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Thoughts on Time Away

Oh hello there, long lost blog! It’s been a while…but no apologies here. I’ve been busy moving around, celebrating major events with family and friends in different countries, and overall just not at all attached to this here lil ole blog.

See the thing is, doing anything for five years straight can make you feel a little run down. But doing an extensive amount of work for free for five years straight will certainly make you question your sanity! So, after five full years of blogging here, I took some time away.

What Happened?

I simply decided last year that I needed to spend my time on something far more important than this blog’s needs: Being present. I’ve commented on it before, ironically. Long absences have been explained away with being present and focusing on friends and family or even feeling overwhelmed with work. But this particularly long absence was intentional. Therefore, I apologize to no one! This is me, living the dream: Relaxing on the porch and covered with dogs.

living the dream, surrounded by dogs

Since I first started blogging back in 2012, I have lived in five different countries and visited many more. I have traveled around to see some of my favorite people and to establish some new favorite places. I’ve made countless new friends, answered mountains of emails from readers, and learned all about content marketing on-the-fly via this blog and my accidental freelance writing career.

But everything I’ve done on this blog has been unpaid, which can obviously become a challenge to continue to focus on after doing a full day’s work that is actually paid.

Needless to say, sometimes it felt like a whirlwind!

Letting Go…and Not Feeling Guilty at All!

Since I last wrote here, I managed to let this giant piece of my life go for a while. This blog that helped me start a whole new life and career, this site that forced me to learn something new every day and to trial-and-error my way through the interwebs…I let it sit on its own without feeling one ounce of guilt.

Previously, I always had this hanging over my head. I knew that a lapse in posting meant a lapse in everything: Readers, social media stats, business potential, you name it. Now, after freelancing full time for over three years, I feel like this site can do its own thing. It doesn’t impact me nearly as much as it once did.

Of course, I’m proud of everything I’ve done here and the effort I put forth to learn and to hone my skills. But this site did what it needed to do for me: It offered me a platform and a portfolio builder. Now, I have enough clients and bylines to point to. I don’t really need this slice of the Internet to show that I know how to string a few words together or that I understand SEO and digital marketing strategies.

Hell, I can simply point to my ever-increasing blog stats! Despite the fact that I haven’t written a single thing in nearly a year, 2018 is my site’s biggest year yet. The longevity of blogs and the shelf-life of proper content marketing strategies can be easily proven through hard numbers, which I can personally point to right here.

What Happened Since?

Since September 2017, we’ve been spending time in familiar places: Boston, Washington DC, Edinburgh, and now London. We’ve been sharing our time with his family and with mine. We’ve been celebrating weddings, welcoming babies, visiting new homes, and catching up with some of our favorite people on Earth.

castle wedding edinburgh

Currently, we are living in London for several months of back-to-back house and pet sitting with TrustedHousesitters. We are loving spending time with furballs while exploring this vibrant city and all its incredible history and culture…all without any bills to pay.

We have been to London before, but this summer has been a whole new adventure for us. If you are familiar with the cost of living in London, I’m sure you can appreciate our joy at free accommodation and no bills for over two months of London adventures! We have thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that the Irish-Colombian wants to live here full-time. You never know with us…

Expat writer Amanda Walkins in the UK

Who knows if that will happen, because first, we have another long-term housesit coming up…this time back in my old stomping grounds of Spain!

We’ll be living in Asturias for a few months, hanging out with goats and chickens. There will also be a stray kitten who recently showed up in the garden! And my favorite part about this is that we’ll be taking care of the home of a friend we made while living in Roatan. We haven’t seen her in years but we’ve kept in touch across continents and now, finally!, we have the chance to meet up again and to share another space and time together.

Everything comes full circle eventually. Even though we don’t live in Roatan anymore, our Roatan ties are strong and far-reaching. We keep in touch with many friends from there and we would love to visit them and our island paradise again someday.

Amanda Walkins Jonathan Clarkin and Lina in Roatan

What’s Next for Us?

After Spain, our plans are currently completely up in the air. We are eyeing new potential expat homes (a favorite pastime), but no decisions are being made just yet. We are thinking about housesitting long-term, trading monthly bills for time with furry friends, but no decisions there either. Some more familiar places are also in the running for a longer-term stint.

The extraordinary thing is this: We get to choose.

Our choices are not made for us, because we are superbly privileged. We have options because of our passports, our backgrounds, our families, our educations, our professional opportunities, and so much more. We have this unbelievable choice before us to determine our own life paths. That cannot be said for everyone and we never, ever want to take that for granted. We are the lucky ones.

And, in saying that, I also want to point out my own failures over the years to understand that not everyone’s path reflects my own. Being a white, highly educated and privileged American, I have many more opportunities than many of my global neighbors. I have not offered that perspective well in my writing. I blindly provided my own journey as a representative of all others, which is unfair and unrealistic.

My six years of writing this blog have taught me so much. And I’ve also enjoyed taking this time away to reflect and to better understand my own shortcomings, alongside my own hard-earned successes!

Life is a balance, after all, so I’m just always trying to make sure I’m staying steady. As steady as one can be with so many dogs on leashes!

balancing walking three dogs on leash

Follow Along

If you’re curious as to where we’ve been and what we’ve done, be sure to check out my Instagram, where I sometimes post photos and updates. My Facebook page is where I share links and events and other news related to our current and former homes. And my Twitter feed is filled with all my writing plus my personal views and ideas, as Twitter is wont to be.

Who knows where life will take us next. But, for now, we’re just enjoying the ride and trying to soak in every moment.

Until next time…whenever that may be!

I’ve been an expat in multiple countries, including Honduras, Ecuador, SpainScotlandIreland, and the Mediterranean island of Malta. Currently, we’re spending the summer in London housesitting with lots of adorable cats and dogs.

You can follow our adventures by subscribing to my newsletter below, and join me on social media, too! I’m on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. You’ll see lots of daily expat life updates on those platforms. See you there!