2015 was a crazy year. If you’ve noticed, there were barely any personal posts published so let’s recap.
I started the year in Madrid, Spain. I was visiting a few friends, but mostly one, and things didn’t really go as planned. My brother was joining me from Paris, but because of the terrorist attacks he didn’t make his flight to Spain, so I spent a while in Paris too, to be with my family and friends.
Then I went back to Guatemala for a little while, my guest house is still working when I am away but sadly I haven’t found people with much initiative to manage it, so it is pretty stressful to oversee from the distance. Guest get lost getting there, they break things, have any kind of problems my staff isn’t prepared for, the power goes off for a couple of days, the dog meat stocked in the deep freezer thaws, and.so.on.
So when I am around everything seems to work smoothly, but really I am always fixing a ton of stuff.
There was a brief trip to Miami in Q1 as well, not much to report, it was mainly for cheap shopping for the guest house. We bought a car too but not for me this time.
Then I started hosting volunteers so they teach English at the local school as part of my education project. I already had a little library running, plus a computer program for which I pay a teacher, but the volunteering idea was new. I gave them food and shelter in exchange for 20 hours of class a week. Some would go with smaller kids just to play games and sing in English, while others would teach more formally in lieu of the middle school teachers, who have to teach English but don’t speak it. Long story short, my house was full of people for six months straight. And volunteers are generally backpackers used to hostels 12-bunk dorms but when they have a nice home by the lake just for them and me, well they take a lot of space.
The kids doing crafts
On top of that, I was building another house for myself a mile away and finally got to move over there around June. We christened it with some volunteers as I rented the guest house to a huge group of 19 students, and I was feeding them plus the three of us, and we were all showering at the guest house since the new house didn’t have water or electricity yet. Fun times.
My new house
In July I went back to France to spend the summer.
Disneyland with my niece
It was nice, and I did a big road trip with my motorcycle for two weeks, going to Switzerland, the Alps, Nice and the Riviera, visiting friends and family every day or two. The Alps are so beautiful to ride around, sometimes I forget how much beauty there is in my own country.
Biking in the Alps
Mid August I took a quick two week trip with my baby brother to celebrate his 18th birthday and high school graduation. I had told him I would take him anywhere in the world and he picked the West Coast to hike the national parks. Yes, in August. It was 128 when we landed in Vegas, after 24 hours in Toronto where they called 80 degrees a “heat wave”. We rented a car and went to Bryce, Zion, Monument Valley, Sonoma, Canyonlands, Arches, the Grand Canyon and a few more places. It was awesome. We spent all day hiking and slept in the wild most of the time. He’d make a fire and stare at the stars pretending he was a cow-boy. We came back burned by the sun but closer than ever.
When you’re too cool to take a selfie with your sister…
We flew back to Paris for a couple of weeks, then I spent 6 weeks in Guatemala, which weirdly felt just like a touch and go. I had swapped my house all winter for a house in Dublin and had to prepare for it. Oh, yes, in Paris I had found an Irish boyfriend. In the meanwhile the volunteering program was getting a bit on my nerves, volunteers breaking things in the house, not respecting paying Airbnb guests by leaving their stuff all around, complaining there was no food because they’re used to processed food but letting fruits and veggies go to waste, etc. so I cut it short and decided to pay the IT teacher to give English class too instead.
So I packed all my stuff and crossed the ocean back again in November to go to Dublin. Things didn’t really go as planned once more, so a month later I was on a flight back to Guatemala. And now I write this from my lovely new home as I have guests all over Christmas and New Year, and thank goodness I am around because that’s a handful. Oh and my car got stolen two days after I arrived. That and my $1,000 bicycle this summer in Paris, and my purse in the underground of Paris with about $500 in it when we landed from Vegas with my brother.
One good piece of news at the end of the year was Napoleon had found a girlfriend and gotten busy, so now I am a grandma to little Vodka, 6 weeks.
She is as cute as it gets
Napoleon takes parenting role very seriously
So you have it, a lot of good moments, a lot of losses, crazy traveling in 7 countries, crossing the ocean a total of 8 times (can’t believe it!), a lot to do in real life, and not much time to keep things going around here. I still made just over $60k with the blogs, but that’s for another post.
As I have defined my goals for 2016 in two words, Investing (in myself, the blogs, my money) and Mindfulness (for things and people around me), I am hoping for a more quiet, uneventful 2016.
Financial Samurai says
I love this post Pauline! It is so full of life and happiness and adventure and some sadness. I can really feel the adventure in you. It’s different than how the typical American adventure rights.
I wonder, if you found a Gautemlan and boyfriend, would you ever leave or travel so much? Your houses look so idyllic!
My ex boyfriend of 4 years was Guatemalan. We started by riding a bike from Guatemala to Seattle to NYC in 7 months. Then had a six months rest in Guatemala. Then I bought a bike in the UK and we went from London to Istanbul to North Cape in Norway in another 6 months 🙂
Then we were quiet for a year as we bought that little guest house, we “only” went to Miami and Belize, and I went to France once.
We rode the bike again from France to Morocco for 3 months. So I guess I like adventure!
Once I had a place to call home I was happy to be home, but home is remote jungle so a trip once or twice a year is welcome. Once a year in France would be enough, but I can’t resist a cheap ticket.
As far as finding another Guatemalan, guys in my village are not an option and the city guys are usually not the jungle type, so it makes things a bit complicated. Let’s see what life has in store for 2016!
Financial Samurai says
Pretty amazing stuff. I used to ride motorbikes as well, but San Francisco is too congested and hilly of a city for me to feel safe.
Morocco, now that’s a place I want to go.
* oops, spelled “writes” “rights” in my first comment. Funny how the brain doesn’t correct.
A Vespa could be fun to breeze through traffic. I am scared to drive the heavy bike through hills, have lost balance a couple of times when stopping and it wasn’t fun putting it back up.
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says
It’s been a while since you post your update on your life Pauline. It seems like you still had a wonderful 2015. I hope that 2016 would bring you more travels and a lot of great experiences! Happy New Year.
Thank you Jayson, all the best to you as well.
Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility says
Yeah, wow. Busy year. But I seem to recall your last updated post being just as productive/adventurous. Cheers to a happy and hopefully uneventful 2016 (unless you want it to be!)
You’re very right, I probably want it to be surprising and adventurous. I can do without the stolen things though!
Napoleon’s puppy is really cute! Lots of good moments in 2015. May you have more of these in 2016, Pauline!
Thank you Kelly, a great 2016 to you too!
Mrs PoP says
Sounds like 2015 was definitely an adventure! Your adventures with your niece and your younger brother sound like definite highlights. Here’s hoping that 2016 has all the ups, with none of the downs. =)
If only life was that easy! All the best to you too Mrs PoP!
So glad to hear about your year, it sounds like it has been quite an adventurous one.
Yes, still alive haha. It has been quite the year, hope 2016 is more quiet.
You have had one heck of a year, friend! Way to keep your head up, and great work on the blog income. 🙂
Thanks Kathleen! Hope life is good for you too!
Hey Pauline, Happy New Year. It sounds like 2015 was jam packed with adventure and although not everything worked out as you wanted it to hope you enjoyed it to the full. Still hoping that when you are around here you may come to visit. Or we could come to Paris. Anyway, my best wishes for a great 2016.
Hey Maria, yes it was intense! I’ll be sure to let you know if I’m around 🙂
Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says
You have such an interesting life Pauline, I just don’t know where you find the time to fit it all in!
Best of luck in 2016, it’s great to hear you are being so successful with your blogs.
Thanks Glen, hope you have a great 2016 as well!
LeisureFreak Tommy says
I say my early retirement lifestyle is an adventure but nothing close to what you experienced in 2015. Your travels are impressive. I love the motorcycle. I enjoy a sports car for mountain drives and my cheap thrills. I think I may have to rethink my lifestyle “adventure” description after reading how a true lifestyle adventurer does it right.
And I don’t consider myself adventurous 🙂 we all have someone above… I was recently told about a man in his 70s whose family put in a retirement home, he sold everything he had to buy a bicycle and cycle all over South America! As long as you get a thrill, any adventure is good.
Financial Independence says
I really like that you found time to throttle the globe a little bit. While hoping for the quiet is good, I think we need to keep pushing while at it. There will be always be time to ponder upon the journeys and activities.
I hope you will have another fantastic year.
Thank you for your kind wishes, may it be a great one for you as well!
I always love stopping by here to see what you’ve been up to. I really love that picture of you with your too-cool younger brother! Sounds like you had an incredible 2015 with lots of ups and downs.
You really are doing life the right way! A true inspiration for me on a day when I really need it 🙂
Thanks Derek, keep going!