Questions answered


I know last week’s announcement brought up many questions. I also realize I’m not obligated to answer them but they are part of this story… and for those of you invested in this new journey and future of the blog, it’s only fair you should know more of what’s going on behind the scenes.

As part of my growing desire to digitally capture as many moments in time as possible to preserve these memories, I spent Saturday evening soaking up every last drop of home…

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And one last sunset in the city of my birth, saying goodbye to the Pacific Ocean before boarding the plane.

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Q: How long will this journey last?

Absolutely no idea. Maybe I’ll have some sort of epiphany and realize I want to go back to my small town surrounded by family and friends and live happily ever after. Or perhaps I’ll decide I can only be fulfilled by exploring the world and constantly finding myself in new environments, and I’ll be a nomad forever. After these first few days I have a feeling about which is more likely but only time will tell.

Q. Why Thailand?

It actually wasn’t the first place that popped into mind when deciding to take the leap. Originally I’d pictured Europe, probably because that’s just the most common place people run off to… but there’s so many options I’m unfamiliar with and I didn’t want to plan and overthink it. It’s also quite expensive… which made Southeast Asia (known for being extremely inexpensive) a great place to start. I’ve always wanted to visit the area and the more I read about it, the more I realized how perfect it was. Tropical weather, beautiful beaches, diverse cultures, easy to get around, and dirt cheap. It was destiny.

Q: What about your house(s) and cats?

I contacted a property manager and found a lovely tenant to move in and take care of the cats. It covers the mortgage and I’ll continue to rent it out for the duration of my trip, knowing the home and pets are cared for. My family and friends also live nearby and can step in if needed.

Eventually all three homes will have to be sold. Our first home in LA went under contract last week and is scheduled to close in less than two months if all goes well. For the Florida house, we’re still debating on whether to sell or split the equity. Our current house will need to be put up for sale at some point in the near future too, but I haven’t decided whether I want to finish remodeling it first to maximize the equity. It’s all up in the air.

Q: How are you financing this?

As most of you already know my business is online, so fortunately I can operate remotely. I’ve outsourced my printing so all I really need is my laptop and a good internet connection. Because of this my profit is also much lower, but as long as I can cover my expenses that’s all I care about right now.

I’ve always planned for the future and placed priority on saving vs spending, taking measures towards financial security and independence. Of course I didn’t anticipate this turn of events, but thankfully I worked hard enough in my 20’s to build a business and produce enough equity in our homes to make this possible. If it was somewhere in Europe I’d be blowing through money at a much faster rate, but a little goes a long way here and I can live off much less than what I do in the states.

At this point, my focus is not on building wealth. I love my home but I’m not attached to it—to me there’s no value in things. If I stopped working right now and traveled until my money ran out and had to start all over, so be it. I’d have a life rich with experiences and memories—that’s all that matters in the end.

If I decide to keep this lifestyle indefinitely I know I can figure something out. When you really want something… you’ll find a way.

If there are any other questions, please feel free to reach out. I’m still debating on whether or not to open up and share the experiences that have led to this point and how I made it through the lowest days in my life. I know there are many of you out there struggling the same way and need to connect with others who have navigated that road and found a much better path, and I know I can help.

That may come in time but for now there’s places to explore, people to meet, stories to tell and photo to share. More from the first few days of my trip very soon…

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36 thoughts on “Questions answered

  1. Jenna,
    Your maturity, courage absolutely blow me away. You have built a solid core on which to grow and I envy the thought and planning you have done to achieve that. At twice your age, I only wish I had had the forethought to have my priorities in the right order.
    I am sorry you are going through the heartbreak you are experiencing, but have all the confidence that you will come out even stronger than you already are. My thoughts and best wishes surround you. Safe travels and I look forward to seeing life through your eyes.

  2. Thank you for being so open and honest. I know a lot of people are inspired and comforted by your journey. I look forward to hearing more.

  3. Best of luck on your journey. I look forward to seeing your beautiful photos. The ones of the Golden Gate Bridge are tranquil.

  4. Jenna, I wish you peace, spiritual enlightenment & healing, and growth in ways you never imagined….just a tad bit envious to be honest with you ?

  5. Thanks for sharing. You are living in the moment, which is a beautiful thing. If you sell everything you own and travel for years, there is no doubt you can do it. If you eventually want to come back and rebuild a life here, there is no doubt you could do that also. The sky is the limit for you. You were willing to stretch yourself to fulfill that part of your soul that was lacking, and that takes courage. I know you are inspiring others in your journey and I look forward to sharing all that is ahead for you.

  6. I’m so glad your sensible self had created a cushion for you that is enabling you to take this leap now. Savvy women rock!! Many blessings to you on your journey.

  7. If You ever leave the Southeast Asia and deside to travel to Europe and even North part of it You’re so welcome to stay my home and I’ll show you a little different kind of nature and views where You are used to!
    Good luck with your brave journy!

  8. Thanks for sharing. During this stage in life many people shut down, sharing your journey is inspiring. To be honest I’m curious what lead you to your decision to leave. Like you said blog life makes the bloggers life look perfect and it’s a shock when you find out they may be just like you, ups and down.

    Best of luck

  9. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with WWOOF (www.wwoof.net) but that may enable you to travel longer and gain some great learning experiences. In short, you are paired with a host and stay with them without cost as long as you volunteer to help farm (usually half days, you can work out a schedule with the host). Best of luck in your adventures!

  10. hi Jenna
    In April 2013 I suffered a miscarriage. In July that same year my husband and I separated. In the UK there isn’t a no fault divorce unless you wait 2-5 years depending on circs so whilst amicable, it was a very stressful time. Deciding to separate and divorce was incredibly hard but I want you to know that you can get through it.
    We had a half renovated house that was supposed to have been a family home for us and getting it fit for sale fell to me. That too you can get through and I’m lucky our housing market was good at the time.
    I still question it all. Even though I know it was the right decision. I sort of regret not travelling after the split (my ex is still travelling), but I’ve spent the time working on myself and getting support. Being kind to myself by renting a ‘nice’ house from living in a building site.
    Take the time you need. Be kind to yourself. x

  11. I love your courage and brutal honesty. Putting yourself and your happiness first ensures a fulfilled life and you are so brave to take that leap.

  12. Jenna, you are so brave. I was once in a very similar place as you, and I had some very, very low days as well. Take the time you need. You will come through this better, stronger and with so much life experience that will take you very far in whatever you do, wherever you do it. I do hope that we can continue to see your design come through on the blog, but I also love following this journey you’re on. There is nothing better than traveling the world, getting to know other cultures and people and just soaking it all in. I do wonder: Are you still providing your online design services? It’s something I had thought of requesting for one or two rooms in our house (we just bought a home), but if not, I totally understand. I’m so glad you didn’t let your blog fall by the wayside through this journey. It has been, and continues to be one of my favorites to follow. Safe and exciting travels to you! xo

  13. Hi there Jenna. The pictures are just beautiful. Sadly, in the past month or so I had just come across your blog and absolutely loved your decorating style and couldn’t wait to see more. However, life has taken a turn for you and while the content of your blog may change know that I will continue to follow you on your new journey. I hope you are able to find whatever it is that you are looking for and wish you nothing but the best and true happiness.

  14. This is amazing, Jenna!
    You are so inspiring to me, I follow your blog for a really long time!
    I admire your talent and courage !
    I want to do the same, just pack up my things and run out the door to explore the world,
    and come back when I am tired of it;)
    But at first I need to figure out how I can make more money out of my art, to do so.
    Just keep us posted how your adventurous life looks like!:)

  15. I’ve thought about you numerous times this week, and have wondered how your new life journey is going. Love the photos, thanks for sharing another side of Jenna Sue.

  16. Jenna,
    I admire your courage and your determination. I truly believe that as you say, when you really want something you find a way. Best to you. I’m having fun reading your adventure, maybe a book is in your future…that could give you some additional income. 🙂
    xo,
    Karen

  17. I have enjoyed your blog for quite some time now. I am enjoying hearing about your present journey even more! I deeply admire your courage to follow your heart..I would love to hear the experiences that brought you to this place. Hearing about your journey has given me courage for my own..Thank-You!! Much love to you!

  18. Hi Jenna. Long-timer lurker, first-time poster. I would love to hear more about the story of your marriage. I am going through a tough patch in mine and it helps to hear tales from the front line from other people. Because I feel exhausted and oh, so many other things. So, when you’re ready, I’d love to hear more about your journey.

  19. Jenna,
    I’m sorry to hear about your life changes. I’m glad that you can take the best and be positive…and most importantly, move forward….wherever forward takes you. I have been reading your blog for some time now and I love how you have always incorporated a mix of diy savings and splurging on some items, and I think that savvy will be able to suit you in whatever you choose to do going foward. I myself try to DIY what I can but also see the value in having some items in life that are quality. I do have a question regarding the design help. Since you mentioned you are continuing your print work since you can do that virtually, are you planning on opening up any part of your design help packages? I’m looking for some help in a few areas to focus my decorating and such, so I would for sure love to help support your travels that way 😉

  20. Prayers for you, Jenna. This is such an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing it with us. I know it must be difficult sharing so many of your raw emotions with hundreds of strangers! Be safe and enjoy your travels.

  21. Jenna – so glad you are able to update us, and answer just a few of the many questions I’m sure have come your way. We all have trials in this life – some are harder than others, but they challenge us and stretch us until we are close to breaking. It’s at that moment, before the break, that we choose what direction to take. My husband and I suffered greatly when we lost our only child in 2012 at age 24 – he had his whole life ahead of him and sadly his apartment caught fire and he did not make it out alive. Our marriage was challenged in so many ways – and we reached that point before the break, when I thought I would lose my mind and my heart. But I am here to say that we have survived and somehow we are stronger than before. I see the strength in you coming out now, it is beautiful to witness. I will pray for you as you continue your adventures.

    1. So, so sorry to hear about your loss, I can’t even imagine such a huge loss like that! I’m glad you and your husband worked through it and are stronger now, that’s a rough one and my heart breaks for you. I have a 5 year old myself that we just dropped off at kindergarten for day 1 and I can’t even imagine losing her, she’s my whole world.

    2. Diane, that is so tragic and I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I can’t even imagine. Happy that you found a way through it!

    3. I’m so sorry, Diane… I can’t even imagine. You are a much stronger person than I. The lowest lows make way for the highest highs though… not surprised to hear you’ve come out stronger from it. This is how we grow.

    4. Diane Taylor,
      I too lost my son in 2013, he was living his dream as a graphic designer in NYC working for NBC when he suffered cardiac arrest and died 8 days later. I live in CA, I flew to his side where i stayed until the end. We donated his organs, which I find some solace in knowing there wee lives saved.
      But I also understand your grief and suffering. It is like an anxiety attack that you can’t wake up from. My husband and I are struggling just to live.
      I am fighting the strongest sense and need to run-run as far as I can for as long as possible. Alone, to find quiet and peace. The noise of reality is making no sense in my head. Peace to you and your family- I am with you all during this journey. Women are strong creatures-we amaze ourselves with bravado… bless you all

  22. I do hope you decide to share, I’m going through a big tough/exciting change in my life and although it’s not the same as yours it help to hear about others life changes and how they work through them! I am loving the pictures you are posting from your trip and look forward to seeing more! You will always be my all time favorite blog to follow, and now it’s not just for DIY stuff but for excitement and adventure as well! I could see you being a Flight Attendant and exploring the world while you are also making money!

  23. Hi Jenna, Thank you so much for sharing. I admire your courage and dont forget to always follow your heart.

  24. I hope that you are doing well Jenna. It’s nice to write your ideas out anyway, to “see what you know” as the writers say.

  25. Although I do not know you, I was stunned to read your news as well as your entry about what looks like a life changing trip in Thailand. My heart goes out to you in this pivotal point in your life. I admire you for embracing the change rather than curling up in a ball in the cozy rooms you have created. Thank you for reminding all of us what is really important in life: people, experiences, growth and love. I wish you all the best.

  26. I look forward daily to your gorgeous photos and life updates. i started following you on insta but must say this new journey is far more fascinating than your daily design, for me. It’s so rich with truth. Be well!

  27. I have read your blog off and on for years. You are doing something I really think we all wish we could. I am enjoying each of your posts and learning so much through your journey. live, love and let go. Enjoy this new path and “you do you”
    xoxo

  28. Hi. It’s been a while since I’ve been to your blog because I too separated somewhat (it was all very confusing) from my husband at the beginning of summer. I always came to you for signs of inspiration and although our separations have taken us down different paths, I find myself continuing to find inspiration here. Prior to the summer I looked to your blog for ideas for our current home and renovation projects. When my husband announced his unhappiness in our marriage, my desire to do anything revolving around our home stopped. It seemed as though my whole world was coming to an end so focusing on anything other than the travesty of our marriage was pretty much impossible. We have a beautiful 4 year old daughter who unfortunately got the brunt of my unhappiness and I was pregnant with our second child, a boy. Because of our children, I fought hard to salvage our marriage even though the circumstances gave me every reason to leave. I began to focus on myself and the things I did to cause our marriage to begin to crumble. In this search, I began to find myself again. I realized that I had become just as unhappy as he was and I didn’t want to continue that life either. We started seeing a marriage counselor who has been an angel through all of this and really the guiding force behind our reconciliation. And here I am again, in the middle of a bathroom reno and I came straight to you for ideas. Not realizing that I was guided to you for mental inspiration this time instead of design. I hope you find the happiness you are looking for and if it’s any consolation, a wise woman once told me to truly be happy you must first be happy with who you are. I pray you find her and keep her. God bless.

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