journey

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January 11th, 2018 – One Year Later

Published January 11, 2018 by jillamatt

Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


Today marks one year since we made this crazy decision to sell all of our things, to not only seek out a life of travel, but to free ourselves of the burdens that society had placed on us.  (To read my post that day, click here.)

We had found ourselves suddenly drowning in debt with no clear picture of how we were going to get out of it.  We were living a life that seemed normal to others, but was terribly uninteresting and uninspiring to us.  We both made and created art, but because of our need to make money doing our “REAL” jobs, we didn’t have the time to properly sell it or promote it, something we really wanted to do.

We lived a life that was the epitome of being on the hamster wheel.  Running, running, running, working ourselves to utter exhaustion, but never getting ahead.

I asked myself all the time:  “Is there more to life than this?”

I knew there was, I knew there had to be, but I didn’t know how to get there.  I didn’t know how to pay all the bills at home, keep my house, keep my car, keep my things, keep my small business, and still do the thing that I really wanted to do…….travelling.

As I sat in my art studio one year ago, I was watching ‘Minimalism’ a new documentary that had just come out on Netflix, while working on my creations.  As I watched this enlightening documentary, in the most quintessential way possible, I had an epiphany.  It was as though a lightening bolt blasted down from the heavens and jolted me in the back of the head.  From that film, I suddenly realized that my house, my car, all of my stuff, was actually what was keeping me from travelling.  All of the stuff, was literally drowning us.  All of the stuff was what was making us feel like we were treading water.  All of the stuff was what was keeping me from doing what I wanted to do the most.

I say this in a first person narrative because Chris, at that point, hadn’t travelled a ton.  We had done a 6 week trip to Europe in 2015, and had done a 2 week trip to Mexico, but that was it.  He understood that he liked travelling, but he didn’t really know what it was like to LIVE in a different country, to really spend time learning different cultures, customs and traditions, and to learn about what makes different places tick.  He had had a taste, that was all.  But thankfully, he too decided that he wanted more.

On that fateful evening, we decided that enough was enough!  All of our stuff didn’t matter anymore!  The only thing that mattered was making our life count!  We knew in that moment, that we had some HUGE changes ahead of us, and we knew it would be a ton of work, but we were committed.  We had a plan, it was set, and we immediately got started on undoing the life we had built, to seek out a vastly different one.  One that was fulfilling, one that was inspiring, one that was EXCITING!

Fast forward one year later, and it all seems like a distant dream.  In nine months we held multiple garage sales, we sold items on Facebook, to friends, to neighbours.  We took mountains of things to the thrift store and inevitably, the dump.  We finished renovations on our house that had been half done for over 3 years.  We sold our vehicles and our house.  We closed down our business’ and we worked our butts off to pay off as much debt as possible.  We stopped drinking, eating out and buying things.  We completely flipped our life upside down, in order to make this happen, in order to unburden ourselves, in order to seek out a life of freedom.

It was not an easy ride!  We were utterly exhausted most of the time.  We put in as much effort as we physically could, and worked harder than either of us ever had before.  But guess what?  It worked!  We did it!

Our life has gone from “normal” to extraordinary, and it happened all in 9 months!


Today I sit in Costa Rica, staring out to the waves breaking, to the pelicans soaring by, and sometimes, to a sloth climbing the tree in our front yard.  Today I feel FREE!  Today the worries about money, how I’m going to pay the next bill, how I’m going to find the next client, and how I’m going to be able to travel again, are gone.  Literally gone!

Don’t get me wrong, life is not a perfect, easy, breezy time, all of the time.  Of course, we are both working on ways to secure a financial future, as the money we now have will run out eventually.  But we are doing it with clear intentions.  We are focussing on what is important to us.  We are seeking out those things that inspire us, that motivate us, that move us.  We are going where the wind blows us.  When we see a good opportunity, we take it.  If we don’t like the situation we are in, we change it.  We don’t owe anyone our time.  We certainly don’t owe anyone our souls.  We are in charge of what we do, that is it, that is all.

Many people we meet ask the same question over and over again.  They hear about what we are doing now, but then they can’t help but ask “But what about your future?  What is your plan for the future?”

Well, the answer if simple.  We have no real plan for our future.  We are simply just being.  Being in the moment, taking life one day at a time, enjoying ourselves and really getting to know ourselves.  We have given ourselves the gift of presence.  We have given ourselves the gift of living each day as it comes.  We don’t know what is around the corner, and quite frankly we like it that way.  Our future is not some construct that we have laid out, hoping that all of the pieces fall into place the way that we have planned.  Our future is determined one day at a time.  Each day determines tomorrow’s path.  Each day brings new directions, new thoughts, and new opportunities.

And so, I ask you this.  Are you living a life that is inspiring and exciting?  Is there something that you would like to do, but just can’t quite figure out how to do it?

My advice is simple, take a hard look around you and find ways to let go of what is burdening you.  Maybe you are like me and you realize that it is your stuff that is weighing you down.  But maybe it is your job, your relationship, the place you live, the people you surround yourself with?  There can be any number of things that we carry around with us that are holding us back from doing what it is that we really want to do in life.  But it is up to us, and ONLY us, to figure those things out, to let go of those things, and to build a life that we truly love.

Pura Vida from Costa Rica!

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Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: We are managing a Cabina on the beach at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical, in Costa Rica. If you are travelling in the area, please get in touch! We would love to connect with fellow travellers!

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

 

 

 

 

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My 5 Most Read Posts of 2017!

Published January 2, 2018 by jillamatt

Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


I’ve noticed that many bloggers are doing some sort of wrap up or feature about their 2017 blog posts.  Some people post their favourite posts, and some post their most read posts.  At first, I wasn’t going to do anything, but then I got curious.  I decided to take a look, just to see which ones actually were read the most.  It turns out that my 5 top read posts are definitely some of my favourites  as well.  So here goes!

In 2017 I wrote 47 blog posts all together.  It’s interesting because I just made a 2018 goal yesterday to do at least one blog post per week!  So it’s nice to see that I was already really close to accomplishing this last year!

If you haven’t read any of these, take a look, maybe they will resonate with you as well!  Just click on the post title to go straight to it!  Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all once again!


Notes on My Hometown – Canmore, Alberta, Canada

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By FAR this was my most read post at 420 views and 7 comments!  However, as I also list my email address at the end of each post, I got many emails from complete strangers who also grew up in Canmore, who resonated with my words.

In the post I outline how the town that I grew up in has changed so much, yet there is so much of it that is also still the same.  Over time I have become angry and jaded by the multitudes of changes, but recently I was able to make peace with it again.  I realized that no matter what, I had an incredible childhood growing up there, and nobody can take that away from me!

Did you grow up in a place that has changed a lot?  Maybe there are some insights in here that will make you see things in a different way.


I Dream a Dream 

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I’m very excited that this is the second most visited post at 287 views and 30 comments!  This post was the start of all of this!  This post is when we decided to sell all of our posessions and hit the road.  It feels so amazing to look back on this and remember how full of excitement, nervousness and fear that we were feeling.  It was a HUGE decision to do this!  But now, here we are, and looking back it actually all now seems so incredibly easy!

Through this process we have both realized that our life, and how we live it, is simply a long string of choices that we make.  By making this choice, we have opened ourselves up to a whole new world and we couldn’t be happier!

I hope this post inspires you to make some tough decisions that will give you the best and happiest life possible!


September 22, 2017 – We Are Unplugged!

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The third most visited post at 182 views and 12 comments is definitely one of my favourites!  It is a re-cap on our final days in Powell River, the place that I had called home for 11 years, and a little bit about my feelings a couple days after we left.  To say it was an emotional roller coaster, would be a massive understatement!  But we never faltered in our plan.  We were heading in one direction, and we were doing it together!

This is when we really felt like we had unplugged!  Unplugged from what society had dictated that we do, unplugged from a life that wasn’t serving us anymore, unplugged from other’s expectations of how we live our lives.  In this moment, we felt free!  Free to head out into the world with no incumbrances and no commitments to anyone else.  The horizon was laid out before us, and that was all that mattered.


August 20th – The Bear

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In number 4 spot at 121 views and 4 comments, this little Bear got much more attention than I anticipated.  He became a symbol of letting go, the mascot if you will.

After posting this post about the difficulties that I was having of letting this little guy go, I received many messages from friends and family wanting to adopt him, instead of seeing him go to the thrift store.  It really struck me that not only was it difficult to let go of my OWN posessions, others definitely had a vested interest in my posessions as well.  How strange of a species we are when we are so attached to things, that we can’t even bear to see others getting rid of their things?

In the end, this little fella flew all the way to Alberta where he is now part of a greater collection of family bears, living in Edmonton at my cousins house.


August 9th – The House is Listed

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At number 5 with 93 views and 5 comments, this post was the culmination of a ridiculous amount of hard work to get this place ready to sell.  We finished it about 5 weeks later than we had wanted, but we worked day and night, while also working our full time jobs, and knew that we were doing the best that we possibly could.  We were so exhausted, it’s hard to even comprehend now.

Because we had a housesitting gig in Costa Rica lined up for November 1st, we wanted to leave by about September 20th to give ourselves time to visit family and also arrive in Costa Rica a little early, so we could do some exploring before settling into our job.  Because of our late listing date we knew that for this to sell before we left, it would have to happen quickly.  Well, about 4 hours after posting the video that you will see in this post, our Realtor called us to tell us that he was writing an offer, sight unseen.  The buyers were gardeners, first and foremost, and they knew that it was the house for them based on this video.  They wanted it primarily for the work we had put into the yard, for the time and effort we had put into building the soil and cultivating the land from scratch.  They were EXACTLY the buyers that we had requested from the Universe!  Not a more perfect match could have been made!


So!  That is it!  My top 5 most visited posts that I wrote in 2017!  I’m glad that I chose to do this as it has again reminded me how amazing this journey is that we are on.

We made a decision back in January, almost one year ago, to change our lives.  To live with more purpose and meaning, to live with happiness and joy, to only do those things that inspire us and motivate us.  We made a decision that absolutely changed our trajectory, and along the way all of the pieces have literally fallen into place.  Along the way we have asked for what we wanted, and we truly have received it all.

Miracles can happen, but it is up to us to ask for them!  Don’t sit and wait and hope that something manifests itself.  We must do this work for ourselves.  We must seek out what it is that we want out of life.

So I leave this with you!  What do you want to create for yourself in 2018?  Because until you decide, and until you ask for it, it simply will not happen!

Pura Vida from Costa Rica!


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: We are managing a Cabina on the beach at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical, in Costa Rica. If you are travelling in the area, please get in touch! We would love to connect with fellow travellers!

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

Some Observations of Costa Ricans…..

Published December 1, 2017 by jillamatt

Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


There is this guy and his little puppy that are often sitting on the same log on the beach when we walk by with Omber in the morning, or afternoon. The puppy is the cutest little thing, but we can’t get near to it as it barks it’s head off and seemingly wants to tear us limb from limb. Usually we are walking down at the bottom of the beach, while they are sitting at the top of the beach. The man looks to be about the friendliest person you could ever lay eyes on, he has a huge Afro and a great smile. We always collectively laugh at the state of the puppy going crazy, and even from 50 yards away, you can see this mans massive smile light up, and he sends a friendly wave our way.

Today, I was at the top of the beach walking, and I could see from down the beach a ways that he and a friend were sitting in the usual spot. This time I decided to try and get closer to say hello. The sun is shining today, and it’s been a bit of a dismal week around here with cloudy and rainy days seeming to never end. We exchanged a few words about how nice it is to see the sun, we asked each other how we were doing, the puppy barked it’s little head off, and then I decided that I better get going.

I had a task to do, you see, I was walking the dog.

After we walked to our usual spot, and returned down the beach, we were further down by the surf, but he and his friend were up at the top still, just chilling. I kept walking and started to think about the fact that we had been passing this guy and his puppy for a month, and still didn’t know his name. I immediately started to feel bad for not asking his name, and finally getting to know him a bit. I realized that I too could have just sat on that log and chatted for a while. ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ I asked myself.

Oh right! I remembered.

I was on a mission, you see, I was walking the dog!

And in that moment, I caught myself, I suddenly, miraculously, realized that I too have all day to chat if I so desire. I too could just sit on a log and hang out for hours, if I really felt like it. Omber would be happy to just chill in one spot. There really was no rush. Besides, what could be better then practicing some Spanish and making new friends?

Hmmmmmmmmm…..

A few hundred yards further down the beach, Omber decided to run to the top of the beach to chase through the palm trees where I couldn’t see him. Of course, I walked up there to find him, and a man was doing some raking amongst the palms. As soon as he saw me, he immediately waved a friendly hello. “Hola”, I yelled.

This got me realizing how pleasant our exchanges are with the locals. Rarely do we walk by someone, whether on the beach, or on the road, where they don’t take the time to say “Buenas Dias, Hola, Pura Vida, (Good Day, Hello, Pure Life) or some combination of all three.” In fact, as we walked the road the other day to the bus stop, a man crossed the street and shook Chris’ hand, wanting to know who we were and whether or not we owned some piece of property in town. We chatted with him for a bit, then were on our way.

It also got me thinking that we have literally not seen one bad exchange between people here. There have been no children throwing tantrums, no people yelling at each other in hatred or malice, no aggression of any kind has been displayed, in fact.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm…….

Chris had a tattoo job the other night just down the street from us. I popped over after a bit to see how it was going. It was the father that was getting tattooed, and his wife, 9 months pregnant with a second child, was busy in the kitchen. Their little girl was playing in the corner as quiet as could be, with her dolls and a handful of toys. They were not spread all over the room, they were in one spot, and she happily toodled away talking to them and playing by herself, with hardly a peep to anyone.

I asked her mom how old she is, and they told me ‘5 years old today’! You can imagine my immediate surprise as this certainly didn’t seem like your average 5 year old on their birthday, at least where I come from. There were no streamers and balloons hanging up, no huge party with a thousand other kids running amuck, no big deal was being made…….at all! I told her “Feliz Cumpleanos!” (Happy Birthday), and she turned and gave me a shy “Gracias”, then busily got back to playing. In the two hours we were there, she never once bothered her mother or father for anything, just happily, and QUIETLY played in the corner with her dolls.

When I had initially arrived to the house, I immediately walked over to see how the tattoo was going. The father said hello and asked me how my day was going, in English. Without really realizing what was going on, I just told him “Oh it was okay, I was lazy today.” Later I realized that I never even asked him how his day was………did he notice, did he think badly of me. What was my problem?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm……….

The other day, Chris and I caught the bus to Uvita. We hadn’t been there before, and needed some groceries, so we thought we would just go there and hopefully get some supplies after doing some exploring. While waiting for the bus, we sat on a bench in front of the Pulperia (Convenience Store), and had many exchanges with locals coming and going. Old or young, they all had time to say hello and ask us how we were doing.

As we rode the bus to Uvita, we sat in the front 2 seats to the right of the driver. As I watched people get off the bus, most people thanked the driver, one guy shook the drivers hand and exchanged a few words with him. The driver wasn’t in a rush to get going again, it was more important to talk to this man for a minute, then to worry about his schedule.

I watched as the driver eased his big bus through tiny communities, and yelled and waved out the window at familiar faces. Were these people he knew, or just people he saw on his route everyday? “Pura Vida!”  was yelled more than once, and the people on their porches or in their yards returned the exchange with huge smiles on their faces.

In one instance a man was standing on the side of the highway and waved the bus to stop. The driver pulled over and the man simply stood on the ground at the door and spent about 5 minutes asking the driver a bunch of questions about the schedule and where he went. Obviously gathering information for a future trip.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm………..

Our friends that moved here from Canada two years ago, told us of a time when they had first bought their property up in the mountains. For the first while, they obviously couldn’t speak much Spanish, but their neighbours would come over anyways, and just sit with them on their porch, sometime for two hours, with barely a word spoken. They just wanted to interact, to share the human experience. Words weren’t needed to be decent human beings, to show their new neighbours appreciation of their arrival onto their lands.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm……….

All of this has me realizing that these are the sorts of things that you may not notice if you are travelling to a place for a week or two. It’s only after being in a spot for a length of time, when how a society works, is repeated enough for you to you start to notice it, and you begin to realize what really makes it tick.  We have been here now for over 6 weeks, and although it didn’t take us this long to see that people are friendly, it has taken this long to really notice that it definitely is a way of life.

In Costa Rica, it truly is the land of Pura Vida. People have TIME for each other. It isn’t normal to just say hi quickly, and then be on your way. What’s normal is stopping, and actually talking. Looking people in the eye, and asking them how they are doing, asking them how their day was or is. Taking the time to connect with each other and respect and appreciate each other.

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As of today, I am making a commitment to myself to really start to notice when I rush myself, when I push myself to “get going” because I think I have something important to do. When I start to think that ‘getting the dog walked’ is more important than stopping to meet somebody and learn about them, I will stop myself. I will stop this habit of being on a mission, of being in a hurry. As of today, I will stop to connect with people better. I will take the time to learn their names, I will spend the time learning about them, and finding out who they are and what they do. I will make TIME for them, because, this is truly the way it is here. This is what people do here. This is literally how their society functions, and I really can’t think of anything more beautiful than that!

Pura Vida to you all! I hope this inspires you to take a moment to reflect on what you spend your time doing.  And is it meaningful, after all?

NOTE:  Of course, this is our experience of Costa Ricans outside of heavily trafficked tourist zones.  In places where we have noticed that many tourists go, the Pura Vida mentality certainly does not extend as far as it does in these smaller more remote areas.  But it is in these places, where you truly get a sense for how people actually live.  

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Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!

Current Location: We are housesitting until December 30th at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical.  If you are travelling in the area, please get in touch!  We would love to connect with you.

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, click here.

To see my blog post menu, click here.

To email me directly, please do so at jillamatt@me.com.

Life as a Digital Nomad!

Published November 26, 2017 by jillamatt

Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


NOTE TO READERS:  I wrestled with writing this post as I realize that people are following my blog because they want to read about my travels and adventures.  But I’m realizing along the way that there are so many other things that go along with trying to become a full time traveller, and I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about those as well.  Obviously, making money on the road is a big one, so here we are!  It’s an important part of the puzzle, and honestly, it’s good marketing:)  Thanks for your understanding and I hope you gain a little more insight into what the heck I am trying to create for myself out here in the big ol’ world!  Xo

According to Wikipedia, Digital nomads are: ‘a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, and recreational vehicles.’

In listening to numerous podcasts, and reading all about life on the road, I have come across the term ‘Digital Nomad’ alot in my research. It is something that appeals to me, the ability to work and travel in this way.  There are many career titles that can fall under this heading, the least of which are writing, and teaching English, both of which I am quite capable.  However, making a career out of writing takes time to build, as does becoming an English teacher online.  Not impossible, but not immediate income either.


(Click here for link to store.)


We have been away from the 9-5 for a couple months now, and all this time I have been thinking about what I would like to do with myself, and what direction I want to go to make a passive income on the side.  I have been writing a bit, composing a couple articles that I would like to submit to various online publications, have started the rough outline of a book I want to publish one day, and have been, of course, blogging.  None of which, at this point is making me any money yet. No surprise!

However, one evening while we were doing some artwork and listening to a travellers podcast (Zero to Travel), it was repeated to me again that if you are already set up to make a passive income on the side online, just do it. Even if it is something that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life, it will help you to find your bearings, and get your feet under you.


(Click here for link to store.)


Well, I realized that I DO have something that I can do, and decided that it wouldn’t take too much time to get it set up again.  It is something that I have tried to do, over and over again in the past few years, in many different ways.  And I think it’s because I had tried so many times, and hadn’t really gotten anywhere, that I suppose I had mostly given up on it.  However, I have come to realize that the exact reason that it didn’t work is because I was “half-assing” everything.  I didn’t have the time and energy to direct at this, I was too busy making a “real” living, so I could try and pay my mountain of bills that arrived non-stop every month.

And so in that moment, my spark for selling my Fractal (What the heck is a Fractal? Click here!) art was re-ignited and I decided, somewhat with a vengeance, to get my online stores up and running again!


(Click here for link to store.)


I have been really busy doing this for about a week, and I have to say that I am actually enjoying it!  I have gone into each of my profiles and updated my descriptions, and really put some effort into the look of the stores.  I have time to focus on promotion, tailoring my posts for certain crowds, and thinking outside the box when using hashtags and certain tag words.  It feels good.

All of the images you see are created by me, and are then uploaded to websites.  These websites do what is called sublimation printing onto the individual items. Each item is printed on demand, and then shipped directly to you from the company itself, and I maintain a portion of the sale.  Some companies offer more of a commission than others, for some it really is a pittance, but at least it is something.


(Click here for link to store.)


As time moves on, I will be continuing to do some other artwork that I have been doing with pointillism and dotwork.  These images I am building up on my new iPad Pro, which I am loving!  I have made a couple of these images available in my shops, but there will be much more to come!

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This is one example of the pointillist art that I am now working on. Look for images like this to grace the items in my store as well!

There are many other ways that people make money while living a nomadic lifestyle.  I am really just starting to scratch the surface of this different life, and I’m sure it will take time to really carve out a niche for myself.  In the meantime, I am happy to share my artwork with the world in this way.


(Click here for link to store.)


I have included links to the 2 stores that I am running underneath the sets of pictures that I have posted.  Each group of items, is only available in each specific store indicated.  Though I strive to have all of the fractal images available in both, this isn’t always the case.  If you see an item you want, but can’t find the right image to go with it, please email me and I will make it happen!   There are MANY more images available, please take a look if you are interested.  

For Duvet Covers, Shower Curtains, Wall Tapestries, Coffee Mugs, Pillows, Makeup Cases and other Home Decor items, visit www.society6.com/jilla.  

For clothing items including Tank Tops, T-Shirts, Dresses, Towels, and Leggings, please visit www.etsy.com/shop/JillianAmattDesigns.

As always, if you have ANY questions at all about any of my work, please email me at jillamatt@me.com or follow me on my ART business Facebook page at Jillian Amatt Designs or on instagram @jillianamatt.  

For future reference, I will be making a page, find it at the top of this page, that says Shop Fractals.  This will link you to the appropriate shops, so you won’t have to scroll through my blog posts to find this post, and get the links!  


As this IS supposed to be a travel blog, please find related links to my travels below:

To see travel photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, click here.

To see my blog post menu, click here.

To email me directly, please do so at jillamatt@me.com.

Notes on my Hometown – Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Published November 21, 2017 by jillamatt

I have to say that I would be remiss, if as an aspiring Travel Writer, I didn’t write about my number one favourite place, and a tourist destination in it’s own right.  My life has been shaped by growing up in Canmore, and I feel incredibly grateful to have done so.  I’ve been thinking about writing about it for a while, but to put my thoughts about it into something that didn’t sound angry and jaded at it’s rapid development, was proving difficult.  I love my hometown, but at times, don’t like what it has become.  However, with my most recent visit back home, I found a renewed sense of appreciation for the parts that I realized I have not lost.  


I grew up in Canmore. One would think that growing up in a place would make me an expert on it. Like I should know all the ins and outs of the town; the good places to eat, the perfect store to shop in, or the best bar. But I don’t. Not even close.

So much has changed in the small Rocky Mountain town that I once knew. Being away now for 20 years, I feel so at home, yet like such a stranger, when I visit. Massive developments are ongoing, stores open and close, restaurants come and go, a few box stores have moved in, and there are traffic jams at rush hour! (When the heck did we get a rush hour??) I can still attest to knowing where many great trails are, or where the swimming holes are, most of those haven’t changed too much. Of course, there are the familiar stores that were there when I was a child, and a few restaurants that have stood the test of time. The Legion is still going strong, and the Canmore Golf Club is a constant mainstay, but really, the town as I knew it, generally doesn’t exist anymore.

One thing that does still exist, and will never change, however, is the stunning beauty that surrounds it. Those mountains, those impossibly perfect massive rocks that seem to just rise up from the ground, will stand on guard in that town long after we have all gone. The stories they could tell would be many, some would be of hardship, but most of them are of prosperity.

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Fall colours meet winter snow as the seasons change in October.  This is looking up at Ha Ling Peak, the prominent peak on the right hand side.

Canmore, Gaelic for “Big Head” (of which you will now see one as you enter the Main Street!), was named in 1884 and by 1887, had started it’s first coal mine. For almost 100 years, it maintained coal mining as it’s number one industry, and at that time was only a seemingly minute spec on a map, if it even made it on the map at all! When I moved there, in 1979 (having been born in Banff) at the age of three, the mines were just closing. The town was undergoing a massive shift. The roughly 2000 people that lived there wondered what would happen to their sleepy little mountain mining town, without the mines that built it? Surely Canmore wouldn’t have the same fate as Anthracite, another coal mining community near Banff, left abandoned when the mines closed in 1904?

In the early 1980’s, however,  after a couple tenuous years, and an uncertain economic future for Canmore, Calgary was named host to the 1988 Olympics, and Canmore would host the Nordic Events. This brought extremely good news to the community, and work was started right away to capitalize on this potential fortune.

Being located only a 50 minute drive West from Calgary, and right off the Trans Canada Highway, means that Canmore is easily accessible. This also meant, back in the day, that it’s accessibility provided an ideal situation, for fast and explosive growth. Shortly after the world wide promotion, brought on by the Olympics, Canmore’s population began to escalate, new developments started to spring up, and things really started to get going.

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I remember when there was no development across the highway, or up the mountains below Ha Ling Peak and the Three Sisters. (I remember when Ha Ling Peak, wasn’t named that!) I remember when we got our first traffic light! I remember when I walked down Main Street, and knew everybody I passed. And of course, I remember when the first new developments were put in. At the time it was exciting! It’s always exciting to see a place grow and prosper, but never in anyone’s wildest imagination did we think it would become what it is today.

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Policeman’s Creek runs through town.

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Policeman’s Creek, just behind the Drake Hotel

As a kid, when I used to travel abroad with my family, people would ask us where we were from. We would always say near Banff, or close to Calgary. No one had ever heard of Canmore, and if they did know Canmore, we were shocked! But, over time, more and more people HAD heard of it, and along side this, Canmore’s population, and reputation, continued to grow.

Fast forward 30 years (yikes!), and Canmore is now just another household name. Of course, thankfully, it still isn’t as famous as nearby Banff, or Lake Louise, but it rightly stands on it’s own two feet as a destination of it’s own. It is home to many 5 star restaurants, has an incredible nightlife, boasts boutique shops galore, and has outstanding tourist infrastructure. Not to mention it contains a plethora of world class training facilities for Climbers, Cross Country Skiers, Mountain Bikers, and many other recreational enthusiasts.

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As most kids in small towns do, we had a rivalry with neighbouring Banff. We always felt that we were better than Banff. Banff was too busy, and overrun with tourists, we would say. We went there, for sure! Banff had an awesome nightlife and ‘clubs’, it had the only movie theatre in the Bow Valley (still does) and it had a bowling alley! We would go there just to walk around the Banff Springs Hotel, or go up to the hot springs. We used it for what we needed, but Canmore was always better, we had decided. It was quieter, it was more peaceful, Banff kids were snobs, we were nicer…….so we thought.

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The Three Sister keep a watchful eye over the town.  This is the view from the engine bridge that was used back in the mining days.  Now it is part of a beautiful trail network that criss crosses the Bow River.

In those days, Canmore WAS just a glimpse off of the Trans Canada Highway. Most people heading to Banff would simply blink, and completely miss us. And I have to say, that until you actually drive off of the highway, and tuck yourself right into Canmore’s downtown core, you really don’t see just how beautiful it is.

However, what really did make Canmore so charming back in those days, WAS the fact that it was the quieter, and equally as picturesque, little sister to Banff. And in a way, despite the massive amount of development (Canmore now has at least double Banff’s population), and it’s international acclaim, I believe that this is still the case.

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Happy to be home and in my element!

When my parents bought their house in Canmore, it was one of only a few houses that were built, on their gravel street. Across the way was a field with trees and horses, and capping either end of the road was ponds, forests and the Bow River. We literally were living in the middle of the wilderness. Over the course of my childhood, we would move once more, to a house on the same street, 5 houses down. In the meantime, the street became paved, and houses filled in the remainder of the block.

The summers of my childhood consisted of long, lazy days, running amuck in the forests, swimming in the nearby rivers and ponds, and just doing pretty much whatever I felt like, within reason…..of course!  My friends and I would head out on our bikes in the morning, inevitably ending up at someone’s house for lunch, and would play until it seemed like time for dinner. Heading back to our neighbourhoods, we would start to hear the Moms call us in to our houses, one by one. Eating as fast as we could, we had the luxury of extended daylight, to go back out after dinner if we pleased. We had the paths and forests mapped out. We knew trails and secret spots that we were sure that no adults knew about. We felt like we were Kings and Queens of the world back in those days.

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Unfortunately, being away for as long as I have been, and seeing new developments happen each time I come home for a visit, I have become jaded with the hustle and bustle of the town. In past visits home to see my parents, I’ve felt that it’s but a skeleton of the town I once knew, and that just as soon as I would arrive, I couldn’t wait to get out of it again. But on a recent visit back home, I suddenly started to look at things in a different way. My partner was with me, and not only did I want to reminisce, I wanted to show him the cool, and what were once “secret” spots in Canmore, not just the well trodden parts he had seen on previous visits.

    (Click on individual images for descriptions.)

This time my visit was different. I re-kindled my curiosity, and set out to re-visit those favourite haunts from days gone by, and in those moments, as I reminisced about the stories that accompanied those special spots, I realized that so much of Canmore has changed, but also so much of it is still the same. At the end of a full day of exploring, and at the age of 40, I finally thanked my parents for having raised me in such a wonderful place!

(Click on individual images for descriptions.)

Now exceeding 16 000 permanent residents (and many more non-permanent), there is no doubt that things are different in Canmore. There are major development concerns, wildlife corridors are being choked off, and municipal park land is being turned into housing, to name a few. But, I am so thankful for my childhood, and I couldn’t be more proud to be from such a great place. I will always cherish my time growing up there, and no matter what they continue to do to develop it and change it, they certainly can’t take that away from me.

To those of you that haven’t been yet, you really have no idea what you are missing. Do yourself a favour, don’t just drive by. Take one of those exits off of the Trans Canada Highway, eat at an award winning restaurant, visit the incredibly charming downtown area, walk the trails, gaze at the mountains, and thank Mother Nature for her truly astounding bounty. Because as I much as I want my small town to stay the same, I can’t think of any good reason that it shouldn’t also be shared with the rest of the world.

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Forever emblazoned on my forearm, no matter where I am in the world, the Three Sisters will always be with me!


Thanks for reading!  Recently, in the first nine months of 2017, my partner and I sold all of our posessions to seek out a permanent life of travel.  We are currently house sitting in Costa Rica, and will be here until December 30th, 2017.  If you enjoyed my writing, please sign up with your email address on the right hand column, and follow along on our journey!

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the photos in the right hand column of this page.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, click here.

To see my blog post menu, click here.

To email me directly, please do so at jillamatt@me.com.

 

Emily’s Voyage Interview

Published November 15, 2017 by jillamatt

Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


Emily approached me to do an interview after I wrote a travel piece for her blog about Varna.  She had looked into my blog, and learned about what we are doing, and wanted to know more!  As we communicated back and forth, I came to learn that she is seeking a degree in Creative Writing.  I have to say that the irony was not lost on me, as I had many teachers in my early life, recommend that I follow the same path.

However, with all things in life, we don’t necessarily take advice, and have to do things in our own way.  I’m not sure if I was encouraged, nudged, or pushed to learn business in my secondary education, or if I just decided that that’s what I should do, because that is what I thought was expected of me, but that’s what I did, either way.  I have to say though, I am forever grateful for the business skills that I did learn, as they have guided me throughout my life, in all things that I have done.

And now, after 20 years have gone by, here I sit, attempting to build a career on Creative Writing, and navigating this big strange world on my own.  There are times where I feel like it sure would be nice having an instructor, or someone to guide me along, and tell me what to do.  But I do know that there are mentors, and there are other’s doing these things, and if I need help, I just need to reach out for it.

Thank you Emily for reaching out to the traveller community, and asking for people to share their experiences with you.  I know that you have been inspired, and I have to say that you have given me confidence and determination to know that writing certainly is something that I truly enjoy, and it is certainly worth plugging away at and pursuing it as a career.

Life is such an interesting journey, and you never really know where one path will lead.  It is important that when we see an opportunity, or if something feels right, we follow that feeling, pursue it and see where it goes.  Something about Emily’s call for writing appealed to me, and this is where it has led.

I hope you enjoy reading the interview (click here), as much as I enjoyed answering the questions!

With gratitude,

Jill xoxo

When nothing is sure


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, click here.

To see my blog post menu, click here.

To email me directly, please do so at jillamatt@me.com.

Wandering in Varna, Bulgaria – Guest Post

Published November 8, 2017 by jillamatt

A few days ago I found a request from a fellow blogger on one of the traveller Facebook pages that I follow. She was looking for people to contribute to her blog and write guest posts on one of their favourite travelling spots.

In 2015, my partner and I did a six week trip to Bulgaria, Greece and Italy. Although, we didn’t spend nearly long enough in Bulgaria, it was actually our favourite country to visit out of the three. I’m not sure if it was the laid back pace, the beauty of it, the friendly people, or the fact that it wasn’t on the Euro yet (which made it much more affordable against our Canadian dollar), but we absolutely fell in love with it, and long to go back someday.  Next time it will be in the summer months!

When I saw Emily’s request for posts on a favourite travelling spot, I couldn’t help but recall our experience in Varna.

Feel free to check out my guest post on her blog here.  Thanks for this opportunity Emily!

Also, if you would like to read more about our trip to Bulgaria, the first post is here.

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Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, click here.

To see my blog post menu, click here.

To email me directly, please do so at jillamatt@me.com.

 

 

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