Then and Now: a look at my life in 2008 vs. 2018

Life is so crazy right now, but even though I am beyond busy I have had a lot of time to think. Probably because I’m spending a lot of time sitting in my car during last minute house showings and Mi Amor has been traveling a lot.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how life changes. Particularly, how crazy mine is from just 10 years ago (and even more wild, 20 years…of course!). I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison between circa 2008 and the present. (Thanks, This is Us).

A view of Waiheke Island

First, let’s start off with a little background of where I was in 2008 – you can read a little more about my current season here. In August of 2007, I graduated college and ran off to New Zealand to live for a year. I lived in Auckland for 5 months, starting off at a hostel in a historic house and eventually renting a room in a house with 4 other Kiwis. A really good friend of mine, Mah, was among the who’s-who of Auckland and I led a very VIP-club kind of life.

Forever in my heart, Aloe Tree.

Then: 11pm and it was time to hit the club.
Now: 8pm and BabyCoolJ is in bed and I am DONE.

Then: I lived in hostels.
Now: I carry hand sanitizer spray and wipes with me at all times (and use them often.)

Then: Never waiting in line to get into a club.
Now: Waiting in line to pickup my kiddo from childcare at church.

At the end of January 2008, I decided I needed to be a real backpacker and stop living in luxury so I set off for the South Island. I lived and worked in the middle of nowhere (like, 45 minute boat ride from a fishing village OR 5 day hike…) at an overnight camp & resort called Furneaux Lodge. We (a bunch of backpackers) lived, worked, ate and did everyone together. It was a great experience!

Then: Our boss would pass out free shots & swigs from a bottle for every birthday, farewell and good fishing trip.
Now: My current boss is a toddler, who throws his water at me when angry.

Staff drinks #TrueStory

Then: I paid a flatmate $20 to clean so I wouldn’t have to (rotating cleaning schedule was part of the gig).
Now: I clean boogers. And a booty because my toddler is in diapers. Plus dishes, laundry, toilets and more. Can’t pay anyone $20 to do any of that here!

After leaving Furneaux Lodge I lived in a decked-out-van for 3-weeks with a girl from Holland as we road tripped the South Island together. We city-hopped and bar-hopped, and took in lots of local sights along the way.

Our Juicy van rental – bed, cooking range and all.

Then: We tried to find a place to shower every 2 or 3 days…sometimes 4.
Now: Despite having a toddler and a traveling husband, I get to shower daily!

Then: During a stop in Queenstown, we hit up a bar that made cocktails in teapots. Delicious and only $5 a pot.
Now: I couldn’t tell you where to find drink specials around town, or even what bar to go to!

Then: My favorite tee read, “Mexicana.”
Now: My favorite tee reads, “Motherhood is the toughest hood there is.”

My last official destination was Kaikoura, in New Zealand’s South Island. I worked and lived at a resort with $1,000 a night tree houses, and lived in a house with someone who became a good friend of mine and we still keep in touch. Life was so good for those last 3 months before I left and made my way back to Auckland before coming back to the U.S..

That time I swam with 500 wild dolphins in Kaikoura, NZ (and it was 10° F)

Then: I road tripped the North Island alone for nearly 2 weeks.
Now: I won’t even road trip back home with my toddler….6 hours alone with him in the car terrifies me!

Then: I spent months saving money to go skydiving, it was the best $500 I had ever spent!
Now: I spend months saving up just so I can go get a massage and enjoy some me-time.

The fastest $500 I ever spent

I made it back to the states, along with my bad habits of cursing like a Kiwi, rolling my own cigarettes and drinking like I was a backpacker. Things didn’t change much for me until years later, but I will share that in another post when I tell you about my testimony! Stay tuned.

But, my favorite then & now of 2018 is…

Then: At the end of 2008 I met my future husband, who happened to be a local rapper.
Now: I rap “Itsy Bitsy Spider” by Basho with BabyCoolJ all the time.

What’s one of your favorite memories from 2008?





A look at one backpacker turned mama's life then and now - 2008 vs. 2018 |
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Lisa Alfaro

About Lisa Alfaro

As a seasoned Marketing Communications Consultant, I help women in business engage their target audience through local marketing and social media strategies.

8 thoughts on “Then and Now: a look at my life in 2008 vs. 2018

  1. This was a fun read! My kids are older now, but I can still remember the days of hoping you can pee – or maybe even take a bath – alone and uninterrupted. Lining up to pick up your kid from childcare, being done in by 8 pm? Yup, that’s motherhood for you 😛

  2. Girl you have be cracking up over here, LOL But wow you lived a wonderful fulfilling life with skydiving and swimming with Dolphins… I wish I could of done those types of adventures before having my daughter!!! I really loved learning all this about you… such a great idea for a post!

    1. Hey Marisa! Thanks girl, it has been a fun life. But the true adventure began when I became a mama! Best part is we can have that kind of fun again later when they are all grown up…maybe not backpacking, but hopefully some travel! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. This was such a fun post! It’s amazing how much your life can change. Still I think everything you experienced then helped prepare you for where you are now. I love how you lived to the fullest and made the most of every moment! I’m sure that is something you will pass on to your child as well . . .

  4. That was a fun comparison post! Your life back then sounds incredible due to all the traveling. However, there’s nothing that beats having a child of your own to cuddle and love, so that’s a different kind of awesome. 🙂

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