i took an extended break from blogging because for a few weeks, my daily life was full of other activities demanding my attention. in the last month i’ve been busy creating and writing and planning and working and resting and tending. here’s a little update about my personal life.
going back to work
in january 2018, i went back to work part-time. yes, you read that right. after five full months away from paid employment, i decided to go back to work for a couple months. i spent autumn travelling and starting my business, root lore goods. i poured my time into getting the business off the ground, and once things were rolling, i was finding myself looking for something else to do. i love my new business and i love working from home, but it has its downsides. our space is not ideal for me to run a business, especially since my partner already works from home! we were starting to feel crammed in our tiny apartment and interfering with each other’s work. i started aching to get out of the house a little bit.
i also knew we were planning a trip abroad, and was hoping to make some extra money to help cover the expense of the trip. since i’m in a financially secure position, i didn’t necessarily need to make more money, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt, especially if i found work i enjoyed. so i promised myself i would only return to work if i found an opportunity that was part-time, high paying, and meaningfully contributed to my community.
i applied for a number of jobs over a couple months and waited patiently for the right opportunity. i was offered a position at our animal shelter helping them create a volunteer program – something i used to do in my old full time job and really enjoyed. the shelter welcomes hundreds of volunteers every week, but didn’t have any formal program of orientations, training, tracking, or recruiting. they were looking for someone to help organize and start this program.
i was up front with them that i was only able to commit to working the months of january and february, but that i felt i could accomplish a lot in that time frame. they were happy to welcome me, and boy has it been a ride. the first couple weeks were rough as i learned the ins-and-outs of the shelter and how to work with the animals. but once i found my rhythm, i’ve been loving it. i get to be around dogs and cats every day, and work with people who genuinely care about the animals’ welfare. i’ve been working hard to get their volunteer program off the ground before i say goodbye in a couple weeks.
working at the shelter has been a great experience and how i hope to approach paid employment in the future – in a mutually-beneficial way. i feel fulfilled from getting out of the house, working with animals, and making a positive impact. the shelter is glad to have my help organizing the volunteers and taking the burden off other staff so they can focus on their roles. and the volunteers seem to enjoy me – their kindness makes me happy!
john c campbell folk school
the reason i’m leaving the shelter at the end of the month is because i have another opportunity lined up the fell into place early this year. last september, while traveling in chicago, i met an acquaintance who lived in my area because she was a work-study student at the john c campbell folk school. i had heard about the folk school, but its week-long classes were way out of my price range. she recommended the program to me, and the more i thought about it the better it sounded.
andrew and i were originally planning to relocate from georgia further north this winter. he ended up being offered work through the end of may, and wanted to accept. initially i freaked out a little – i had quit my job in anticipation we would be moving soon, and what the heck was i gonna do through may of the following year?! we talked and decided that if i could find an opportunity to occupy me through may, then we would remain in athens.
it was all a whirlwind. i found out that the folk school had spring 2018 work-study session with spots open, got in touch with the facilitator, and applied immediately. right before christmas we found out i was accepted! i planned my class schedule.
i will be moving up the the folk school the second weekend of march, and will be there for nine weeks. the folk school is located in the beautiful north carolina mountains, somewhere i’ve longed to call home for years. i will live at the folk school and work on their farm and doing light maintenance when i’m not taking classes. i’ve chosen a few classes based on both my interests and my business – i’ll be studying mainly fiber arts (quilting, embroidery, natural dying) and woodworking!
i’m gearing up for the move. it will be different to be away from home and andrew and the cats for so long, but i know it will be a good thing for me. i can use a change of scenery and look forward to being away from technology and phones and social media. i’m excited to be working primarily outdoors and doing manual labor. i plan to bring lots of poetry to read and do some writing and attune myself to the seasons and rhythms of nature.
andrew and i have been talking about taking a trip out of the country for years, but it always seemed infeasible due to work and homestead and pets. when we talk about going to europe, we talk about visiting the places we know our families are from. we also talk about wanting to go for an extended period of time, not just a week or two.
in the continual story of things falling into place, this year is finally our year to travel to europe. after i return from the folk school, we will pack our home up, move everything into storage, and take the animals to my sister who graciously agreed to care for them while we are away. i will be sad to say goodbye to this little apartment homestead i’ve cultivated, but the time has come to move on from athens.
we will be travelling through europe for five weeks in june and july. our trip begins with 10 days in norway, where andrew still has living relatives. we are both about a quarter norwegian, but from different sides of the country. we will visit both areas that our ancestors are from! his cousins living there have generously offered to take us on an RV camping trip through norway, and we are obviously very excited.
after norway, we travel to germany for another 10 days, where we will visit berlin, munich, bavaria, the black forest, and cologne. then italy for 10 days, starting in rome. we will get to see pope francis which we are both stoked for. after rome, we take a train ride through the mountains to the area where my dad’s side of the family immigrated from, the region of abruzzi. we are even visiting the tiny town that my grandpa’s family is from! we’re looking forward to this part of the trip because it will be the least touristy. we will end our stay in italy with a few days along the amalfi coast and sorrento.
our final stop is iceland for four days on our way back to the us. we booked two full days tours of iceland’s natural wonders – hot springs and caves and black sand beaches and waterfalls and glaciers. throughout europe, we are mainly staying in air bnb’s and will be travelling light with only our backpacks. we’ve booked all our hotels and flights, and are starting to work on planning details.
our first market
root lore goods officially participated in our first market here in athens, georgia for valentine’s day! we were stoked to be part of indie south’s handmade lovers market and had a great time. we made new friends and talked to folks about plant magic. huge thanks to all our family and friends who came out to support us 🙂
i made a number of special items for the market, and leftovers have been listed in the shop! reusable linen napkins (cut down on paper waste), beeswax wraps (alternative to plastic), bedtime balm (chamomile, passionflower, valerian, lavender, lemon balm), and TWO new zines. and one of them is about homesteading! i will share more details on that later. i’m also selling night time ritual sets which include a 2 oz tine of bedtime balm, a sleep or dream pillow, and a little zine 🙂
i’ll be back to writing about finance and nature and homesteading and how it all works together later this week. i would like to end this very long post by saying – things always seem to work out for me. in part, i do believe the universe has a plan for me and i try to give up control and go with the flow. i’m a chronic worrier and i’ve come to realize (through years of therapy) that worrying gets me nowhere. so many different opportunities have lined up for me this year and my business is growing and i’m ecstatic to be writing again. i try to project good juju into the world and receive the gifts in return … but also, things have lined up through planning, hard work, and mainly financial security. it took years to work hard, pay off debt, and get my finances in order before any of this could be possible. years of eating lentils and rice and not going on vacations and not buying new things for myself. money doesn’t have to be something scary or awkward – it’s a tool for achieving our goals in life, and personal finance is very important!