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Holy &$@% 2018, Are You For Real? Updates (and Honesty)

antigua and barbuda 6

Antigua, one year ago

Last year I wrote a post with almost the exact same title, and in it I talked about the places I was about to visit: Antigua and Barbuda, Italy, Spain, UAE, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Yes, I know, I’m a) super privileged and b) kind of an asshole for bragging about it. I was SO EXCITED about that year of travels, and after saving for what felt like my entire life to be able to visit East Africa, it was such a dream come true.

After that trip, I went home to Canada for a few weeks, and then headed straight back on the road, first flying to London, then venturing to Italy and San Marino for a couple of weeks (a bit of solo travel, but mostly with my sister and her boyfriend). Back in London, then off to Austria. Back in London, then to Germany. Back in London, and then…

I broke down.

I wrote about this in the wrap-up I did of 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Oh So Very Ugly, but damn, I felt pretty miserable for a lot of 2017 (and if I’m being honest, for a lot of 2016, too). I started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks for the first time in my life. I started wanting to cancel all plans and just stay in my flat for days on end, but lamented that I had no close friends in London. I wanted to do so much work – so much work! – on this blog and this business, but then couldn’t find the motivation to do it. I mean… I went to Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania for six weeks, but you’d barely know it from this blog.

And yes, I was travelling the world, doing what I loved… but I felt lonely and sad.

“Poor little rich girl,” is something I often say to myself as I listen to Britney Spears’ Lucky on repeat. But the mind is a mysterious thing, and even though I was doing my favourite thing, I was floundering. I also felt like I couldn’t admit any of this, because, well, “poor little rich girl” and all that. I didn’t want to admit that I was totally burnt out, because wow, what an original sentiment, a travel blogger who’s burnt out from travel (in case my sarcasm isn’t reading here, that is a very, very common sentiment in the travel blogging world).

But I was very much burnt out, and really struggling mentally. And no matter how many times you tell yourself that you’re ridiculously privileged and living your dream, that doesn’t stop you from feeling the way you feel. After 12 years of travelling and living abroad, and 15 years away from my hometown, I just felt very, very tired.

And so I went home. I had planned to stay in London until Christmas, but left in early November. It was just time. London didn’t feel like home anymore, and I knew I needed to be close to my family and my closest friends.

After eight weeks in my hometown of Winnipeg (one week on a press trip in Japan excepted), living in my own beautiful little house, I was feeling fan-fucking-tastic. I was working out a lot, and eating well, and writing tons, and seeing a loved one or two every single day of the week. I was actively trying to become healthier, and it was working.

My office in Winnipeg

But old habits die hard, because almost immediately I started setting 2018 up to travel for eight months of the year. Instead of continuing to focus on my physical and mental health, I spent three weeks travelling through Western Canada and then to Arizona and Nevada. That trip was so much fun, but by the time I got back to Winnipeg, I had to start packing for another trip: seven weeks in Europe, including a month in London and then three weeks travelling solo in the Balkans.

And as I was planning and preparing for that trip… surprise! I started to feel really anxious again. Simply put, I wasn’t excited about going to the Balkans at all, and that is a very weird and very bad feeling to have. I remember, years ago, saying in an interview that, “the day I stop being excited about travelling is the day I hang up my backpack,”… and so I freaked out. What the fuck was wrong with me?!

I decided, then, to cancel my trip to the Balkans and go somewhere that felt comfortable, one of my favourite places in the world: Italy. I decided to tack on a bit of France, Spain, and Andorra as well, because, for real, old habits die hard.

That old addiction resurfaced very quickly again, and I started planning tons of other trips, too – months in South America, and giant American road trips, and sailing trips in Europe, trips I both a) couldn’t really afford and b) wasn’t sure that I actually wanted to do. I arrived in London nearly three weeks ago. Within 48 hours, I wanted to go home.

So I’m back in London, and it feels… weird. I’ve been back for nearly two weeks now, and it seems nothing is clicking into place like I hoped it would. I know I’ve always repped London SO HARD, especially East London, and I stand by those words. But the truth is, I’ve really struggled with London for the past two years. As much as I love it – the diversity! the galleries! the restaurants! the feeling I get when I walk down the street and I’m like, “Holy shit, there’s Big Ben”! – it has also felt incredibly lonely and anonymous for a long time. As someone who’s single, lives alone, and works from home, you can imagine I crave human interaction. But when you live in a city of 8.8 million people, oddly enough, sometimes it’s even harder to make real friends. I’ve found that so many of my friends in London move away, or have a similar job to me (which means it’s nigh on impossible to be in the same city at the same time), or simply live so far away that spontaneous meet ups for a glass of wine are rare. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Compare that to how I’ve felt in Canada these past few months, and it’s clear to me now that London and I are no longer meant for each other. It’s the funniest feeling; I honestly thought I might live here forever. I thought this visit would feel rejuvenating and inspiring – that it would feel like coming home – but all it’s done is confirm to me that I know exactly where I’m meant to be: in my own little house on a quiet street, the one with the office filled with books and sunshine, the one that’s only ten minutes away from some of the people I love most in this world (and only 15 minutes away from the airport 😉✈️). •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• I still love London, very much so, and I always will. But returning has felt like trying it one last time with an old flame, one you know isn’t right for you anymore, and finally having the guts to say goodbye. 💔💪 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Have you ever had that experience with a place? You simply know it's time to move on? Photo taken by @smallcrazy on a day two years ago (gulp) when I was still very firmly in my London love bubble ☺️🇬🇧

A post shared by Brenna Holeman (@thisbatteredsuitcase) on

I’m going to write further about these things – travel burn out, feeling like a failure if you don’t want to travel, realising when it’s actually time to go home, the pressure we can feel to travel/do things in life even if we don’t really want to (I blame Instagram, FYI) – but I made the decision to cancel everything I had planned, including Italy. I’m nearly 34 years old, and it’s time to start listening to my body and to my mind. I should have spent more time at home working on myself, and waited to come back to Europe… waited until I was really excited about it. I turned down some incredible press trips – China! South Africa! Bahrain! – because I knew I just needed to chill out. I’m still very much in love with travelling, but I need to stop and smell the roses for a while, you know?

I fly back to Winnipeg tomorrow. I cannot tell you how excited I am to give the people I love a hug, to be back in my beloved house, to go to the gym, to cook healthy food, and to feel motivated to write (seriously, just look at this blog’s archive, you’ll see the patterns of when I’m feeling good and when I’m not feeling good). I don’t need to force myself to go to Italy for THE THIRTEENTH TIME in my life. I need to go home.

Even though I’m pretty sad I’ll be missing this

Despite that, I know, without a doubt, that 2018 is going to be awesome. I’m still planning lots of travel, but travel I’m super excited about, and travel that’s happening with friends and family – more mindful, deliberate travel, instead of whipping through a country in a weekend like I might have done in the Balkans just to check it off, or accepting a press trip that will tire me out just because it still feels insane that people invite me to their countries and this is my job. I’m determined to get healthy and to work hard. Some highlights of the year ahead include:

-Finally, finally getting a new theme and header for this blog. I have been talking about this for about ninety billion years but I now have a fantastic person working with me to make it happen. Please don’t expect anything too fancy – I decided that instead of dropping $8000 on a new custom website I’d redo my kitchen, put a down payment on a car, book a trip to the Caribbean, and STILL have money left over, ahem – but a nice little facelift is in order, and I want to make sure that you find the blog easy to navigate and find relevant articles. Maybe one day I’ll feel like dropping that kind of cash on a custom website, but today is not that day.

-I’m heading to Mississippi at the end of April! This is one of the only press trips I’ve accepted this year. I’ll be in Jackson for a week to explore some of the city’s best museums, including the Civil Rights Museum, the BB King Museum, the GRAMMY Museum, the soon-to-open MAX Museum (Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience), William Faulkner’s home, and Elvis freaking Presley’s birthplace. Needless to say, I am so excited about being in Mississippi for the first time that I can barely stand it, and I can’t wait to share that content with you.

-And then… I’m going to the Caribbean for my birthday in May!! I have been fortunate enough to visit some Caribbean islands in the past, but this trip will include two weeks of island-hopping with my mum, including Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We’re planning snorkelling, scuba diving, sunset cruises, and lots of exploring the islands; I imagine there’ll be a bit of rum thrown into the mix, too. This’ll be a proper holiday (which is a weird thing to explain to people when you travel for a living).

Last year in Antigua on a press trip

-And then… I’m not leaving Manitoba for almost three months!!! Three exclamation points for that one because I’m so excited. From mid-May until mid-August, I plan on staying close to my hometown of Winnipeg. I am hoping to explore a lot of Manitoba in that time, but, with the exception of a possible trip to NYC, I have nothing else planned but WORK. Werk. This is the longest I will have gone without a press trip, work-related trip, or holiday in… years. Again, I understand if you’re not shedding a tear right now, but hot damn, I’m so excited.

what to wear in canada in winter

Also pumped to experience some summer weather in Winnipeg, and not this

-I’m adding ads to my blog. OK, a lot of you will be like, “That is not something I want to see on this list of awesome things,” but hear me out. In terms of passive income, I currently earn enough to buy exactly one week’s worth of groceries plus a tank of gas, which is nothing to scoff at, but I’d like to be doing better. The reason being is that I spend so much time completing work for other people – freelance writing and copywriting, mainly – that, when all is said and done, the thing that DOESN’T actively earn me any money (this blog) is the thing I spend the least amount of time on, even though it’s the thing I’m the most passionate about. I’ve worked out how much I can earn with ads and I can cut down on my freelance work significantly, which means I can spend so much more time writing weird shit on this blog (and if any of you are like, “Please no! Please no more weird shit!” well I’m sorry, but it’s happening). After fifteen years of being ad-free, I know that it’s time to take this step so I can put so much more effort into This Battered Suitcase. I want to write stuff that makes you laugh, and maybe even some stuff that makes you cry.

-I’m going to TravelCon in Austin in September! TravelCon is a new travel media conference, and although I’ve been to my fair share of travel conferences – fourteen at last count – I’m always keen to try new ones, especially when I’m friends with a solid half of the speakers on the list. While I’m sure this will be an amazing learning opportunity, the real reason I’m going is to see some of my favourite people in the world (hi Oneika, hi Kristin) and also to visit Texas for the first time. I’m pumped.

On safari in Kenya last year

-But perhaps one of the biggest announcements I’m excited to make is… I’m going to Namibia in August!!!!!! Crazy exclamation points for that one because a) holy shit, I’m going to Namibia and b) someone commented on my blog recently to say that I use too many exclamation points (I used four in the 1,500 word article) and I wanted to say what’s up to that person. I mentioned going to Namibia in my travel dreams post from December, and I am so psyched that it’s actually happening. Not only that, I get to join one of my best friends, Helen, on one of her amazing tours to Namibia! The itinerary looks INCREDIBLE, and after such an extraordinary experience in East Africa last year, I’m excited to get to my tenth African nation. Not only THAT, Helen and I will probably spend another week in a different country nearby; we’re thinking Zimbabwe, although I might try to hop over to Swaziland if I’m flying through Johannesburg.

Giraffe Manor Nairobi Kenya

Giraffe Manor in Kenya last year

Although I’m prioritising my life a bit differently this year – I want and need more time at home, and I want the trips I’m taking to be with people I know – I’m so excited to see how it’ll all unfold. I’m tired of realising it’s been yet another two weeks since I’ve posted on this blog, so I’m taking the steps necessary (less travelling, addition of advertising) to ensure that I have the time and the finances to back it. I’m hoping that I can bring lots of fun content to This Battered Suitcase in 2018 – both the practical stuff and the, well, whatever the hell this is. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride.




78 Responses to Holy &$@% 2018, Are You For Real? Updates (and Honesty)

  1. Anwesha March 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm #

    I am fully onboard your decision to bring in ads if it means more frequent longform blog posts from you.:)

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Anwesha! I really appreciate that 🙂

  2. ONEIKA RAYMOND March 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm #

    Yes yes and more yes my friend! I didn’t want to say “I told you so” (though I guess I’m kind of doing it now, ha!) but when you were updating me with all your travel plans I kind of wanted to shake you and say “GIRL YOU NEED TO STAY YOUR ASS AT HOME”. But I’m your friend and I love you and figured you’d come to that realization yourself at some point. Anyway, I’m so happy that you are happy, and can’t wait to rock it out with you in NYC, Austin, and beyond. Love ya boo! xo

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

      You are always right… I need to remember that, ha ha! Can’t wait to spend some time in person with you this year xxxx

  3. Sheryl-Ann March 13, 2018 at 5:10 pm #


    Great post and fun to read! 1. Yes, you absolutely have to listen to your body (sometimes I go to bed at 6pm just because my body tells me to). 2. Even though I love traveling solo, sometimes I just feel like all I need is home so embrace that feeling and spend time with friends and family in Winnipeg. Italy and all the other countries will always be there unless Trump does something dumb, but I digress 🙂 3. OMG Namibia! One of my fave countries in Africa. Brenna, you are going to LOVE it! Sooooo excited for you!!! 4. Just read The Power of Now and all I could say is live in the moment and have no regrets – don’t look back and don’t look forward because every little thing will be alright. Cheers and good luck!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:42 pm #

      Thank you so much, Sheryl-Ann… you always have such amazing and incredible words of encouragement! And YES I’m so excited to go to Namibia, it has been on my dream list for so long. I totally agree that it’s so important to live in the moment. Thanks again 🙂

  4. Lizzie March 13, 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    SO exciting! I’m so pleased you’re taking the time that you need to feel healthy and happy – those are the two most important things to focus on at all points! Also, it’s great that you’re prioritising travel that you are REALLY excited about – I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:42 pm #

      Thank you so much, Lizzie! And thank you for all of your support on the blog, it really means the world to me. 🙂

  5. Molly March 13, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    At “just turned 34” I am at a very similar place of feeling just….odd and out of place. And incredibly guilty for feeling that way much of the time. Good on you for recognizing the need to prioritize yourself. So glad you are getting to visit Mississippi (I’m from Alabama, right next door)! Let me know if you need some Southern tips!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:44 pm #

      Thank you so much, Molly… and yes, I think there is something in the water around 33/34, as I’ve spoken to many people about feeling the same way at this age! I am so excited to go to Mississippi, and hopefully one day get the chance to visit Alabama 🙂

  6. MaryPat March 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    It’s the joy and excitement I feel when reading your blog and posts that brings me back and makes me care. Take care of YOU and nurture what you love and need.

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate all of your support.

  7. Taylor March 13, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Totally with you on this one, lady! 2018 is all about balance – work, play, spending time in nature. Have you ever tried guided meditations? I started listening to them about a year ago and I’m in LOVE.

    Also, so excited for Travelcon!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm #

      That’s awesome that you’re also going to TravelCon! I think it should be a great group of people. I definitely need to try some meditation at some point in my life… staring out the window for an hour doesn’t count, I think 😉

  8. Kat O'Connor March 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm #

    I feel like I can resonate with you so much. I am currently trying to figure out where I want to find a base as after living and working in so many places, I’m now about to turn 39 (how the heck did that happen?!) and feel a bit lost! But I also want to continue to travel so trying to find a balance is not easy. Hopefully we will both feel more settled this year as we try to figure it out! Thanks for the great honest post x

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:44 pm #

      Thank you so much, Kat… it’s good to know that people can relate, you know? I truly believe we’ll both find our path this year and figure it out. 🙂

  9. Paige March 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm #

    Woo! I’m glad you’re gonna do what feels right for you! Excited to see more posts. : )

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

      Thank you so much, Paige! I always appreciate your encouragement so much 🙂

  10. Jodi March 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    I love the weird shit you post and look forward to more of it!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

      Ha ha, thank you so much, Jodi!

  11. Chelsea March 13, 2018 at 6:59 pm #

    I follow your blog for your writing style and quirky content. Your genuine discussion of what’s going on in your life is one of my favorite things. Ads are not going to change that. Balance means something different in every life. Glad you’re finding what works for you.

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:32 pm #

      Thank you so much, Chelsea – that means so much to me!

  12. Cate March 13, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

    This post came at the exact needed time for me! Talk about the universe conspiring with us! I recently got back from a fantastic trip to Vancouver Island, yet felt anxious a lot of the time. This made me question if I actually like to trave, which made me freak out. I then came to the realization that anxiety isn’t real, and that I know me more than anyone else! However, I am so excited to be home and with my friends again. So jealous of Namibia! Can’t wait to see what you have to say. You are so courageous for listening to yourself and being honest, as the world has so many expectations of us. I absolutely love your blog and the hope and joy you bring to my life.

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

      Thank you so much for all of your support, Cate! It really means the world to me. And I think it’s perfectly normal to examine those kinds of thoughts after a trip, no matter how much fun it is. Thanks again 🙂

  13. Dee March 13, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

    This is exactly why I follow your blog, your style and honesty (+ the practical tips). Granted I’ve been looking out for more about your East Africa trip, but I get it. I’m not nearly as well travelled as you are, but like you I made a decision to focus on places that make my heart skip when I think about stepping foot on that soil.

    Whatever you do, however you find your ‘balance’ or new normal/phase, ads or not, we’re here for it!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:46 pm #

      Thank you so much, Dee – your support and encouragement are so appreciated! I promise to start publishing more about East Africa 🙂

  14. Jessi (Two Feet, One World) March 13, 2018 at 9:46 pm #

    Always here for your awesome/crazy/tear-jerking/hilarious stories – ads sounds like a good decision if they will support that! And wholly molly, what a year of travel and good stuff ahead!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:32 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jessi – you’re the best. 🙂

  15. Mari March 13, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

    I am relatively new to your blog, but love your style and honesty. Thank you for being so honest about how you have been feeling whilst travelling the world over the last year or so. I love travelling too but recently suddenly found myself much less interested in something which I had always loved. I still have my favourite places (like Crete where I currently go every year) but the long haul trips no longer inspire me and I was surprised when I realised it. But like you I love to be home at the moment and realise just how little I know about my own country (the UK) so I am now exploring my own land with renewed interest and loving every minute of it. Get well, refocus and enjoy every day as it comes and make the changes when things no longer work for you. Once again thank you for your honest blog.

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:03 am #

      Thank you so much for your honest comment, Mari – it really means so much to me to hear the opinions of others going through similar feelings! And yes – travelling at home can be so fulfilling and meaningful. Thanks again for your comment 🙂

  16. Zoe March 14, 2018 at 12:33 am #

    Girl I love your honesty posts! I’ve recently moved overseas to an amazing city for a temporary job which has turned out to be crap and I’m feeling burnt out, lonely and so homesick. I was trying to pack in heaps of travel when I finish before I go home but I kind of realized that I want to go home earlier and live in my house and buy a car – I miss my family too! So nice to read a post about someone going through a similar thing. So true about not being a failure if you want to go home, people need to remind themselves of that more often!

    • Brenna Holeman March 20, 2018 at 12:30 am #

      Aw, I’m so sorry that you’re not loving your new place as much as you had hoped! But YES – there are so many people who feel this way. We don’t like to post about our supposed “failures” online as much, but so many people go through them, and I think it’s necessary to be honest. I hope that you find a lifestyle that you truly love, no matter where it is. And thank you for the comment!

  17. Linda March 14, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Thank you for taking me on your journey. Not just the trips, but life. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and enjoy your distinctive voice. Looking forward to more.
    BTW I’m slightly envious of your Mississippi trip. That’s been on my bucket list for almost ten years. Have fun!

    • Brenna Holeman March 20, 2018 at 12:25 am #

      Aw, thank you so much, Linda! Those words really mean a lot to me. And yes, I’m soooooo excited about Mississippi – I’m hoping to share some really good content from that trip!

  18. Dylan March 14, 2018 at 3:32 am #

    Kudos to you for abstaining from ads for so long, but also….I can put up with some ads if that’s what you need or want to do for this to be a sustainable project for you! Anytime a blogger writes about feeling guilty for selling ad space on their site, I want to acknowledge that I’ve been enjoying their content for free for years. (Which, by the way, I have! Quietly!) Anyway, glad to read that you’re feeling better and are making some kick ass plans for 2018.

    • Brenna Holeman March 20, 2018 at 12:24 am #

      Thank you so much, Dylan! I really appreciate all of your kind words, and it makes my resolve to provide fun content even stronger. You’re the best 😀

  19. veena March 14, 2018 at 4:11 am #

    Two main thoughts:

    1. I’m glad you’re taking some time to prioritize yourself. It’s weird to say this, but as a longtime reader I could feel how happy and relaxed you were when writing about your time at home and how refreshing that appeared to be for you — that might be weird coming from a stranger, but sometimes we are able to read between the lines a little. I hope these next few months are fun and fruitful for you, and I can’t wait to read about them.

    2. Jackson is SO CLOSE to Memphis!! I know you’re going to be on a press trip, but if there is any way you can get to Memphis on your trip, I promise it will be worth your while [look at me saying that after telling you it’s good to prioritize yourself and travel less…]. Early April is the 50th commemoration of Dr King’s assassination, and there will be multiple days of events at the National Civil Rights Museum here [built on the site of the Lorraine Motel, where you can see the room he stayed in the night before he was shot]. Not to mention Graceland. And Memphis bbq. And so much other music history I can’t even remember all of it. Think about it? I volunteer as tribute to be your tour guide and to make sure you eat all the delicious food.

    As always, thank you for continuing to be real with us. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I keep coming back to your blog because you’re honest, you’re genuine, and you don’t bullshit. We notice it, and we appreciate it xx

  20. Caroline Eubanks March 14, 2018 at 4:22 am #

    1. You’re going to love Mississippi! It’s actually one of my favorite states, but gets a bad rap. Clarksdale especially is a super special place and the vibe is hard to describe. I’ll be there later this week, but in a different part of the state.
    2. I’m thinking about TravelCon because I haven’t been to Austin! May be a last minute decision, but would love to have a blogger reunion.

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:04 am #

      Please come to TravelCon! It would be so much fun to reunite. And yes – SUPER excited to go to Mississippi. I’m staying primarily in Jackson, but I’m sure it’ll be amazing!

  21. Kelsey March 14, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    Burnout is a real thing, and sometimes realizing you have it and that you need to change your lifestyle in response is the hardest part. I recently went through a similar process of realizing I have it, needing to leave the environment that caused it, and going somewhere where I could recover, and have been in the process of (slowly) recovering over the last year. I’m still at least a few months away from being okay, but slowly getting closer.

    Also, thank you for being willing to admit it and put it out there; far too many travel bloggers (and, let’s be honest, people in general) will never publicly admit when they are burned out and need to take some time to focus on recovery.

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:17 am #

      Burnout is totally I real thing… I was just always in denial that I could ever have it! I’m glad that you are recovering… it definitely can take a while, as I’m just figuring out. Thank you so much for your comment, Kelsey, and for sharing your story here!

  22. Heather March 14, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    Haha this is now my favourite post. A friend recommended your blog to me about a year ago and I have loved reading your past posts, but over the last few months even a blind elephant could see you needed to go home!

    We’ve been there with travel; we’re currently there actually. Trying to cram in as much adventure as you can, trying to stay positive, constantly reminding yourself of how lucky and privileged you are, all the time going through an immigration process to stay in a country we’re slowly falling out of love with ourselves.

    The sense of home is strong especially as we and our parents age. So kick back, enjoy and let that income come strolling in. So delighted for you (weird for a complete stranger) that there is enough traction on your site to warrant paid advertising. Happy writing, happy travels and happy home life!

    • Brenna Holeman March 22, 2018 at 12:35 am #

      Thank you so much, Heather – and so glad that you are enjoying the blog! I totally agree that a sense of home grows stronger as you get older… I never thought I’d want to settle in Canada ten years ago. And don’t worry, I never think of any of us as strangers 😉 Thank you so much again for all of your very supportive and kind words!

  23. Veronica March 14, 2018 at 9:31 am #

    Excited for you and kudos for keeping it so real with yourself and to us 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

      Thank you so much, Veronica! 🙂

  24. Leah Taylor March 14, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

    I really appreciated your honesty Brenna! I can relate somewhat, as this is the first year I’m not planning a big, long haul trip, and to be honest, I’m quite happy leaving it that way. I’ve been struggling somewhat this past year with finding my feet, and as much as I will always love travel, I think I sometimes used travel as too much of an escape. My aim this year is to focus more on myself, and also my career and financial goals. I saw an interesting article somewhere about how sometimes “self love” and “wellness” isn’t just about candles and bubble baths, or booking that bucket list Instagram-able envy inducing trip for yourself and thinking YOLO. Sometimes it’s about the sensible things. Looking after your finances. Not procrastinating. Doing those every day things that we constantly put off. Having check ups and the doctors and regular dentist visits. I definitely think Instagram is horribly guilty of making people feel inferior and creating a “keeping up with the Jones” mentality where we ALWAYS have to be doing amazing things. I’m looking forward to following this next chapter in your life and please keep up the weird posts haha!

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:58 am #

      Oh man. I don’t really have much to say to your comment except YES. You’re so right. I love what you’ve written here and you have highlighted so many things that I’ve been thinking lately… especially that sometimes self-care is the sensible things, not the big grand things we’ve been taught to think they are (again, I blame Instagram, ha ha). Thank you so much for such an insightful comment… and for all of your kind words. 🙂

  25. Sarah March 14, 2018 at 1:04 pm #

    I know the feels, Brenna. I spent the last two months of my recent year-long trip riddled with anxiety and fatigue. There were days when I just felt like I was killing time until my flight home. I hated that I was so de-motivated that I wasn’t even interested in exploring the places I was in.

    It’s so important that you’ve decided to take care of yourself. You’ve always been genuine and that’s why I have followed your blog for so long. This post is just further proof that you’re more concerned about authenticity and what’s important to you rather than keeping up an image of yourself that looks good on Instagram.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep reading 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:43 am #

      Ughhhhhhh feeling like you’re killing time is the absolute worst! I hate that feeling so much. That’s what I was feeling in London, which is why I flew home. I’m sorry that you felt that way… and hoping that you’re feeling better now!

      Thank you so much for all of your kind words – they really mean so much to me. 🙂

  26. Tash March 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm #

    Yay more weird shit! We love weird shit!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm #

      Ha ha! Great 😉

  27. Genna March 14, 2018 at 7:52 pm #

    So, so good for you! I love reading this blog (including the archives) and following your adventures on IG. Your real talk is much appreciated. I’m feeling burnt out right now as well and know I need to regroup and make a change. Good on you for listening to your body and slowing down. Cheers!

    P.S. You deserve the ad revenue! Get it!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 8:12 pm #

      Thank you so much, Genna! Yes, I really need to start listening to my body more… there’s a reason I feel really tired or lethargic or unmotivated. I really appreciate all of your support 🙂

  28. Michaela March 14, 2018 at 11:37 pm #

    Thank you for another great post Brenna! Love your honesty and openness- You continue to inspire me by being genuine and adventurous and interesting! Thank you and good luck with all your amazing plans for this year! 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 5:24 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate all of your support, Michaela, it means the world to me.

  29. Delahaye March 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    I love this and I think go head and make your money girl and put ads on YOUR site and it’s great that your honest and open about. I love reading your writing and posts and will continue to do so

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

      Aw, thanks so much! It means so much to me to have your support 🙂

  30. Jen March 15, 2018 at 7:39 pm #

    I love your blog and will remain a loyal follower, no matter what direction you take with it. Good for you for listening to your body. Self-care is so important! There will be more trips in the future.

    I’m so excited to follow your trip in Namibia! It’s very high on my list of places to visit!

    Also, I adore the bookshelves in your office!

    Take care of yourself <3

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jen – I really appreciate all of your support! And I hope I can provide lots of good coverage of Namibia 🙂

  31. Emma March 16, 2018 at 3:18 am #

    Definitely write more weird shit! It’s your best work. Congrats on having the courage to change what you’re doing to make yourself happier and keep up the lovely writing. You inspire me! Xx

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Emma! I am so happy that you are enjoying the blog. I’ll do my best to keep it up 😉

  32. Marlee March 16, 2018 at 4:03 am #

    I loved this post and hell yes to ads if it means more blog posts like this (and other weird shit). On my year of travel, I started to feel the same way and I cut it 1.5 months short because I was simply ready to come home to my family and friends. You just know. I look forward to seeing what’s to come and especially your trip back to Africa! All the best, Brenna!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marlee! And yes, I’ve spoken to a lot of people who decided to cut their trip a bit short for one reason or another… there’s no shame in that. 🙂 Thank you for all of your support!

  33. Ange March 16, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    If the ads mean I get to read more of your crazy weird posts I’m IN (and I can definitely click on some of those ads – you earn by click in those cases, right? Or just if we see them? You’ll definitely need to explain to us how we can help with that!!!)
    (I could add twelve explanation points to the above sentence, but that would confuse that one guy, so I’ll give you only three)
    The point is you deserve this girl, go get it!

    By the way – I know I said that already but, you know, I happen to like to repeat myself on this – if you publish a book, please make it available worldwide so I can buy it from France – I love your writing style (funny, elegant, deep, understandable, I can “see” your excitement and passion and that’s what I love and I guess I am basically missing English vocabulary to give you a proper description but anyways) I would READ THE SHIT out of a book you write – any book, fiction, bio, health, I would read the shit out of it. You’ve been warned.

    much love from France,

  34. Kath March 16, 2018 at 5:32 pm #

    I am, continuously, as ever, even more so, etc etc PROUD of you, Brenna (it’s actually weird just how proud I am considering I have never met you in real life but let’s let that slide). DO YOU. Structure your life around the things that matter most—feeling good mentally and physically, writing what makes you happiest—and let everything else fall away.

    This post made me happy not just because it’s insanely well-written and funny and you, but because I’m stumbling onto a conclusion about my own writing (mainly that I like doing it for myself and about my own life, but doing it for others or on deadline or whatever just doesn’t float my boat) and trying to figure out what to do about it. Thank you for being such an incredible example of what following that passion looks like.

    xoxo Kath

    • Brenna Holeman March 23, 2018 at 3:40 am #

      Aw, thank you so much, Kath… that is such a nice comment to receive! And I don’t find it weird at all, by the way. 🙂 You’re so right, and I totally agree that it is so important in writing to find your own voice and figure out what works best for you. Wishing you lots of writing success! Thanks again xo

  35. A Small Wardrobe March 17, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    YES! I’ve been following you (gently) for a while, and I love this post. Super inspiring and reinforcing my own goals. Thanks! <3

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

      Aw, thank you! I really appreciate all of your support 🙂

  36. Jessica March 17, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    I can’t remember if I left a comment on that Insta post so I’ll do it here because honestly: the way you wrote about wanting to be home in Winnipeg actually helped me a lot in the debate between staying in Toronto or moving back west. Technically Calgary is my hometown, but Winnipeg is where my heart has always stayed. It’s been 2 years since I lived there for almost 3 and I am SO EXCITED to be back there for spring and summer. It’s such a wonderful city and so under appreciated. But summer means all the festivals, late night bike rides and deck parties. Excited for both of us, ha ha!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 11:03 pm #

      Aw, that’s really nice to hear, Jessica. Sometimes you just really need to go home, you know? Thank you for your comment, and I hope that you have an amazing summer in Winnipeg 🙂

  37. Victoria @TheBritishBerliner March 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m so excited for you. ‘Can’t wait to see your summer through!

    • Brenna Holeman March 19, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Victoria! That really means a lot to me. 🙂

  38. Hope March 19, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Oh my goodness, this post! I’m so proud of you for listening to your body and mind. I didn’t, and my body essentially shut me down mid-trip and sent me home for months of rest. I’m functioning well again, and I’ve really come to enjoy the pleasures of the neighborhood and having people I love come visit ME. 🙂 Thanks for the honestly and encouragement!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

      Thank you so much, Hope, and I think it’s awesome that you are enjoying being at home at the moment. It is indeed so important to listen to ourselves… I have pushed myself far too many times, and always regretted it! Thanks again 🙂

  39. Kal March 21, 2018 at 2:04 am #

    Love it! Thanks for opening up and sharing this type of posts. You make it sounds so relatable. Btw, your Winnipeg bookcase is da bomb!!

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:48 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Kal! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post.

  40. Jenny March 21, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    Brenna, I have loved your blog and writing since discovering it a little over a year ago. Anything that fuels you to continue to write is a good decision, in my opinion. Listen to yourself, trust your instinct.
    Looking forward to continuing to read about all of your adventures, no matter where you write them from.

    • Brenna Holeman March 21, 2018 at 10:48 pm #

      Aw, thank you so very much, Jenny. That comment really made my day. 🙂

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