In January, everything is new and anything feels possible.
The past month was full of all the typical January to do's: reflecting, planning, year-end financials (not my favorite), praying and setting in motion the pieces to pursue some of our dreams in 2018.
We've cranked out our 2018 Strategic Plan #goals, and are almost done quantifying last year's impacts (they were amazing - we'll share in detail soon).
2018 is a year that we have been building towards for some time now...it's a year in which we hope to convert plans into action, combining several long-held personal and professional dreams.
When we launched Bought Beautifully 3+ years I jotted down a few hopes and dreams in my journal , a few of those included:
- To inspire and enable people to positively impact the world through their purchases;
- To provide opportunity for our brothers and sisters around the world to thrive, to be free, to provide with dignity for their families, and to escape generational poverty; and
- To create the opportunity for international experiences for both our family and supporters with the goal of deepening our perspective of the diverse world.
We're thrilled to be doing this for many reasons - but there is one reason that stands out more than others....Looking back over the past few years, there have been too many evenings in our house when Emily and I are talking shop - Bought Beautifully. And it turns out that kids are pretty good (ok - they are experts) at being able to tell when they aren't getting the full amount of desired attention. When this happens they work quickly to determine "why". While we are always quick to defend and justify our time working at home to our kids, it isn't always met with warm understanding...instead its usually met with some illogical ultimatum like, "If you don't stop talking about work and start playing a game with us right now we're going to stay up all night". They don't mess around do they?
After these negotiations settle out, we've realized that it's one thing to tell someone why you do something...but it's a completely different exchange when you're able to show them why you believe in doing something.With that realization in mind, we are really looking forward to experiencing life with some of our Bought Beautifully artisan partners...together with our family, so that our kids can better connect the dots from our daily (and sometimes nightly) work to the actual people we support. We'll share life with some of our partners during the upcoming adventure. A bonus of course is being able to immerse our family in a different culture to experience new language, customs, foods and more. We want to bring you all along on this journey, and we hope someday that we can invite you, our dedicated supporters to join us on similar experiences. Wondering more - feel free to reach out to ask questions or share some travel tips...we'd appreciate it! In the meantime, here are some basics:
How long will you be gone? We will be gone for 2 months, February 9th - April 13th
Wait, who is paying for this? We are. While we feel this is absolutely a work trip and an experience that will deepen our commitment and enhance our work, Bought Beautifully is still a young organization and not in the position to bankroll world travel. Our travels are also very much a personal decision - so we want to be very clear that Bought Beautifully is not paying for this experience. This is something our family has dreamt about, planned for and saved for several years hoping to experience. Also, beyond the plane tickets (which are cheaper than flying WY-MN for example) the costs of existing aren't very different than what we'd spend in a typical month at home. Add to that an amazingly divine encounter and we are thankful to have our mortgage covered while away with some new friends enjoying a few months in Sheridan.
Where are you going and What will you be doing? The basic itinerary is that we'll spend 3 weeks in a rustic beachside casita working (remotely!) while brushing up on our Español with the whole family enrolled in 20 hours of classes each week with teachers from a local school. Following that we'll spend another week traveling to meet several cooperatives based in southern Nicaragua to learn more about what they do while exploring whether they might be a good fit as a potential BB partner.
Then we will be headed further south on a big public transport adventure, arriving in the southern Costa Rican town of San Vito, situated at 3200' in the mountains just north of Panama. We will spend several weeks here working one of our longest standing partners: Hands Producing Hope. We will be sharing life with the artisans who live in the community of Copey Abajo, teaching a few educational classes, and working on product development! So stay tuned for exciting new items!
Why Costa Rica and Nicaragua? There's multiple reasons for this decision. It is a region that is close to both our hearts, we speak Spanish (or used to!) and want our kids to have the opportunity to learn it. These countries are relatively close, affordable, and you may remember that we met in Costa Rica way, way back with the pic below serving as additional evidence.