TWIRLING THROUGH LIFE
Our life indispensably consists of different stages during which we tend to focus our attention on the issues which are important to us at a given moment, such as education, work or finally our own family. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to make all of our dreams come true, especially if they don’t go hand-in-hand with the earthbound type of ‘here and now’ priorities, for instance bringing up children.
Of course, sometimes we manage to lead an active lifestyle, especially if we are used to such a way of life from the very childhood. Passions can be a wonderful springboard, since they arouse our energy, but also allow us to forget, at least for a while, about our everyday problems, which our life frequently abounds in.
What about travels, the ones many dream of? How to balance them with a regular 9 to 5 job and being a parent? Surely, it is possible to travel if we plan everything well in advance. Although, it’s certain that some limitations don’t allow us to spread our wings fully, exactly the way we want to. However, kids will leave their houses someday, thanks to which empty nesters will get the possibility to be more flexible when it comes to chosing their travel destinations and following their passions, the ones they have given their hearts to.
I’m truly pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee – Michelle Moyer – a happy wife, mom, who devoted her life not only to baton twirling, but also to travels and making a difference in the world. In this interview she will not only tell us a little about her twirling hobby, which accompanies her from the very childhood, but she will also tell us how to travel while still being professionally active.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Michelle: I am Michelle Moyer, a midwestern USA work-a-holic and world traveler. I am a recent empty-nester that has a lot of destinations on my bucket list. I have a demanding day-job in the science research field, but still find time for family and my other hobbies. My two part-time endeavors are my travel blog and my baton twirling group. I try to run them both with the effort of a full-time position, so managing my time is sometimes a struggle.
Passion Piece: You’re an active woman calling yourself a work-a-holic. How do you manage to balance your private and professional life?
Michelle: I balance work and fun by creating to-do lists. Once I cross most of the items off of my list, I reward myself by having a relaxing day or going on a road trip!
Passion Piece: Traveling the world must be an incredible feeling. Is it really possible while still having a regular job? Does being an empty-nester help a bit?
Michelle: Our memorable family trips were within the US and Canada when the kids were growing up. They had very active hobbies, so some vacations were planned around their activities.
Now that they have moved out and we are empty nesters we have more time to travel the world. We have gotten more adventurous and travel further now!
It is possible to take amazing vacations while still having a regular job. They have to be shorter trips, and not month-long endeavors. During each vacation I make sure to have an itinerary.
The key to having a relaxing vacation is planning! I don’t have the luxury of playing it by ear since I have limited time, so my vacations are pre-planned to make sure that I am able to do the MUST-Dos!
I scrutinize my vacation schedule versus my annual leave and make sure that I am maximizing every hour. I take advantage of holidays for extra bonus days on a vacation.
Passion Piece: You run your own blog titled Moyer Memoirs Adventures in Empty-Nest Travel. Who is your target audience and what can your readers find there?
Michelle: I am one of the bloggers behind Moyer Memoirs, Empty-nest Travel Adventures. Our audience is the regular working-class population and empty nesters, itching to get out and explore the world. Both groups are looking for transformative travel destinations to take them away from the daily and monotonous 9 – 5 work place. My voice resonates with them, and my down-to-earth descriptions of amazing travel destinations hits home because I am ‘just like them, traveling during my time off’ instead of a digital nomad traveling the world full-time.
The focus of my travel blog is empty nest travel, but not as just a tourist. I find the gems in any destination, the roads less traveled, the unique tours, and the hidden adventures. My articles contain tips for how to be an exploratory traveler who experiences customs, culture, and people to gain a true understanding of the country and experience transformative travel. This sort of travel changes who you are and leaves its mark on your heart forever.
Passion Piece: How should one prepare for a journey while leading a hectic lifestyle? What should one remember about in order not to become disappointed with one’s trip?
Michelle: Again, pre-planning is the key. Everything from efficient packing to preparing a freezer meal for the night of your return home helps relieve the hectic lifestyle and enables some relaxation during the trip.
Problems and conflicts with the schedules always happen, however. It is easier to pivot during a problem when you have an initial plan than to come up with a solution out of the blue.
Lately we are the poster travelers for insurance. I now recommend travel insurance for anyone taking an adventurous trip. During the past 4 trips, we have had to use our insurance plan 3 times! Insurance also relieves a lot of the stress during a vacation. For example, when hubby had to fly home for a medical emergency, we could concentrate on getting him medical care instead of worrying about how we were going to pay for this extra international flight.
Passion Piece: Which travel destinations were the most eye-opening for you? Why?
Michelle: Each destination is truly unique and special so that it is impossible to compare them. Our first ‘empty-nest’ vacation was to South America. It was there that I learned what it was like to travel as adults without kids. It is a much different form of travel! Hubby and I were able to experience a lot of different things in Peru and Bolivia on our own and truly focus on each other and the transformative travel that we were going through.
We saw a lot of poverty in the South American countries. It made me realize all the things at home that I take for granted, as simple as clean running water from a faucet.
Passion Piece: Is there a place you’d love to visit in particular?
Michelle: Someone recently asked me what my next trip was. I have a very large bucket list and I can only dream of completing half of it in my lifetime. SO, there isn’t a place in particular that I would love to visit, it is all of them. You know the saying “I haven’t been there, but it is on my liat!” That is my life slogan!
Passion Piece: Your not only an avid traveler, but you’re also keen on baton twirling. How did you start your adventure with this sport?
Michelle: I am now a baton coach and teacher. I started twirling when I was 5 years old, participated in competitive twirling teams, as a soloist in middle school, and then twirled as a majorette for my high school. Once I graduated college, I decided to start my own local group to give the kids in my county a place to also learn the sport that I grew up to love.
Passion Piece: Is baton twirling for everyone? What three factors are the most important while deciding on taking up this activity?
Michelle: Baton twirling is not for everyone, but it can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to work hard at it. I have taught twirlers with many disabilities that have learned to overcome them in order to twirl their shiny batons. All of these twirlers had a more difficult time, but we were able to work together to provide a way for them to participate.
The three most important factors in baton twirling are dedication, perseverance, and stamina. Twirling requires a lot of patience, especially when learning a new skill. The idea of “Don’t give up!” is very strong, since learning the skill always involves, dropping the baton, picking it up again and trying again. Twirlers learn that to be successful they need to develop good practice habits. These habits translate very well into the real world, for studying in school, and then into the working world when toiling over projects.
Passion Piece: What are your biggest accomplishments in baton twirling? Are you planning on a new project?
Michelle: The biggest success for my baton studio was surviving through COVID when the whole studio had to shut down for months. With no in-person twirling practice, it was difficult to motivate the twirlers. We sent assignments to them to record their favorite trick and post it to our group Facebook page. We also instituted a Rockola Roaming Recital, where the coaches went to each twirler’s house. The twirlers performed outside with family and friends in the safe environment of their front yards. They were able to perform their routine, completely in costume, for their special friends and family gathered at their house.
My biggest accomplishment was introducing the sport of baton twirling to an orphanage in Africa by holding an event called “Twirling Together” in Uganda. Baton twirling is not well-known at all in Africa, so I decided to spread my knowledge and teach it to some interested young people. I worked with an orphanage to fund-raise for batons in order to provide them with the equipment necessary to twirl.
When I arrived at the orphanage, they were all eager to learn. There were nearly 50 kids, anxious to hold the new shiny baton and learn to twist it in all directions. My fundraising efforts also included raising money for sanitary pads for the teenage girls in the orphanage to promote good reproductive health and hygiene. I used the funds with a Uganda non-profit agency to purchase the pads so that the local seamstresses that made them were also benefiting from my efforts and all the money stayed in Uganda.
Passion Piece: What do you love doing in your free time?
Michelle: When not blogging, traveling, or teaching baton, I love spending time with my family. We play board games, watch movies, socialize and bond! We have a very close-knit family and spending time together is important to us all.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Michelle: In 10 years time, I see more destinations checked off of my Bucket List. I hope to have more amazing content shared with my readers on the Moyer Memoirs travel website. It can only get bigger and better so that I can help even more travelers learn to experience transformative travel during their vacations from their 9-5 job!
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope you will find some more interesting holiday destinations in the future.
See you around!
Photos by: Michelle Moyer