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A new year, a new challenge, a new direction, and a new blog

January 4, 2011
by budgettravelsac

The new year is finally here and many people have embarked upon their New Year’s resolutions.  Not me.  I don’t really do those.  Quite honestly, I can’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution…or if I’ve ever made one.  This year, I even celebrated the New Year by watching HGTV.  Um yeah, you can call me the Scrooge of New Year’s as well.

However, this isn’t about a resolution.  Resolutions are goals for the new year.  I want to talk about changes in my life.  Real changes.  Real changes that last a lot longer than a few months or a year.

For the last couple of months, I have thought about making some changes to my blog.  However, rather than just making a few changes, I decided to re-design it, give it a new name, and go in a different direction.

For the last year, I have written a number of articles as the Sacramento Budget Travel Examiner.  I have focused a lot on travel deals, travel tips, and interesting travel news.  As a budget traveler, I really am intrigued by this stuff.  However, I wanted to expand on that and make my travel writing a little more personal.  So I started this blog to share my personal thoughts, stories, and views on traveling from my unique budget and family perspective.

Honestly, the blog is a lot more fun but I had more invested as the travel writer.  That is going to change.

A sneak peak at the new blog - still in its early stages of development

Moving in a different direction with a new blog

In thinking about a new direction, I’ve had to figure out what that direction is.  That has already started with the brand new blog that will be launched in the next couple of months (if I can find the time to really get this going given all my other responsibilities).  I’m still trying to figure out the details of what this blog will be about.  However, this much I know.

I will still be doing travel tips because I like that stuff.  I will probably focus on travel deals from a budget perspective but for specific locations, hotels, etc rather than an announcement of deals online.

Two strengths of mine are my skills with money and my ability to design and use budgets.  By nature, I am detail oriented, like numbers, and frugal.  So for my family, I designed this very detailed budget spreadsheet that has helped me save money, get out of debt, put away money for retirement, start my kids’ college fund, and buy a home even though I have a wife, two kids, and only one income while living in very expensive California.  I have to admit that playing around with my budget is about as exciting for me as writing about travel.  So yeah, that’s a bit of my nerdy side coming through and I think I will do more of that on the new blog.

My family is an essential part of my life and no matter how much I love to travel, my family will be my biggest priority.  So my family and family travel will continue to be a big part of my travel blog as well.  This next year will see at least three trips planned with family – SC (southern California), SC (South Carolina), and BC (Vancouver for TBEX).  And with little kids, some of the best adventures you can have will be ones that are close to home.  It’s awesome to experience things again through the eyes of kids.

However, two of the biggest changes for the blog will be a couple of things which have been recurring themes in my life that have now become big challenges for me – inspiring/challenging people in their travels and giving back to others.

So many people write about their travels and the places they visit.  I will continue to do that as well but I really want to stir people’s imaginations, challenge them, make them uncomfortable, and use my unique perspective on travel to entertain as well as make people think.  So this blog may become a bit more philosophical about travel.

I think a few examples of that have been seen on this blog with my short stories on The Crush, 3 vacations I won’t takeRemembering Yugoslavia – basketball, war, and a nation divided, and others.  If you think traveling is all about having fun, relaxing on the beach, and seeing museums, I want to rattle your cage a little to make travel more than just that (and those are really good things).

Another thing I want to do is focus on giving back.  I want to raise  awareness of some of the needs that people have in this world and focus on things organizations and people are doing to help others.  For many who have traveled, they come home unable to see the world the same as before they left.  With that understanding comes responsibility.  So a big part of the blog will be about awareness, responsibility, and getting people out of their comfort zones.

If you think that this is inspiring or deserves a pat on the back, think again.  This isn’t me – I don’t necessarily like this or feel comfortable with this but somewhere deep inside, it’s stirring.  And for me, I need to stretch myself to reach out, become a little uncomfortable (OK very uncomfortable), and help others.

I don’t plan on doing this by myself.  I want to challenge my family and make them a part of this so the character of my kids will be shaped as well.  When my first son was born, I decided my motto for life would be “to live my life in a way that my son(s) become better human beings than me.”  This blog is a part of that.

With the new blog and big changes, this journey should be rewarding, scary, and a bit uncomfortable.

A new life, a new challenge

While I’ve already been working on this stuff for a couple of months, these changes come at a great time as I am now going to take part in the 1000-1000 challenge with the new blog set up by Todd Wassel.

What Todd is challenging bloggers to do was already on my mind long before I saw this challenge.  However, this isn’t as much about money or visitors as it is challenging myself to live a life that means something, setting an example for my family, and going beyond every day travels to challenge the way other people live as well.

Writing about airline deals, travel tips, Travel Tuesday questions, or Estonian love stories isn’t enough.  I need a challenge and a new direction that will allow travel, my family, and my life experiences to give me a purpose that is both fulfilled and challenged by travel.

So I am either bold, dumb, or crazy for sharing this and actually asking for people to keep me accountable to this new direction.  Here’s hoping it’s a rewarding journey which will challenge everyone involved – myself, my family, and travelers.

Poverty photo (Flickr: openDemocracy)

2 bloggers like this post.
28 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2011 4:56 am

    The sneak peek is looking good – looking forward to reading the blog this coming year.

    • January 4, 2011 11:46 am

      Thanks Robin! I’m excited about it and hope I can live up to the expectations I have placed on myself! :)

  2. January 4, 2011 12:57 pm

    Congrats on the new focus for your site – like you I am planning on using my blog to focus on more volunteer and service type issues. Look forward to the changes! :)

    • January 4, 2011 2:59 pm

      Thanks “Shaq”! :) I think there are so many different directions I could go and things that I want to do but I definitely feel like giving back has to be a huge part of that. Much success to you in this area as well!

  3. January 4, 2011 2:51 pm

    Having a clear vision is the first step in reaching success. Now that you’ve got it defined, get to work!

    • January 4, 2011 2:58 pm

      Indeed and I have a LOT of work to do! I just need more time in my day to get it all done! :)

  4. January 4, 2011 10:57 pm

    Good for you. A new challenge is the salt of life. Go for it, we will follow you.

  5. January 5, 2011 9:44 am

    It sounds exciting! Looking forward to seeing it!

  6. January 5, 2011 12:10 pm

    Good luck with the new site! If you have any trouble with wordpress give me a shout, i’ll be happy to help!

    • January 5, 2011 12:12 pm

      Thanks Jozef! I struggled a bit at first but getting the hang of it now. If I have to change code, that’s where I tend to run into problems. However, I look forward to the new blog. Thanks for your encouragement and offer to help!

  7. January 5, 2011 5:19 pm

    Good luck with the new site, Jeremy. Very exciting to be making changes! Keep us posted.

    • January 6, 2011 2:53 am

      Thanks Cathy! I am excited about the changes but still a lot of work to do! I guess that’s why I don’t sleep much these days! :)

  8. January 5, 2011 6:46 pm

    Awesome that you’re getting involved with the challenge – I did too :-) It’s going to be tough but hopefully we can all help each other through it! Looking forward to reading about your travels!!! Cheers, Lynda :-)

    • January 6, 2011 2:52 am

      Thank you! I am sure we will be a great help and encouragement to each other! :)

  9. January 6, 2011 4:30 am

    Great to see such a well thought out and responsible path for the new blog! I think we are all a little bold, dumb, or crazy to put so much of ourselves out there for the rest of the world to see, watch, criticize and also hopefully find value in. A little positive pressure is always a good thing and I’m looking forward to reading the new blog. Good luck getting all of it put together, I know the feeling :)

    • January 6, 2011 3:19 pm

      Thanks Todd! I think part of a blog’s success is the accountability to your message. I’ve been thinking more about direction and purpose lately (see the latest post) and so I feel that travel is not only a wonderful opportunity but in some ways, a responsibility as well. I’ve still got a lot of work to do before this thing is launched but it’s good to have a little bit of direction for where I am going.

  10. January 6, 2011 9:18 pm

    I’m excited to see your new site! Can’t wait. Thanks for the info on the 1,000/1,000 blogging challenge, I hadn’t heard of that before but it’s a good goal for my new website!

    • January 7, 2011 1:05 am

      I still need to do so much work and get this thing launched! Thanks for the encouragement and welcome to the challenge! :)

  11. January 7, 2011 12:32 am

    Awesome! New blog!! Can’t wait :)
    And I joined 1000-1000 challenge as well. Didn’t announce it yet.. but will do soon. Exciting! :)
    Belated Happy New Year Jeremy!

    • January 7, 2011 12:54 am

      Thanks Juno! Happy New Year to you as well and welcome to the 1000-1000 challenge! I will have a lot of catching up to do as I transition from one blog to a new one. Lots of changes are in store and I love the challenge and the community we have so that we can all succeed together!

  12. January 7, 2011 12:33 am

    Same here, we don’t really believe in new year resolutions either.. just do the best you can do, each and every year, is what i say! Wishing you luck Jeremy!!

    • January 7, 2011 12:52 am

      Thanks Mei! I am a little apprehensive about it but looking forward to the changes. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s so awesome to have the encouragement and support. I am inspired and awed by people like you who have put in so much effort and come so far in your writing, blogging, and passion!

  13. January 10, 2011 4:50 am

    Congratulations Jeremy, looking forward to getting to reading more of your personal writing.

    • January 10, 2011 11:37 am

      Thanks! I look forward to a new direction as well and hope 2011 is a good one! Continue doing what you’re doing and don’t settle for an office life if that’s not what you are called to! Enjoy the time you have to travel! :)

  14. JennaFrancisco permalink
    January 10, 2011 3:39 pm

    Best of luck with it! I look forward to seeing the new blog.

    • January 11, 2011 1:26 am

      Thank you Jenna! I wish you the best of luck as well – for different reasons! It will be fun for both of us! :)


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