Our Vision, Words & an Invitation for 2020

Happy New Year!

At the end of each year I reflect on my vision for SPS. This year I decided to share my 2020 vision with you! Why? Because I’d love for you to be part of our 2020 plans!

But first, I have a little story for you.

Last month I was in Germany doing travel article research. One day, towards the end of my trip, I traveled to Bad Wimpfen to visit their Christmas market.

The weather was cold, windy, and rainy. I hadn’t dressed warmly enough, and for some reason the train I’d planned to take didn’t show up…and then the next one didn’t show up, which meant sitting outside in the cold and rain much longer than I’d planned. Long story short, I made it to Bad Wimpfen, finally, but I arrived cold, wet, and tired. That day was also the first time I’d felt a little lonely during my solo travels.

I walked around the Christmas market dutifully taking photos and notes for my article. On my way back to the train station I decided to stop at a cute little cafe I’d passed on my way into town so I could warm up with a cup of tea before returning to Stuttgart.


The cafe was cozy – only 3 tables. Fortunately, there was one open, so I sat down and took off my hat and gloves. To my right were 3 people drinking hot chocolate and chatting. Across from me was a couple who’d just sat down with their mugs and 2 slices of cake. Then a woman walked in, ordered a hot chocolate, and asked me if she could share my table.

When it was my turn to order, I decided to forgo the tea and get the hot chocolate, since that seemed to be thing to order.

OMG, that hot chocolate was good! Thick, velvety, and rich.

After I’d had a couple sips, someone in the room spontaneously complimented the cafe owner on the seriously delicious hot chocolate, and then all of us chimed in with rave reviews. He smiled and told us that it was his secret recipe, joking that he’d “Germanized” from French and Italian recipes.   😀 

The 8 of us continued chatting about chocolate for a bit…and then the table of 3 left to catch their bus, the woman at my table left to finish her shopping, and the couple across from me went on with their Christmas market tour. Originally, my plan was to head to the train station but as soon as I stepped out into the cold dreary weather, I decided that I was instead up for taking another walk around the market to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights that had just turned on.

As I explored the Christmas market for the second time I thought about what a difference spending just 15 minutes in that cafe had made to my day, my mood, and my whole outlook. The weather hadn’t changed, but I wasn’t as cold. I was still traveling solo, but I no longer felt that twinge of loneliness I’d felt earlier.

A mere 15 minutes in that warm and cozy cafe, a chat with strangers who also sought connection and respite from dreary weather, and a cup of homemade hot chocolate had changed my whole outlook and re-energized me. I was so grateful for the unexpected turn-around!

Earlier that day I’d been thinking about my 2020 vision for SPS but hadn’t come up with much beyond a page of scribbles in my journal. On the train back to Stuttgart, however, my vision became clear: I want SPS to feel like that cozy little cafe.

Whether you pop into our Facebook group, join a webinar, workshop, group program or meet-up, browse the re-entry stories on our blog or read my workbook or Kindle anthology, I want you to feel like you’re finding respite from the cold (i.e., all those re-entry challenges!) and being handed a cup of delicious homemade hot chocolate, so that when you go back out into the world you feel a little warmer, a little happier, and more energized about your Forward Launch. ❤️

Once I returned to the US, I created the screencast below to share my SPS 2020 vision with you. I’m keeping things simple this year with 3 word/goals (see slide 16 below). I’d love for you to join our cozy re-entry cafe and help us hand out more hot chocolate to more returnees in 2020!

I’ll share more info soon via email about our 3 words and goals for 2020, and how you can be part of our vision for 2020. For now, start by joining our Facebook group and adding your email here so you’ll be sure to get our once-a-month newsletter full of delicious re-entry hot chocolate. 😀

Where to Next?

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About the Author: Dr. Cate Brubaker

Dr. Cate Brubaker is on a mission to make re-entry after living abroad a positive, transformational force (even when it’s not easy…especially when it’s not easy)! Cate is the author of the Re-Entry Roadmap workbook and the Study Abroad Re-entry Toolkit. Cate has lived in Germany, worked and traveled in 37 countries on four continents, and has helped all kinds of globetrotters successfully navigate global transitions for over 20 years.

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