Things I’ve learned from 2 Years of Traveling, Being an Expat, & Blogging

Happy 2nd birthday, Blissmersion!

When I started this blog and chose the name Blissmersion, a combination of bliss and immersion, I knew it would be a difficult name for people to remember. I chose it anyway. I knew when I started blogging that for most people it is a labor of love. The successful bloggers warned there was little-to-no money earned and many expenses (and are they ever right!) I chose to do it anyway.

Also, I knew traveling with a family of four, including two young kids, would be difficult and often expensive. We do it anyway. Two years ago, I didn’t know we’d become expats in Mexico. We did it anyway.

However, when it came time to write a post about two years of blogging, I almost didn’t. My desire to write had almost dried up to nothing and my sense of self was shaken by it. Even in the bad times, I’ve learned a lot about blogging, traveling, and myself.

➜ New here or want a refresher? Read Blissmersion’s 1st Anniversary Post!

Disclaimer

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Uncomfortable Moments are those in which we are Growing

I wanted to grow as a person, because I’d felt stagnant and stuck. This was a pervasive feeling especially after having children. Moms, in particular, likely understand that incredibly lonely feeling of having a newborn or young children and the challenges that babies and young kids present. Your life is no longer your own. Sometimes, you don’t even remember being human or anything except trying to survive.

Travel bloggers often reported growing during their uncomfortable moments on the road. Becoming an expat also provides many of those growth periods. Two years ago, I was looking for a type of growth I couldn’t experience by staying at home in my house.

Boy, did I get it. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from traveling, expat-ing, and blogging… all while having my kids tag along!

A picture of the famous pyramid of Chichen Itza

I really did take my kids to Chichen Itza!

First, Children throw curve balls. Constantly.

On our first road trip with kids (to somewhere other than my mom’s house), I thought it would be a spectacularly good time. My very first post was about that trip, actually. We left in time for our children’s nap time and headed to a children’s event. It was more of a disaster than a good time, though.

I learned that traveling with kids is basically a giant curve ball, especially when they are really little. Our second and longer road trip with kids went far better than expected. Our first international flight with kids was also awesome, even though my youngest was sick all night and threw up in a TSA bin before our first flight.

Second, I’ve added to the definition of myself.

Writing has given me a definition for myself, an additional label for the paragraphs that are my life. The blog spurs me to get out more and do more so I can write about it. I don’t know if we’d have traveled so much as a family here in Mexico without the blog.

And had I realized how much cool stuff was in Ohio, I’d have traveled there more. There were different factors at play, though. We couldn’t leave our dogs home alone for longer than 8-10 hours, because they need bathroom breaks. In Mexico, I have a fenced yard and we can leave them outside almost year round without having to worry about the weather. For an overnight or longer trip, I have multiple low cost options for their care.

In a way, writing for this blog has pushed me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Things that previously seemed exotic or too expensive (Chichen Itza and Tulum are examples).

Third, being nomadic isn’t for me at this time.

It is my current opinion that being nomadic isn’t something I’d really enjoy in the long term. I like having a home base. I like having my pets. My kids can be themselves in our house without worrying about breaking someone else’s stuff or bothering someone in the hotel room next door.

Fourth, my direction can change.

I’ve also learned that my blog can change directions and I don’t have to be stuck on a single path with it. It started out being about stories about an inexperienced traveler wanting to travel the world with her kids and only succeeding in exploring Ohio for the first year. Then, we became a family of expats who also travel. Now, I’m adding product guides into the mix, so others can learn from my mistakes!

There are just some things that make sense for moms to take when traveling, like a menstrual cup, believe it or not!

Fifth, I can be happy in a foreign country.

Even though you can’t outrun your problems by moving abroad, I have discovered that I can be happy in a new place. I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but it’s true. That doesn’t mean that you can run away from problems like depression or marital issues. I discovered that January and February are months that for me might always see me feeling tired and a little down. The weather was sunny, warm, and I was outside a lot. I still couldn’t completely escape those feelings.

Additionally, if you are used to living somewhat close to your family, moving away is hard sometimes! Luckily, technology is so awesome nowadays that you can still feel close.

I am changed, but I can’t yet count all of the ways

Traveling and being an expat has changed me, but I don’t even know all of the ways yet. Some are bad, but far more are good. There are still more changes to come in my expat and travel life, so I know I will keep evolving and growing.

I also know that writing and blogging is a really happy part of my life. I will continue doing this because when I stopped writing for a month, I didn’t feel like myself. It was an unhappy period. It was the first time in two years that I had such a big gap between posts. I allowed myself to rest from writing and worrying about the blog.

The beach and ocean in Cancun.

Upcoming Travels

We just got home from visiting Tulum, Cancun, and several famous Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. I’ll be sharing our experiences on the blog in future posts! The trip really wasn’t at all what I expected – I didn’t even take any pictures of the beaches of Tulum… there was SO MUCH brown seaweed at the time we traveled there.

I’m still working on getting the family to Mexico City, Guanajuato City, and basically anywhere else I can convince my husband to go. We may spend some time in Ohio this summer and if we do, I’d really like to visit Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, and several other oversights I’ve never seen!

Most importantly: Thank you!

Most importantly, THANK YOU. I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read about our travels, look over the product guides, and respond with tales of your own adventures! I hope you’ll continue (or start) following me on social media, share posts, keep reading, and stay in touch. I am better for having read your travel stories and comments!

How has traveling or being an expat changed you?

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