The 27 Adventure
Tales from a decision of a lifetime: to make my 27th year the best and most adventurous one yet.
by Dannielle Cresp on May 7, 2013
I have been in a bad place lately, and I just couldn’t bring myself to blog any of it. It all sounded like ‘wah, wah, wah, miserable Dannielle is miserable again’ and I just didn’t want to share the wah fest. My anxiety has been high and I’ve struggled to not let it get on top of me.
Coming home has been much harder than I anticipated. In fact, I don’t really know what I was anticipating but feeling like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole wasn’t it. Then I saw this quote (which I remade here) on Pinterest, that I’ve seen so many times before, but this time I really read it:
And I sat there and thought to myself: YES, maybe I will. So I had a bit of a think about the things I always wanted to do and each time I did, it came back to two related things: interior design and styling. I’ve always been fascinated by interior design, in fact it was what I wanted to be when I grew up (when I was 13 and everyone else wanted to be a marine biologist). But I’ve always been too scared to try.
So yesterday, I put my brave face on and signed up to a proper short course on Interior Design and I start next week! It’s been a while since I felt so excited about something, but in sharing it with people yesterday the response was overwhelmingly positive and it made me just that little bit less nervous and just a little bit more like I’m finding my feet. I’m looking for something that I will be happy working crazy hours at and will be something that can grow with me.
Maybe this is just what I’m looking for, and maybe it isn’t. But I’ll never know until I try and I’m taking the happy ‘this feels right’ feeling and running with it. 27 was always going to be a big year of change for me and one big adventure. So far it’s got lots of twists and turns that I didn’t expect, but change is good for the soul.
I have some exciting ideas that I’m going to work on, and for now I’m feeling great. I’ll take great over miserable any day. Can’t wait to tell you all about this course and how it goes.
by Dannielle Cresp on April 16, 2013
I’m home now, and trying to settle back in – but more on that and my trip home another day. Today I want to finally share my trip to Philly. x
I left Charlottesville early-ish on a Saturday and took the train the 5 and a bit hour trip to Philadelphia, PA. The train trip went by faster than I expected once I got over the fact that the free wifi promised wasn’t working. (Yes, I ranted to myself for about 30 minutes and then decided to work on something that didn’t require internet). It was a little chilly when I got into 30th Street Station, but the lovely Zoe and her boys came to pick me up and we went to get dinner.
Sunday morning I caught the train into the city from Zoe’s and decided that I would just wander the streets and see what took my fancy. Because Philly was stop 8 of 9 US cities, I didn’t really research the things to do, though I knew that there were things to see and do. My first stop was the Anthropologie flagship store, 4 floors of Anthro amazing-ness! With it so chilly out it was great (and necessary) to stop in little shops all along Walnut Street as I walked from the Anthropologie store across to Independence Mall to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
The queues were crazy long as it was a long weekend so I decided that I wanted to see the Liberty Bell more than inside Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed). It was freezing in the queue for the Liberty Bell, but the exhibit information was really interesting and it was great to see the bell!
I wandered the streets and stopped in some lovely craft shops and just really took in the city (whilst muttering about the cold – it got down to -1C in my defence). I loved that the area was clearly signposted for visitors to the city and it was quite easy to get around. I needed to time my trip back as the trains were running a Sunday timetable, but I got back in time for some snow flurries.
On Monday I had arranged to meet up with Megan Auman at her trade show booth at Buyer’s Market of America. I’ve known Megan online since I started my business online in 2009 and it was great to finally catch up in person. The trade show was in the Convention Center which is right across from Reading Terminal Market (a must see food market). I popped out of the show at lunch time and got myself the two things you must get in Philly: a Philly Cheese Steak and a Whoopie Pie (from FlyingMonkey no less)! They were both delicious!
The market was bustling with people and just a crazy busy atmosphere. I can see how people would get lost in there without a good sense of direction. It was fun to see all the different businesses and the range of food available.
Getting to sit in on the trade show was great! It was so interesting to see how different it is to a retail market and to see all the stalls looking their best. It was fun to have a catch up with Megan and to see her gorgeous jewellery in person!
My stop in Philly was so short, that it was the first place I left wishing that I’d had more time to spend exploring. It’s definitely a place that I’d love to visit again to see all the treasures that I missed. Everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly and if you’re ever looking for postcards, the 30th St station has them in the news agent and they have a post office inside the station too!
Thanks so much to Zoe for having me and to Megan for catching up. I loved Philly and will be back some day.
by Dannielle Cresp on April 2, 2013
My family here in Michigan aren’t big Easter celebrators, so I wasn’t expecting much to happen this weekend. My cousin C took me ice skating on Friday night, and I’m proud to say that I made it around the Ice Rink holding onto the edge 3 whole times without falling over. Woo!
Ice Skating could now be ticked off my imaginary list. Then on Saturday we went out for National Coney Island (a diner chain) where I had the most delicious Tuna Melt and we went to Marshalls and Walmart. (No trip to the USA is complete without a trip to Walmart! or so I’m told.) I found some Chuck Taylor’s for $25 and some 80′s Glam Sharpies!
It was awesome, and I thought that was the fun part of the day over. But my other cousin (both are equally awesome) G came over late in the evening and all 3 of us went out for pancakes at IHOP at midnight!! (This may be normal where you’re from, but nothing (reputable) is open for pancakes back home that late, so it was a real treat)
We had great food and lots of laughs. Our “Easter Brunch” was quite the feast. I felt the happiest I have in a long time. We followed it up with a day in our PJs and dinner at trendy Michigan restaurant called Vinsetta Garage, where there was more great food and good company. It was honestly the best Easter I can remember and I wouldn’t give up that memory for the world.
I’m feeling happy and calm and ready to go home on my terms. It’s funny that Michigan was the place where that low feeling started in late 2011, and now it’s the place where it’s finally gone. Maybe I knew I was meant to come here?! I’ll never know, but I’ll never regret the decision to get on that bus when I needed to, because it took me somewhere I knew I’d be safe, and I was. And it gave me an Easter memory that I can have for the rest of my days and you can’t beat that.
P.S. I’m flying home later this week. Yay!!
by Dannielle Cresp on March 26, 2013
Once upon a time, June 2012 to be exact, I had a crazy dream of travelling across the United States and seeing ‘the real America’. I wanted to stop and see some of the wonderful people that my online business had given me the opportunity to get to know, and I wanted to do it in style*.
I had a crazy dream of attending the conference that so many creatives in my industry want to attend, Alt Summit. But it all seemed too far fetched. The business was having a slow month. I was feeling really low and only had $200 in savings and had bills that needed paying. So I made a ‘what have I got to lose’ plan. I never thought for a second that I could pull it off. I’d tried before and it had flopped and I just thought it would again. But it didn’t. I broke everything down into tiny little goals, and focused on them one at a time: Renew Passport. Apply for visa. Follow application process. Work job that brings in money – even though you don’t like it there. Save like crazy. Share it with your community.
Slowly but surely, the bank account grew, and the plans started to fall into place. From behind the computer screen, it all seemed so surreal. Was this actually going to happen? Could I actually get this massive trip with all the stops and actually do the whole thing without a credit card? And then in November, 2012 it started to come true. I booked the international flights. That was it, the plan was now set in motion. Everything I planned for and worked crazy hard for was actually coming true! Holy moly, I could do it!
On January 17, 2013, as so many of you know the 27 adventure started. I had a crazy dream and I made it come true 7 months after I thought it up, and that’s how I know you can do it too. It doesn’t have to apply to travel only, it can be for any BIG dream. What I realised is that it’s all about breaking it down into something that you know that you can handle. It’s about to-do lists and timelines and the biggest Eep! of all: budgets. But if I can do it, you can too, and I can show you exactly how.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant to have a plan on how to make that crazy big dream become a reality? I can tell you that the Brooklyn Bridge is as amazing as I had always imagined it, and whilst that may not be your dream, just seeing and doing what you love makes all the difference in the world. I believe that this year is the year that we should all take a chance on ourselves. To make a plan that won’t lose us anything if we don’t act, but can make things something so much more!
I can tell you first hand that living the dream is a-ma-zing and so worth the decisions I made and the hard work it took to get here. This has been by far the most amazing 3+ months of my life and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. It’s inspired me so much that I’m already starting on the next crazy dream.
If you’ve been wanting to make your BIG dream happen but you’re stuck on the how and the when, I can help! I’ve created an e-course that takes you through the steps and helps you make the best plan possible with all the steps you need to make it work (in a way that works for you). Join me for Making Bold Plans starting April 22!
*Style=not Youth Hostels but Hotels with free Wifi.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 23, 2013
I haven’t posted here in a few days. It’s not because I’m hiding or moping or I don’t know what. It’s really because I’ve been busy. So busy that I got sidetracked from telling you all about it. Oops!
After I made my WHY clear and shared it, I haven’t felt more inspired to get things done than I have in I don’t know how long. I have been writing copy for the re-launch of my business (coming when I’m back in Melbourne) and have been madly preparing to launch and run the Making Bold Plans e-course. I can’t wait to share it with you! It’s turning out awesome!
I’ve also moved myself from Toronto across the border to Michigan and am spending some quality time catching up with family. I’m feeling better about things than I have in a really long time and I’m just trying to hold on to that and make things happen before the doubt starts creeping in again. I want to do this right this time. I want to make things work and build a better future. 2013 is my year to give it a red-hot go! I have big plans for this year and I think I will start sharing them as they get closer.
For now I’m just going to enjoy the weekend and look forward to sharing some exciting things with you next week! Fingers crossed I can write my my Philly trip and try to get NYC out of my head and into some blog posts for you (it was awesome!!)
Happy weekend. x
by Dannielle Cresp on March 18, 2013
I left for Charlottesville, VA on a Tuesday morning. I couldn’t wait to get out of Wilmington. Whilst I loved historic downtown, the roads are awful and with the tire blowout and the nail polish exploding I was starting to feel like North Carolina hated me.
The drive was lovely and really pretty straightforward. It was 5.5 hours and I stopped at the Welcome to Virginia sign about 2 and a bit hours in and once more at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere. Note for Aussies: They want you to pay before you start filling up your tank not after like we do (oops!).
It was interstates and highways all the way. My GPS would say drive “215km and then make a right”. The new rental car had an iPod jack that you could work from the steering wheel so I could listen to my roadtrip playlist and turn control the songs without having to look at the ipod whilst driving, which was awesome. I thought I’d stop along the way and take a proper break but I got to where I was about an hour away from C’ville and I just decided to keep going. Thankfully there were no real dramas.
Unfortunately for me I’d asked someone for a guide on things to see and do in Charlottesville and for whatever reason, it never came through, so I was there really unprepared and I quickly learned that it’s a place that you need to know what you want to do there before you go. This was my fault, for not also doing my own research, but with 10 stops on the trip, I kind of forgot about it. I wasn’t much interested in going to Thomas Jefferson’s house, and other than visiting my lovely friend Tif and her family, I found it to be lacking what some of the other cities had. It has a cute main street, and there’s a fun stationery shop called Rock Paper Scissors that you should definitely visit if you’re in town, and I’ve heard the university campus is great but I felt weird going there on my own just to look around.
I think Charlottesville is probably one of those places that’s got a wonderful community and is a great place to live, but it’s definitely somewhere you need a car to get around. I’m glad I finally got to meet Tif in person and her lovely family, but I’m sure there are better people than me to tell you about all the things to see and do in this area.
As with everywhere, you never know until you go, and I’m glad that I went, so that I could see this quaint small town and it’s sweet winding roads.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 17, 2013
I just wanted to say that I’ve never felt this loved or supported in my whole life, and I can’t thank you all enough!
I agonised for days about sharing that I was coming home. I wrote 6 different blog posts to try to explain it before the one I shared. It’s wonderful to know that I have a community of wonderful people that are there not only during the good times, but during the toughest decisions of my life. You have all made me feel like I can fly into Melbourne with my head held high knowing that I’m coming home for all the right reasons, and not coming in sheepishly hoping that no one notices.
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith and a huge shake up to realise where you’re meant to be and what you’re meant to be doing. I’m quite sure that it was in part going to Alt and travelling to all 10 stops on this adventure that has helped me get to where I am now.
Thank you all so much for your support, I won’t ever forget it. I’m really looking forward to coming home and getting started on my next crazy big goal.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 13, 2013
I wrote this big, long post about what’s going through my head earlier today. I was (and am) apprehensive about sharing it with you. So I went for a walk and started listening to a chapter of Start With Why (an awesome book) again, and it got me thinking about what my WHY is for everything I do (in both my business and in my life).
And what I realised is that I strongly feel that my WHY is: to build me a better, happier, healthier future.
In every decision I make, this is what I consider first. When I was deciding on making this adventure it’s purpose was to make me feel alive again. To make me see things from a different perspective and to inject some happiness back into my life. That’s how I feel about sharing Making Bold Plans with you. That you too can build a better, happier, healthier future or whatever the future is that you are looking for.
So I’ve decided due to an overwhelming number of negative factors that I’m going to come home. I’m struggling to find full time employment (that I don’t really want – I want to run my own business) that will allow me to meet the requirements to rent my own apartment, in what has turned out to be a city that I don’t really even like, let alone love and one that’s sending me broke – fast.
While I don’t make the decision to leave Canada lightly, it’s been keeping me awake at night for days, I don’t see a better, happier, healthier future for me here. In some ways I wish I’d come here to visit first, just to see if it was a good fit. But I took the leap knowing that there was a chance that it would be that way. If money were no object, I’d probably fly to Vancouver and try things there, but in reality money is a huge factor, and I’d much rather go home with an awesome plan for my business back home, feeling confident now – then to go home defeated and deflated in 3 months time. If things are right later in the year, maybe I’ll try Vancouver or somewhere else, armed with what I know about how things work in Canada now.
I want to get back to running; to eating healthier; to laughing more; and to seeing more of the beautiful State I grew up in. This trip has helped me define who I am and what I want for my life and for that I’m forever grateful.
This won’t be the end of my 27 adventure at all, for one I’m still 27 and two I just got my ticket and flights for Problogger on the Gold Coast, Queensland in September. Now I know what I really want, things are starting to fall into alignment again. I’m not fighting against the tide of ‘they’ll be disappointed in me if I don’t stay’ and I’m swimming with ‘this is what I really want’. In the end, as much as I want to make everyone proud/happy/high fiveing me, I can’t put that first.
Adventures will always have their twists and turns and this is mine. I made my dream of this trip come true and I couldn’t be happier in my decision. I still have a little while before I’ll be home, but it all just feels right.
PS the photo of me is the first time I smiled since I got here, and it was because I realised that I could come home.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 11, 2013
I went to Alt Summit in January with an open mind and ready to listen to the amazing speakers and see what I could learn. It was inspiring and motivating and all ’round fantastic. As I listened and took all the notes, a little seed popped into my head, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
In talking to people about making the 27 adventure a reality, the overwhelming response from people has been about how they wish they too could make their crazy dreams a reality. Some said it in a ‘but that’s never going to happen’ way, but I noticed that more people said it in a ‘if only I had the tools to know how and the time’ kind of way. As I sat listening to the session on building offline events, it came to me: workshops where I can share with people the tools I have to help them make their big dreams happen! Yes! Finally a way to help people shine and reach the goals they’ve always wanted to!
You see, strategy is my thing. Share your idea with me and my brain will start thinking about how to make it work and what you realistically need to make it happen. That’s just how it is. It’s not always intentional. I just start to brainstorm. I think of all the ways you could make it happen. For me, it’s less about whether or not it should happen, but more about the how. I just love it, and I totally believe that other people can make their dreams a reality too.
After mentioning my idea to the wonderful Megan, she suggested that an e-course format would reach more people and be a great format for me. Awesome idea! Thanks Megan!
So with my brain ticking on overdrive and the opportunity for me to share my strategy and planning skills with you, I finally decided on what my next big idea should be called:
How many of you have thought that you’d love to go on that big overseas trip; or start up your own micro business; or take your kids to Disneyland; or save a deposit for that big dream purchase? But it all just looked too big and too far off to even start thinking about, I think we all have.
I want to help you turn that seemingly impossible dream into something that you can work towards. Because I believe that with the right tools, a proper timeline, manageable steps and a support network you can make your big idea happen too! Everyone’s dreams are different and their timelines and budgets are different too, but sometimes you just need the small steps that you can write in your calendar or on your to-do list for the day to get you started before it snowballs into something much bigger.
Wouldn’t that be awesome?! I feel like this year is the one to get the ball rolling. The year to put things out there and see if just maybe a ‘Yes’ comes back. I’ve learnt from the 27 adventure so far, that often if you’re brave enough to ask, then more times than not the help you need arrives. I’m a big believer that things don’t have to be perfect for them to still be amazing.
It’s amazing what ideas can come from a good conference. Can’t wait to get started!
P.S. the e-course will be at Australia friendly times.
by Dannielle Cresp on March 10, 2013
This past 24 hours of talking to friends and family about this journey and where I’m at right now has made me realise something: I did it.
I set myself the goal of making enough money to move to Canada with a trip across the USA on the way. Had you asked me what the plan was after I got here, as many of you did, I pretty much said that I’d work it out when I got here. I thought it was because I was going to trust my gut and that things have a way of working out. But I realised just today, that this part wasn’t really in the goal.
The true goal was to give me something solid and huge to focus on last year when I was so scared of the future it felt paralysing. It was to prove to myself that if I put my mind to it I could use my awesome planning and strategy skills to turn a near empty bank account and a dream that seemed impossible into a reality.
I did that. I’m here in Toronto, on my 10th stop of 10 on my 27 adventure. High fives to me!!
I don’t really know what’s coming next for me here as it’s crazy hard to find work and seemingly near impossible to find somewhere to live that I would feel comfortable living in. Tonight I’m feeling totally calm about that. I made this dream come true and whatever happens next won’t change that.
I’m proud to say that when things were tough I found something to believe in and a way to change my mind. I got to do what I love most and travel and see some amazing and very different places. I’m not great at recognising the good things, but today I’m going to say: Go Me!! I worked hard to make this happen and I’m now inspired to start making the next big thing a reality.
I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me through this, there are so many of you who helped me feel brave enough to make this happen.
For tonight, I’m doing just fine.