I think the BEST part of my year has been 3 fold
+ travelling with my son
+ relating to him like never before. He’s growing into such a wonderful young man. No longer a little boy.
+ helping over 50 women start and grow their business. Deep, heart felt, connections. The kind where there are tears when our work together is done – but joy as we become friends.
First, let’s talk about the travels.
We traveled for over 3 months – and these were all non-working travels. I didn’t “keep my business running” while I traveled.
- 2 months from SF to LA to SB to SD – and everything in between. We skied and kayaked at Lake Tahoe. We hiked at Yosemite, and got drenched in the falls. We met the minions at Universal Studios, we thought Disneyland was a bore but loved loved loved Disney Adventure Park! We met the dolphins and sea otters and manta rays at Sea World and whole bunch of Ninjago characters at Lego Land. Friends in CA tell me we’ve seen more of CA than they have 😉
- And in contrast we also traveled through the most remote parts of Bihar and Jharkhand for almost 2 weeks, where the poverty and desperation were heart wrenching; and we wandered through the ruins of Nalanda (where the kiddo wanted to go study!) and meditated with monks at Bodh Gaya, under the tree where Gautam Buddha did thousands of years ago.
- In a few days we’re off for some island hopping in Thailand. Krabi, PhiPhi, Phuket and a bunch of smaller islands in between.
The traveling has been a really big deal for me. All my life I’ve been a traveler. In my 20’s, before I got married, before cell phones and the internet – I used to travel a lot. Which was unheard of back then. My parents, friends, colleagues – all thought I was crazy to go travelling the world alone. I still remember how my boss jaw dropped when I asked him for 5 days off – to visit Paris – on my way back from a business trip to California – back in 2006 😉
The travels stopped once I got married. Let’s just say the Ex had very different ideas and priorities.
I applied for my son’s passport around Aug of 2015. I FINALLY got it on 13th Feb 2017. Over those 18 months I had to put up with a lot of shit from the passport staff, and more scarily – from the police – because I was a single mom. It took over 30 trips and hours and hours of waiting, at the passport office and police station. And many tears.
13th Feb I got the kiddo’s passport. 14th March: Got the US travel visas. That my Dad said we’d never get. Coz I don’t have a regular job and I’m a single mom. 14th April we were on a flight to SFO And the rest is history 😉
The California trip changed so much for us. For both the kiddo and me. When we started, I was scared shit. It was my first time traveling with the kiddo. And with a kid – you never know. Plus this was a long trip. And I was winging it. Didn’t have enough time to plan it through properly.
But on this trip – I grew. More confident. As a mom. As a single mom. And the kid grew up too. The change shows in his photos – towards the end of the trip he looks more ‘mature’, more ‘seasoned’, not to mention a few cm taller!
Through this trip, we had so many people open their hearts and their homes to us. Friends I haven’t met – or spoken to – in 20 years since college. Friends I worked with 10 years ago. Friends I only know from FB and had never met before. As a single parent family, and partly because I’m an introvert – we hardly have a social here locally. And I wanted my son to meet different people, see what different families are like, to experience different lifestyles. It was his first “exposure” to a world so different from our life here in Pune. And he took to it like a fish to water. I am soooo proud of him. He was a trooper. He didn’t ‘trouble’ me at all. He made friends & played with ALL the kids he met along the way. Age, color, language no barrier. He woke up at 3 am and 5 am when we had to travel or catch the train or whatever. He stood in queues patiently at the theme parks. As vegetarians, well, you’ve got to search for options but he ate without fuss – just that after a few days of pizzas and sandwiches – he said “no more pizza” and instead opted for salads! Subway became our favorite chain! And the kid proved without doubt – that he’s a traveler – just like his mom.
The trip through Jharkhand & Bihar was a total contrast. One of the pilgrimages was “Shikarji” a 27km hike, in tall mountains, that you have to do barefoot. You start at 3 am. In the dark. And that night, it was foggy. When we got to top around 8 am – it started drizzling and raining and pouring with strong winds. Visibility varied from 2ft to 10 ft the entire day…. to say that it was ‘challenging’ is an understatement. And as drove through the interiors of Jharkhand & Bihar on the pilgrimage, visiting temples in far flung places…. it was heart wrenching and eye opening at the same time. A realization of how far I have come, from my roots. In a good way. How I’ve grown, and how my new ‘normal’ is a far far cry from the ‘normal’ I grew up in.
Next week, we head to Thailand. Island hopping. The idea is to just hit the beaches and go snorkeling. Let’s see how it goes. I’ll keep you all posted 😉
- 3 months traveling + 6 weeks of prep. Because hey, when you’re the only adult around, when you’re traveling with a kid prep, planning & readjusting to normal life once you’re back – does take time! Plus there’s all the arrangements & planning when you have to empty the fridge, lock up, inform ppl, the credit card company, the phone, the internet… etc and then get it all up and running again when you’re back. Not to mention, getting over Jet lag. Oh – and just the US visa took 1 week of paperwork – plus a 3 day trip to Mumbai!
- $8K for the US trip, $3k for Thailand, $1k for the travel in Bihar. For both the kiddo and me. Plus the rent on the house – while we were away!
I’ll be honest. This year, I pretty much ran my business on autopilot. This is the first time, since I started earning, that I’ve spent more than I’ve earned. And that’s ok.
This year, I only made $30K US. I didn’t grow my email list. I started the year with just over 300. Mid-year I purged the list and it came down to ~250. I ended the year with around 400. And oh – I rarely email them. Just a few emails at launch time. Yes, I know… not good. I also started an FB group. Got about 100 peeps. And then put in on the back burner. Way back.
BUT This year, I helped over 50 women jump start their business – through my paid programs and services. And each one of them… has become a friend. It wasn’t just about websites, or business strategy. It was about helping them own their power, and stand up, be visible to help OTHERS own their own power. That’s the power of the work I do. And that’s why I do what I do. My work – helps others, help others. I’m starting my own little chain reactions……;)
And this year, I did 3 webinars. A did about a hundred FB lives. Got over my fear of videos – and presenting to a live audience. Well, almost 😉 I also ran not one, not two, but THREE LIVE group programs – I’ve always wanted to…. but always doubted myself. This year, I ran 3. And they were sooo empowering – for the participants AND for me.
That’s what I love so much about the work I do.
I may not have made 6 or 7 figures. I may not have 10,000 peeps on my email list. But I have touched many more lives, in ways that numbers can’t convey.
And given that I had LESS THAN 100 days to work on my business this year – even I’m quite impressed with all that I have achieved 🙂
The last few months have been a major turning point in my life. Turning 9 a few months ago, it’s like he suddenly grew up.. Meaning that for the first time in 9 years, he doesn’t need me as much. He’s more or less independent. Well, other than food, shelter, hugs and homework 😉 And I also worked out after school classes that don’t involve an extra hour of food prep and then driving to swim lessons everyday. Since 2015, I’d spend 3.5-4 hours every single day prepping, then driving, then waiting for him during the 2 hour swim class. Catch – there was no place to sit there. The car would heat up like crazy. And try as I would, I could only like get ~30 min of meaningful work done during those 2 hours. I can’t tell how much of my time and energy that frees up!!! I finally feel like I have some semblance of a normal life! 🙂
Also, given that school is the ONLY child support / child care system I have ( we don’t have ‘sitters’ here. I live in a city away from family. And my folks, as much as they love the kiddo, don’t / wont have him over). With the 8 week summer vacation, 2 week Diwali vacation, 2 week winter vacation, and the 20+ festival holidays through the school year, school is function for ~150 days a year. And working – or trying to – while the kid’s at home – well, is something I haven’t yet figured. I get 10 or 20 minutes of time at a stretch. And it’s a rather crazy way to work. That’s why this year, I’ve tried to travel every time the kid has more than a week off school !!! Oh and did I mention the monthly trips to court (where I keep waiting, get emotional, and nothing happens! ) or the trips & calls to my lawyers – that’s another ~30 work days of the year down the drain!
BUT – this has been the FIRST time that I’ve bonded with the kid this way. We’re kindred spirits – him and I. He’s the most awesome travel companion. And this year, as he grows up, he’s stepping up and taking responsibility, of his own stuff, and to help me. Somethings as mundane as grocery shopping each week is fun with him. We’re our own little team of 2. I get spontaneous hugs and kisses. And now that he’s almost as tall as me, he’s started swiping my sport shoes, and jackets!