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A stone is hurled towards a still lake, when it lands, tiny ripples spread outwards, becoming echoes in the water, undulating and growing, until it finally fades and the water is inert again.

So here I stand with another stone in my hand, measuring it’s weight and texture, figuring out how to angle my wrist best, in order to create stereophonic ripples, their echoes heard above the lake, pitching to the vast sky, and finally sinking into the streamlined wings of a bird.

That’s how I felt about 2013.

Last year became a tough few months of reassessment for me.

I came to China and stayed too long, but I needed to. I had become a woman who traveled constantly, but with little purpose.

I kept making the same romantic mistakes (poor choices) that were continually hurting me, and I had to reassess the why of that. What you don’t see on the blog is what I hold inside.

Mostly though, during those tough few months, I seriously pondered quitting the blog altogether.

I shut my eyes one night and pictured myself in Vancouver or some other Canadian city, invoked four walls of an apartment around me, even willing some of the items I gave up in 2010 back into this scenario, a favorite chair of mine, my sweet cat, Amelie, nestled onto my lap again.

It felt nearly right, until my mind began to explore what it is I might do for a living. Who I exactly am outside of this blog.

What I prayed for was a sign, a divine omen for me to keep this going — something to tell me that this whole thing I started nearly 4 years ago was meant for me. That this is my calling.

The answer came, but not how you’d think. It wasn’t the image of an anvil landing on my head, but the reality of it is I love to create.

If I don’t create I become listless, a royal bitch.

For me to cultivate my continued exploration into the creative life, a soul polluting job back home felt wrong, is wrong.

The standard of living to maintain an apartment, a cat and stuff, doesn’t add up. Which I think is the trap many creatives fall into, I live in this very expensive city where I have to earn enough to survive, so my creative passion is at the back door, something I do on the weekends. A weak flame that eventually putters and dies.

Sorry North America, I can’t compromise anymore.

So I began to study myself and narrow down those creative yearnings that sustain me, then I examined a few important factors based on feedback I get from you, until ultimately a few points of clarity shone down.

- I enjoy sharing stories and you actually read them.

- Like it or not, I had to come to terms with the notion that women defer to me for travel advice. This comes from comments or questions I’ve received offline as well as online, not just my inflated head.

- I feel there aren’t enough travel stories of women as the central character — immersed in the action, or part of an adventure.

- I also feel there aren’t enough centralized resources for women to access, a portal that is open, friendly and hey, I’ll say it — hip.

changedesignI gathered all these streams of thought and rolled them into something brave and bold — my new site design!!

I searched through quite a few designers that could aid my vision, finally landing the perfect person,  Janelle Desrosiers, of Bloom and Brilliance (isn’t the name of her firm double awesome?).

Janelle is a sassy woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba and when I told her in rapid fire emails about my ideas, she didn’t haul off and tell me I was crazy. She has the gift to merge branding with design and does it seamlessly.

Here’s a quick look at my new wordmark:

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And an image of me that will be included on the site somewhere:

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I finally invested in some beautiful photography, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

As I write this, Janelle is busy testing the final design components and in the coming weeks, more and more of those truths I discovered will emerge in solid form.

So no, I’m not quitting, I’m reborn.  I’m finally owning what it is I am and committing to that creative self that is raging to escape.

I’m pretty darn eager to unleash her on you.

Are you ready?