As this year comes to an end it is a time for many of us to plan for the future ahead, but it is also a time to reflect on the past.

Deb and I have always made it a tradition near the end of each year to look back on what made us happy or miserable, what helped us achieve success or what stood in our way.  We found that it can be a great learning experience to not dwell on the past, but learn from our mistakes and accomplishments. We always discuss how we can make next year even better and how we can become more fulfilled people.


Never Settle

You see I think too many people tend to give up on making their life better. It is just easier I guess. If there is one thing I have learned in all of these years of working to achieve happiness is: The worst thing you can do is settle in your life. Most people go through their daily lives, living out the routine without ever asking themselves “How can my life be better?”
Have you ever asked yourself that question? If not then you should. You owe that to yourself.


I remember long before we had computers or the internet was ever a part of our lives, we always had small cards around our house with inspirational quotes that were reminders of how others have bettered themselves. I think that really rubbed off on us. We would have daily affirmations taped to our bathroom mirror or on the fridge. We’d have notes sitting on the coffee table or on a window to remind ourselves to keep working on making life better and to appreciate where we were here and now.

One quote that still stands out is from Steve Jobs:

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Change is good

Change is a good thing. This is something we have always believed in and this has played a big part in who we are today. We can honestly say that if today were the last day of our lives, we wouldn’t change a thing. We love where we are right now and if we didn’t, we would do something to change that.

That is not to say that everything is easy, but overcoming obstacles empowers you. To go into something new can be terrifying, but It is the thrill of trying something new that excites you and makes you feel alive. Once you realize that even if you do fall flat on your face, it’s not so bad. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail, you pick yourself up, you learn from it and you now have the confidence to move forward. These are the principals we have lived our life by.


Travel Inspires Change

Travel has played a big role in shaping our lives individually as well as as a couple. However, 21 years of being together, 80+ countries and 7 continents has not come without effort. We work hard on our marriage, our careers and our pursuit of passion for life each day. And we’ve done that through travel.

Travel forces you to look within yourself and draw on strengths that might not otherwise be called on in everyday life. Whether it is trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language, having to find your own way in a foreign city or town or simply having to ask a stranger directions, travel makes us come out of our shell. You come face to face with who you really are in the rawest sense. You get to know yourself well when you travel. You stare down your faults and sometimes it’s difficult to accept. But you also get the chance to see what you are made of. Most people are surprised to find just how strong they are and just how much they can accomplish.


It is being honest with ourselves and true to what we want that propels us into the future with positive outlooks and achievable goals. What are achievable goals? Whatever you like? We never thought we’d be here if you asked us four years ago. But we made lofty goals and reached for the stars. We refused to settle on anything. We knew we wanted it all. We wanted the career, the relationship and the passion for life and for each other and we found it all. We didn’t think it was possible a decade ago, but we always refused to give up. We refused to accept that this was our lot in life and that we should just accept that we would be working in our jobs for the rest of our lives and would have to be content to travel for 2 weeks every year while constantly scraping to make ends meet. It is because we refused to settle that we finally found exactly what we wanted.

As you look back on 2012 ask youself if you were able to be empowered, excited and driven. Are you settling on your role in life right now? Have you given up and simply accepted your fate or are you going to make 2013 the best year you’ve ever had? And then do something about it. Make it a goal to achieve happiness and fulfillment. Pursue your passion and make life exciting again. It is doable.

If we can do it, Anyone Can

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Leave a comment


  1. Carol Perehudoff

    Actually, I did find myself empowered, driven and excited this year. Yay! Let’s hope 2013 will be as good for all of us. Thanks for continuing to inspire, you two.

    1. debndave Post author

      I agree Carol, whenever I see you, you are always inspiring to be around. You have achieved so much and you keep pushing to do much more. Can’t wait for your novel, it’s going to be an amazing read.

  2. Toni

    I couldn’t agree with you more Dave! I’ve been ill for practically all of this year and life has been extremely difficult. I achieved nothing that I wanted to, not because I didn’t want to but circumstances meant I couldn’t. Now that I’m getting better, I am able to start working towards the better life that I want for myself.
    Despite being ill, I have paid off my loan, made a start on my savings and almost started and finished an ebook…all whilst I aim towards my dream of Australia next year. I am going to be kicking 2013′s butt! :D

    1. debndave Post author

      Wow Toni! That is awesome. You are living proof that people can overcome adversity and achieve their dreams. If you can do all this in 2012 while being ill, the sky is the limit for 2013! All the best to you and we can’t wait to see you writing from Australia next year. :-)

    1. debndave Post author

      So true Andrea. All we can do is give it a try and make the choice to live a better life. When you make efforts to improve your life, it gets easier each day.

  3. Salika Jay

    Although I haven’t achieved everything I wanted this year, I haven’t settled either, so it’s a good thing. Already on the path to getting them done in 2013. Happy New Year 2013 to both of you :)

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Salika, that is a great way to think. We will never achieve everything but we feel it is important to keep trying. We didn’t achieve everything we wanted either, but it is having the goals that keep us motivated and excited about life. Congratulations on living the live you want.

  4. Vera

    A very inspirational post!! Couldn’t agree with you more. Although I have a tough time adopting new habits (unless they’re unhealthy, of course, then it’s a walk in the park), but this looking-back-thing in order to find out how to be happier and have a more fulfilled life sounds good! Better than the dwelling anyway – I’m already a dwell pro, too; no challenge left there;) Thank you and a happy new year!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Vera, you are not alone. It’s difficult to adopt new habits. You have to be totally ready and know what you want to do. That’s why we are fans of writing things down and really doing some soul searching to discover what makes you happy. If you know what you want, it’s easier to work towards that goal. When you love something, it doesn’t feel like work. Best of luck and know that you’re not alone. We’re definitely not cockeyed optimists that go through life with rose coloured glasses. We have made mistakes and have regrets,but instead of dwelling, we learn from them and turn them into something positive. All the best to you in 2013

  5. Pingback: 2012 Resolutions Revisited | Travel blog for Couples | ThePlanetD

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Kerri. I love these sort of posts. I’ve been going around the Internet reading other people’s stories and I feel so motivated for 2013. It’s going to be an exciting year for everyone.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Andrea. So true, it’s a mindset to live this way and it definitely doesn’t have to be about travel, it is just about doing what you want to do in your life.

  6. Natalie

    Great blog – very inspiring article! It reflects my thoughts in all means – and I can relate to your story. Since two years I am taking every challenge to live my life exactly as I want and it is amazing what has come out so far! You guys are a great inspiration! If you like to have a look at my blog and my adventures in Africa, South America and North America see:
    All the very best to you!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Natalie, we’ll definitely check out your blog and congratulations on following your dreams too. It is amazing what we all can accomplish when we set our minds to it.

  7. Roman

    The best way to avoid that syndrome is to write down the things you only want to do now or on a specific travel plan, then write about for next year after the vacation is done.

    1. debndave Post author

      I agree with you Roman. We are very big list makers. We write down our dreams and our goals. There is something about putting ideas on paper that makes you put plans into action.

  8. Jade -

    Very inspirational as usual! I usually make travel goals for myself each year but then end up working jobs I hate as a temp in order to achieve those goals… would be great to be able to afford my travel goals while doing a job in enjoy… but just havn’t found that job yet. Hopefully will start to provide enough income for me in the near future…but not quite there yet :D

    1. debndave Post author

      I think you are on your way Jade. Hopefully 2013 will be the year of OurOyster, you deserve it and if you keep focused, I know that it will happen.

  9. Rhiannon

    This has really cheered me up. Since being a child I’ve never liked routine, been able to accept the norm or wanted to be stuck in the same place for too long but when I got married and bought a house people just assumed that that part of me would disappear. My emotions are constantly up and down and my husband often says ‘why can’t you just be happy with what you’ve got?’ And its not that I’m not happy with it, I just can’t understand why it’s a problem for people to want something better, something to change, and for anyone free spirited its not about what weve got but where we are going to and what will we see and do today that’s new. Not being able to sell our house is stopping me financially from living that life that you describe but lessons have been learnt and I believe it won’t be forever. So next time friends or family say to me ‘why can’t you just be happy with what you’ve got!’ I’m going to send them your post :-)

  10. Arianwen

    2012 was the best year of my life because I finally lived a dream of mine and backpacked in South America for 7 months. When I got home, part of me felt comfortable and that familiar desire to settle was creeping back, but I fought it and now I’m planning to do a working visa in Sydney. I love the Steve Jobs quote!

  11. Ryan @Treksplorer

    Loved this inspirational post but my favourite line has to be: “We refused to accept that this was our lot in life and that we should just accept that we would be working in our jobs for the rest of our lives and would have to be content to travel for 2 weeks every year while constantly scraping to make ends meet.” I’m guessing this is a truth for most North Americans, although most fail to question whether something can be done about it. This thinking is so ingrained in our culture here that it’s hard to imagine life otherwise. That’s why most of us take the well-trodden path (get an education, get a good job, defer pleasure until retirement and so on), doing what we think are the right steps to happiness only to find ourselves ultimately unfulfilled by lives that no longer belong to us. I love when I see posts like this that show that this need not be the case and that while conforming to standards works for some, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with following your own path.

  12. Eleonore Brun

    Just wanted to add a thing : doing what you want to do in your life doesn't *necessarily* mean TRAVEL. Just because many "I live my life to its full potential" are often crazy travelers doesn't mean you HAVE to travel. Curiosity and open-mindness can be fed and lived while staying in your country, even staying at home if you can't move : than can be learning to speak languages, to draw, to play a musical instrument, to help people etc.
    The point it to live intensely, to experience things that emotionnaly count for you.
    Having a passionate traveling mother, it took me years to realize I enjoyed much more my holidays just staying in my country (France), or in Europe, and discovering its many faces, towns, small villages and the people living therein. Or spending time having fun with my friends, climbing, playing music and so on.
    Travel if you deeply want so to realize yourself, but don't feel *obliged* to.

    1. debndave Post author

      Well said Eleonore, travel is what we love to do, but it is not for everyone. I think that people just need to follow their passion, be it art, music, dance, anything.

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