This year was one of many firsts for both myself and Zach, and it’s wild to think about where this year started, and where we’re ending the year! I’m not gonna lie, I started 2018 in not the best place. I was stuck creatively, feeling somewhat lost as to how to grow my online brand and business, and one of the dreams we thought was sure fire thing, had completely fallen through the cracks at the end of 2017. Oy.
But we charged on into 2018, not quite sure where it would lead us, but knowing in our hearts there was something calling us to do more. There are days that define your story, and this year we had quite a few of those days.This year became the year that I finally let go of fear, and you know what? I’m never lookin’ back!
So without further adieu, here are just a few of the highlights of 2018!
This year started out with a ton of work travel, and part of that took me to Europe to go spread the word of Washington State Wine with a few events in London, Copenhagen and Dusseldorf. If you’re new around here, before we moved to Barcelona, I worked in the Washington wine industry for over five years, and absolutely loved it (and miss it every single day!)
Prior to this trip, I’d been to Europe a few times but it had always been with Zach, this time I would be exploring places completely on my own! It was a bit nerve-wracking but SO incredibly exciting. I ended up going to Prague (you can read more about my solo travel tips right here) Salzburg, Paris, and Munich. I got locked out of hotel rooms, scaled a few mountains to get a glimpse of a castle I’d been dreaming about for years, and ended it in London. It challenged me in the best way, and was an amazing preparation for what would be coming our way in just a few short months!
Early in 2018, Zach and I got news that would change the course of our lives. He was actually hiking in the Grand Canyon, and had been out of cell service for a few days. I was sitting at lunch with my coworkers at a Mexican place in Pioneer Square in Seattle when he called me with that news. I picked up the phone and he said, “I was accepted to IESE. We’re going to Barcelona.” I simultaneously almost dropped the phone, cried, and shrieked in absolute joy. Moving abroad is something that Zach and I have wanted to do for as long as we’ve known one another, but we didn’t want this to be a sabbatical. We wanted to the move to enrich us personally and professionally, and it took years of planning to make it happen.
But that day, that phone call, was one that changed the course of our lives.
This also meant we had to say goodbye to so many things as this new chapter of life began. I had to say goodbye to my absolute dream job working in the Washington Wine industry, something I will forever cherish. We had to say a (temporary) goodbye to our family and friends to embark on this new journey, and I miss them every single day, but I’m trying to soak up every minute of this new chapter and season of life that we’re in!
Turned My Blog into a Business
While Zach knew he always wanted to go back to school to get his MBA, I knew that I always wanted to transition to becoming a full time remote worker. This gave us the freedom to move anywhere we chose. When we told this plan to people years prior, I’m gonna be honest, there were quite a few looks of “ummm you guys are crazy, there’s no way you can do that!”
And believe me, there were many days I thought we were crazy too. But turns out if there’s a will (and a damn strong ability to not give up…) then there’s a way.
It was around this time that I officially launched The Studio portion of The Curated Collective, and I was open for business as an LLC, something I had been working on doing as a side-hustle for over a year. Due to the ever evolving influencer genre on Instagram, I get asked quite a lot if that’s the sole source of our income, and it’s definitely not. While that does contribute, we were truly able to make the move abroad happen financially due to client work I’m doing.
You can see more about what The Curated Collective Studio offers right here, but in a nutshell, I help entrepreneurs and small business owners create killer content and design to elevate their brands. From brand design, to email marketing, to social media, to copywriting, I help uplevel your online brand to help reach your ideal customer.
As I type “moved abroad” above, I still have to pinch myself. It’s surreal how much two little words changed the course of our lives, and how much our lives have changed in just six months.
Moving to Spain is by far one of the most challenging, rewarding, and gratifying things we’ve ever done. We’ve been pushed way out of our comfort zones, we’ve met people we never would have known, we’ve doubted ourselves, and we’ve been more joyous than ever.
It definitely hasn’t been all puppies and rainbows though, and I wrote about what I wish I would have known before we moved abroad right here.
But at the end of the day, it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. It’s allowed us to see the world in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, and given us the freedom of mindset to truly determine what we want to achieve both personally, and professionally.
Filled Up Our Passports
Since we arrived in Barcelona in July, we’ve been able to travel more than I would have ever dreamed. I grew up in a very small town, with some lofty dreams of seeing the world, and it will never not register with me how incredibly fortunate we are at this time in our lives to be able to explore places I only thought I would see in my wildest dreams. This year we traveled to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, The UK, Denmark, and Portugal and sitting here typing that puts the biggest smile on my face.
We’ll be in Barcelona for a total of two years, and I can’t wait to see what stamps will fill up those passports next year!
Let Go Of Fear
2018 will be a year that I know look back on with so much gratitude. When I look back at it, I realize that everyday we have the opportunity to make choices that will undoubtedly affect the way things turn out down the road. This year was full of so many small choices that led to some of our biggest changes yet.
While 2018 was challenging in the absolute best way possible, I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store, including some amazing things I have have planned here at The Curated Collective. A year ago, I never thought I would be here. But one day, I finally just started. Each day I took one step toward my goal, and 365 days later, it’s wild to think how much things have changed. While I’ve still go a loooong way to go, it’s been quite the ride!
My advice to you? If you want the person you are 365 days from now to be proud, just start somewhere. Each day, take one small step toward your goal.
And 365 days from now?
You’ll be so grateful that you started today.
Thank you all SO much for your support, encouragement, wisdom, and love over the past year. Whether you just started following along with us on Instagram, or you’ve been here since the beginning, I am so grateful for you.
And now…2019, let’s do this!