The other morning, my husband and I finally figured out what we wanted to do for our 2021 passion project. Yes, I’m aware we’re more than halfway through the year. Better late than never, I guess.
What the heck is a passion project anyway? It’s something that you do to bring a little joy into your life. Something you do just because you want to. Dr. Amy Shah describes a passion project as “something you work on (often outside of your chosen career path) that gives you satisfaction, happiness and puts you into a state of flow. It’s what you do to escape it all, your tiny (or huge) contribution to the world.”
A passion project can be a goal you work towards, or it can be a creative outlet, or a way to find more meaning in life. It can be anything you want. There aren’t any rules. (Unless you’re married to an INTJ like I am, in which case there are always rules.)
My husband and I have always been fueled by our individual passion projects, and we’ve learned that it’s even better if we can share them.
Some of our previous passion projects have included things like:
- Learning to travel hack. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot to learn about travel hacking. It’s something that has taken us years to hone and to sharpen our skills. These days, it’s pretty easy to do a quick Google search and learn the basics of travel hacking, but 15 year ago, it was quite the commitment. We made mistakes along the way and learned new skills. It’s almost become second-nature now, but started as a simple passion project.
- Starting a blog. I’ve always been drawn to writing. It’s how I interpret and reflect on the world around me It’s how I calm my anxious mind. But blogging? A whole new world. In addition to writing, there’s so much more to learn. I learned to network and work with brands. I learned how to take better pictures and navigate the world of SEO. I dipped my toes into ghost-writing, and freelancing, and branding, and pretty much everything in between.
- Starting a business. My husband took his passion project and built a business around it. One that has supported us for almost 8 years. Along the way, he learned new skills and made mistakes, and got smarter. He networked with like-minded people, taught himself everything he needed to learn, and just chipped away at his passion project, until one day when he was able to take a step back and realize he had built a full fledged business!
But the past few years have been different. We’ve yet again found ourselves into a comfortable routine. We’ve become complacent, and bored, and ready for a little more joy. The other day, while on a walk, we talked about how much we enjoyed walking. During the quarantine, daily walks had become part of new normal, and not a day went where we didn’t devote a portion of time to a walk. And as we reflected on how much joy these moments brought us, we realized we were ready for a new passion project.
52 Hikes in 52 Weeks
During quarantine, we had fallen into another routine. What started as a daily walk to just get ourselves out of the house, had turning into something we really enjoyed. Being in the fresh air, holding hands, talking about our lives felt less like exercise and more like a special treat.
My husband and I often talk about retirement. What would our ideal day in retirement look like? What would we spend our time doing? And then we figure out if we can do more of those things now. We have always envisioned retirement to include a lot of travel and long, drawn out dinners over bottles of wine with good conversation. So we try to incorporate more of that into our life now. We both know that tomorrow is not guaranteed and we shouldn’t wait to do the things we love.
But we’ve also noticed that our favorite things to do aren’t the healthiest. We love to eat and travel, neither of which is particularly healthy. It’s incredibly easy to overindulge, and traveling across the world often exposes you to diseases or a lack of sleep. We also love craft cocktails and collecting bourbon. (Also not the healthiest.)
But there is something we’ve always loved to do.
We’ve always believed that the best way to see a city is on foot. We love walking around neighborhoods and taking it all in. It’s always been there, a silent part of our relationship. We’re planning a trip to Denmark next year with family, and when asked what I most wanted to, I thought about it and responded with “I just want to walk around and look at things. And maybe visit a grocery store.” It’s truly my favorite thing to do when we travel.
But we’ve never made the trip ABOUT walking. Until now.
As a family, we’ve committed to walking the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile trail that takes you through 15 different regions of Spain.
And to get ready for this trip, we’re challenging ourselves to take 52 hikes in 52 weeks. I love this passion project because there is so much for me to learn. I get to research proper footwear and gear. Best snacks to take on long hikes. We get to explore new areas that weren’t even on our radar before. For example, we have a birthday trip to Vegas planned, and now we can add on a hike in Red Rock Canyon.
2021 Passion Project – 52 Hikes in 52 Weeks – The Rules:
We set a few rules for ourselves (mostly because I’m married to an INTJ so there are always rules.) So basically, these are my husband’s rules for this passion project. For starters, I use the term “hike” loosely. While some of our treks will be out in nature, with rises in elevation and fun terrain, some of our treks will be urban as we walk through big cities. The goal is to walk and explore, and we can do that anywhere.
Rule #1: 52 different trails. We can hike at the same metro park or trail, but we can’t hike the same path.
Rule #2: Must not be in our neighborhood and no using our home treadmill. The goal is to get out into the world and explore.
Rule #3: It has to be at least an hour in length to count.
Rule#4: We need to be under a minimum of 20 minutes per mile. Our purpose is to walk, not window shop.
Do you have any passion projects in the works? I’d love to hear about them! Wanna follow along on our 2021 passion project? Subscribe so you don’t miss an update.