Reflections From The Road | 32 Months

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Another 60 days have come and gone and can it be? Summer is unofficially over, too? Mine was so busy with projects and interviews and writing and trips to chilly places, I have to confess I almost missed it. Fortunately now that I live in Florida, I’ve got a few more months before I have to unpack the scarves from the closet shelf.

Here’s a roundup of what I’ve been up to the past two months!

Highs

Glacier trekking in Denali

Glacier trekking in Denali

A moose in the wildflowers in Soldotna

A moose in the wildflowers in Soldotna

Alaska. When I found out my grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with two weeks of road-tripping in Alaska, one of the few states I’ve yet to visit, I just had to tag along. Those two were my original travel inspiration, as they used to take me all over the country in their RV when I was a kid. On our Alaskan adventure, we journeyed from Fairbanks to Denali to Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula and back. We made new friends, helicoptered to a glacier and had some pretty close calls with bears. I can’t wait to tell the story of how my grandparents suddenly turned into Usain Bolt’s grandparents when a black bear came crashing out of the woods…

Snorkeling outside Thunderball Grotto in Staniel Cay

Snorkeling outside Thunderball Grotto in Staniel Cay

My favorite shot from Thunderball Grotto, taken by The Planet D

My favorite shot from Thunderball Grotto, taken by The Planet D

Staniel Cay, Exuma, The Bahamas. After cooling off in Alaska for a few weeks, I needed a tropical infusion, so with just a day at home to unpack the long sleeves and repack the bikinis, I hopped a teeny plane in Nassau and popped down to Staniel Cay for a press trip to the in-development EMBRACE Resort. Even though it was technically a work trip, I always feel such a huge sense of relief in The Bahamas. The vibe is so laid back and the water so calming and rejuvenating, even work is fun.

Orlando. I’ve been in Orlando half a dozen times this year, and it’s not just because that’s where the closest IKEA is! In August, my family popped down for a weekend at Blizzard Beach to celebrate my crazy little brother’s birthday. It’s altogether wonderful that even though we’re fully grown, our greatest thrill as a family is a trip to a theme park. (And to our family’s favorite restaurant  - OHANA, at the Polynesian Resort. THE BEST!)

Vader. I have a new nephew – a goofball black lab named Vader. So fun having a new addition to the family!

Vader puppy!

Vader puppy!

Lows

Health Drama. I’ve now had strep throat three times since Mother’s Day, and that’s just not normal. After my last dose of $100 antibiotics caused a reaction, I found out that it’s likely I have mono. This explains why I’ve felt so weak lately, and that’s actually good news. I was beginning to think I was either lazy or that this is what it feels like to get old, as I hit 1 p.m. and I need a nap so badly I can barely stand. I’m hoping that I’m on the tail end of it, because ain’t nobody got time for this.

I was also diagnosed with cervical kyphosis, which in my case means my spine is straight as a board where it’s supposed to be curved 45 degrees. This isn’t a new problem, but it is a new diagnosis, so hopefully now I can begin the slow and possibly painful process of correcting the issue.

Late Paying Clients. I’ve had around 10 PR/social media contracts this year and only one client has ever paid on time. The others have been around 60+ days late. I’ve probably spent more time chasing down paychecks than actually working on the projects. This is absurd. Though I am thrilled to be a freelancer, I will gladly confess that the part of corporate America I miss the most is the automated, consistent payments!

New Camera. I slapped down my credit card for a new camera for Alaska, figuring I’d need something a little less temperamental than my Canon G12 and with a little better zoom for snapping wildlife in Denali. So I bought the Olympus E-PL5 with high hopes but regretfully I haven’t found it to be all that great. I was disappointed with the lens that came with it, but didn’t have time (or money, frankly) to buy another lens to take along. So my Alaska pictures are just so-so. If anyone’s in the market for this model, I’d be happy to sell it to you for a good price.

Hard Drive Meltdown. If there was a Big Brother-style camera crew following me the day the <PANIC> message popped up on my laptop, I think I might’ve won some sort of award for most ridiculous technology related freak-out ever. I cried on the phone with Apple Support, and based on the guy’s reaction, it’s not the first time he’s ever had to play therapist. My local Apple Store squeezed me in for an emergency session with a genius, and four hours later, we’d saved all my stuff and wiped out my hard drive to start fresh. It was a scary moment in the life of this blogger, but one that had a happy ending, thank the Lord.

Love being home for family birthday celebrations!

Love being home for family birthday celebrations!

Lessons

Boundaries. I’ve been reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend and it has been incredible. I never realized how much I let others hijack my emotions and my time, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, mostly, and it really comes down to a lack of defined boundaries on my part. I’ve made some small but significant changes in the past month with friends and family and they’ve made all the difference.

Contentment. I’ve been a little melancholy since I officially put roots down in Florida a few months ago, because I haven’t found much community here. After reflecting on it for a while, I’ve come ‘round to contentment. I’m here, right now, for a reason, whether I can see it or not. And there are so many people – wonderful people! – in my life, I probably don’t ever need to seek new community. I just need to be more diligent and intentional in cultivating the one I have. Even if it’s harder because the community I’ve built spans a globe and every time zone.

Travel is Cheap. I knew this in my heart before I decided to go semi-nomadic with a car and an apartment, but traveling full time is so, so, so much less expensive than the life I’m currently living. And I’m hardly a big spender! It’s just always something – car insurance, new tires, doctor visits, antibiotics…. gasoline. (And those darn hundred dollar trips to IKEA and Target!)

If you’re currently traveling, enjoy these moments when money goes as far as you do.

Recreating magical Disney memories year after year

Recreating magical Disney memories year after year

What’s Next

We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Domestic Travels. At press time, I only have a handful of domestic adventures planned for the next 60 days… a jaunt to the Florida Keys tomorrow, Orlando for a huge project in mid-September and of course I’m speaking at the KEEN Digital Summit in Nashville in October. I’m hoping to slot a Caribbean weekend in there somewhere, but it may need to wait until things slow down later this fall.

Angie Away Under Construction. While I know Angie Away is in need of a cosmetic makeover, the funds for such reconstructive surgery are not in the bank at the moment. While I await the invention of the money tree, I’m updating the navigation & pages to make the experience more friendly and intuitive for y’all. If you have any suggestions, I’d happily accept them!

DIY Projects. DIY is my new passion and I’m hoping to turn it into a tiny side business as I complete my furniture rehabbing projects. I started a Facebook page to highlight all my finished products and I would love you to LIKE it if you’re feeling generous!

THE YEAR OF ANGE. Some goals are getting more attention than others, but by and large I’m making progress. Only four months left this year – what!?!

  • Lose 20 lbs. When all other ridiculous attempts to lose weight fast failed, I went back to what I know works for me – Weight Watchers. As of today I’m down 13 lbs. and I’m feeling very, very happy about it.
  • Write a book. Still under the impression my book will start writing itself…
  • Volunteer locally & abroad. I’ve got a plan!
  • Read 24 books. I’ve read three books during this 60-day period, which is my first actual attempt at hitting my goal. I think I have about 19 more to read this year to reach 24. Challenge accepted!

Completed Goals.

  • Get an apartment.
  • Find a new church.

So that’s what I’ve been up to in July & August. As always, thank you for sticking with me through my ups, downs, delays and general ridiculousness. You guys keep me going, and for that I thank you!

Exuma in The Bahamas. A MUST visit!

Exuma in The Bahamas. A MUST visit!

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9 thoughts on “Reflections From The Road | 32 Months

  1. Diane

    I love your updates. I’m going to check out the book you mentioned. And I like how you said that you’ll put your focus on the current relationships you have instead of trying to build a new sense of community in your new home if it just isn’t coming naturally. Gonna try to do the same ;-)

    Reply
  2. Alexandra

    The life of the semi-nomadic. What a frightening statement! I just bought a car but passed on renting a house committing to a year on Maui is just too much for me to handle. I think I need to semi-domesticate where I can at least take road trips! Glad to hear you are doing well. See you somewhere sooner than later I hope!

    Reply
  3. Lindsey

    ‘Still under the impression my book will start writing itself…’ I know EXACTLY what you mean. Good luck on the reading, hopefully it will fuel the writing a little.

    Reply
  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    You poor thing with the strep throat! I had it three time in less than a year and the doctors said that’s it, your tonsils are coming out. I refused. I started seeing an awesome Acupuncturist and we worked for month on my immunity. That was almost 10 years ago and I’ve never had strep throat again! I love traveling, but it sure wears our bodies down.

    Reply
  5. Alex

    Love these posts! You go girl with the Weight Watchers and I love this line — “Still under the impression my book will start writing itself…”

    Reply
  6. TammyOnTheMove

    You poor thing. I hope you health will improve soon. And damn those non-paying clients of yours. This is outrageous. Your voluntary plans abroad sound exciting. Would love to hear more about that.

    Reply
  7. Megan

    I just found your blog, and phew, I was nodding at so many parts of this post! Not only did your summer adventures sound super fun, but I always like reading personal updates like this on the blogs I follow :) my goal for the year was 50 books…and I think I’m at 11. Might need to reevaluate that goal…

    Reply

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