404 Focus: A new perspective

Focus: A new perspective

Here we are, 10 days in 2014, and I finally decided to share my word for this year.


This word came to me one night in December as I thought of what I wanted my word to be. In the past I’ve forced a word just to have one, and my success rate with sticking to that word wasn’t really that good. But this one just appeared and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My kids are growing fast. It’s absolutely crazy. My oldest is three, my youngest is a just over one.

The first year of each of their lives was utter chaos to me. Adjusting to a new normal, then readjusting, while living abroad, and trying to figure out exactly how “I” actually fit into this all was, and continues to be, a challenge. Coming out of this haze in late 2013 means really focusing on thriving in 2014.

So in the spirit of some blogging friends who have made their intentions public, here are some areas I’m going to focus on more and how I’m going to do it.

Focus on Travel…

… focus on Germany: Even before starting this blog I’ve loved traveling to new places, new countries, and other countries. But, this year I want to embrace Germany. There’s a reason we live here. I studied both the language and history in college and I feel like it’s always been an important part of my life. We will still travel outside of this country (it’s just too easy) in 2014, but I want to see a lot more within the ‘schland.

…focus on microadventures: I had the idea before I knew what it was called, so I’m glad I read about it today. For our family this is all about exploration. I want to get more in tune with nature, something we tend to do when on vacation, but don’t do enough when we’re closer to home.

… focus on nature: Whether in or out of Germany, close to home or far away, I want to spend less of our vacation time in big cities and crowded destinations. Yes, we’ll probably take in some big cities because I love them and they exhilarate me, but I’m going to actively seek a slower pace.

… focus on UNESCO: This is something I just thought of before our recent trip to Amsterdam. Before any trip, I want to research the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area. I’ll learn more about the area and, possibly, add some sites to our list. I’ve always been interested in these things, but I rarely seek it out. While I don’t plan to go out of my way just to check a place off our list, I am more than willing to make a detour for a place that simply interests me.

… focus on transportation: Two things I’m really looking forward to this year involves the journey. I’ve always believed in “the journey is the destination,” but with two little kids the journey is not always fun. This year, though, we have a longer road trip in the works and a long distance train ride. Wish us luck!

… focus on family: All of these ideas, actually, stem from family and connecting. One of the biggest reasons I absolutely love traveling with my family is that I feel like we learn so much about each other. It’s addicting. Kids grow fast – too fast. By shifting our focus in the types of travel we will have this year, I think I can really focus on the family experience. This is what it is all about.

Focus on the website’s three E’s…

… focus on ENCOURAGEMENT: I’m very excited to get to the meat of why I started this blog. Families I know who don’t travel are often discouraged by the logistics of it all. It can be overwhelming to think about. As a former travel agent, I get it. I feel like helping with logistics clears one the biggest hurdles for those families, so you will start to see more practical information and tips around these parts. Also, I really love logistics.

… focus on EXPLORATION: This is something leftover from my travel agent days, too and something I feel can be an obstacle for families. Exploration, when I think about it in terms of microadventures, can happen anywhere. I think microadventures can easily be adjusted to fit anyone’s locale. Along with the anywhere microadventures, I plan to offer specific destination tips for things to consider from the family travel perspective.

… focus on ENGAGEMENT: There’s a lot going on with this word. My favorite travel stories have always been when the traveler connected with other people on their journeys. There are so many interesting people out there, and there is something magical about meeting someone while on a trip who offers insight when needed. I am very shy, so this is hard for me to do, but I try. Additionally, as a mom, I cherish the moments when my kids are engaged in the places we travel to. Whether it’s the people, the sites, the paintings, the scenery, the food, whatever. That’s what makes travel so important. Breaking out of shells and engaging with the place.

… focus on MEMORIES: While not one of my three E’s, memory keeping is one of the main reasons I started this blog. One thing I tend to be really good at, have professional and personal experience in, and can talk about all day long is the logistics, methods, and experiences in travel. And I can not wait to start doing more of that on this website. We’re going to go on several trips this year, and it is so important for me to collect these memories and stories for my kids. For myself. However, memory keeping is hard for me. I’m not a great photographer or storyteller. I don’t have a lot of time. But, I want to do it. I need to do it. I want to inspire other families who travel to do something with their photos and stories, outside of a blog or email or online journal. Make something tangible for their family to hold. I’m going to get pretty crafty in 2014, and I hope you’ll join me.

Along with all those things specified above, I’m bringing more focus into other areas of my life. Here’s to 2014! Have a great weekend.
sous vetement pas cher


  1. Great word- and I really like your goals of what to focus on. I too have been thinking about UNESCO quite a bit- something I was not familiar with before coming here. It’s kind of a shame, really- since I would have liked to log which I have seen. Damn!

    • I think that’s part of it. I was looking at the Everything Everywhere site and how many places Gary has been on the UNESCO list since he started traveling full-time in 2007. I think it would be cool to get my kids started on seeing some of these places, plus I want to myself. But, I don’t want it to become this thing that, “oh, we’re only going to be in this city once so we have to drive 3 hours out of the way to visit this UNESCO site and get it checked off.” Even when we were in Amsterdam and I knew what the UNESCO sites were, they weren’t important enough for me, on this trip, to go out of my way to see. So we didn’t. Maybe we’ll go back and check it out, I don’t know. So, I want to do it, but not force it.

  2. This is a great post – and a great word. I need to have some focus in my life this year too!

  3. Wow Ann, that’s a great word and a lot to focus on! And I love every one of them. I wish I were as purposeful. We seem to lurch from one thing to another in a slightly more random universe that somehow embraces many of these things. I do love the idea of having a single word focus though. Simple and powerful. Perhaps something we can try for a month. Thanks!

    • As long as you’re lurching from thing to thing that fits into your own desires, then no reason to be more purposeful. It’s when we let those things that don’t really matter distract us that we have to… focus. 🙂

  4. That’s a great word to focus on (ha! See what I did!?!) Hope you are able to achieve all your goals and more this year!

  5. Ohhh I love this post! Especially the part about micro adventures. Getting out, getting and just taking it all in. Looking at the details of what is about in nature can be so rewarding – and far less stressful that navigating big cities. Wishing you a wonderful 2014.

  6. I really, really love this Ann! When reading this I thought that the word focus fits my goals in so many ways too, from getting better online-offline balance to focusing on those microadventures you mentioned too. Thanks for linking to my site as well and let this be quite the year of focus and exploration!!! 🙂

    • Definitely. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to write about it. I also need to get that online-offline balance right and I’m working on ways to make that happen.

  7. I did not pick a word this year, but I love hearing about other people’s word! I have 2 boys, my youngest is just under 1 and my oldest is 4. A few months ago we drove 14 hours to Disneyland! It was crazy and a horrible drive but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world! I love to travel and explore and I hope to do it more when winter is over!

  8. I actually just picked a word for the first time a week ago==but I haven’t blogged about it yet. I loved this post. It was well-thought out how you are planning to incorporate focus into all areas of your life, and I can’t wait to read your posts about your travels!

  9. Wow, you came up with a lot of goals with the word “focus”. So many great goals for the year and I love that your main focus is family. I look forward to reading more about your travels in Germany.

    • Thanks Jessica. This word just really spoke to me and a lot of the goals and thoughts I had about how I wanted to spend 2014 were already established before I picked the word. So it was easy to make it work for me. I’m not always that lucky.

  10. Good word, and very true!

  11. Ann, all the great ideas to focus on in 2014. I can just copy most of them. I pass through Germany so many times, but always on my way to somewhere else. Every time I say to myself I need to stop and explore more of the country. I see photos around, and cannot even believe it’s Germany. Looking forward to your destination tips. Maybe finally I start exploring Germany. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler.

  12. Germany (and Europe as a whole) is a treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ve also usually tried to visit them in my travels. Hope you manage to have a focused 2014 (I’m particularly fond of the focus on memory). Good luck and safe travels!

  13. Great goals! I’m definitely going to try to apply them to my own life (even though I don’t have kids but they’re good goals in general). Just taking it slower, enjoying life more and enjoy what’s at your front door. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like with kids since I’d probably want them to stay little forever haha!

  14. What a great word to use for 2014. It’s given me something to think and reflect on as well. Happy travels for the year to come. I hope you make it to some UNESCO sites! You’ll be surprised how many are just in the middle of a city especially in Europe. It’s like as if the whole continent is a UNESCO site. Thanks for linking up to the Sunday Traveler! 🙂

  15. I like your word – and your goals! I could use a bit more focus this year. Well, always, really. Good luck!

  16. Love it. It’s good to have goals. I actually haven’t written down what I plan to do this year. It’s good to write them down and put them into specifics like this. I *might* do it one of these days before spring comes 😀


  1. […] halfheartedly told myself that I picked a ‘word’. It wasn’t until I read my buddy Ann’s post the other day- that I felt the idea of choosing a word for the year was given more credibility and […]

  2. […] at Travel Turtle and Farrah at The Three Under explained their words for 2014 – “Focus” and […]