Home for the holidays. And it has been quite an adventure. Flew into Norfolk, Virginia, rented a car, immediately made the 6 hour trek into the Appalachian Mountains to see my Dad and SW Virginia family. A foot of snow was on the ground and it just kept coming. It was a huge departure from the 85 degree weather of Austin, TX.
Five days later, I drove back to Norfolk and over to Portsmouth to spend Christmas with my Mom and brother. The ground was clear of any white but on Christmas night, that changed drastically. It started coming down fast and sticking. By morning there was 18 inches of snow. Today, my flight back home to Austin was canceled due to the inclement weather.
The unfortunate part of the stay at my Mom’s is her lack of internet access. I am in the middle of trying to coordinate my upcoming live interview with Amy Christensen of Expand Outdoors and her Renewal Expedition. Being disconnected for so many days has been very uncomfortable for me – but also very revealing. (As a matter of fact, I came 2 miles in 18 inches of snow to the nearby McDonald’s to use their wifi to write this post. haha Now I sound like a grandparent.)
So what have I learned in 5 days of being disconnected from the internet and the world?
1. It is easy to lose sight of our bigger picture and our true passions – our driving force – when we are focused on our screens for 8+ hours per day.
My brother invited a friend over to my Mom’s house for Christmas. This fellow has one passion in life: cooking. In the fall of 2011, he is taking 40 days off to cycle across the US from Virginia to San Francisco armed with his resume and his passion. He intends to stop in restaurants along the way to work with and learn from the Chef’s across the US.
It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It’s rock’n'roll. And it reminded me of an important dream of my own: to cycle the US armed with MY work and passion.
In 2009, I borrowed a bike from an amazing entrepreneur friend, Ashley Whittenburger, and trained 8 hours per day in 110 degree weather so I could ride from NYC to Washington D.C. in 5 days. I started training (and riding a road bike for the first time in my life) 6 weeks before the ride. My first week, I rode 300 miles. I was in love.
I knew then that I wanted to cycle the US. But as work and life got so busy, I completely lost sight of my own bigger picture and my “bucket list.”
2. When we take a week away from the noise and the digital, we have a chance to make real human connections again. The result: simplicity.
It is so easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the depths of content on the web. With all of us putting out new content every day, it is humanly impossible to consume it all – no matter how much we want to.
With the soft launch of my official social media management agency, Bell Social, I have become pretty good at mastering social media content and engagement. But what takes it to the next level? Human interaction. Face to face connection. Authenticity.
Here I am snowed in. No TV. No internet. Almost no cell reception. Just me and 3 other people – talking, sharing stories, our passions, playing in the snow, and connecting.
This is why I do Love Your Work Life. I am obsessed with people and their passions. In my hyper focus on others I almost forgot my own.
3. Remember what you are working for.
So, here it is… Parts of my bucket list. Parts of what I am working for. A rememberance of who I am, what I want, and why I work.
• I want to cycle the U.S. doing talks about following your passions, living today, and loving your work life. I want to share the inspiring stories of the amazing people I have the priveldge of interviewing. I want to share stories and inspiration. I want to show people where their legs can take them.
• I want to write a book – about my adventures, about conquering my own fears and living the life I dream of, and about YOU and your inspiring victories of love and work and life.
• I want to cycle every day. I want to share good food and healthy adventures across the country with all of you.
• I want to add an online Work-Life art gallery to Love Your Work Life.
• I want to pay off my mortgage in Austin, TX.
Those are just a few things I have remembered by unplugging. What is on your “bucket list” that you’ve forgotten about? What are you passionate about? What are you working for?