On the trail...

On the trail...
So this time last year I was on a trail in the Rocky mountains with my ex. Everyone thought I was nuts but it was a trip I wanted to still take and we knew we would be able to handle it with respect. A weird but fun 'closure trip' if I had to label it. During this time I actually realized I knew I would be able to handle pretty much anything life presented to me. It may not always be how we envisioned it, but it’s going to be its own kind of incredible.... I’ve learned more in a year about myself than I could have ever imagined. I also listened to a mix of Stevie Nicks and Lizzo on repeat. I recommend both. 

As my iphone loving shared memories from last year today it reminded me that I’ve been 'on the trail'...everyday since.  It's really surreal timing too. 

I took this past year and scheduled work trips that would challenge me. Each challenge l was going to make an opportunity. Each trip I’d receive DMs about how fun my travels looked and how lucky I was to do what I loved for a living and have the freedom (sans kids/husband). But most people who sent those DMs only knew me from tiny squares on the internet and didn’t realize the life changes I was figuring out. I know the messages were filled with good intentions but man I was hurting and I didn’t want to publicly admit that I wasn’t successful with a big part of my life. 
So I took my situation and those comments as fuel and changed the storyline. I was given a gift to start again and that’s what I’ve been doing.... After the busy fall wedding and holiday season I said ‘Head someplace warm....  Go to California!’ So off I went to see my freshman year roommate/best friend since college. I celebrated my birthday there and her generous heart sent me from a spa in Manhattan Beach to the elite Soho House in LA to toast another year. Glamorous and relaxing to mask the past few bummer months. But luckily what they say is true, the ocean heals and I felt a lot better when I returned home. I think the holiday season wore me down and that the month of January was the perfect time to escape the snow and slow season for a few days. When I got back I thought I should push myself to go some place each month and create opportunities and learn about myself. Many trips involved going back to my college town and where I started philoSophie’s - Boston.  I’m fortunate to have another college roommate just outside of Boston, close college friends, sorority sisters, Sophie friends and past coworkers. Outside of my family and hometown friends, this group of friends carried me throughout a majority of this past year. Each bringing a comfortable place to stay, a different perspective, new ideas and opportunities to the table. I found myself so grateful. In between Boston and work sprints at the studio, I experienced @AltSummit in Palm Springs for the first time and an opportunity to meet so many more amazing people and lead a roundtable discussion about running a creative business for the long haul... you can checkout my takeaway/handouts here
NYC Gift Shows and Stationery Shows were in there too and I built relationships with the Moxys for illustration events and a fun way to share philoSophie's with a new audience. Each experience fueling my desire to restructure my life and how I do business.
August snuck up quick, and here I am sitting solo in a hotel in San Diego recapping the past year. This month wasn’t any different then the past few. Filled with great people in my life and amazing experiences. My first time to Seattle I was welcomed with open arms. Thank you to my long distance friends and to the kind strangers who talked to me and let me learn so much about your city.
 And now after a great girls weekend I’m solo again... and just about to eat a smores cupcake. I'm going to take a pause from the trail for the remainder of the year.  I'm refreshed and ready to take on this fall/holiday season.  I have a new perspective on work and working through challenges. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It just gives us space to let those feelings sink in, process them, and if we’re lucky reemerge stronger than before. And yes, I'm very lucky. I've realized luck is a combination of hardwork, dedication, good people and timing.
xo ~ Joanna