New year, new goals

HELLO! And welcome if this post is the first you read on this blog. My name is Jo-Anne, or just Jo, and my dog Jax and I have had a year filled with adventures! Things have slowed down now and I’m working full time in a job that’s not worth my time or energy and I want to change that! I want to get back to having adventures and I miss working in a job I love and learning new things and meeting new and like-minded people and all of it! I don’t usually makes goals for the new year because that stuff never works out for me but I’m getting older and there’s things I want to accomplish while my trusty sidekick is still around and able.

First goal I’d like to accomplish is I’d like this blog to actually function and get used/read. I’ve been working on different variations of this thing for a few months and I’m never satisfied with it. I constantly change it and feel like I have nothing interesting to say but maybe there is a small group of people out there who have questions and I have answers, so I will keep writing as long as I have some knowledge to share. I decided to revamp the site one last time and do a New Year’s Day launch to start the year off right and get the ball rolling on these goals.

The SECOND and biggest thing I’d like to accomplish is I want to go back to school to get my master’s degree. For anyone who knows me they might say “but Jo you despise school.” Not true. I love learning, it’s the rest of it I hate. I’m not sure how university is in other countries but here in the states I was forced to take a bunch of classes I have no interest in and treat them with the same respect and give them as much effort as classes that provided me with knowledge I needed for my chosen future career. Anyway, I’ve been told by friends who went through grad school that graduate programmes are far more enjoyable than undergrad because the focus is entirely on what you want to study and there are less tests and assignments. Perfect. I recently discovered that I can get a degree focused in sustainability which I’ve been interested in and enjoyed reading about and even preaching about for years. My first love had always been animals so it never occured to me to look into other kinds of employment until I couldn’t find a job this past year. No one would give me the time of day. Hundreds of job applications sent out and nothing but radio silence, not even an automated rejection email for most. I started mulling over the idea of graduate school but didn’t know what to study. I came across the Erasmus+ programme in Europe. Each degree programme sounded so exciting and just what I was looking for. Spend 2 years hopping around Europe with like-minded individuals from all over the world, with guaranteed internships, workshops and conferences along the way. After perusing the list and doing some research I settled on environmental science with a concentration in sustainability and renewable energy. It’s a field that encompasses a lot of things I’ve been wanting to be a part of for years but didn’t think of it as a viable choice until recently I guess. There are many obstacles standing in my way from getting another degree. For one, my university is holding my transcripts hostage because after graduating they decided to audit my records and charge me for classes I never took. I’ve been calling and emailing people for months with no answers and solutions. I started paying the fees just to make them go away but each time I make a deposit the amount is somehow not credited to the balance. So online it says money received and a payment has been made but nothing is applied the balance. It’s infuriating and it looks like I might have to spend a day sorting it out on campus almost 4 hours away. The next and slightly more problematic thing standing in my way is funds. I already have $30k in student loans and I don’t want to add more to that. School in the US is expensive. But grants and scholarships are few and far between for foreigners wanting to study in Europe. The Erasmus+ programme is pricey (still not as pricey as studying in the US) and is 2 years as opposed to a traditional, cheap, 1 year European master’s (rightly so since it includes more than a traditional programme). I will go into greater detail in another post, but basically I’ve decided to save half the money I need to spend a year studying in Europe and take out the rest in personal loans. This is going to be a huge focus on this blog over the next year and I definitely hope all my searching and trials and tribulations will make the process easier for someone else.

The THIRD goal I’d like to accomplish this year is more travel!! I think anyone who’s spent some time being nomadic can agree that there is something seriously special about spending time in unfamiliar places, meeting new people, eating new food. I hope I can balance studying and traveling in Europe because I envision it being very difficult for us to stay put on the weekends when there’s an entire continent to explore. I’m sure there are people out there who think it can’t be done with a dog but I’m sure as hell gonna try. We’ve made living in a Subaru work, I think we can make anything work.

So that’s the rundown on what to expect this year from me. I have a few small goals but I won’t bore you with those.

Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo, et Bonne Année!



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