The Year of Focus

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Toronto, Canada

The photo above is nearly four years ago, my second day of travel to Mexico. I look back at that and wonder if I had any clue how much my life would change. 

The last month has been pretty monumental. I haven’t written about Spain yet – I promise next week! But I returned feeling vulnerable, having been frustrated for so many weeks, wondering why I had spent so much time away.

A number of events and people sparked a recurring question for me:

 

WTF am I doing with my life?

 

Deciding the future of my entire life is too ambitious, but I can choose my path for this year. I wanted 2013 to be The Year of Less and while I did make an effort to be online less and connect with people more, I traveled far more than I wanted to and now I am exhausted.

ayngelina

I’m not complaining, I was fortunate to have so many new opportunities come my way and I didn’t want to say no.

As I try to figure out how to fund this non-traditional life I’ve said yes to many things, perhaps not for the right reasons as much was driven by fear – that I’ll run out of money and have to pack it all in.

But I believe I learn more from what I’ve done wrong than right, for me it’s like a funnel slowly getting to my goal

 

2014 is the Year of Focus

 

I explain this a bit more in my newsletter but I’m restructuring my life to focus on what I’m inspired by in life:

meat love

Love

So I’m quite averse to writing about my love life here. I opened the door a couple years back about online dating in Canada and realized I did not like being so public. But if you follow me on instagram it’s clear that Chef_Rouge is someone important in my life and 2014 is about being less selfish and making room for love in my life.

 

Food

I would never call myself a foodie primarily because most of the world loves to eat but also because it’s not just eating that drives me. I’m more of a food geek. I read books about the anthropology of food, watch documentaries on fruit around the world and I want to know how farming is changing.

But last year I stopped listening to my food podcasts (Chicken Thistle Coopcast, The Splendid Table, amongst others), reading books about food and watching documentaries. In just a few days I feel reinspired by consuming media that inspires me and I’ve just discovered Lucky Peach magazine.

 

food tattoo

Cooking 

It makes me laugh but my neighbours, who are also good friends, don’t think I cook. And perhaps it’s for good reason. I wasn’t actually in my apartment much in 2013 and when I was I was mostly eating salad and green smoothies. But I adore cooking. I could sit and chop vegetables all day. I asked Chef Rouge to give me a monthly cooking challenge to reconnect to cooking. January is one of his favourite recipes from school – Julia Child’s chicken fricassee. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m starting a new series of “Food Love” videos. The first will be how to poach an egg and then move onto things like making homemade sriracha, kimchi,  chimichurri, pickled watermelon, fresh pasta, etc. I’m looking to go back and get inspired by previous travels so if there’s something you loved and want to know how to make let me know.

 

looking at mountain

Travel

I still love to travel but it’s just become something I do rather than something I cherish. I’m pulling back this year and traveling far less so that it’s something I’m excited about. I’m looking to travel to work on a few projects inspired by my love of food. I’m really interested in sharing the connection of people, farmers and food producers. I want to explore the US and much more of Canada and I hope I can get back to Latin America for a bit…and maybe Italy because…well it’s amazing.

And I want to thank all of you for staying with me for this journey. Four years ago I started this journey sobbing on chicken buses wondering if I’d ever truly be happy.  2014 is going to be an amazing year.

 

 

Join the Conversation

  1. Have enjoyed seeing your journey last year and ended up using your blog as a resource travelling through Mexico and South America.

    Goodluck with 2014 and look forward to seeing more awesome videos

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks Jimmy. I’ll still continue to travel but maybe also writing about what I’m doing in between.

  2. Lauren @ Roamingtheworld says:

    Glad to see even really successful bloggers who seem to have it all figured out still struggle with the big question and similar worries…

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a constant process of wondering what I’m doing with my life, but I think it’s not isolated to bloggers. Most people feel this way and no one ever really talks about it.

  3. This article was so beautiful. Your goal for 2014 is perfect. I wish you the best of luck.
    I think I love your blog so much because you are so honest, put yourself out there, and really love food.
    I started following you when I started looking for work abroad though I was in a committed relationship. I am in Brazil now (for the next 5 months), far from my boyfriend. I miss him terribly, but I think that this will make me a better person for realizing a childhood dream. I also believe that we should cherish people instead of things. Everyday I wonder if I made the right choice. I didn’t choose a material thing over my boyfriend, but I did choose a trip and a dream. I hope it all works out.
    Thanks again for your awesome work. Your photos are fantastic as are Chef_Rouge’s.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ana I have had so many years of doubt. I constantly wondered if I made the wrong decision yet something deep inside me knew I was doing the right thing.

      Finally four years later it’s all starting to come together and I feel like those tough times paid off. But enjoy your time in Brazil because someday you’ll be looking back as well.

  4. Kristin Addis says:

    I ask myself the same question all the time. WTF am I doing? It’s all ups and downs and making peace with the present, though, isn’t it?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s like a monthly crisis for me, but each month I start to become more comfortable not knowing the answer.

  5. The food love videos sound amazing, especially homemade sriracha. I could quite easily drown an entire meal in the stuff! Good luck for the year to come Ayngelina!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Okay I’ll make sure sriracha is one of the first – just for you 🙂

  6. I know it’s going to be an awesome year for you Ayngelina! I can totally relate to not sharing too much about your love life on your blog. Sometimes you want to keep things private right? But thanks for sharing a bit!

    Hugs, Lois

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah that’s absolutely what it is, I need some things to myself. Although he’s such a big part of my life now it may be tough to keep it private – and that’s not such a bad thing 🙂

  7. Very inspiring, I hope 2014 will be amazing indeed. Looking forward to the food love videos

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much!

  8. Looks like 2014 will be an amazing year for creation and focus on purpose! I’ve struggled with that myself — letting people into my life or expressing love, and something I’ll be hopefully changing as well!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I feel more excited about creating new things and learning this year. Good luck to you on letting people in your life, I know it’s tough, it took me a long time to get there.

  9. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says:

    I love your intentions for 2014. Whilst my life is definitely not as hectic or busy as yours, I have similar goals for 2014. In 2013 I lost a lot of my focus and I’m trying to regain it in 2014. Here’s to us both achieving that!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really wanted to be focused last year but just couldn’t do it but I really feel like 2014 is the year I’ll be at least closer to it.

  10. Wow, I didn’t even know they made documentaries about fruit. I have a passion for eating as is evidenced by the extra person wrapped around my mid-section, but I am usually happy to let others be the food geniuses.

    I am noticing more and more travelers, myself included, who are starting to think that the travel itself is not enough. It is an interesting phenomenon.

    Good luck, I am sure you will have a great 2014, even if it doesn’t go according to plan, as life on the road seldom does 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha, there’s a documentary about everything!

      Travel isn’t enough, you get bored with it and then you feel guilty for being so privileged and not appreciating it. I want to get to the place where I can appreciate it again.

  11. Hope the year works out for you. I love to cook too … it’s like a form of self-expression, art that you can eat after you’ve finished! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s the best part!

  12. I should probably take a leaf out of your book and move on from my student ways of making pasta or cheese toasties for dinner! As always, you are my inspiration!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ll make some easy recipes just for you!

  13. I recently discovered your blog a few weeks ago and it has truly inspired me. I thought I was crazy when I was telling my family that I actually had plans of leaving a secure job to travel throughout Central and South America this coming summer on the money I’ve saved over the past two years. Like you, I fell in love with the entire continent and I can’t wait to go back! Being a solo female traveler, I naturally ran into your blog. I love reading your posts! They truly have become a bit of guidance for my own adventure. Look forward to reading more!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow thanks so much!

      People did think I was crazy to escape to Latin America, although I was lucky because no one said anything. But it’s an amazing place.

  14. Funny, I’ve declared 2014 the year of Focus for me too! It’s really time to buckle down and concentrate on making the important things great and reducing noise of unimportant things. It sounds like your framework for 2014 is exactly what you’re needing, and I wish you success!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think a lot of people are feeling the burden of social media. There’s too much, you can’t read/post/tweet enough.

      But I’ve had enough and I want to do less of it.

  15. TammyOnTheMove says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to see more food videos. You should totally write a cook book at the end of the year!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      A cookbook? Actually, maybe that’s a good idea…

  16. 2014 will be an amazing year for your. I also love looking, looking forward to your food videos.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Jeff.

  17. I remember feeling pretty lost and a bit of sobbing early on in our travels. Perhaps it’s a necessary part of letting go of what used to be and embracing the not-knowing of what’s ahead?

    Happy 2014 to you! It’s great to be back in touch again (thru blogs, twitter and the like).

    And love your focus photo! It’s perfect!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s always so nice to connect with you Leigh, your writing always makes me think.

  18. What an honest post. I agree that travelling too frequently can certainly put a strain on your life. We’ve found that travelling slowly suits us much better in the long term. I’m so excited that you’ll be doing cooking blog posts – am very excited to see them!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much, I’m really looking forward to deciding what to make first!

  19. Shaun Robertson says:

    Congrats on a great year! All the best in 2014 and can’t wait to see your cooking!

    Shaun

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Shaun!

  20. I also want to focus my life this year on things that makes me happy and to help other people in my own little way. Let’s do it guys to make this year much colorful and merrier compared last year!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s a fantastic idea.

  21. Steph | A Nerd at Large says:

    Amen to all of it, sister.

  22. “2014 is going to be an amazing year.”
    Love the determination 🙂 I wish you all the best!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Jade 🙂

  23. I’ve always wanted to get more into food (understanding it as opposed to just shoving it in my face) so I’m excited for your videos! I feel you on the travel. It’s great and I love it, but you can totally have too much of a good thing.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Food has been a growing passion of mine, I just like to know why and how we eat what we do. I’m really looking forward to sharing that with video.

  24. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Sounds great, glad you discovered Lucky Peach magazine. We’ve been reading it since it started. Another great one is http://www.meatpaper.com

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve been going through the archives, obsessed with it.

  25. I enjoyed reading you blog and your plan about 2014. Sometimes when we do things because we need to we lose the feeling of excitement and I agree with your idea of changing that feeling in 2014. Travelling and adventure should not be something that you do because you need to. It must be something that you do because you want to. It should be your source of happiness and great memories and you will be able to reflect that in your blog thus you can spread the excitement to other people who love to travel.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Exactly I just want to feel that excitement again.

  26. Carolyn Jung says:

    So happy to hear there’s a special guy in your life! And he can cook, too. Sounds pretty perfect. Good for you!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And hopefully you will meet him someday…in Maui – let’s talk to Charlene 🙂

  27. So glad you have marked out your goals for the year, many people will never do this. Looks like your on track to have an awesome year, good on you and all the best with it 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think it’s good to set goals and to announce them. Last year I didn’t take enough action but this year I will.

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