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  • Writer's pictureKathy Stockbridge

Sometimes You Just Need to Hit Restart

As the snow falls quietly outside this evening here in Central New York I know it's just a few short weeks and the weather will turn for the better. At least that's what the groundhog told us. But as I sit here, I can't help but long for a new adventure. Preferably somewhere a little warmer. Perhaps with some sun and sand.

For the past few months, I've the had the opportunity to catch up some projects here at home, do a few things for the business, and make some plans for upcoming adventures, but I still have a "To Do" list with a few things to accomplish before the snow melts. So these last few weeks of winter will be perfect for that.

Balance is a never ending struggle for me. Where to put my energy doesn't necessarily match where my heart is all the time. I work a full time day job, and I love what I do, but I look forward to the day I can hit the road and explore all those places I've always wanted to see. The list seems to be never ending, and my wanderlust seems to just grow and grow.

This week I ran across an article on Joe Hawley, a retired NFL player who at a crossroads in his life made a choice to just take a time out and find what it was he really wanted. Together with his rescue dog, Freedom, they explore and document their travels all over the country. Traveling in a decked out van, he makes it seem so attainable. Please go check out his blog, and follow him on instagram at to see what I mean. He is my hero. I truly admire what he's done. Seeing his story was reaffirmation to me that this is really what I want to do when I retire.

I've had a plan for a few years now I'm diligently working on. Step one - buy a truck big enough to pull a camper. Step two - once the truck is paid off buy a camper to be pulled. Step three - retire. Step four - hit the road and explore and see all the things I've longed to see in my life with my fur babies. Just like Joe is. I've already accomplished step one and working towards step two. But it's a slow process and at times seems so far off and even unattainable.

At first when I read about Joe I was a bit envious, I want to be on the road right now exploring. However as I see his posts, my mindset switched and he's really got me thinking about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and how I can really do what he's doing - now, not in ten years. He says to just do it. Oh how I wish I could Joe. But I don't have the means to just travel right now. Life seems too complicated for some of us to just do it. Those pesky responsibilities get in the way. So how can I make this happen? How can I feed my spirit and still accomplish this long term goal. I think this is where a lot of us are at. We have a dream, but how can we make it come true. That's a scary process.

After thinking all week about manvandogblog...I realized one thing. I've not been out there taking adventures in a while. Yes, I just got back from Ireland this past November...and immediately hit the road to NYC with my sister and niece, but what has lacking to me is my personal adventures. You know, the ones where you just get in the car and go by yourself. I love people, but I find that I love being by myself sometimes more. My favorite part of my trips are those moments I steal away to explore for a few moments quietly by myself. That may seem odd to some but being alone gives me permission to grow. This is where my dreams come from, this is where my creativity occurs, and this is where my heart refuels. Is anyone else like that? And you probably wouldn't think that as I'm a very social person. But I can totally understand why some people just go off the grid and hide out by themselves. There's a peace there for me. A peace I'm missing right now.

This has also made me want to reevaluate my motives for my EmptyNest Adventures Blog. My plan has always been to take adventures and share them with viewers so that they can follow their dreams of travel too. Being a single parent on a limited budget, it's difficult but attainable and I want others to follow their adventurous spirit without barriers. So for the past year I've begun working on sharing my stories and growing an audience. I started my adventure blog, posted daily posts on Instagram and Twitter highlighting trips and places, and tried hard to grow an online presence. It's been a real struggle. Social media is a fickle thing. Yes, your family and friends follow you and love what you do, but how to you reach those beyond your inner circle to reach your target audience? This is where I've stalled. That's where I find myself placing soooo much energy.

Perhaps I was focusing my energy too much into growing an online presence and less on the adventures themselves. Which rather defeats what I really wanted in the first place, and that is to travel and enjoy. So it's time to hit restart. You know, like when you just can't get your phone to do what you want, you just restart it. Yep, that's where I am right now. I'm restarting this whole get out and see the world thing. Of course I'll share when I can. But I think my focus on marketing has been overwhelming me and keeping me from actually traveling and taking adventures. So don't be surprised if I don't post on social media as much as I was before. I really need to step away from that and stop focusing on it. If people like what I share (when I share) and want to follow I'm thrilled, but I don't want it to be the main focus of my energy any more.

I think sometimes we become engrossed on a end product and forget to enjoy the journey along the way. The daily ins and outs of accomplishing things weighs us down and leads us away from what is originally the goal. My goal is to see and capture. When I first started photography, my goal was to photograph landscapes and sell them as art. I've definitely veered off onto another path, but just realized that seeing the world and photographing it, is truly where my heart is and has always been. So once the snow begins to melt, I'm going to consciously take the time to feed that part of me, as we all need to do. Like Joe, I need to hit stop, and just take a moment to be alone to find my peace and what is really important to me.

I hope you all can relate, and give yourself permission to hit restart too. Don't let our crazy, fast paced world, swallow you up and lead you astray. Take a moment with yourself, and find what gives you peace and feeds your soul.

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