A New Adventure Begins


On August 14th, 2015, I published a post that changed the course of this blog and the direction of my life forever.

In two days I’ll be on a plane to Asia and life will never be the same … I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok to leave this life behind and start over.”

JennaBackpack

Today’s announcement is strangely similar, yet different in so many ways.

In two days, I’ll be on a plane to South America with a one way ticket to Rio. But this time I’ll have someone by my side… and this trip is not about starting over—it’s about the start of our own great adventure, together.

IMG_6494

When I returned home from Asia to sell my house, I never thought I’d stay. I couldn’t wait to get back to a nomadic lifestyle, waking up to new places and people every day. But there was someone I had met along the way who would change those plans.

Lucas was moving to San Francisco to settle down, and as difficult as the decision was to stay with him in California, I knew I’d never be able to walk away from this connection we had.

IMG_2408

That connection grew into love, and the beginning of a life together in the city. He found a great career, and I decided to fully pursue real estate with the purchase of my first flip.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-28-at-7.56.50-AM

But there was something missing. A void had been left in the absence of travel, and it was growing by the day. A piece of me was gone, and nothing could replace it. I couldn’t look at those old photos, relive the memories or even talk about my time abroad without mourning the loss of the path I didn’t take.

IMG_9578

Some part of Lucas felt the same, and he was also re-evaluating his career path and life plans.

After many long conversations, we both knew what we needed to do.

plane

It was because of a risk we both took in 2015—him leaving his career to backpack overseas for several months and me walking away from a marriage to do the same—that ended up being the best decision of our lives, and the one that brought us together. There was no hesitation, it was time to make that same decision again.

IMG_7283

A couple months ago, Lucas quit his job and a we booked a flight to Rio, where we’ll begin our backpacking trip through South America and Europe for the next seven months.

Just as we each did during our own travels throughout Southeast Asia, we have very little booked or planned because it’s all about the journey, not the destination. We’ll follow our internal compass and let our encounters lead the way.

IMG_9380

At the end of this year, we plan to return home for the holidays before packing up and moving to Florida in January. We’ll settle in Tampa/St. Petersburg and start our own real estate company, investing through rehabbing, selling and renting homes. We’ve both put a lot of time and thought into this decision and are prepared to fully commit ourselves to this business.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-28-at-8.19.50-AM

That leads us to the future of this blog. I can’t make any promises about what to expect over the next several months while we’re traveling, but I can say that I will focus on raising the bar for my videos/vlogging (the next one is coming soon!)

There will still be blog updates, but they may not be as lengthy as they were during my last travels—it’s tough to predict right now. Lucas has also shown interest in contributing with his own posts from time to time, coming from a different perspective of transitioning from the corporate world to self employment, which some of you may be able to relate to.

12191446_10100591186504548_2813605224273042443_n

I know many of you only read this blog for the home décor content, and I understand if you
decide to check out until that resumes next January—I’m expecting it to come back bigger than ever once there are two of us working at it full time! But for those of you who stuck around and enjoyed following my first solo journey, there’s a lot more where that came from. And it’s never going away, as we have both vowed to make travel a priority for the rest of our lives.

GOPR1060

There are still many unknowns ahead, but we’ve learned that is where the magic happens… in following your heart and letting the universe guide you to where you’re meant to be. Each day is precious and tomorrow is not guaranteed, so there’s no time to waste.

IMG_9427

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all—and our adventure begins now.

73c1d-signature


Related Posts


106 thoughts on “A New Adventure Begins

  1. I follow your blog since before your asia trip and loved the travel content, even if I was here for the decor stuff. Now you’re going to visit the city that I live! I’m so honored! Maybe we see each other around 🙂

      1. I don’t know your itinerary, but I will assume you guys will go to the conventional tourist spots (copacabana, corcovado, the sugar loaf cable car…). Rio has so many stuff that can be overlooked. If I could recommend only three places you can’t miss, that would be:

        1. There’s a beach called “the secret beach” (Praia do Secreto) in Recreio dos Bandeirantes. It’s not actually an beach, but a natural pool after Recreio Beach. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises! Just be careful if the tide is too high.

        2. If you guys are into trekking, I would recommend the Petrópolis-Teresópolis crossing. Actually, you could do any activity from the Serra dos Órgãos National Park (PARNASO), but this one is the hardcore one. It’s three days long and beautiful landscape.

        3. Petrópolis itself is known as the Imperial City, up the mountains, 1h from Rio. Nice historical vibe, surrounded by the atlantic forest.

        As for the warnings:

        – Bring bug repellent with you!
        – Most people don’t speak english, only portuguese. The subway is the most tourist-friendly public transport in that matter.
        – If you’re staying at a hostel place, the staff tends to be very nice and well informed. Ask them anything!
        – Don’t go near the favelas. It’s dangerous.

        Have a nice trip!

    1. It’s a huge adventure and so glad you have begun it. I did find your design blog for diy projects and design inspiration but it is so much more! I am definitely staying tuned in as you explore the world!

  2. Hi!
    If you ever wish to combine travel and decor blogging by visiting someone who does the later: I would be happy to host you in northern Germany!
    Greetings from Europe
    Jenn(ifer)

      1. Unfortunatley I am at the other end of the country, close to Denmark, but since you plan to keep traveling who knows… All the best to you and I look forward to reading about your adventures!

  3. Wow wow wow – you never fail to surprise us! Exciting time… so selfishly I have to ask – are you going to manage to keep your print store open while you travel again? Any bites on the flip?!?!

    1. Hey Emma, the shop will stay open and I’ll outsource printing like I did during my last travels. Nothing in contract yet for the flip but we’re working on a couple changes and hope to have it sold soon!

      1. The shop staying open is great news 🙂 Best of luck with everything. You are so brave and inspiring – safe travels!

  4. Go have the time of your life and experience all this wonderful Earth has to offer! I will be living vicariously through you. Once the travel bug hits it is hard to ignore it. I am happy for you that you’ve met someone that shares your passions. Best of luck, safe travels and god speed. I will continue to follow as always 🙂

  5. Hi Jenna!
    Exciting news!
    I live in the west part of France so if your journey in Europe takes you here I’ll be more than happy to host and meet you both!!!
    Enjoy every minute of it!

    1. And I’m in the French Alps, so if you wend this way there’s a stopping place here too. Bonne route et bon voyage!

  6. Yay for you, boo for us who really love home decor/remodel/DIY bloggers. All the good blogs are gone or they barely blog anymore. Seems to be the new trend.
    Have fun, you only live once and if now is the time that is right for you, enjoy!

  7. I seriously admire you’re commitment to following your dreams and making them into a reality. So few of us get the opportunity or are in a position to do this. Enjoy every minute and I’ll definitely be staying along for the ride!

  8. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!
    I love your blog – both the decor and the travel. And LOVE the travel photos.
    Can’t wait to read about all of the new adventures!
    – Becky

  9. I truly think that this is kind of awesome! I’m really excited for you guys! Not only for what you’re doing the next few months but also what you plan to do after you return home.

    It’s funny – originally I kept up with your blog for the home decor posts, but when you left for your first set of travels I felt like I was more invested because I wanted to know that you were okay. And then oddly enough I kinda checked out with the Cottage Flip, but now that you’re starting new things I’m excited again. So I think I might be the opposite of what you expected with your readers, haha!

    I wish you and Lucas all the best and safe travels. <3

  10. follow your dreams and be safe…whatever your path draws you to. wish you not only the best, but peace, strength and adventure and growth.

    lilly

  11. I’ve been following you since your Florida home and I am a huge fan of your work! When you went to Asia you took your blog to another level and I will look forward to your post and follow your journey, now I can’t wait to see what your next adventure has in store! Safe Travels!

  12. Jenna–Your enthusiasm and desire to truly live–both traditionally and non-traditionally–is inspiring. I mentioned in a note to you prior how my oldest would love to travel. Her sister and her now talk of traveling together. Your writing and approach to life are so moving to those following along. I am going to suggest my girls follow you on this journey as well. Best to you both and wishing you happy and safe travels.

    Also, I reconnected with my high school pen pal from Rio about two years ago. I understand your travels are not intentional, however, if you would like any information regarding Rio and surrounding areas I am sure he would love to speak with you. He is an amazing man with a heart of gold and although a busy working man he loves life. You can check out his instagram @juliomfilho He speaks English as well as his native Portuguese.. 🙂 If you are interested let me know and I can give him a heads up.

    1. I really appreciate the kind words, Kristin! That’s so awesome that you were able to reconnect with your pen pal. And thank you for the offer, we will definitely check him out on instagram 🙂

  13. Hi Jenna,
    I will be praying for safe travels for you and Lucas. May you both find the peace and love that only He can give us each day. Thank you for sharing your life and work with us!

  14. I am so excited to see your journey in this blog and live vicariously through you a bit. You are such an inspiration with how you live and seem so humble. Be safe and have fun!

  15. I’m personally psyched for this because I’ve grown to be so inspired by your travel blogging that I bought a DSLR for my own adventures! Can’t wait to learn more from you!

  16. Here for the decor, but staying for the travel!! Love the mix of both! Thanks for allowing us to follow along on ALL of your adventures!

  17. You are awe inspiring! I’ve been following for a while and I look at the rooms you design and I’m floored. Just when I think I’ve seen everything you can do, you inspire me again. I love your work and when you went to Southeast Asia I really thought I’d miss seeing what you were working on next, but I really loved checking in on you to see what happened next. . .you inspired me again by your stories and photos. I love seeing your designs and waiting for the big reveal, but you inspire me by doing what most of us would consider terrifying. I can’t wait to see where you take us now. Enjoy the adventure!

  18. I am so excited for your next adventure. I wish I was still young and carefree and could do something like this. Keep us up to date on your travels

  19. I think that a good number of your loyal followers (myself included) have come to care about you as a person and have your best interests in our hearts. Whether that’s with a paintbrush in your hand or a pack on your back, we’ll be following along and wishing you well

  20. I’m so jealous! My great adventure was moving to the UK almost 2 years ago, and I’d say the best part about living here is being able to leave and travel 5+ weeks out of the year! Once you have the travel bug, there’s no such thing as too much time. I hope you get as much as you can out of these next seven months!

  21. Wowsa! That took me by surprise! Although I’ll miss the decorating part I’m very excited to follow your new adventure! Blessing to you and Lucas….wishing you safe travels! God speed.

  22. Hey! I don’t comment that much, I’m those silent readers. I’m from Argentina, but currently I live in Germany. If you need any tip in Buenos Aires o any other city, I would please to help.

  23. Jenna que tengas un bonito viaje, claro que aquí estaremos al pendiente de tus post o si posteas hasta enero aquí al menos yo aquí estare, super fan de tu trabajo y fotos y forma de pensar.
    Ojala posteen acerca de self employment.
    Enjoy!

  24. Happy for you both!! Long time reader of your blog and love both the décor and travel so I’m VERY happy for you and Lucas!! Just keep us posted!! Safe travels and have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Live your dreams, you only go around once!!

  25. I’m a new follower of your Instagram and blog but will definitely stick around for travel updates! As I’m not in a position to do it myself, I’ll be living vicariously through you 😊 Congratulations on your decision and many prayers for safe travels!

  26. JennaSue,
    Im so happy for you two but yet am so disappointed for my own selfish reason! I love how you do houses. Loved how you decorated, your style and mostly admired your bravery. I have followed your travels and will continue. I want to wish you both the best and if you ever need to do some consulting, please contact me.
    Cindy

  27. Wow. I’m surprised but not surprised? I am so glad you found Lucas to share your experiences with and I’m really looking forward to hearing from him on occasion on the blog. I don’t doubt he really is one special guy. Y’all be safe on your journey and make some wonderful memories together. I am curious…is there any particular reason you’re going back to Florida? Unfortunately, I hadn’t found your blog at that time but I know you lived there when you started your blog didn’t you?

    1. Thank you for the kind words Rebecca! Florida is ideal for the type of real estate investing we’re looking to do (it just doesn’t make sense to stay in CA for that), plus we love the weather and beaches! Tampa is a few hours away from Jacksonville, which is where i lived and where my sister lives now so I’ll get to see her more often.

  28. So excited for you! I hope you have many wonderful adventures … and I do hope you’ll post about them — I loved reading about your earlier travels! Best wishes for safe travels and many wonderful, memorable experiences!!! 🙂

  29. Jenna,
    1. Thank you for replying to my email regarding contractors for our rental home!
    2. Good for you two! My husband and I have shared 40+ years of travel adventures and highly endorse it 🙂
    3. Just returned from a three week trip to Argentina! You’ll love Patagonia! Mendoza was a little “meh”.
    4. Would it seem terribly peculiar, odd, old fashioned to state that I love that Luke is always clean shaven even while traveling through Asia?
    5. Have a wonderful trip and I will enjoy whatever posts you are able to put together!
    Be safe!

    1. Thanks so much Dawn — love that you and your husband also share the same passion for travel! Not sure if we’ll make it down that far south for this trip but we’ll definitely do a southern South America trip at some point!

  30. All good news for me! Wishing you the best Of good vibes for your trip! You have to come to Ecuador, galápagos islands are unique

  31. I’m so happy for you! I’ve followed your blog for a long time and loved following your travels through Asia. Excited for your new chapter. All the best.

  32. Came for the decor, stayed for the lovely person behind it. 🙂 Good for you guys, traveling together is amazing! Have a safe and beautiful trip. When you’re back, Florida will be lucky to have you! I live just south of St Pete, in Sarasota, and the area could certainly use some fresh style. Do you think you’d ever consider hosting DIY workshops for any of your smaller projects? I would love to attend something like that.

  33. I adored following along last time, and was even a little bummed when you came back sooner than I expected you would (even though I also adore your home decor too)! So excited for you guys and for those of us who get to tag along here! I know it’ll be fabulous and I wish you all the best in the world!!

  34. Ahhhh so happy for you! I hope you’ll be posting photos of your travels on Insta. I loved following along on your last trip. I’m moving to Florida too! After living in Ca my whole life I’m excited about that adventure! Ha that’s as adventurous as I get!

  35. Hi Jenna & Lucas!!
    I was secretly hoping your new adventure had to do with Lucas and LOVE! And once AGAIN, you didn’t disappointt❤❤❤ I’ve been following you since your move from Florida to cali! I have LOVED EVERYTHING you’ve done! Renovating, DIY, home decor, flipping houses! Whatever you touch is gold!!! I absolutely LOVED your adventure to ASIA and was so HAPPY you met Lucas! I just LOVE, LOVE!! And you two have such an AMAZING love story!!! You are so awe inspiring! You’re so young, and have done so much! You can do ANYTHING!!! I LOVE your attitude and view of Life!!! You’re simply beautiful from the inside out…I feel like I’m going to miss you and your blogging, but I fell in love with your Vlogs!!! I am so LOOKING FORWARD to both of you and your New adventure!!! I’m so VERY HAPPY for you Jenna! And Lucas!!! And I will continue to follow you for life! As long as you keep sharing, I will follow for sure! I can’t imagine you losing any followers…since you have the ability to let us live through your pictures and adventures! Thank you for sharing all that you share! It’s such a gift to the rest of us! So god bless you two and safe travels! And I’m so happy I have your new adventure to look forward to!!! I can’t wait 😊 ❤🙏🏻😇😍😘 PS.. when you were in Asia, every time you posted pics and stories, I would read them to my husband, so we both always looked forward to where you were and what you were doing!!! And knowing that you were safe! So he loves you as much as I do!!! And will be looking forward to your new adventure😍🙏🏻👏🏻👍🏻❤😘😊💯

  36. I have been a follower of your blog from the very beginning, I believe. You are so inspiring in everything you do. I am excited to hear about your upcoming travels. Good luck with selling the flip! If I still lived in California I would buy it in a heartbeat! I kept showing my husband the reveal videos and begging to buy it but NC to CA is a bit far. Safe travels!

  37. Dear Jenna-Sue, I’am from Germany and I read your Blog for such a Long Time. I Love the thinges you have made. And your last House flip is so amazing . But if it’s time now , go where your Heart will send you and enjoy the time and experience you both will make. Be carefull and come back in one piece. I’am looking forward to hear from you from time to time. All the best wishes. Nicole🍀😀

  38. Wow! Happy for you and Lucas. Please keep us posted your invested followers will worry and wonder if we never hear from you but something tells me otherwise. As a native of CA and currently in PNW, would love to move to FL but the humidity can be horrible, not sure I could take it. Is it difficult adjusting? Safe travels looking forward to your travel posts.

  39. How exciting! Good for you for following your heart. I would love love love to see posts about transitioning from the corporate world to self employment. I’m in the corporate world now and have been toying with the idea of starting a business for over a year now. Would love some perspective from someone who’s been there that can maybe provide me with the motivation I need to do the same! Can’t wait to follow along on your travels!

  40. You are such an inspiration Jenna! Even when you aren’t posting as much, I will still think of you every time I see your font in the wild!

  41. Bon voyage on your new adventure. While I’ll miss the decor, your travel posts will give us a window into treking with you. Today I read about another young woman and her travels. In 1972, Anne-France Dautheville, at 28, was the first woman to motorcycle solo around the world. Watch video of her travel journal on Youtube. You can read about her travels in her books, Une Demoiselle sur une Moto (Girl on a Motorcycle), (1973) and Et J’ai Suivi le Vent (And I Followed the Wind), (1975). Both books are in only French. Her story inspired the Chloe Fall 2016 fashion collection. Perhaps this foreshadows a “Jenna 2018 fashion line”…Designers are you listening..reading. Jenna & Lucas…be safe.

  42. Cheers to you and Lucas for blazing your own life trail, for being true to what drives you both. Best wishes for wondrous travels and the new life you will make together in Florida. If you decide to document your adventures, I am all for it.

  43. So happy and excited for you both! I loved reading about your adventures in Asia and love everything about your home renovations too! And when you two move to FL, you will be in our backyard (we are just outside of Tampa in Valrico). 🙂 I think my next life goal is real estate, after 19 years at the same company in the corporate world, I’m yearning for something new! Safe travels and can’t wait to read all about it!

  44. I just found your blog, but am happy that Lucas and you have decided to follow your hearts. I just turned 53 and am trying to do the same. It’s never too late, right? Good luck to you both!

  45. Safe travels to you and Lucas, and it’s so exciting that your’re following your hearts and seeing what the world has to offer!! I’ll be looking forward to your travel adventures just like I do your DIY adventures!! Enjoy every moment!! May God Bless you both and keep you safe!!

  46. Enjoy every moment as they pass too fast. And don’t forget to take our family up on the offer of a boat ride when you move to my city. Tampa… small world.

  47. Have an amazing adventure! And if you find yourself in England along the South Coast in Dorset, please say hi xxx

  48. I have followed and loved your blog since the Cali redo and checked in when I remembered to. I was initially disappointed on learning that you were leaving the DIY for your trip of a lifetime to Asia . However, from the point you stepped on that plane and reading the first blog, my daily duty was to pour coffee and check to see if Jenna has checked in [ and worried when you didn’t ]. I loved every minute of your trip. We all lived through you vicariously. I must tell you, that having read of this new excursion, I am just as excited,,, but I jumped off my seat and yelled … Yeah…She is moving to Tampa Bay/ St Pete on her return… My house will still be [ Under Construction please excuse the mess, by then ] I live in St Pete, It will be like Joanna Gaines moved into my neighborhood lol ♥ safe travels.

  49. I’m super excited about your announcement! I absolutely loved following your travels before. I can’t wait to live vicariously through you again!

  50. Wow! I hope you have a wonderful time! I found your blog right before you left for Asia, and even though I started reading because I liked your kitchen, I stuck around because your travel posts were so beautiful and interesting. I’m excited (and maybe a little nervous!) to follow along as you share about your next journey. 🙂

    I have a question for both you and Lucas… Now that you’ve traveled the world (or at least a far away part of it), does the world seem bigger or smaller to you?

    It’s been my experience that when I’m online or watching movies or TV shows about faraway places, the world seems small. Like, I can just click on a link and learn all about another place, or message a friend in a foreign country and have a conversation right this instant. But, when I’ve actually been out in the world and gone places (you know, like a neighboring state… I don’t get out much)… Anyway, when I’m actually out in the world, it seems really big. Just wondering what your experience has been with that. 🙂

  51. Yaaay Jenna! I’m so so happy for you babe! Just so happy for you! Youve found your voice, your passion, your stride, and your person. I’m so so sad you won’t be in Cali anymore , but I’m so excited for your new life babe. Have the most amazing time in S. America and safe tavels.

  52. I have loved your blog for years. I am super excited to see what you do with it in the future…especially now that I know you are moving to Tampa/St. Petersburg where I live. It’s a beautiful area and I think you will love living here. In the meantime, enjoy your travels!

  53. I will miss your home decor content simply because I love what you do, but I wish you both to have the time of your lives! Coming from someone who’s 57, the regrets of what might have been will wear on you the older you are. Do it now 😚

  54. Excited to see where your journey takes you next. I’m also excited to hear about your move to Tampa/St. Pete because that’s where I live! Looking forward to your take on the local real estate market here. In the meantime, enjoy your travels.

  55. I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning when I found you as a prior blogger myself in UT. I now live in the St. Pete area finishing up my remodel and love it here! Although I have stopped blogging, I’m excited to see your next flip right here in my town. You can see some of my remodel here: http://graciesremodel.blogspot.com/
    Excuse the messy blog currently redo the blog. Come visit me 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *