On building resilience and filling your reservoir

We all know the profound impact 2020 has had on us collectively.

We are emotionally exhausted. We don’t need reminders of what we’ve lost. Especially when there isn’t a clear path in front of us for regaining some of that loss, whatever it is for you. So many lives lost this year and that fact alone is heartbreaking and overwhelming.

How do we stay positive when even the optimists and idealists among us have nothing more to give?

How do we metaphorically fill up when we’re running on empty and may not reach the source in time to fill up?

2020 taught me many personal lessons… from reprioritizing and redirecting energy to weeding out relationships that know no boundaries. It taught me that true friends don’t hold grudges and frenemies never mention your name in spaces and rooms they know will amplify the work. It also showed me that support comes from spaces and hearts we never could have imagined.

2020 taught me to have zero expectations of everyone and everything. It showed me that true support, from those who can actually make a difference, comes in actions and not just words. 

2020 showed me the value of going that extra mile and unveiled more of my vulnerability.

2020 taught me the value of surrendering completely and living every single day with gratitude.

2020 brought transitions, growing pains, and my next evolution.

Despite its personal challenges, it brought new networks and opportunities, tons of press, high profile publications, partnerships, publication deals (read one here), health for my family, and so much more that keeps me continually humbled.

But I don’t need to recount every single one of them here. I do that on my knees when I thank God everyday because it is all through His grace and steadfastness.

Above all, 2020 forced me to dig deeper into my why

Photo credit: Liam Neal / Intrepid Travel

On building resilience and filling up your reservoir

I want to take a moment to look at the word “resilience”.

Resilience is often described as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. 

It is often seen as a certain toughness or grit that keeps you going and going despite all odds.

The point I want to make is that resilience isn’t limitless. 

The only way we can stay resilient is to keep replenishing it from its source.

We need to keep filling up in small ways every day, so we have a reservoir of resilience to pull from when the time calls for it.

A full pot of water is heavy. 

Sometimes it takes a lot more effort… using both hands… to pour all that hot bubbling passion out of it.

That pot is your reservoir and we can keep it full by replenishing it from a source.

So, what is your source?

The pandemic showed us that we left our pots on that travel burner for far too long without refilling it and now our reservoirs have dried up. 

Maybe we lost our true purpose along the way. We gave ourselves over to consumerism, superficiality (looking at you, Instagram), and quantity over connection, meaning, and quality.

Maybe the pandemic showed us that we needed to empty our contaminated pots filled with dirty water, and refill it with clean water from our individual taps. Even if it meant stepping away from your business or from travel for a while. 

2020 was our collective chance to start over again with clearer purpose.

To refill your reservoir, you have to love with empathy and give grace to others as freely as you can.

You see, the funny thing about hope is that when we give others hope, we strengthen our own hope as well.

When we pour into others, we pour back into ourselves.

We build our resilience and we continue to build loyalty during our most difficult times.

Because people will always remember the person who came with a small flashlight in their darkest of times.

My why is my source. 

My passion is my reservoir (my pot) and to keep refilling it during the pandemic, I needed to go back to my why to continually fill up… Cultural connection.

Cultural understanding is at the core of my work.  My own passion is to explore differences.

For me, this means getting beneath culture, understanding differences, and creating bridges between similarities.

That is also why during and after this pandemic, in addition to my other projects and avenues, I’ll be working hard on Local Purse, which connects and supports travel guides and local artisans in an innovative way.

This initiative has given me purpose during and beyond the pandemic.

Because it is explicitly connected to my why.

As we move into 2021…

As a storyteller, I will continue to tell stories and create connections that continue to honor what drives my soul.

So, I’ll leave you with this:

The question isn’t whether your pot is half full or half empty.

The answer you should hold on to is knowing that your pot is refillable.

Find your source and go back to it to replenish yourself.

We have been given this tremendous opportunity to reconnect with our purpose and for that, we should remain grateful.

I wish you all the very best in these last few weeks of what has been a profound year.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Photographer credit: Jessica Wikström