An Original Stratejoy Junkie, Beagle Puppies in Heaven and Not Knowing What's Next
Who are you, sister? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Julie Smith, an American expat living and working in London, UK. I moved to London from New York City almost three years ago with my husband, Drew.
By day, I work in marketing research and consulting, but by night, my husband and I run a travel blog. We spend every spare minute jetting around Europe on budget airlines. When we’re home in London, we’re obsessed with the BBC (Great British Bake-Off is AMAZING!) and drinking pints at our local pub.
I found Stratejoy during a time of transition back in 2008 or so. I did the original, original Joy Equation course and when Molly was planning a fantastic and open-ended road trip around America, she and I worked together to host a workshop in Portland, Maine, where I was living. When she and Ken rolled up to my house in their Stratejoy-branded camper, well, it was a lovefest all around. We had a fab weekend making soup and doing yoga and I loved showing off Maine to a couple of newcomers. While I live halfway around the world now, I’m a tribe sister at heart spread Stratejoy’s message on this side of the pond!
Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!
Morning Drink: Black tea with milk and sugar (the British way!)
Indulgence: High end face moisturizer
Lusting after: An amazing new lens for my camera, or a starter calligraphy set
Spirit Animal: An elephant (as a shaman once told me)
Head Space: Curiosity
Heart Space: Adventure and Novelty
Bloom of Choice: Wisteria
Turn-On: Motivational podcasts
Go-to Gemstone: Sapphire
Celebrity Icon: Reese Witherspoon
Favorite compliment: Thoughtful
What does practicing joy mean to you?
Dialing up the pleasure in the mundane moments. Turning on fun music, listening to a podcast, lighting a candle, when I’m otherwise cleaning, emailing, commuting.
Biggest life lesson learned lately?
It’s okay to not know what’s going to happen. I’m facing an upcoming expiring work visa and I need to figure out my next career step. I have no idea what that will be, but I am working every day to be okay with just not knowing. I will eventually know. Someday in the future I will look back on this moment and even remember the discomfort in the unknown. But right now, I have no clue and that’s okay.
What’s your definition of success?
To have freedom and flexibility in my schedule, and to not have to worry about money. I don’t need millions, just enough to alleviate day-to-day financial concerns. Knowing that I can work in my pyjamas once a week makes me feel like I have control over my career in some random way that makes perfect sense on Friday mornings from my couch office.
Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.
- Go on a retreat
- Have a collection of 10 amazing pairs of shoes (that I can walk in!)
- Have a party where everyone brings one guest I don’t know
What do you do when life gets messy?
I kick my ass at a spin class at the gym, followed by an hour or two of watching mindless YouTube videos. I particularly like watching beauty hauls and intricate nail art designs. Also, watching people decorate their planners is completely relaxing.
3 Songs, 3 Books, 3 Instagram
“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots
“Take Me to Church” by Hozier
“Hello” by Adele
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
What are you doing in an alternative universe?
In an alternate universe, my husband and I live nomadically, following warm weather around the world. I work as a freelance (but incredibly successful) cookbook photographer, styling food and making beautiful and delicious images. I moonlight as a travel writer, taking commissions from National Geographic to explore the world’s remote and gorgeous destinations. When life becomes too much, I take yearly long walks, the kind that span days or months. Over the years I have covered the Great Highland Way (Scotland), the Lycian Way (Turkey) and various pilgrimage routes around the world. Whenever possible, I bring along one of my four sisters (my most favorite people in the world) for an adventure.
What is your personal version of heaven and hell?
Heaven is full of beagle puppies, and a neighbourhood where I live with my entire immediate family. Heaven is located in Asheville, North Carolina during the winter and northern Ontario, Canada during the summer. Heaven includes a weekly Sunday brunch, one that is indulgent and comes with cocktails. In Heaven, I can beam myself from place to place, ensuring I never miss another celebration, family reunion, or interesting event anywhere in the world.
Hell is an ever-growing email inbox labelled with that annoying red exclamation point, indicating urgency. Hell is a party where I don’t understand any of the inside jokes and where no one wants to talk to me. Hell is a place where my least favorite songs play on repeat over loudspeakers. Hell is customer service where no one answers the phone.
Word of the Year? Curiosity
Book That Made a Difference: Big Magic by Liz Gilbert
Currently Obsessed: Bullet Journals
Can’t Live Without: my cosy ‘Sherpa’ robe