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The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

Want to know some of our favorite things from our first two weeks living in our new home in Portugal?
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

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Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”) below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.



Five Key Takeaways for The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

It was Thanksgiving in the U.S. as of recording this episode and we choose to interpret this holiday as a gratitude holiday, a chance to rest, check-in, and focus on what’s abundant in our lives. We encourage you to play this game with yourself or between you and your partner or a friend!

We’re going to go back and forth and list 5 big things we’re grateful for right now in our lives, and then 3 tiny joys that we’re grateful for. Life can be hard and imperfect AND we can still make room for what is good and what IS going right.

By bringing our awareness to what we want more of, we can feel motivated and inspired to go out and bring more of that into our lives.

Here are our Top 5 things we’re grateful for RIGHT NOW in life:

1. Slow morning coffee routine (Jason) and dedicated workspace (Caroline)

Those of you who listen to our podcast know that I (Jason) love coffee, specifically slow, pour-over coffee. The entire year, this year, we have been making AeroPress coffee. While it makes a good cup of coffee, it is not a great cup of coffee. In this episode, I (Jason) give a run-through of my coffee setup and extremely accurate pour-over process.

On the other hand, Caroline says her dedicated workstation is number five on her gratitude list. One of her biggest challenges was not having a workspace because she needs that environmental cue to tell her brain it was time to be productive. Being in different Airbnbs and sometimes working from a dining room table, sometimes not having a dining room table and working from a couch, it was always different, it was always changing. There was so much resistance to getting things done. But now she has a little standing desk with a second monitor.

Besides the dedicated workspace, Caroline is also unbelievably grateful to have flexibility in our work. We know that the majority of people don’t have that. It is such a gift, and it improves Caroline’s life so much, not having a person tell her when she has to show up or what she has to be doing and just be able to go.

2. Running into very kind, English-speaking folks in Portugal (Jason) and having an art studio (Caroline)

We have run into some areas and places where there’s not a lot of English spoken and we’re always met with kind people. It can be very difficult when there’s a constant language barrier (ask us how we know after 11 months of full-time travel). That’s not to say that we’re not hitting that here; we definitely are, but overwhelmingly, the adjustment to living here has been so much easier with people right around us who can help us and who also speak English.

You go to the grocery store and sometimes you just figure it out. It’s a lot of pointing and gesturing. But we are just so grateful for this because, at every turn, we are trying to not just stop at not knowing how to speak Portuguese (yet). We’re trying to listen and see. Our intention is very much to learn the [Portuguese] language.

The posture that we bring to moving to a different country is not to pick up all of our American sensibilities and try to impose our will on local people here. It’s really to try to integrate into the culture, to try to learn the culture and the language is a big part of that. However, it’s going to take us a while to learn! 😂😂😂 We do NOT take it for granted how prevalent English is spoken in Portugal, and that has made our adjustment and lives easier. We try to be grateful for it every single time we run into someone who’s willing to speak English with us because it’s not a given.

Caroline’s number four is having her own studio space, which I (Jason) call The Fart Studio. It’s an art studio, but really it just means a room that Caroline gets to call her own.

Her first art studio started out as just one small art desk in our guest bedroom when we used to live in Florida. And then when we moved to California, we had an unused guest bedroom turned into an art studio and that was when Caroline started painting. As we moved places in California, I (Jason) tried to make sure that Caroline always had a space for her art.

The Fart Studio is a bonus room on the bottom floor of our new place. It already has two couches in it and a piece of furniture but we’re going to add an art desk and some fun decor items. Caroline’s studio also doubles as a home gym space, so it really is the perfect room for her!

3. Caroline’s willingness to move to Portugal (Jason) and being at peace with creativity (Caroline)

This is a personal one (and we said we weren’t going to do that, but I thought it was something that I was very grateful for). My (Jason’s) number three on the gratitude list is that Caroline was willing to move to Portugal with me because it is a very daunting life change.

Knowing that Caroline is never going to be convinced to do something that isn’t aligned with what she wants to do, it is important that, if she said yes to something, it’s not just to make me (Jason) happy, it’s because she has figured out a way to buy into it herself and therefore there’s not going to be resentment if things don’t work out right.

Caroline’s number three is more a feeling of being at peace with her creativity in a way that she hasn’t felt in a few years. She has gone through many stages of creativity from seeing herself as an artist for the first time to then going absolutely so hard on that by doing her daily art project and selling art prints. The past few years have felt a little bit like this wrestling with her creativity and feeling like she should be writing more or wanting to do art daily. But it just didn’t feel right and so she couldn’t work it in. She felt guilty about it and thought it was a wasted opportunity. And she doesn’t feel that way anymore. She just feels very much at peace with where her creativity lives.

Going off of social media has helped her a lot with this because she’s not seeing other people creating all the time. She didn’t realize how much that had to do with her feeling like she should be doing things without those inputs. She feels so much more at peace that she still sees herself as an artist.

The fact that we were off of social media and barely shared this trip at all, except with our email list, our Wandering Aimfully members, and our family has made it so much easier to not feel the FOMO every single time we’re in a place, making sure that we see the coolest thing, get the best photo, and all this different stuff. We just want to BE.

4. Daily view (Jason and Caroline)

We both have extreme gratitude for the daily view that we have in our new home. We have such a great mix of things we get to see. We get a little bit of nature, the ocean, and some modern architecture. And it’s all very peaceful.

There’s something to be said for back when we first moved to California. We had a very peaceful nature view, but it was kind of boring, just to be completely honest. And it was beautiful. But after a while, nothing changed. Nothing happened. And so you just get used to it.

Then we moved to the next place. We had a really great view of the ocean, but there were a lot of buildings and a lot of things in our view. Our next place didn’t really have a view of anything. The place after that, our last place, had an awesome lagoon view, which was outstanding. And we almost felt like we were never going to find a place that we could afford that would have a view that would live up to that place. Well… we feel like we found it here in Portugal!

That also goes to show that there’s a little bit of a scarcity mindset of just thinking you’re never going to have what you had before. You have to be willing to look a bit harder and maybe go to unfamiliar places to find beauty (you can afford) in the world. Of course, there’s a financial privilege of having many more options to choose from the more your budget increases, so we’re not going to ignore that at all.

But we think the takeaway is that if you know what brings you happiness in your space, maybe hold out for that. Really go hunt that down and be willing to maybe live a little bit further away, be willing to compromise on other things in order to get what you value most.

The truth of the matter is, from a financial standpoint, this place is cheaper than what we were paying in California. That also goes back to the give and take. We have this amazing view, but we are living in a place where we are foreigners. We have all the discomfort that comes with that. This view and this home are not things we would ever, ever be able to afford in California. You make those choices and you make those decisions.

5. So much to see and do in Portugal (Jason) and baseline anxiety lowered (Caroline)

The number one thing that I (Jason) am bringing to the “Bring 5” this week is I’m so grateful that there is so much to see and do in Portugal and also in Europe!

Where we live, we’re two and a half hours from the southern coast of Portugal. We’re three and a half hours from Porto, which is basically the north of Portugal. Then there’s everything in between. There are walled cities, there are castles, and there are huge nature areas. There’s apparently a place in Portugal where it snows and you could ski if we ever wanted to do that. There’s a whole wine region we want to go to. There’s just so much in Portugal that I (Jason) am excited about!

And we know that, in the U.S., everything (maybe except for walled cities and castles) exists, but it just feels so different because it’s all brand new. It’s all such an experience that we’ve never, ever had before. And it’s all going to feel so different. We’re not saying that to bash the U.S. by any means. We’re just saying that we’re having extreme gratitude for the feeling and the excitement we’re getting for some of the road trips that we’ll do, the things we’ll see, and the flights that we’ll be able to hop on to go to Italy, if we want to, in 2 hours or to Scandinavia and all these different places that we didn’t get to go to this year, but at a much slower, more spread out pace.

The last thing on Caroline’s gratitude list, which always just has to be her top one, is she is so grateful that her baseline anxiety has just completely plummeted and lowered to a degree that she never thought was possible.

In 2021, before we left, her anxiety (on a scale of 0-10, 0 being no anxiety and 10 being the max) on a good day was a 7 and on a bad day was a 9. When we first got to Lisbon this year, she was at a 9 pretty consistently and recently in our new place she has been logging some 3s and 4s and that’s the lowest her anxiety has EVER been.

We never had a 3 or 4 on the anxiety scale in California, ever. The fact that she had a 3 or 4 to her is like, “I’m just a normal person, I can just exist.” And that feels like a miracle to her.

The lower anxiety score is a combination of all these things: the therapy, putting that therapy into action, training her brain, the meditation, the mindfulness, the nature, the supplements, the dietary changes, and the intentional practice. It’s all of it. And on top of that, it is really just taking the leap to go so far out of her comfort zone this year, and almost got to the place where she was strong enough that she could do this form of exposure therapy.

At the beginning of this year, she would have extreme anxiety at the notion of getting in an Uber. Being in a car, much less driving on the other side of the road or hopping on a plane every two weeks, or trying to navigate a city in a different language was enough to send her into an almost panic attack.

The fact that she now doesn’t really think twice about them is something that she will be forever grateful for.

Bonus: 3 Tiny Joys

#3: Fantastic setup for classic movie night (Jason) and organized skincare products (Caroline)

We now have a U-shaped couch that has a double chaise, which we’ve never had before. It’s a perfect setup for a movie night, matched with a good meal, some homemade popcorn, and lots of laughs together.

Caroline’s number three is organized skincare products. Being able to have her cleanser, face lotion, and toner organized makes her feel fully like an adult person.

#2: Water flosser (Jason) and having a fun, special drink (Caroline)

I (Jason) have super sensitive teeth, but I know I need to take better care of them. Using a water flosser has helped a ton and was highly recommended by our previous dentist. I’m grateful to have one and use it daily with warmed-up water.

Caroline’s second tiny joy is having a fun, special drink. We went to this lunch restaurant in a nearby city when we were here on our scouting trip and they have these little craft sodas called Why Not. They’re a very natural soda with simple flavors and you could describe them as a carbonated tea. In the afternoon, when Caroline’s been drinking water all day and she wants to have a little pick me up, she just goes and pops the top.

#1: Puzzles (Jason and Caroline)

We just love doing puzzles together and our favorite are created by Magic Puzzle Company. We’ve mentioned these puzzles everywhere and we just love the creativity behind them, the art on the puzzle, and the fun twist at the end of each one!


Show Notes for Episode 150: The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

Want to know some of our favorite things from our first two weeks living in our new home in Portugal? In this episode, we share 10 things we have gratitude for in a format that we hope is fun to listen to.

At the time of recording and sharing this ep, it’s Thanksgiving for our listeners who celebrate in the U.S. which means it’s the perfect time to express your own gratitude! However, you may not celebrate OR don’t live in the U.S., so how about using the week you listen to this to sit down and share your own gratitude list?

Feel free to “Bring 5” in a journal, with a friend, partner, or pull the family together and make some sort of game out of it!

Keep your ears peeled (ew, weird) for episodes very soon that feature this “Bring 5” format related to our year of full-time travel.


Full Transcript of Episode 150: The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All for? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your host, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here too.

Jason: Hello and welcome to the podcast.

Caroline: It’s the Thanksgiving episode.

Jason: If you are interested in that, you might not be.

Caroline: Yeah, of course for those..

Jason: We’re also European now. Thanksgiving doesn’t apply to us.

Caroline: Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving. That worked really well.

Jason: Yeah, nice.

Caroline: If you’re in the US. And you are celebrating Thanksgiving, we choose to celebrate this holiday in more of just a gratitude holiday.

Jason: We really do. We like to make some food.

Caroline: We make some food.

Jason: We like to..

Caroline: We check in.

Jason: Puzzle, play some Nintendo Switch..

Caroline: We play games. We just take the day off and we just, like, be present and think about the abundance in our lives and things to be grateful for. And so that’s what we thought we’d bring to this episode.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So whether you’re celebrating the holiday or not, it’s just a good episode to just check in on gratitude.

Jason: How about just a gratitude episode? Do you want to pramble anything? Do you have anything you want to pramble about?

Caroline: Oh, just like, what we’ve been up to?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Our new life.

Jason: Yeah, it’s really funny. I think this is just my assumption is that from the outside looking in, folks, listening to the podcast, reading our emails, YouTube has been lagging behind. But they’re like, guys, tell us about Portugal. Like we want to know what’s going on every single blah, blah. But now that we have been here for almost two weeks, as of recording this, when this goes up, we will have been here for two weeks. We’re like, we live here.

Caroline: We’re just living here.

Jason: It’s so passe. What are we going to possibly share with you?

Caroline: Maybe?

Jason: So I just think that’s kind of like an interesting like when we’re like, oh, we don’t need to talk about anything. It’s like, yeah, but I think outside looking in like, this is a very weird thing we’re doing. And just to share some things.

Caroline: It’s probably true..

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: But I’m sure there are plenty of other people who are just like, yeah, but like get over it, like, you moved countries, cool! But then there’s probably a crowd of people that are like, tell us more! And then there’s everyone in between. And that’s what it’s like to be..

Jason: Let me go with the most important update from, at least from my camp, over here, on this side of the world.

Caroline: What’s going on in your camp?

Jason: The first bake happened in Portugal.

Caroline: The first, the inaugural bake.

Jason: The annual, first annual, which I love when people say that, the first annual. I, for those of you that don’t know, you don’t pay close attention. I love baking.

Caroline: You’re a mediocre baker.

Jason: It is a very meditative thing. I am not great at it, but I just enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s like a little bit of science, a little bit of delicious, and you just don’t know what you’re going to end up with.

Caroline: And you get a reward at the end.

Jason: And sometimes, sometimes you get a little turd nugget of your loaf bread, that’s pretty… and you’re just like, I’m not going to let it rise, I’m just going to bake it. That was very early on in my mediocre baking careers.

Caroline: Of course! you’d never make that mistake.

Jason: Anyway..

Caroline: Unless you move to a new country and all the ingredients are new.

Jason: Very true. There was a go to recipe for me for gluten-free cookies that I just would make all the time back in California. It is actually just the recipe that’s on the back of the Bob’s redmill millet flour, which I just one day, I think we had that flower for some reason. I got at the grocery store and I was like, I’ll just try this recipe and it was delicious.

Caroline: This reminds me you won’t know this, but there’s an episode of Friends where Phoebe, it talks about like her grandmother’s famous cookie recipe.

Jason: Sure, sure.

Caroline: And how it’s been like passed down. And the bit, like the punchline is that they discovered it’s from Nestle to Lose and it’s Nestle’s tall house.

Jason: So yeah, this one is from the back of Bob, redmill Bob’s .

Caroline: Grandpa Bob.

Jason: Grandpa Bob.

Caroline: Grandpa Bob’s receipe passed down.

Jason: So I can’t get that millet flour here in Portugal, they don’t even have millet flour in the grocery store, which they didn’t really in the US. Anyway, so it’s not that different. But they did have a bunch of different gluten-free flours. They had rice, they had oat, they had chickpea, they had almond. Now, interestingly enough, very small quantities from what we were used to, and even like the regular flour, like all purpose flour, gluten full, much smaller quantities than we’re used to.

Caroline: We need to find a Portuguese gluten-free baker and you can become friends with them and get their sourcing.

Jason: I do. Well, we can also go back to that specialty store that we found last week where they had a ton of gluten-free stuff. I bet they had some flours. Some flours. Anyway, fast forward to I have a new oven, I have new ingredients, I have a whole new kitchen that I’m dealing with.

Caroline: You have a new taste-tester? Me.

Jason: No, same taste tester. And I’m just going for it. And what I really liked is by the end of the preparation of everything, the dough seemed really good. I was like, oh, this tastes good. It, you know, seems very similar. And I used like a mix of flours because I was just like, as long as we want. So anyway, I go to bake now. I’m working with an oven that’s in Celsius. I’m working with an oven that’s not the same, like, baking style. It’s very much like convection ovens, what they want you to use here. And I had a tough time cooking these cookies. You didn’t even see that whole part.

Caroline: I definitely didn’t.

Jason: Normally it would take 8 minutes.

Caroline: What happened?

Jason: Oh, it took me like 16 minutes, and I was checking them every, like, 2 minutes, and they started to burn. So then I was going to tempt them with some foil. Anyway, long story made short.

Caroline: But they turned out great.

Jason: What happened?

Caroline: They turned out fantastic.

Jason: They turned out delicious.

Caroline: Delicious.

Jason: A couple of days later. They actually were better in the tupperware.

Caroline: They were!

Jason: When they first came out.

Caroline: Like a fine wine, they aged well.

Jason: They really did. So anyway, I was just very excited to get my first bake under my belt in a new place. And everyone who is a cinnamon roller or even some of the lollers, there are only a few of you stragglers.

Caroline: Where my lollers at.

Jason: We’ll be happy to know, I’m baking cinnamon rolls, maybe tonight. Very excited.

Caroline: You haven’t even told me that.

Jason: I know, but you knew the items were on the list.

Caroline: Of course. We’re going to the grocery store after this.

Jason: Yes, so I’m excited to uh, this is my big pramble.

Caroline: Here’s a fun pramble I think that’s related to that. We are having to switch up our entire grocery store cadence from life before. Okay. So we kind of had it switched up because travel, you’re obviously moving around and you’re staying Airbnbs, and so we never had sort of a regular grocery store cadence. We would just,

Jason: Like day of the week, time, etc. it’s all over the place

Caroline: Exactly, we would just feel it out, and then just very haphazard. Okay. One thing I was looking forward to about getting back into, like, a routine is just when do we go to the grocery store? I know it sounds silly, but I like being able to expect it because then I can build my schedule around it and whatever. Well, it became very clear early on that, and we talked about this before. Portugal. It has to be something to do with preservatives in the United States versus maybe Europe at large, but definitely Portugal. The produce just does not keep, which is a great thing on the surface, right. Because you’re not consuming chemicals and things like that. But from a pure convenience standpoint, it’s totally different so..

Jason: You keep tomatoes in the fridge for three days, they gone by the third day.

Caroline: Yeah, it’s like so we have to kind of reconfigure how we think about what we’re getting at the store. Like, we would go to the grocery store and we would get meat for the week.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: You can’t do that.

Jason: And we would get produce for the week.

Caroline: You can’t do that.

Jason: We’d go on like, a Saturday and be like, okay, next Saturday we’ll have produce the entire week. No chance.

Caroline: Which is now why I understand some of the grocery hauls that we did when we were like, especially in Lisbon, because it’s like city life? We looked like absolute.

Jason: We just had, like, 17 bags.

Caroline: Yeah, people were, like, eyeing us, like, who are you feeding with all that food? Because you just go into the market. You pop in probably after work or whatever, and grab a couple of things. That’s just city life in general, but in Portugal, especially. So we are learning what our cadence is going to be. Right now we’re on it twice a week.

Jason: Twice a week cadence. Yeah, we’ll see. We’re also, for those of you who have been paying attention for a long time, you may remember that we have done meal prep services for quite a few years. Just because we’re not two people who love to cook, one of us loves to bake. But cooking is not our favorite thing to spend time doing.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: There is a meal prep service out of Lisbon that delivers to our area, so I think we’re going to try that.

Caroline: We’re going to try it, I’m gonna have low expectations though, because we’ve tried probably five or six in our whole time, and they’re all vastly different.

Jason: They are very different, yeah.

Caroline: So you never know what you’re going to get.

Jason: Yeah, but just as an update of people, like, you know, what’s there, What’s not there. I mean, having a meal prep company that’s a huge advantage to have that. So anyway, I do think it’s.

Caroline: There’s not much we have found, that you absolutely cannot get it’s just, it’s.

Jason: Millet flour.

Caroline: Okay, fine. But like, that’s a very fringe item.

Jason: It’s extremely fringe item.

Caroline: It’s a very fringe item. But in general, probably 90% of your things in life, it just is a matter of you’re going to have to look harder for it. You’re going to have to do some research. You might have to drive to a place..

Jason: It’s not all going to be a Target. That’s what everyone’s used to, we were used to like, it’s just in one place, you can just go get it all.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: It’s not going to happen here. The other grocery store thing that I wanted to share that I think is a fun adventure that we’re going on today, is there is a little triangle of grocery stores in our tiny little town, which is amazing because we were talking to someone who has lived in Lourinhã, where she lived for her whole life. And she was saying that she remembers a time when none of those grocery stores existed. So she was like, Where did I go for groceries?

Caroline: She was telling us this, and then she was like. Wait, where did we go before?

Jason: Yeah, but now there are three like bigger, normal-sized grocery stores for Europe. And so we’ve been going to the main one.

Caroline: We’re on a quest to go to every single grocery store chain to know what the vibe is.

Jason: Exactly, and to know because, what I want to do is walk all the aisles and go, oh, maybe this one has millet flour or curry paste or some of like the odds and ends up that you can’t necessarily find in one grocery store.

Caroline: Yeah like, the Dinggo doesn’t have green onions, the Offshawn does. What if the only place we can go to get..

Jason: Listen, this is the hard-hitting stuff you all are here for, and we’re sharing it with you.

Caroline: That’s right.

Jason: You’re welcome.

Caroline: I know that’s what you listen to this podcast for a grocery store.

Jason: Updates, in Europe. Okay, so let’s talk about this episode. We have a little series that we’re starting here that’s not much of a series, but it’s more of like a format called Bring Five.

Caroline: Bring Five.

Jason: And the idea of this is..

Caroline: Different than Take Five.

Jason: Very much so, which is a delicious candy bar, which is basically Reese’s just repackage so Reese can spell more, sell more of them. But Bring Five is we are both going to bring five things to this episode around a topic, and we’re going to go back and forth, starting with our number five, working down to our number one. The idea of this is it should be fun. It should be like a nice way to break up the kind of the cadence of the standard recording.

Caroline: We’re breaking up.

Jason: Stop it. And then also with our travel episodes, where we want to recap the rest this year.

Caroline: We have a couple Bring Five episodes to round out the rest of the year, we will do a total recap of our entire year of travel.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: We will share things like just overall, the experience, how did it live up to our expectations? What did we find hard? What did we find challenging? What did we find amazing?

Jason: Worst place to poop? Best place to poop?

Caroline: All of the hard-hitting stuff. And I think that’s going to be next episode.

Jason: I think so too.

Caroline: So but this episode is a Bring Five, and we encourage you to maybe even do this with yourself or even with your partner or a family member or a friend. And the idea is just for this particular episode to bring five things that we are extremely grateful for in life right now. And like I said at the top of the episode, it’s more of like a check in and it’s an opportunity and a chance to look for the good things. I know even you might be listening to this and you might be like, Caroline, things are really hard right now. I am in a lot of struggle. I am in a season that is really tough. And if that is the case, first of all, I want to say I’m so sorry to hear that because I have been there. But I also deeply believe that not to erase those things or pretend that you’re not going through struggle. But I think even when you’re in the midst of something really challenging, challenging your brain to think of the few areas that maybe you do things are going right or that you do have abundance. Because I think that when you indicate those things to your brain that you’re grateful for, I do think that something in your wiring goes ding, ding, ding. Let’s go pursue more of that or bring more of that into our life.

Jason: Sure. I think also this Bring Five, especially this one with the gratitude, could be a good one for all of you who are, especially in the US. Spending time with family, and you’re like, what do I do with my family? Because I do not want to get into political discussion.

Caroline: Don’t do it.

Jason: I do not want to have the news on in the background.

Caroline: Don’t you do it.

Jason: I don’t even want to watch football. I don’t even want to do that. This could be a fun thing to bring up to the family. Like, hey, I heard this silly thing on this award-winning, world-renowned podcast.

Caroline: They talked about grocery stores. I’m not really sure.

Jason: But, you know. Maybe sitting around the family, everyone can kind of take five to 10 minutes to write down their own five things, and you could go around. It’s a fun way to share, see where people overlap, see where they align, and it could just be a fun exercise.

Caroline: Love that.

Jason: Yeah. Okay, so we have a couple of ground rules that we’re going to set specifically for us. Feel free to set your own at home if you’re doing this with your partner, yourself, your family.

Caroline: Our ground rules are for me. Number one, don’t set too many ground rules, because if we’re talking about some of my toxic traits, one of them is being extremely rigid in terms of people staying on concept.

Jason: You say people. Is there anybody in specific?

Caroline: Like if you don’t know this about me, I really love a concept, especially when I came up with, and if I come up with it and it’s completely arbitrary and out of thin air, I will let you know that you are not abiding. You’re not doing it right. You’re not abiding by the concept that I set forth. And Jason kindly let me know before we started this episode that he didn’t want to get chastised.

Jason: I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to feel self conscious.

Caroline: Maybe bringing one of his five things that didn’t fit entirely inside of the concept.

Jason: Yeah, can I just, here it is. I’m just grateful for these five things. I don’t care what you think about them.

Caroline: Great, great. So I’m going to challenge myself to not care.

Jason: So the real ground rule here, besides our own which is kind of real, is obviously we’re grateful for family, for friends, for our relationship. If you want to put those on your bring five list, absolutely, go ahead. But for us, for the point of this discussion..

Caroline: Also, it just, wouldn’t seem important for, like, if I was going to talk about my mom for like, 20 minutes. And like you all don’t know Patty.

Jason: Yeah, well, a little bit from you know, story from Switzerland.

Caroline: But still, I love my mom, if I’m gonna talk about her for 20 minutes. I’ll tell her.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. Okay, so let’s get into it. So we’re going to do five things that we’re grateful for, that we have gratitude for. We’re going to go back and forth counting down from five, which is the thing that we have some gratitude for. And then one, which is like the most..

Caroline: Oh, I didn’t rank mine, but I could do that.

Jason: Oh, my gosh. Come on, man.

Caroline: You said no rules.

Jason: No, I did say rules. I said this before we started recording.

Caroline: Wow! this is a reverse right now because you’re being really rigid.

Jason: All right number five. I’ll start. You ready?

Caroline: And then at the end, we’re going to do three tiny, joyful things.

Jason: Maybe they’re tiny, maybe they’re not. No one’s judging anybody for any of their decisions.

Caroline: You start.

Jason: I’m going to start. So my number five on my things that I’m having a lot of gratitude for, is my slow morning coffee routine. Now, are you surprised this is number five?

Caroline: Absolutely!

Jason: Okay, so for me, those of you listen, you know this. I love coffee. I love pour over coffee, specifically, slow coffee. The entire year, this year, I have been making AeroPressed coffee. And, well it makes a good cup of coffee, compared to a lot of the crappy coffee you can get in a lot of places, it is not a great cup of coffee. And to be able to have a grinder.

Caroline: Give us your set up! give us just a couple of items in your setup.

Jason: I’m so glad you asked. Let me just take you through the routine quickly.

Caroline: I just want you to bathe in this gratitude.

Jason: Can I take you through the routine quickly?

Caroline: Oh, you would love that!

Jason: I’m not gonna take that long.

Caroline: I don’t believe you.

Jason: It’ll just be quick.

Caroline: I don’t believe you, but go ahead.

Jason: I come upstairs and I take the kettle. I fill it up with water. It’s a stag kettle, which we absolutely love. It’s an amazing kettle. It’s expensive, but it’s amazing. It’s very, very functional. I turn that on to get the water boiling. Then I walk over to the coffee grinder set up. I have the Wilfa smart. For those of you who are asking. I believe it’s a Europe-only model, but I did a lot of research, and it’s turned out to be fantastic. Great. I get my scale out. I get my little dosing cup. I pour my beans.

Caroline: Now the scale is so that you get consistent every time.

Jason: Extremely consistent, because you’re trying to brew at a one to 15 to one to 16 ratio, depending on the roast of the beans.

Caroline: Ooh.. she’s carrying numbers, she’s.. you know the Homer simpson’s meme?

Jason: Backing into the bushes.

Caroline: I’m backing into the bushes!

Jason: You asked for it. So anyway. I dose out 35 grams of coffee. I drop it in the grinder. I hit grind while that’s grinding because it takes about 25 to 30 seconds. I bring my scale around. I bring my slow coffee brewer set up, which is just like a little V60 style brewer. It’s like a cone little brewer.

Caroline: Is that the ceramic thingy?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Cute.

Jason: I put a little filter in it. The water should be boiling by that point. I get our mugs set up. I get your stevia set up. So then I rinse the..

Caroline: I take my coffee black with one, two stevia.

Jason: Two stevias, yes.

Caroline: I guess it’s not black, technically, but, like, no milk.

Jason: No milk, no cream. We don’t do that around here. I definitely don’t defile my coffee with anything whatsoever. I drink it as the farmers wanted me to drink it.

Caroline: I can still remember a very vivid memory of my mom pouring creamer into her coffee every morning, and she got it the same color every time. And I can picture the color in my brain right now.

Jason: The color is the way that it comes out of the brewer. So then I brew the coffee, I put the beans, and I do a bloom. We do the full thing. I separated out to give your cup, but, you know, a little stay warm, little mug thing that we have.

Caroline: Yeah. This should be on my gratitude list, because after a year of AeroPress, which I have to make my own aeropress press every morning. I now have a husband who makes me coffee every morning.

Jason: The one thing that I am missing that I’m excited for that has not arrived yet, but I did order it is a little coffee serving set up. So it’s like a little vessel that holds the coffee, and you pour it into, like, a little serving cup. It’s like a tiny cup. It’s not a mug. It’s like a little sipping cup. And I had this when we were in California, and I absolutely loved it.

Caroline: What do you think it is? I was thinking about this recently.

Jason: About this whole experience for me?

Caroline: No, just like, what do you think it is about what you just described, of wanting the extra element of having the special serving tray? What do you think it is about that? Do you think it’s the specialness that you designated in your mind as this is special until it feels good?

Jason: Because I can even tell you, like, drinking my coffee every morning out of a standard mug. It’s, like, boring to me. I’m like, well, this doesn’t even like, I don’t care. But having, like, a little serving thing, it’s like every sip of that coffee becomes special and really thoughtful.

Caroline: I think it’s a combination of that, because I do think there is something also to just the aesthetics of a certain thing. Because I was thinking if I just told my brain that that white mug was special, maybe I could convince myself. But I remember the mugs that we had when we lived in Carlsbad. Every time I grabbed that out of the cupboard, I loved that mug. They were like that little camp style, but they were ceramic with little flex, like this beautiful green color.

Jason: Also, I just want to say for my number five on gratitude here, obviously, I’m probably going to talk about it longer than anything else it’s still number five on the gratitude. I fully understand that it is going to go away when we have kids, and I’m not going to be able to have this much of a slow coffee routine.

Caroline: Which is why.

Jason: I am soaking it in now.

Caroline: Yeah, we’re really soaking it in.

Jason: Yeah. Okay, that’s my number five. We’ll pick up the pace a little bit here. That one obviously had a lot more to it.

Caroline: Like I said, I just want to bathe in this gratitude. If people find it boring, they don’t have to listen to this episode. But if people want to just, like, savor the tiny joys? then just, you know? keep listening. Okay, now, I didn’t rank mine, so I have to kind of be off the cuff here and choose.

Jason: Well, you’ll get no judgment if you just go in a random order.

Caroline: Okay. I will say number five is my dedicated work station. Because when I tell you, that one of my biggest challenges, and I’ll share more about this when we do our full year recap of traveling. But one of my biggest challenges and that I knew would be a challenge was not having a workspace, because I need that environmental cue to tell my brain it’s time to be productive right now. And so being in different Airbnbs and sometimes working from a dining room table, sometimes not having a dining room table and working from a couch, it was always different, it was always changing. And there was so much resistance to getting things done. But now, and my space is new, so we’re kind of building it up a little bit. But I have my little standing desk. Jason just did all my cord organization.

Jason: You got your second monitor.

Caroline: I have one monitor. And for me, a monitor makes all the difference because I like to have lots of things going at one time. That’s probably why you don’t need a monitor, because you have like, one thing that you’re working on a time.

Jason: Well, this is what’s really weird is that for the longest time, I always had a monitor. When we were in Florida and then we moved to California, I always had a monitor. But then something in me when I got a standing desk and I couldn’t have the wires all over it was like, well, I’m just going to try and use a laptop now. And I really only focus on one application at a time anyway. And so then it just became like, yeah, I can do all this.

Caroline: I also think there’s something to my eyes because especially with this monitor, I can see things bigger. There’s more space.

Jason: I think that we’re just old now.

Caroline: I’m just getting old. Yeah. But I have my colorful little desktop wallpaper. It brings me so much joy to sit down in the same place and have my little notebook available and have my little pen available and my little phone holder and like, I just love it so much. And this, I’m just gonna loop this in, even though I am grateful for the space, but I think something that I have been have been at the top of my gratitude list, like, every day, probably this year.

Jason: Aw. Thank you.

Caroline: Besides you, is how unbelievably grateful I am to have flexibility in our work. Because I know that not only does not everybody have that, the majority of people don’t have that. And it is such a gift, and it improves my life so much. And not having a person tell me when I have to show up or what I have to be doing and to just be able to go.

Jason: I try.

Caroline: Yeah. How’s that go over?

Jason: Oh, well.

Caroline: And to just be able to, this is why I’m so passionate about Wandering Aimfully and about trying to help people get their version of a flexible business, an online business, off the ground, because I see the impact that it makes on somebody like my life, and I think it would improve anyone’s life. But I think especially if you deal with mental health issues, if you deal with any health issues or anything where you have an inconsistent energy every day, I think a flexible work life is really important. So I’m really grateful for that. And I’m grateful for my colorful and happy little desk set.

Jason: Yeah, great. All right, my number four here is the majority of people that we have run into in Portugal are very kind and speak English. Yeah, I am so grateful for this because obviously we have been traveling around the entire year. We have run into some areas and places where there’s not a lot of English spoken. We really didn’t run into many people who were unkind.

Caroline: No. We really didn’t.

Jason: It can just be very difficult when it’s just, like, constant language barrier. And that’s not to say that we’re not hitting that here. We definitely are. But I think overwhelmingly, the adjustment to living here has been so much easier with people right around us who can help us, who speak English. You go to a different store, like, actually at the grocery store, people I haven’t run into someone who speaks English who works there. Like, that’s the one place I haven’t. But it’s fairly easy to navigate a grocery store by yourself and not having anything. You have the weird checkout thing where someone’s asking me, like, I don’t know what you’re saying, and you just figure it out. It’s a lot of pointing and gesturing and whatever. But, yeah, I am just so grateful for this, because at every turn, I’m trying to not just go, I don’t speak Portuguese. I’m trying to listen and see.

Caroline: Right. Because in case you haven’t heard us on previous episodes, our intention is very much to learn language here. The posture that we bring to moving to a different country is not to just pick up all of our American sensibilities and just try to impose our will on local people here. It’s really to try to integrate into the culture, to try to learn the culture and the language is a big part of that. However, it’s going to take us a while right. To learn. And so I think in the meantime, I’m with you. We do not take it for granted how prevalent English is spoken, and that has made our lives easier. And it’s just, I try to be grateful for it every single time we run into someone who’s willing to speak English with us, because it’s not a given. You’re in their country.

Jason: Exactly. So yeah that was our fourth. It sounds like we did a great job, Ok.

Caroline: You did a great job.

Jason: Fantastic.

Caroline: Okay. My number four. It’s so funny how many of these are space-related?

Jason: I actually had a couple of space-related ones on mine, but I didn’t put them.

Caroline: Like almost all mine are space-related, which is very funny. I’m a girl. I’m very driven by her environment. What can I say? So I will say my number four is my own studio space.

Jason: Yeah. I’m sorry.

Caroline: The fart studio.

Jason: Thank you.

Caroline: We call it the Fart Studio. It’s an art studio, but really it just means, like, a room that I get to call my own. And the first time that I had this was when…

Jason: In Florida, in the guest bedroom.

Caroline: Oh, I guess I’ve always had it then. Yeah. Okay. So literally in Florida, this is where we started this, I had a little guest bedroom where…

Jason: We had a three-bedroom house. Three bedrooms were very small. One was the primary bedroom that was bigger. Of the two small bedrooms, one got converted to our office, one got converted to a Fart Studio.

Caroline: Right. But just to be fair, you also did filming there. So it was kind of like a shared space.

Jason: And there’s no judgment from my my side.

Caroline: No, I’m just saying like it started out as, like, just one little art desk in our guest bedroom. And then when we moved to California, we had a guest bedroom. That was when I started painting. And then you were kind enough that when we went to go move from our place in Poway to Oceanside, you were like, we need to make sure that you have a space for your art, which I thought was so sweet. And you always really advocated for me to have that creative space.

Jason: I’m hoping one of these days is going to cash-in big, you know.

Caroline: Hasn’t cashed in big yet.

Jason: Hasn’t cashed in big yet, but it’s okay.

Caroline: And, I just think that, now that has been something that’s been on our like kind of, I wouldn’t say must have list, especially when we were looking for places here because I didn’t want to have too many non-negotiables, because I didn’t know what we were going to find. But the fact that this place there’s a kind of bonus room. It’s not a bedroom. It’s just a bonus room on the bottom floor. And it already has, like, two couches in it, basically, and just like a piece of furniture. But we’re going to add an art desk. And the reason that I thought of it is because it’s also going to be kind of my home gym. So I’ve just been working out down there when we don’t want to go to the there is a gym in our neighborhood, but it’s been a little rainy, actually. So I just have been doing dance workouts and little cardio hit workouts down there. All I have is a yoga mat and light weights. My favorite thing is and again, we’re saying all of this, like, I know it’ll change when we have kids.

Jasopn: Of course.

Caroline: This is what our phase of life is right now. But in the morning, after my coffee, I go down there, I do my workout, and for like, 15 minutes, I sit on my yoga mat, I write in my journal, I play some type of Ambience channel on YouTube, like Fall Ambience or Winter Wonderland Ambience or whatever. I set a mood and I get to just sort of, like, reflect and be alone and be in solitude with myself. And I get so much value out of that. So having a place that I’m able to do that and be alone and not around you, I’m just kidding. But just having a space of my own adds a lot of value to my life. So I’m really grateful for that.

Jason: Great. All right, my number three on my list. This one’s a personal one. And we said we weren’t going to do that, but I thought it was something that I was very grateful for, so I wanted to share and that you were willing to move to Portugal with me, lol.

Caroline: We said we weren’t going to do each other.

Jason: I know, but I just had to, I had to put it in, because it’s not necessarily like, oh, I’m so grateful for Carol. It’s not that.

Caroline: Ok. That would be so embarrassing.

Jason: It’s that I was grateful that you were willing to move to this country with me, because it is a very daunting life change.

Caroline: It sure is.

Jason: It is a lot of different things. I mean, we haven’t even gotten into the actual, like, paperwork, logistics, citizenship, doctors, like, all that stuff. We’re very much in the honeymoon period right now.

Caroline: We are soaking it up.

Jason: Yeah. We’re not worried about anything, but eventually we’re going to have a lot of doctors and that type of stuff. And then as having kids, there’s all those hurdles to go through. And I think just you taking this leap to come here, it was much easier for me. I was like, yeah, sure, let’s go. I’ll do it. And I know it wasn’t an easy decision, but I do think I really warmed you up with a year of travel.

Caroline: You really did. As far as strategy goes.

Jason: Yeah. I nailed it.

Caroline: You played this pretty perfectly, if I do say so myself, because if you’ve listened to that episode, you will know I was 95% certain when we started this year that I was not… you were not going to get me to move out of the States. And that just speaks to, you know, a year can change you and travel can change your perspective a lot and well, thank you for saying that, and I wouldn’t have done it. This is how our relationship works. I very much think that.

Jason: Here’s our relationship works. I don’t want to do anything you want to do from the beginning.

Caroline: Yep. And then you convince me, and then I do it.

Jason: And then like, you know, slowly wear me down overtime.

Caroline: But, you know that, I’m an open-minded and open-hearted person, but I’m also a very, I think I stick to my intuition. I stick to my guns. So you’re never going to convince me to do something that isn’t aligned with what I want to do. You’re just not. And I think that’s actually a good quality in a relationship because you know that if I say yes to something, it’s not just to make you happy, it’s because I’ve figured out a way to kind of buy into it myself and therefore, like, I’m not going to resent you for it if it doesn’t work out right. That’s our situation works. And so I knew that I had to come around and be actually on board if it was going to work. I wasn’t just going to know that you wanted to move and then just be like, well, just I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Like, every relationship is different, but I knew that I wouldn’t be okay if I did it just to make you happy.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: Because I would have to be happy, too. And so I think, like I said, you played it just right. We did the scouting trip, and that really changed things. And I also give myself credit for being open-minded.

Jason: And I think we are very lucky with the place that we found and…

Caroline: Very lucky.

Jason: All the different things that aligned with that and the timing of it and all that.

Caroline: The timing, yeah.

Jason: Okay. That was my number three. What’s your number three?

Caroline: That was very cute. Okay. My number three is not space-related. It’s more a feeling that I have and a stage that I’m at in my life, and I’m really grateful to be at a place where I’m at peace with my creativity in a way that I haven’t felt in a few years. Like, I’ve gone through many stages with my creativity where, you know, just getting kind of seeing myself as an artist for the first time, like, that was sort of like the beginning stages and then going, like, absolutely so hard on that. Like doing my daily art project, like selling art prints. Really leaning into that. And I think when I took a step back from that, the past few years have felt a little bit like this wrestling with my creativity and feeling like I should be writing more, I should be wanting to do art daily. I should should be doing all these things. And I go through these phases where like, I try to start up again and then it just doesn’t feel right and so I can’t work it in. And I remember at the beginning of our trip this year, I started writing these little blog posts just for myself because I wanted to do art pieces and I wanted to do something with this experience. I was having to turn it into art, but there wasn’t enough space or time for that. And I felt guilty about that and was like, oh, what a wasted opportunity for me. And I don’t feel that way anymore. I just feel very much at peace with where my creativity lives. I think going off of social media has helped me a lot with this because I’m not seeing other people creating all the time. I think that I didn’t realize how much that had to do with me feeling like I should be doing things without those inputs. I feel so much more at peace that like, yeah, I still see myself as an artist and like, we bought some paints.

Jason: Couple one year old paints.

Caroline: Couple one year old paints at a shop around here and I sat down and painted the other night and it was so delightful and wonderful. And I am excited to have a designated space in my Fart studio to do that. But I don’t feel tortured in the way that I have the past few years about needing to do anything with that. And that’s the irony, is that when you take the pressure off, you ultimately feel more inspired. So I don’t know where I’ll go with it or what it will turn into, but I feel really grateful to something about this year or being off social media or just getting older or anything has led me to this place where I no longer feel conflicted about that. And I will say though, that there’s nothing wrong with going hard on your art or like, being passionate about something or sharing it online. Like, I think I had to go through all those other stages in order to reach this place. But I’m sharing that also for anyone who has gone through something similar where maybe you fell out of love with a hobby or a passion of yours and there’s this part of you that feels like you should pick it back up again or you should do something with it, and it’s like, don’t worry about the shoulds. You know.

Jason: Yeah, I mean, I think even just kind of in alignment with that. I would have felt so differently about capturing and uploading video and taking perfect photos had we been on social media this entire year.

Caroline: I’m so glad we didn’t do that.

Jason: And the fact that we were off it and basically have barely shared this trip at all, like, with our email list, with our Wandering Aimfully members, that’s essentially it, and with our family. But it has made it so much easier to not feel the FOMO of every single time we’re in a place, making sure that we see the coolest thing, get the best photo and all this different stuff. It’s like, no, there are some places where we don’t have photos of really anything, and it’s just A, because we were super tired and didn’t feel like it, and B, because it was just like, we’re just here.

Caroline: We just want to be there, Yeah, yeah.

Jason: Cool. All right, so my number two, we have two left for each of us. I have extreme gratitude for the daily view that we have.

Caroline: That’s my number two, so I could do a shared one. That’s my number two!

Jason: Okay. I kind of lumped the house and with it because I didn’t want to do, like, the house and the view because it’s kind of like the same thing. So the reason that I am so grateful for this is we have such a great mix of things we get to see. We get a little bit of nature, we get a little bit of water. We get some modern architecture. And it’s very peaceful.

Caroline: So peaceful.

Jason: And I think there’s something to be said for I think back to when we first moved to California. We had a very peaceful nature view, but it was kind of boring, just to be completely honest. And it was beautiful. But after a while, nothing changed. Nothing happened. And so just like, you get used to it and whatever. Then we moved to the next place. We had a really great view of the ocean, but there were a lot of buildings and there were a lot of things. Then our next place didn’t really have a view of really anything. The place after that, our last place, had the lagoon view, which was outstanding. And I almost felt like we were never going to find a place that we could afford that would have a view that would live up to that place. And I feel like we found it here, definitely. And I feel like I’m so grateful that we were able to find that. And I do think that also goes to show you, like, there’s a little bit of a scarcity mindset of just like, you’re never going to have what you have before. And it’s like, well, you just got to look and you got to see what’s out there.

Caroline: Well that’s the thing, it’s like, I had a friend who was like, I forget how she phrases. She was like, your sunset by the watergate is so strong. And I was like, thank you. And I think that that’s what happens when you know what you value the most. And you’re willing to compromise on the other things in order to get that one thing right. So, Jason and I talk about all the time, we get so much value and joy and just peace and happiness out of being able to see nature from our home. And because we work from home and because we’re there 90% of the time, that is what we seek out when looking to move to a place. And we won’t settle for something that doesn’t have that, you know.

Jason: Which is why we might end up not living where everybody lives, or we might live ten to 15 minutes further away from things. And it’s because that’s where the view is available, that’s where you can get it.

Caroline: And of course, there’s financial privilege, of course, with having many more options to choose from the more your budget increases, so we’re not going to ignore that at all. But I think the takeaway is that if you know what brings you happiness in your space, maybe hold out for that. Maybe just really go hunt that down and, and…

Jason: And be willing to maybe live a little bit further away.

Caroline: Exactly. Be willing to compromise on other things in order to get that. So it’s like, I don’t know, I think that’s the way that we view picking the places that we live, and it doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s also the thing that I want to say, but I wrote that down as my number two, as well, just because I get so much value out of light-filled places and nature. And every morning when I come up the stairs and I can see the ocean horizon, I feel like I hit the jackpot. I feel like I can’t believe that this is my life that I get to live. And just this gratitude hits me.

Jason: And the truth of the matter is, from a financial standpoint, this place is cheaper than what we were paying in California.

Caroline: And that also goes back to the give and take. Right. So it’s like we have this amazing view, but you’re living in a place that is.

Jason: You’re a foreigner.

Caroline: Exactly. And so you have all the discomfort that comes with that. This is not something this view and this home is not something we would ever, ever be able to afford in California.

Jason: Never.

Caroline: And so you make those choices and you make those decisions. But I’m really glad and also I will say, though, that the rentals were hard to find when we were looking. And so the fact that we found this one also just makes me feel grateful because the timing kind of worked out to where it just flowed for us to have this place.

Jason: Yeah. Okay. So do you want me to go to my number one then?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Okay. So my number one thing that I am bringing to the Bring Five is I’m so grateful that there is so much to see and do in Portugal and also in Europe. So where we live, we’re two and a half hours from the southern coast of Portugal. We’re three and a half hours from Porto, which is basically the north of Portugal. Then there’s everything in between. There are walled cities, there are castles, there are huge nature areas. There’s apparently a place in Portugal where it snows and you could ski if we ever wanted to do that. There’s a whole wine region we want to go to. Like, there’s just so much in Portugal that I’m excited about. And I know that in the US, everything I just said, maybe except for walled cities and castles, exists, but it’s just to me, it just feels so different because it’s all brand new. It’s all such an experience that I’ve never, ever had before. And it’s all going to feel so different. Like, even when we went to the nearby bigger city, it’s an 800-year-old city. So even though there are home good stores and things are modern and all the streets look newish and the buildings look new, it still has 800 plus year old charm that you can’t get in the US. And I’m not saying that to bash the US. By any means at all. I’m just saying that I’m having extreme gratitude for the feeling that I’m getting and the excitement I’m getting for some of the road trips that we’ll do, some of the things we’ll see, and some of the flights that we’ll be able to hop on to go to Italy if we want to, in 2 hours. To go to Scandinavia, to go to all these different places that we didn’t get to go to this year, but at a much slower pace, more spread out.

Caroline: Yes. My brain hasn’t even been able to wrap my head around the fact that we will be able to continue to travel, but in a different way.

Jason: That we live in Europe, honestly, and I don’t know how you feel. Like, I forget that, and then we’ll end up being like, in that city that I was just talking about, that we were in. I’m like, oh, we’re in Europe. This is not like a small, little town in California we found, like, this is a very different place. Yeah, it’s very interesting.

Caroline: And we’ll check in with you all and share with you the trips that we are able to take and all of that.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: The last thing on my gratitude list, which always just has to be my top one, is I am so grateful that my baseline anxiety has just completely plummeted and lowered to a degree that I never honestly thought was possible.

Jason: So where do you think you were on your, because we used to have a little physical anxiety scale. You would have a one to ten.

Caroline: Yes, and I read it on my Notion almost every day.

Jason: In 2021 before we left. Where were you on a daily basis.

Caroline: On a day, like, a good day for me was a seven and a bad day was a nine. And when we first got to Lisbon of this year, I was at a nine pretty consistently and I’ve been logging some threes and fours and that’s the lowest.

Jason: We never had three or four in California, ever.

Caroline: No, no. I was able to get down to like, maybe a five, but like, to hit threes and fours, which this isn’t the right way to say it, and maybe it’s not a good thing to say, but it’s just my truth. But I feel like a normal person.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And that’s such a gift because there were so many. Listen, OK, now I have to backtrack my own thing where it’s like people with mental health struggles are normal people.

Jason: Yeah, Absolutely, absolutely. This is coming from a person who’s dealt with anxiety, for years.

Caroline: Exactly. That word normal, sometimes you kind of think of that as something other and something that you’ll never be able to achieve. Meaning I just look around at people and I go, how are you even walking through the world without feeling like electricity is going to shoot out of every pore of your body? Because that’s how I felt all the time. Just like this uncomfortable jump out of my skin, buzzing that would never go away. A dizziness that would never go away, a fear of foreboding that would never go away. And the fact that a three to four to me is like, I’m just a normal person, I can just exist. And that feels like a miracle to me. And I don’t know. I mean, I do know that it’s some combination of all these things, right? So it’s all the therapy I’ve done. It is all of the putting that therapy into action, then with like, training my brain, it’s the meditation, it’s the mindfulness, it’s the nature, it’s the supplements, it’s the…

Jason: Dietary change.

Caroline: The dietary changes, the intentional practice. It’s all of it. And on top of that, I think it is really just taking the leap to go so far out of my comfort zone this year and almost just, I got to the place where I was strong enough, where I could do this form of exposure therapy, I feel like, and put myself in some of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve been in forever. I remember, even at the beginning of this year, the fact that I would have extreme anxiety just at the notion of getting in an Uber. Like being in a car, much less like driving on the other side of the road, much less hopping on a plane every two weeks, much less trying to navigate a city in a different language. All of those things were enough to send me into an almost panic attack. And the fact that I now don’t really think twice about them is just like such a thing that I will be forever grateful for. And I don’t know what my mental health is going to look like a year from now, five years from now, but I do know that I’ve gained so much by showing myself I can go to the darkest, deepest hole I’ve ever been in and slowly, slowly, slowly climb my way out of that. And just knowing that I’ve done that once before, I think empowers me to have less fear of where my mental health will go in the future because I know it’s possible to get out.

Jason: That’s amazing. That’s awesome. I’d love to hear that, babe. All right, those are our Bring Five. I hope you enjoyed listening to our guts. Now we’re going to do a little three small joys. Just a little bonus.

Caroline: Quickfire, like tiny things that are bringing us to it right now. Okay, I think we have one that’s both on our list.

Jason: Okay, well, we’ll see. So my number three is a fantastic setup for classic movie night. So we have a couch that has a double chase, which we’ve never had before, which is incredible for a relationship.

Caroline: It’s like a U-shape.

Jason: Yeah, it’s fantastic. It’s just a good room for the TV set up. We can make popcorn easily. It’s just all the things we haven’t been able to have this year and haven’t had the energy to have this year. Now we have on Saturday nights or classic movie nights again. And it’s so fun to me, it’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about our relationship.

Caroline: Me, too.

Jason: It’s just like, coming up with the movies we want to watch because they’re always so obscure and not related in any way. Making the popcorn, making dinner, commentary throughout the entire movie, and just laughing and being able to look at some trivia and just like it’s such a great routine.

Caroline: My favorite is when we just, like, something absolutely absurd happens and to the point where we have to pause the movie because we’re laughing so hard. And we’re like. Wait! wait, wait. Explain it to me.

Jason: All right, so that’s my number three. What’s your number three?

Caroline: My number three, organized skincare products. I’m not even one of those girls who have like a million skincare products. And obviously throughout this year, I could only have the products that would fit in a little toiletry bag. But we got drawer organizers for our bathroom. And when I tell you being able to have my cleanser and my face lotion and my toner and have it all just organized, something happens when I just do more than one step in my security where I feel like fully, like an adult person who has her shit together. And it makes me feel so good, and it’s just a stupid, tiny joy.

Jason: Awesome. All right. My second tiny joy is, my water flosser. When I learned about a water flosser, which, for those of you who don’t know, imagine you’re flossing your teeth, but it’s a thing that shoots water into your mouth. I learned about this from the dentist that we have. When I finally went back to the dentist.

Caroline: My brother had a water flosser when he had braces. Did you ever use one when you had braces?

Jason: No, never had one. Never happened in my entire life until I bought one in our last home that we lived in.

Caroline: Really? I think that’s a well known thing because how do you floss your teeth with your braces?

Jason: I didn’t use one. If I did, I didn’t use one.

Caroline: Waterpick! Is that what it was used to be called?

Jason: Yeah, I think that’s the brand, though, actually.

Caroline: Yeah, that makes sense.

Jason: But anyway, we bought one when we got here. And I’m excited because this whole year it’s not like my teeth have felt gross, but I’ve only been brushing my teeth and I’ve been flossing with little regular flossers and like, it just doesn’t do us great a job at night, but like, I warm up some water at night.

Caroline: Jason uses this stag kettle that he was talking about for coffee, to warm up the water to 100 degrees and put it in water foster. And when I tell you that this is a game changing move.

Jason: Well, I have super sensitive teeth. So, like, shooting water at my teeth already doesn’t feel good, shooting cold water from the tap. And one thing, this is just a very random scripting. I hate turning water on and waiting for it to warm up. It feels like the most wasteful thing you could ever do.

Caroline: Yeah, you really hate that.

Jason: It just bums me out because I’m like, how long do I have to wait? How much water am I wasting for this? I want to collect it and set it aside for later. But anyway, yeah, using the kettle is a great way to heat up and do it. So water foster for me. My teeth already feel cleaner. I’ve already chipped away some plaque that’s built up this year. Not excited to go back to the dentist, but I am getting old and I appreciate the water flosser.

Caroline: Yes, well, I have been waterflowing as well. I didn’t think I could handle it because we tried it back in California when you first got one, Iand I freaked out, but I didn’t like the sensation.

Jason: We might be able to get you to put drops in your eyes soon too. You could do all these adult things.

Caroline: I might be a drop person now. I would have said no before, but now that I did my mental health spiel for spiel and that I can waterfloss, I mean, there’s nothing I can’t do.

Jason: Exactly. Okay, number two for you.

Caroline: Having a fun special drink.

Jason: Oh, nice.

Caroline: Yeah. So we went to this restaurant, this lunch restaurant in a nearby city, torres Vader Ridge, when we were here on our scouting trip. And they have these little craft sodas. They’re just like, don’t have a lot of. Junk in them. They’re very natural. They’re just like simple flavors. They’re almost like a carbonated tea. It’s like tea. They have one that’s like ginger peach or whatever. And it was started by a couple from Berlin, I think. And then they live in Portugal now. Anyway, delicious. And so I’m not going to spray the details. We went to this special grocery store. It had on the website. It wasn’t in the store. I got three people not speaking English trying to find the soda. I didn’t intend for it to become such a scavenger hunt, but Portuguese people are really overthetop helpful. And before I know it, I have, like, a gaggle of grocery store employees trying to help me find the soda. Finally, they tell me that I can get it at the health food store across the street from the grocery store. So we get it and we just keep them in the fridge and they’re in a little glass bottle and they’re just my fun drink. So, like, in the afternoon, when I’ve been drinking water all day and I want to have, like, a little pick me up, I just go and I pop the top.

Jason: Well, we used to have the spin drip fridge, which I really missed, which was spin Drift is just a sparkling water, like Lacroix, but it has no anything that Lacroix has in it. And we loved it. That was our go to. We filled a little mini fridge that we had in our houses and it was great. And they don’t have that here and we can’t get it here. So I have to find my own fund drink because I’ve just been relying on a second cup of coffee every day, which is not the best. I mean, I only have two cups of coffee, so it’s not like it’s a ton. But I want to find a fundraising, too. But I’m going to find that. All right, my number one, I don’t know if we’re going to have the same number one here. My number one is a kitchen we can both exist in.

Caroline: Wow. Yeah. That’s a big joy Jason.

Jason: And really what I think is interesting about that is we haven’t had that for basically three homes ago was the last time we had it. And so the place we lived in last, we couldn’t both exist in there. Like we were cooking for Thanksgiving, which is a good if you remember that you’re tripping all over each other. There’s no space for anything. And that’s not to say that you have to have a big kitchen to be able to do stuff you absolutely don’t like. We both grew up with very small kitchens and our moms made a ton of stuff happen. But I think for us, like this kitchen, it’s not ideal in some ways because there are some cabinets that I have to duck under to use the sink, which is the very first world problem to have but it is a thing. But the rest of it is just, like, amazing to deal with. And I am very excited for my first cinnamon roll experience in this kitchen.

Caroline: I would call that tying joy for me as well, because I’m the one that unloads the dishwasher and loads it at night. And it’s so nice to have our things in drawers because, I don’t know, there’s something about just opening all the drawers and just putting away all the dishes. Yes. I love it.

Jason: All right, what’s your last one?

Caroline: My last one is the puzzle.

Jason: Well, I was thinking about the puzzle and I was like, yeah.

Caroline: I just love doing it.

Jason: We’ve really been given a magic puzzle company a lot of love.

Caroline: Love doing puzzles with you specifically. It’s so fun. It’s such a fun thing that we do together. It’s meditative. We don’t even really talk. We just sit there and, like, look for pieces and do our own little thing. But it brings me so much joy. And then this puzzle company specifically, we’ve shouted them out in our WAIM community as well. But Magic Puzzle Company, I’m not going to tell you why they’re so special, but they’re extra special. There’sa little bit of magic trick that has to do with it. And also just the art is amazing. It’s like a Where’s Waldo of all these little vignettes.

Jason: Listen, we all love the hot air balloon puzzle. We all love it. It’s great. There’s a lot of hot air balloons, a lot of colors. Is great. But these are so fun because there’s such an artistic twist to it. And I think we just love that. And the pieces are all shaped in kind of fun different ways at the time. So, yeah, that’s a great one. I did think about it. It was on my positive list. But the overall enjoyment of us being able to operate in the kitchen together was higher up in my life less than that. Makes sense. All right, that’s it for this episode. We hope you enjoyed our first Bring Five here. Like I said, we’re going to have two more episodes, travel related coming up. But the next episode that we record that you’ll listen to is going to be recapping this entire year of full time travel.

Caroline: And the full… everything, about it. And we hope that, hopefully it was fun to listen to you. We hope that this spurs you to think about the things that you’re grateful for in your life. It’s not lost on us just how much we have to be grateful for and how fortunate we are. And we’re all fortunate in our own ways. And I think spending a little bit of time to think about that is helpful. And we are grateful for you for listening to our podcast.

Jason: Yeah. And I hope we gave you a couple of giggles, whether it was before and you had the anxiety of going to see your family or after and you’ve left and you’re now like, I need something to cleanse the palate. And we were that palate cleanser for you because we know how it can be around the holidays.

Caroline: Families are wonderful, we love them so much and it is so great to have seen them.

Jason: To have seen them. It’s going to be so great just to you have seen our families at Christmas.

Caroline: They’re great.

Jason: All right, everybody. Hope you have a fantastic week. We will be back in your ears next week. Thanks, as always, for listening. Ok, bye.

The Gratitude Check-In (“Bring 5”)

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Things can be hard in our lives and not perfect AND we can still make room and have gratitude for what is good and what IS going right.

IT IT

This article written by

Jason Zook

(he/him) Co-head-hancho of this WAIM thing. I used to wear t-shirts for a living, now I just wear them because I'm not a nudist. You can usually find me baking things, watching JCVD movies, and dreaming of living on an island.

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