Hey everyone! I’m back from my once-in-a-lifetime, debt-free-dream trip to Italy with my mom. The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be.

We saw beautiful art, stunning architecture, ate ALL the food, drank lots of espresso and wine and generally had a wonderful time.

Here are some pics to prove it:











Unfortunately, right before my trip, and right after it, I got overwhelmed with work. That’s what two weeks off will do to you β€” though, I actually did work some on the trip, as I just couldn’t do four weeks of work in two weeks.

Aside from climbing out of my work cocoon, I’m also making headway on my book! We’re finalizing the cover and the edits. It’s starting to feel real. I can’t wait to share it with you. The fact that this not-so-big blog turned into this crazy career and a book is awesome! I’m so honored and grateful.

I need to remember some of these accomplishments, as lately work seems hard. The more opportunities I get, the harder the work is. The harder the work is, the more I second guess myself. The more I start feeling like a fake-ass phony. But I’d take this over being unemployed and underemployed like I was when I started this blog.

Aside from that, still finding my footing here in LA. We don’t have our own place yet, which presents its own challenges, but I’m trying to be patient and enjoy life, even though I do feel like a mild depression has crept in.

Speaking of which, I’m going to be part of a Blab this Friday at 1pm EST about the costly relationship between debt and mental health. It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth and this topic is so near and dear to my heart. I hope you’ll join or at least watch the recap. I know how hard it is to get up every day and just live life when you’re facing depression. Couple that with debt and it can be disastrous. But remember, you are not alone. You are not a loan.

Lastly, I’m also organizing the blog tour for the Road to Financial Wellness. I helped out last year and this year it’s going to be bigger and better. If you’d like to participate and write about financial wellness and empowerment, comment here or send me an email.

That’s about it for now. How are things with you?





Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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23 responses to “I’m Back + A Life/Work Update”

  1. Sounds like you had a great trip. I’m sure working on your vacation wasn’t that fun but worth it to be your own boss I think.
    Do you have more information on the blog tour? Sounds like something I would like to do.
    Tyler @ I Am The Future Me recently posted…I Cancelled My Gym Membership, Started Eating Pizza, and Lost 20 Pounds.My Profile

  2. Nice to have you back Melanie! And congrats again on the book. Hopefully work settles down soon and you find your own place soon as well!

  3. Latoya Scott says:

    Welcome Back! And goodness, it looks beautiful in Italy! I know exactly what you mean by the more opportunities that come it seems like the harder it gets. Sometimes you feel like pinching yourself and asking, “Is this really happening?” I see that Road to Financial Wellness is coming to Columbia, SC…please share more deets, I’m intrigued!
    Latoya Scott recently posted…Vacation on a Budget – You Need a Break!My Profile

  4. Totally jealous of your Italy trip, Melanie! I went to Southern Italy about 5 years ago and one week just wasn’t enough time. Congratulations on all the amazing stuff you have going on. It’s really inspiring! And I’m stoked to be a part of The Road To Financial Wellness again πŸ™‚
    Kate @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…My Ninth Net Worth OvershareMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, my mom was concerned about taking two weeks. But after such a long flight and jet lag, you really need two weeks to explore and relax. So happy you are part of RTFW this year, too! You rock, friend!

  5. Steven says:

    Welcome Back! The pictures look great!
    Steven recently posted…Are you a Financial Independence Unicorn?My Profile

  6. I’m definitely looking at your Italy pics with envy! Glad you were able to get away and enjoy it. And congrats on the book! I’m sure you’ll get settled in soon enough so try not to stress.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…eBay and Craigslist: How to Flip Things for ProfitMy Profile

  7. Hey Melanie!

    Seeing those photos make me miss Europoe! And shoot me an email about the blog tour, I’d love to take part πŸ™‚

  8. We are currently traveling and I’m trying to stay caught up on work, but it’s so hard to do! It’s nice to have the flexibility to bring my work with me everywhere I go, but I want to spend most of my time soaking up the sights here.
    Catherine Alford recently posted…3 Ways To Stay Calm and Happy During a Major Life UproarMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Boo! Your comment was stuck in the spam folder for some reason. It’s a tough balance for sure! Last year I worked when I was abroad and it’s hard…but the flexibility of freelance is so nice.

  9. Mortimer says:

    Wow, gorgeous pics of Italyβ€”what fun to be able to treat yourself to a dream after all your hard work. Speaking of which, isn’t it funny how the reward of work well done always seems to be more work, not less? It can get depressing, especially if you lose sight of why you’re working so hard. (Debt freedom, or financial freedom.) Would love to participate in the blog tour.
    Mortimer recently posted…How to Build a Snowball in HellMy Profile

  10. Beautiful pictures and thanks for the update–I’m excited to hear more about the book. I can imagine feeling a bit insecure in the midst of so much transition and growth, but it is ultimately a great thing to be changing and growing!
    Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor recently posted…Have You Planned For Your Funeral?My Profile

  11. Melanie, looks like you two had a great trip glad to see you back at it. I hope to make it to Italy in the next couple of years, have not been but keep hearing its a wonderful place.

  12. Mackenzie says:

    Wow, your pictures look gorgeous Melanie! And congrats on your book πŸ™‚ That is exciting!
    Mackenzie recently posted…The Most Important Card In My WalletMy Profile

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