with these processes and felt like grown-ups for sure.
After buying the house we had to start the renovation. It was a lot of work and decisions making. But at his time my mom used to date an architect, which helped.
I was in my third year of studies and enjoyed learning a lot. I found out I was a bit too bossy for group work but since I was efficient they would forgive me.
I was working as an educator with teenagers too and I found out how empirical knowledge is valuable. I was starting to feel comfortable as a professional and was happy at work.
The hard thing was to work, study, and still find time for my children. I felt that after everything, I didn’t have a minute for myself. I discovered the mother’s guilt of wishing for a day off, alone.
I was studying for my bachelor and staying at home with my kids the rest of the time, until my internship boss called me with a job offer. I was really excited to be able to work while studying. This makes studies way more enriched. I organized for my kids to be looked after and started my new life as a mother, student and educator. Since I loved the 3 of them, I was happy.
We had a nice apartment close to the nature and we spent a lot of time walking around the area. We were also spending a lot of our free time with our parents. We were all living close by and our friends didn’t have children yet.
That year we went for a 3 weeks vacation in Bali. We were missing the island very much. We used to live there in 2007 and 2008. This is where my first son was born and were we got married. It felt like going home somehow and it planted the seed of the desire to travel with our children.
I was doing my internship as an educator in an ambulatory program for teenagers and their families. It was deeply interesting to work with whole families, and at their places. It makes you humble as a professional to go to somebody’s home to help them with their issues. They trust you and have hope you will make things better. It taught me a lot about being a professional, about ethics and respect. I had to find out what my values were, what was my mission and why I was doing this job, because you need strong roots to hold you on difficult situations.
In October my daughter Cassandre, « Cassie », was born. Having a daughter was very moving for me. It made me question my sometimes complicated and yet full of love relation with my mother.
We’ve been in Switzerland for 6 months. We left Bali and I started university.
I am still adjusting to being a student after 2 years of travel and freedom.
My son was born with cleft lips and during 2009 he got 2 operations. Seeing my baby with all those tubes, going through anesthesia for hours, experiencing pain and fear, that didn’t leave me without scares on my soul. And yet he was the most wonderful, easiest baby in the world. I am so proud of him.
My husband got a job he didn’t like but with a good paycheck to support me and our family through my bachelor. He believed in me then and he believes in me today. I wouldn’t be here without him.
What about 2020?
As I’m writing this, I can feel all the love and passion in my life. All those hard times, great adventures, cherished moments amazing travels and beautiful friendships. Last year, I didn’t know what I wanted and how to find my purpose in life.
Today I know where I stand, I know what I want, I know what my mission is and most importantly, I can feel how lucky I am.
2020 is the year of gratitude and of giving back. All the things I’ve learned during my bachelor, my thesis, my work experiences and my life as a mother, during all my travels and life experiences, I use them in my work.
2020 is the year of action, of giving up overthinking, shyness and self doubts. It’s a winner year! And I hope it will be for all of you too!
I would love to hear about your goals for 2020 and find inspiration in them. What are your personal goals? Where will you put your energy?