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I’ve been pretty busy as of late, more than I can cover in just one little blog post. Speaking of blog posts, I’ve been sort of slow in getting them on my site, but I assure you, I’ve been plenty busy writing!

2015 has turned out to be a big year. And it’s only March.

This old house

The house has been an amazing experience for us. I’ve loved decorating it and learning about the ins and outs of it. I understand why some people might steer clear from buying such an old house, but we’ve quickly learned to not let the things that come up stress us or make us feel overwhelmed. We are slowly restoring things and fixing things and I envision this house being even more beautiful and special when we are done with it. Two months into this experience and I don’t regret a thing. I love it so, especially since we got rid of the squirrels living in our roof.

Change in how we travel

Making travel plans has gotten, well, real. As I look into planning family trips for later this summer and Fall, I keep coming up against one little fact that I can no longer ignore. And that is that our oldest will be in college and not able to travel with us most of the time. Of course I saw this coming. I helped to make it happen, but it only really slaps me in the face when I start budgeting those flights and realize that there will be one person less in our perfect group of five. That’s when my heart starts to sink and I can’t bring myself to accept what is coming. “Maybe he’ll be free then.” “Maybe it will work out with his schedule.” These are all things I tell myself. It’s clear that a part of me is having trouble letting go, something I didn’t really consider as a potential problem and something which I can’t really envision without feeling sad or guilty or strange about. But mostly sad.

Practicing what I preach

At the beginning of the year, I shared with you some blogging practices that have paid off for me and I continue to practice what I preach as well as improve upon those practices. This has resulted in some pretty great partnerships and freelancing opportunities, most notably because I have stood my ground on what my rates are for work and how much I am willing to give when working with brands and destinations, even when invited on press trips. Because I don’t charge to be on a press trip (not the same as being a part of a marketing campaign – I charge for those), I am very protective of the amount of creative content and time I will give for what some consider a “free trip”. So far this year, I’ve only had one brand push back on my stance in this, and my response was stern, but I also proved my worth in content I have produced (and gotten paid for by others). I believe we have every right to demand our worth, and get paid for our content and work, but I also think we better have something to back it up. Number of followers and blog stats don’t count to me. I mean, yeah, they matter to an extent, but professionalism, reputation in the field, and quality of work is something no one can ever argue with.

Where you can find me and read me

Of course, you can always find me here, but I’ve also been busy writing elsewhere. It’s how I support my lifestyle after all!

My partnership with Expedia continues into the new year and as one of their Expedia Viewfinder bloggers, I get to share some great travel tips and stories there that I hope you will check out. Also exciting is that our annual summit will be held in Maui this year! This means that I get to hang out with some of my favorite travel people and friends in Hawaii, for a little over a week, and call it work. This awesomeness will take place mid-April. if you want to check out my work with Expedia, you can read my posts here.

I started working with Findery late last year and what started as a simple way to share insights and personal perspectives on some of my favorite travel finds and local spots has turned into a wonderful partnership where I continue to share on the app (find me at @GirlGoneTravel) and also through travel articles published in Huffington Post Travel!

Some of the articles I have written:

Travel like a local in the Dominican Republic

Germany off the beaten path

51 Hours in New York City

Ski Resort Vacations for Non-Skiers

Costa Rica Family Adventure

Exploring new horizons

Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) recently contacted me to invite me to join 29 other travel bloggers on a trip to explore Thailand. This will be my very first visit to an Asian country, something which I swore I would do, and started saving money for, this year. TBEX is hosting a series of conferences this year, in Costa Brava, Spain, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and in Bangkok, Thailand, its first one in Asia. I am so proud to be among those welcomed by Tourism of Thailand to help showcase their country and so excited to share everything I see and do with you. I start exploring Bangkok on March 22.

Life-changing moments

I’m writing a book.

I have shared a bit about my mother, whom I lost to cancer. What I haven’t always talked about is my biological mom, from whom I was taken as a child.

A series of events that all started around being selected as a Storyteller for the We All Grow summit, led to my thinking of her and wondering how she was and if she was still alive. I met her briefly once before, but I wasn’t ready and we lost contact. But just a month a go, 20+ years since I last saw her, I felt the urge to find her again. Amazingly enough, I did. On Facebook.

It’s been an insane few weeks and I got to connect with her in person and spend time with her here in my home, with my husband and children. I am still processing it all. My story. Her story. And what this all means for us.

GirlgonetravelI found and connected with my biological mother and am writing a book about our story.

In the meantime, the support from friends and family has been overwhelming and wonderful. The amazing stories people have shared with me about themselves or someone they lost contact with or want to connect with, have been incredible. My mother and I have read them all and have cried and found inspiration and motivation to share our story with others.

So, there you have it my friends. To say it’s been an unbelievable time for me is an understatement. Travel has been such a massive part of my life these past few years. I am so grateful to be able to help support my family with my dream job and we are planning many more fun adventures.

But I am also really happy to have other areas of interest and focus outside of travel. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so much positivity and friendship and love. I have felt that very strongly from so many these past few weeks and have always said I have some of the best readers and friends in the world.

In the near future, I will start sending out more exclusive updates via a newsletter to my subscribers. What I’ve been up to, tips, and features around the web will be among the things I will share with you. So don’t forget to subscribe below!

Excited to continue to share more with you. Thanks for checking in!

 

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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