Lifestyle / Making Lemonade / Travel

What is Making Lemonade?

Going in search of the sweetness of life

Cross-posted from SubstackView original post

Hey friends,

I’m Cassie! I’m a writer, wonderer, and (recovering) wanderer, living between the bush and the beach in the Swan Valley near Perth in Western Australia, which has been my home for the last five years.

Me, feeling very grateful to be sharing this space with you (Lake Leschenaultia, Dec 2023)

What is Making Lemonade?

After spending nearly ten years writing for other people as a freelance travel and content writer, I started Making Lemonade as a place to help make me sense make of the world after navigating some pretty tough times. It’s a place for me to muse on lemons, lemonade, and how I somehow always manage to find a silver lining in everything, even on the worst days (and I believe you can, too).

I guess I’d call myself an optimistic-realist, which feels a little counter-intuitive, but there’s always a little spark of hope in me that says “something good will come out of this, you’ll see!” And, for the most part, that’s been true.

A bit like how the stars always seem to shine brightest on the darkest of nights.

I’ve always been one of those people who’s tried to eke the most out of life – and the toughest experiences I’ve faced (and there have been a few) have taken me to some really profound places.

They say the best parts of life are on the other side of your comfort zone – and I believe that’s where the lemonade lies too. After all, you can’t make lemonade without squeezing a few lemons.

If you’ve been here for a while, then I’d just like to say thanks again – I’m so grateful to share this space with you. You make me want to keep showing up, week after week, and sharing my words in the world, rather than just in my journals (of which I still have many!). And, if you’re just joining us now or are swinging by for a quick peek, then welcome! I’m also so glad you’re here. 

Where did the idea come from?

I first started this Substack back in October 2023 as a way of making myself a little home for my writing on the internet. Home has always been a bit of a tumultuous topic for me, especially as a former “digital nomad” – I honestly kind of hate that term, but I spent nearly seven years travelling the world, living out of a backpack, and working as a freelance trip planner and travel and content writer on my laptop, so I guess that lemon doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

These days, though, my life looks very different. After a bit of a bumpy landing in Australia in 2019, I’ve been rebuilding my life from the ground up (quite literally – I arrived with a backpack and two friends in the whole country). Along the way, I’ve also become a long-distance caregiver for my mum, who has young-onset Alzheimer’s and lives on the other side of the world to me.

Read more of my journey in my 15 year round-up:
Part onethe pre-travel and travel years
Part twothe end of the travel days and adjustment into settled life/long-distance caregiving

Through it all, writing has been my one saving grace. These last few years have been a baptism of fire. They’ve taught me a lot about identity, the human mind, the illusion of consciousness, the enduring power of love and connection, and the importance of owning our stories – and living good ones. They’ve also taught me to be open-hearted and curious, above all else. 

I explore a lot of those themes within my writing here, along with the idea of “living well and dying happy” and “preparing for a good death”, which is also something I feel very passionate about.

Having had my life trajectory shaped by the passing of one of my best friends when I was 21 and after witnessing death and destruction on a huge scale while volunteering in disaster relief after earthquakes and volcanoes, I believe we can all better learn to come to peace with our own mortality and live better, more fulfilling lives knowing how short our time here on this beautiful planet really is.

Each week, you can expect an essay from me on one of these themes, which mostly fall into three subtopics – living a good life, dying happy, and the wonders of nature, our planet, and the universe – with a little twist of lemons and lemonade to show that there are ways of seeing the sweetness in almost any experience; even if you need to zoom out to a distant star until the earth and all of humanity becomes nothing more than a tiny dot in the shimmering universe.

The sorts of topics you can expect:

+ Anything else you’re interested in seeing from me/learning about my experiences!

My big dream for this space

Ultimately, I want this to be a space where we can all explore the idea of being better humans and find ways to live more happy, fulfilling, enriching lives, no matter the lemons life decides to throw our way. 

Eventually, I’d love to grow the community and perhaps start a podcast and/or run guest essays and interviews with other people sharing their own experiences of lemons and lemonade.

I genuinely believe the best growth and healing comes in community, and, after writing and existing in my own little bubble for the last few years, I’m so excited to branch out this lemon tree and welcome more people into the fold. 

As part of my day job, I also run writing workshops and mentoring programs for writers and creatives. Down the line, I’d love for all of it to come together into a home here, as well. Running creative workshops and seeing people find their writing voices in real-time is one of my favourite things in the world, and so it feels like it fits nicely in my vision for the future of this place, too.

My lemonade promise

Deep down, after learning the hard way how short, wild and precious our lives (and our planet) are, I’m on a mission to show people there is a different way to live – one full of joy + wonder – and one that is accessible to all of us. No need to shove your life into a backpack and run off into the sunset (unless you want to, of course, but I can totally help with that too!).

For now, I’m so glad you’re here, and I’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or ideas about how to more effectively use this space or if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to write about more.

As one of my favourite writers and podcasters (Joanna Penn) says, I’d love this to be more of a conversation!

In the meantime, you can also check out my website and follow me on Instagram and Facebook (both @cassiewilkinswriter) to find out more.

All my love,

Cassie x

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