Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

March 27, 2020

5 Life Lessons I Learned When I Lived in Vermont.

    This month marks two years since I moved from Vermont to Virginia!! (March 18th, 2018 to be exact.) Last year I celebrated my first move anniversary by sharing a detailed post on all things Charlottesville: things I loved about living here, things about the area that confused me, and how the first year had been for me from a work and personal standpoint. This year I wanted to do something different to celebrate year two! Instead of focusing on all things Charlottesville... I wanted to go back down memory lane to Vermont.

     I lived in Vermont for 11.5 months- I love to joke that I couldn't quite make it to the full one year mark! 😂April 2017 to March 2018 was by far the most unique, trying, confusing, and lonely phase of my life to date. But with that said- it was also a time of reflection, growth, refinement, and some special happy moments as well. 11.5 months of high highs and some low lows!

     To commemorate two years since the move, today I wanted to share the five most prominent life lessons that I learned while living in Vermont:

Photography by Melissa Lynn Images {photos originally from this post}

    5 Life Lessons I Learned in Vermont:
     1. How to stay sane while social distancing (before it was cool): Over the past two weeks, I've found myself thinking a lot about my year in Vermont. I feel like during my time there I was unintentionally doing social distancing before it was necessary in 2020. What I mean by that- for the first few months in Vermont, I really struggled to find friends. And once I did finally make new friends, my tough work schedule made it nearly impossible to have a regular social life.  I spent more time alone and by myself in that one year than I had in the past 22 years of life combined!
     But all of that time alone taught me a lot. I learned how to keep myself well entertained and avoid boredom. I learned that extra time alone is a great time to invest in yourself (for me, that was spending extra time blogging and having a very profitable year on the blog). I learned to prioritize my faith and talk to God in the loneliest moments. And most importantly- I learned never to take time with friends and being social all the time for granted!

     2. The relationship between the outdoors and mental health: Vermont is known for being a pretty eco-concious and outdoorsy state, and that definitely rubbed off on me while I lived there. I've always had an appreciation for nature, but I grew to truly love time outside in Vermont. My happy place became long walks by Lake Champlain, or checking out new hiking trails. One of my very favorite places in the world is actually the Colchester Causeway path that I discovered while living in Vermont. After I found it, I started walking there multiple times a week (until the snow started falling!). This blog photoshoot was taken on the Causeway.
    I loved being outdoors for walks and hike so much in Vermont that I have a blog post all about my favorite trails and outdoor spaces there! I've also continued to prioritize time in nature since moving to Virginia.

     3. How important involvement in spiritual community is: My saving grace during my year in Vermont was the church I went to. I visited a few churches during my first couple months, but once I visited Daybreak Community Church in Colchester for the first time in June 2017, I knew that I had found my home. It was a small Southern Baptist church, but it had a close-knit and welcoming congregation. Most of my happiest memories from my year in Vermont took place on Sunday mornings at church! Vermont was such an interesting season for me in terms of faith, and I found myself really relying on my church community to lift me up when I needed it.

     4. How to be a great long distance friend: I give so much credit to my friends from Maine and North Carolina for being so supportive to me during my year in Vermont. It was such a comfort to me to know that those who are nearest and dearest to me were always just a text or Facetime call away. Being in Vermont also taught me the characteristics of how to be a good long distance friend. Just like a long distance romantic relationship, friendships with distance also take a lot of work and effort. But the pay-off is so worth it! And now here I am two years into life in Virginia, and I still keep in touch with a few sweet friends that I did meet in Vermont- the cycle continues!

     5. Needing to be on the same page with a dating partner spiritually: This lesson could've been learned anywhere- but I happened to learn it while in Vermont. I was on dating apps for a couple months while living there, and I ended up going on dates with one guy for a couple months. He was an outspoken atheiest, and was quite up front about that during our first date. I do strongly believe (and did then as well) that Christians shouldn't date nonbelievers... but earlier that year before moving to Vermont I had my heart broken by a Christian guy, so I selfishly thought dating someone with different beliefs would prevent that again. Nope! It was simply a life lesson that I could never be in a serious relationship with someone who doesn't share my beliefs and morals. Out of all the places to learn that... glad it happened in Vermont! Haha.

     Cheers to learning lessons from the past, and here's to year three in my beloved new state of Virginia!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


  1. Gorgeous photos and I loved reading this reflection. These lessons can really apply to what we is going on in our world right now. I completely agree that having a spiritual community is so important. I'm so glad that my Bible study is still meeting virtually.

  2. 1) Love what you said about the importance of finding community. I think so many people in the millennial generation have been taught that they can "do it all" and don't need anyone and that's simply not true. My church community is EVERYTHING and I'm glad you see the importance of one as well. 2) Interesting insights about dating. While I do generally agree, I think it's OK to date someone who's maybe a bit more lukewarm than you are. Guys often don't understand the whole personal relationship aspect of Christianity and sometimes need to be taught by example... at least that's been my experience.

    Hope you're enjoying your day!



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