A couple of years ago, I took a nine day solo trip to Italy. In the weeks and days leading up to the trip, my mom kept asking me what my itinerary was and I kept saying I’d figure it out eventually. “Eventually” turned in to me booking my first two night’s accommodation while standing in the boarding line for my flight. I left the US with absolutely nothing planned except for where I’d be sleeping those first two nights.
It’s not the I didn’t have time to research and plan and book. It’s that I just didn’t do it. I wanted the freedom to make up the trip as I went. To be able to take spur of the moment opportunities that I would miss out on if every moment was planned ahead of time. To change my mind and change my course at any given moment.
I crave all of that – the complete freedom to live at a moment’s notice. I tend to avoid making plans until the very last minute, so that I am available for any exciting opportunity that could arise.
And it’s not that I am incapable of planning. I’m actually very good at it. Part of my old job included running major events that I began planning up to 10 months in advance. I can do it. I just mostly choose not to.
That lifestyle/mindset has served me incredibly well at times throughout my life, but it’s also been a hindrance just as many times. Especially when it comes to The Olive Branch and blogging and running my social media.
I’ve never sat down and planned my content in advance. Many of the blogs I have posted have been written no more than 24 hours before they went up. I’ve been known to pick a topic and write the blog the morning I post it. In some ways, I like that method – it allows me to write and post about something that is currently on people’s minds and the pressure forces me to get it done. But it means that if something comes up that morning and I’m unable to write, I don’t have anything to post.
It also means that I don’t have a serious posting strategy or know what I’m putting up on social in advance and am left thinking “Shoot – I should post something… But what?” And then I don’t put anything up.
Couple that with a slight existential crisis and trying to start a business and suddenly it’s been a month since I posted on Instagram and two months since I’ve posted a blog…
Not to be dramatic, but there’s been a lot of “Who am I?” being asked over here lately.
When I started The Olive Branch Instagram and blog, I did it with the sole intention of teaching people about food/farming/agriculture. There are so many important and exciting topics within the industry that I want to talk about and feel people should know about. But throughout the last few months, I’ve realized there are things completely outside of that scope that I want to talk about, that I feel are worth saying but also don’t fall within that box (like the job quitting post).
So my “Who am I?” questions are less about who I am as an actual human being, and more as a blogger. Am I just an ag blogger, or is there the ability for me to write about other things as well? Will people want to read my thoughts on anything outside of agriculture? Will I be doing a disservice to ag if I branch out? Things like that.
And because I’ve been unsure, I haven’t really moved forward at all and ended up posting nothing, ag or otherwise.
When I quit my job and moved back to Oregon, I did so without an employment plan. I thought I’d take some time to start The Olive Branch and then maybe get a freelance business going. Then a pandemic happened. So I worked on the farm for the summer. And there’s always farm work to be done, so I kept doing that. Life was basically happening to me, without me being an active participant or decider in my future plans.
In the past few weeks, I’ve started to actually pursue this freelance business. To plan (surprise surprise) and build and network and begin taking on clients. I’m not at a full scale launch yet. I still need to come up with a name and a million other things to make it legit, but I’m headed in the right direction.
I will be using my experience in agriculture and marketing communications to help other businesses effectively share their messages, both internally and externally.
Because starting a business takes time, I’ve been spending non farming time mostly working on that, rather than The Olive Branch.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be doing more planning – both for The Olive Branch social and blog and also for the communications business. Goals and strategies are being made. Calendars are being set up. Good things are happening.
Some of that planning is going to determine the content that I’ll be writing. And I hope you’ll bear with me as I figure out what exactly that looks like. I’ve decided that I will be throwing in some of the other, non ag topics that I feel like sharing. Maybe it won’t work and I’ll go back to strictly ag and food. My hope though is that those will be an interesting interlude for you and me.
I’m also going to be trying to find a balance between The Olive Branch and running an actual business. Things could be a little wonky for a while. But I also just went two straight months without posting anything, and it can’t really get wonkier than that…
It was AMAZING and not planning it worked out perfectly. I went in November, which meant there were approximately 7 other tourists in the country besides me, so I could easily mosey to whatever I decided on in the moment. It would have been a complete failure if I was competing with millions of other people in peak season.
I spent time in 4 cities, walked 60 miles, took a cooking class in a Tuscan villa, marveled at the statue of David and roughly 37,000 other beautiful things, climbed the 551 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, ate gelato at least once a day, watched the sun set over Florence while drinking a bottle of wine with newly acquired Australian friends, and ate my weight in pasta. Truly glorious.
(If you ever go to Italy, I have a recommendation sheet ready to send your way with restaurants, activities, and the most wonderful cooking class you can imagine. I can even plan your trip for you!)
All my best,
PS – if there’s anything you want to learn about, comment below and I’ll try to build it into my plan 🙂