5 Years of Sara Laughed: What’s Changed, and What’s Next

Five years ago, on a rainy afternoon in my gap year, I started this blog. I was about to fly to the Netherlands for a few months, and since I hated packing, I took any opportunity to avoid it. I don't normally advocate for procrastination, but in this case, it ended up being a life-changing decision.

Today, I'm sitting in my apartment in the same city I was about to fly to then. The blog I started that day has grown beyond my wildest expectations, and completely changed my life. I went from a handful of views in those early weeks, to more than 2.5 million today. I've launched side websites and a business. I've met incredible people through this blog, and had amazing opportunities for work and travel. Most importantly to me, I've created something I believe in, which helps me believe in myself. (If I can run a business, I can probably figure out our microwave oven.)

A lot can change in five years, and for me, it has. So I think it's high time I reintroduce myself, don't you?

I'm Sara. Five years ago, I was fresh out of high school, with no idea of where I wanted to go to school or what I wanted to study. Today, I'm a graduate of Wellesley College and Oxford University. I studied Religion, a subject that challenges and inspires me. I own my own business, run three websites, and write for a living, a dream I've had since I was seven.

Five years ago, I was recently heartbroken and about to leave the US by myself for the first time. Today, I live in the Netherlands with the boy I love, and we're ridiculously, disgustingly smushy about each other. It's wonderful.

Five years ago, I couldn't boil an egg or book a plane ticket. I didn't know what I believed or who I was, and I was insecure and unsure of myself and my future. Today, I love to cook (tonight's dish is miso-butter salmon); I've been to more countries than I care to count; I'm a devoted Christian and a open-hearted liberal; and I still have truly awful taste in movies (bring on that Hallmark Christmas special any day). I'm happy and I know myself so much better now; and while I still don't know what the future holds, I look to it with hope and anticipation.

Changes Around the Blog

Five years ago, I ran a blogspot blog with a header I'd made on Microsoft Word. I now own not one, but three sites. The newest is College Compass, where I help students succeed with free resources and help articles, and for which I got to interview Malala Yousafzai (read more about that here). Seasons Illustrated Bible Journaling is the next site, a space where I encourage a community of women, of every age and background, to express themselves in creativity and faith. For Seasons Illustrated, I've written six Bible journaling studies, and now have a team of women who work for me as writers and editors.

Sara Laughed is, by far, the site that's changed the most. That makes sense, because at its core this blog was always about my journey, and that journey has taken me so far in these last five years. This space went from a travel blog when I was in my gap year, to a college blog while I was a student, to something new today.  After a few months of limbo, I'm ready to share what that new thing is.

What's Next for Sara Laughed

For the last few months, I've been figuring out what I wanted to do for my “new direction” on this blog. After years of being a popular college blogger, I wasn't sure what I wanted to make the new focus of this site. I wanted something that I was passionate about but that could also help and encourage others. I tried a few ideas, but none of them felt right.

And then, a few weeks ago, it clicked. When I look at the last five years, the biggest change has been within myself. I'm now so much happier, so much more sure of myself and my place in the world, and so much more willing to try new things than I was then. That's what I want to write about: living well, loving life, and giving back. So, as I figure out twenty-something life and work on bettering myself and my community, I'll be sharing those lessons here. It's the natural new step for me, and I couldn't be more excited about it. I hope you're excited, too. You can read more about my new direction here, and check out my new categories (Starting Adulthood, Self-Development, and the World Around You) above.

Suffice it to say, there's been a lot of change both in my life and on this blog in the last few years. But two things have stayed the same: me, and you. Yes, my life has taken some amazing turns since that rainy day in 2012. But every change I've gone through as a person has just brought me closer to myself. I'm still the same loving, creative, and laughter-prone person I was when I was ten. And no matter what's happened, the people I care about always come first. Which brings me to you.

Whether you've been reading this blog since day one (hey, Mom) or just joined today, I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for joining me in the ever-changing journey of my life, and thanks for supporting me along the way. It means so much to me, and I'm so grateful. Here's to taking on the next chapter, together.

Author: Sara Laughed

I’m Sara, a writer, recent grad, and American abroad. I graduated from college in December and promptly moved to the Netherlands, where I live with my boyfriend and our 11 plants. Follow along as I figure out my roaring twenties: I don’t quite know what I’m doing, but that’s not stopping me from writing about it!

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