Personal Stories

A Mantra for 2019 for Writing, Travel & Life

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I actually enjoy the passage of time and each new year. Do you?

I love using January 1st as a chance to look back on the year that has passed, and to reset my intentions and goals for the coming year. 2018 is officially over, and 2019 is off to its start. What will it hold? We’ll all have to wait and see!

Each year, one of my favorite traditions (now in its fourth year) is setting a yearly mantra. I publish a new post on January 1st of the year to share the mantra I’ve chosen and what I think it means. Read on to learn about these mantras from past years and which word I’ve chosen for 2019.

The History of Yearly Mantras

For the past two years, I’ve joined my friend Malia from Shoyu Sugar in choosing a ‘word of the year’ or mantra to guide my efforts and intentions. In 2016, my word was ‘minimize,’ in 2017, I chose the word ‘muse,’ and in 2018, the word I picked was ‘balance.’

While each year, my yearly mantra hasn’t exactly taken the form I’d expect, it’s been an interesting hallmark of the year.

For example, in 2017, I thought muse would guide my creative efforts and endeavors; in reality, I learned to surrender to my creative curiosity and accept more structured projects (like my job) when they presented themselves to me. Sometimes, I was in control of the muse, and sometimes she exerted more control me.

Looking Back on My Yearly Mantra to Find Balance

Last year, I made some hypotheses for what balance might look like in a concrete way:

  • I predict I’ll get better at setting a semi-consistent schedule for work and non-work time.
  • I want to balance work and time which is truly not work (something I’m not good at!).
  • I’ll get way better at standing poses in yoga, and possibly add a few inverted poses to my repertoire.
  • I will balance more doing and measuring the impact of what I’m doing. In most projects, I have a tendency to get caught up in the data and not do any work.
  • I’ll work on better balancing my health, particularly focusing on getting better hydrated each day.

As is usually the case, some of my hypotheses were accurate, and some were not! For example, I didn’t do a great job at creating work and non-work time – or balancing them in my life. I think I worked more than ever in 2018, but I did find balance in another way.

2019 Mantra Recap

I didn’t mention it at the time, but in July I left my full-time role at Go Overseas to step back into a remote, contract position. In doing so, I chose to create a balance between my work at Go Overseas (which I greatly enjoy) and new projects including Space Tourism Guide and this blog. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting a lot more as a result!

I found a better balance in measuring the impact of my work and focusing on that which actually matters; I did not do a great job of working on my yoga poses or getting hydrated. In short, some of my predictions were very accurate, whereas others were completely off! It’s hard to predict today what the whole year will look like, ya know?

Deciding on my Yearly Mantra for 2019

Unlike in years past, my 2019 mantra came to me early in the autumn of 2018 and has stuck with me ever since. There has never been another contender, and I haven’t had to choose which one seems best for the coming year. For 2019, my mantra has felt obvious and natural since it first popped into my head that it was time to choose a new mantra!

My Yearly Mantra for 2019: Reach

For my professional and personal life, my 2019 mantra will be:


The word ‘reach’ feels perfect for the coming year, because it has so many meanings:


1. to stretch out one’s arm in a specified direction in order to touch or grasp something
2. to arrive at; to get as far as


1. the act of reaching out with one’s arm
2. the ability or power of someone or something to do, achieve, or control something

Unlike previous years, where I wanted to minimize or find balance, or even surrender to my muse, 2019 feels like it will be an active year – and it requires an active, powerful word.

In 2019, I will reach.

What I Predict Reach Will Mean in 2019

2019 Mantra: ReachAs in years past, I want to set some concrete ways I think reach will manifest in the coming year:

  • I will reach for the stars, literally and figuratively. I’ll spend more time stargazing and admiring the night sky, watching rocket launches, and writing content which helps people enjoy the night sky and hopefully take a trip to space themselves!
  • I will reach further in my fitness journey. In yoga, I’ll work on poses that reach: standing poses and warrior poses that engage my whole body. I’m also planning to re-start swimming in January, and a good reach is an important part of each swimming stroke.
  • I will reach outside my comfort zone to advance my career. In my mind, I envision reach being a hand breaking through a glass ceiling. I have hidden under my own insecurities in my career too long – and with the momentum of some already-moving projects from 2018 and my own passion for my career in 2019, I hope to continue crafting a profession I’m proud of and passionate about.
  • I will reach out to those around me to continue connecting. You may have seen it on Instagram in late 2018, but Mr. V proposed on Christmas Eve, so we’ll be strengthening our relationship in the coming year. I also want to use the ‘planning a wedding’ time to reconnect and re-establish friendships with friends.
  • I will reach across the globe to continue telling stories here. Already, I have some amazing trips planned in 2019, to Chile and Jordan, and other places around the world. Look for some awesome blog posts in 2019!

So that’s it from me! I’m delighted to be inspired by the desire to reach in 2019.

Want to Set Your Own Yearly Mantra for 2019?

If you want to set a 2019 mantra, it’s easy! Here are the steps I follow each year:

  1. Make a list of words or phrases you might think will represent and inspire you this year.
  2. Pin the list up or add it somewhere you’ll see it at least once a day.
  3. Give yourself 1-2 weeks to consider all of the words on your list. You might also try asking friends or family for their opinion on which word seems to ‘fit’ you and your goals for the coming year.
  4. Choose one word that stands out to you, and give yourself 1-2 days to see if it feels “right.”
  5. Once you’ve chosen your word, go share it with by replying to my tweet or leaving a comment on this Instagram photo.

I can’t wait to hear what mantra you have chosen for the coming year!

Happy New Year, friends!

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

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