Reflections From The Road | 240 Days

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tzu

Hello from sunny (rural, kinda dull, super hot) Florida! How’d I get here? It’s a long story.

The last time I checked in with a Reflections from the Road post, I was en route to Barcelona from Istanbul. After a couple weeks in Spain, I planned to meet friends in Paris and London, before deciding if I would head back to the US for a press trip, wedding and quick visit home, or if I’d move on to Cairo and get cracking on my Africa tour. The day Jen & I checked Running of the Bulls off the Life Checklist, my plans imploded spectacularly, as the best-laid plans often do. Paris fell through, London was out, the press trip was apparently not happening… and I was really tired of moving from place to place every night in search of cheap accommodations.

Though I never thought it would happen to me, especially not so soon, I had traveler’s fatigue. I was over traveling for the time being. I couldn’t be tempted by any destinations or attractions or activities to come out of my funk. I was blaaahhhhhhh, I was spending too much money and I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do next.

So, where’d I end up? With Jane Austen in the English countryside, of course, followed by a jaunt to the USA for beautiful wedding and some downtime. Details to come!

Ant & Nic in Barcelona- two of my favorites from the road!

Highs

  • I had such quality friend time the past two months! Orlando pal Jen met me in Spain. We shopped all over Barcelona, ate amazing pinxtos & churros y chocolate in San Sebastian and watched Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Such fun!
  • I ran into the lovely Michael Hodsen (follow him on Twitter @MobileLawyer) in San Sebastian while I was trying to figure my life out. He’s super. We also ate lots of pintxos and Skyped my family from a stoop in Old Town. Read his blog here.
  • I never knew when I left for this solo trip that I would hardly ever be solo at all. It was such a welcome relief to run into old (but new!) friends again and again along the way. I met up with my Western Australia pals (met in Ios), Nicole & Anthony, in Barcelona, London and New York. And, I got to see Amber (met in Thailand/Laos) again in Turkey and London. And I had the loveliest, dishiest Thames-side dinner with Hannah who I met in Mykonos a few months ago.
  • And then there was lovely Katie, an Ohio native who used to live with La La La Lauren in NYC before relocating to London for work. She graciously opened her home in Camden to me and I had the best time exploring the markets & skipping in Regent’s Park while singing Gershwin tunes.
  • I flew to London on July 14 specifically so I could watch the final installment of Harry Potter in English, in England. I am a super fan, and I am not ashamed. I also checked out Platform 9 3/4, Professor Slughorn’s house in the Cotswolds & Hogwart’s Great Hall in Oxford. SUPER FAN. JK Rowling is lucky I didn’t show up at her house in the middle of the night.
  • My eBook has been really well received & I’ve sold quite a few. Have you bought yours? (Would ya? I’m trying to get to Africa!) 
  • The Bath Spa was one of my absolute favorite parts of my Jane Austen adventure. I met sweet Australian Lisa at our hostel and we ended up spending four hours “taking the waters,” just like Jane did. It was glorious, and I felt like a new woman afterward. Maybe the Romans were onto something…

Up at the crack of dawn with Jen for Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

 Lows

  • There were some big dips in morale for a while there, especially in San Sebastian and in various rainy, cinematic locales in the English countryside. I learned that there are far more Mr. Wickhams in the world than Mr. Darcys, and Europe in high season is “le suck.” If I ever do get to write a book, and if you read it (signed copy of course!), you’re going to see that this adventure hasn’t been so much Eat, Pray, Love, as it’s been Earthquake, Milkshake, Heartbreak or Beware Of Men With Accents Because They’re Scoundrels Just Like Jane Austen Said.
  • Realizing that my choices aren’t the norm and there are folks out there (friends, family, psychotic weirdos from back home) who don’t appreciate my wanton independence. I’ve been ridiculed, verbally attacked, threatened and gasp, unfriended on Facebook! There’s some serious culling going on these days… and while that’s not fun, I think it’s necessary.
  • I was a bit disappointed with certain aspects of Running of the Bulls; um, particularly the “everyone-is-beyond-wasted-and-spraying-my-impeccable-white-ensemble-with-sangria-from-a-watergun” aspects and the “Spanish-fellas-are-down-to-grope” aspects. Ewww.
  • My disdain for hostels grew ever larger. I blame the random Australian teenager who puked all over the dorm at 4 a.m.

Lessons & Goals

  • No amount of disconnecting from the real world can tame the Internet-dependent workaholic inside me. Instead of trying to change who I am, I’m now accepting it and trying to channel all that energy into more effective money-making projects. I’m still taking on small PR clients & freelance writing jobs that pay, so send any takers my way. Interviews are happening, new businesses are starting up… there are so many opportunities. I’m excited about what’s to come!
  • Church Around The World is back! I hit up three very different churches while I was in England, so stay tuned for updates.
  • As a publicist, I had to be a massively detail-oriented planner, so this entire adventure has been a change of pace for me. While I didn’t have any trouble in Australia or Asia leaving planning for the next step until the last minute, Europe in high season would’ve been much less troubling had I put some effort into booking in advance. I’m putting that knowledge to use now as I look ahead to my October/November adventure.
  • I adore England. I loved it the first time I went to London, and the second… and now that I’ve seen even more of the country I’m that much more enamored. My literary tour of Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis & Shakespeare sites was exactly what I needed to pull me out of my travel funk. I may just have to spend more time there in the future!

 Hogwart’s Great Hall, or the dining hall at Christchurch College in Oxford

What’s Next

One of my life’s goals has always been to visit six continents (leaving Antarctica for later) by the time I turn 30. Africa and about 3 months are all that remain between me and the finish line. Is it going to happen? Stay tuned =)

I finally made it to Stonehenge!

PLEASE (I’m begging at this point) leave me a comment if you’re enjoying reading about my adventures so far, and if Angie Away has brought you any entertainment, please use the buttons at the top of the page to tell a friend or two.

Thanks for sticking with me, readers!

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  • September 01, 2011

    Angie, I LOVE reading your posts about your life and travel! I don’t usually comment, but since you asked us to today-I caved! I hope that you enjoy your time in Florida and cherish the time with family! Africa is waiting for you!! 🙂

    • September 01, 2011

      Hey! Great to see you here! Thank you for reading =)

  • September 01, 2011

    Keep going Angie, I enjoy reading about all your travels and am looking forward to hearing about Africa next!
    Good luck!

  • September 01, 2011

    Hi Angie! I found your blog through Google Reader and I really enjoy it, especially because you’re so honest about the good and the bad parts of travel. I really admire your independent spirit and sense of adventure and am taking notes for some of my own upcoming trips. Definitely keep writing! Best of luck!

    • September 01, 2011

      Thank you for reading! Glad to know I haven’t scared you off with the downsides =)

  • September 01, 2011
    Stephanie

    I LOVE reading all of your adventures! And, yes, I would buy your book about it if you wrote it (signed copy, of course lol). Keep on making me jealous!

    • September 01, 2011

      I will sign you up for a copy… now to get a book deal and write the thing =)

  • September 01, 2011

    Ang,

    You keep going! For each one nasty person, there are 10 of us cheering you on and wishing we had your courage, talent, and adventurous heart! Keep taking on the world because it is out there waiting for you arrival. I love you!

    Morgee

    • September 01, 2011

      Thank you for your encouragement =) I love you!

  • September 01, 2011
    Jossy

    I love catching up with your blog! Love your adventures! 🙂

    • September 01, 2011

      Thank you! Hope to see you at a game this fall =)

  • September 01, 2011
    Mom

    Love having you home. Keep your behind here.
    mom

  • September 01, 2011
    Erin

    Keep writing Angie – we love it!

    • September 01, 2011

      Thank you for reading all this time =)

  • September 01, 2011

    You always have such great posts. I always enjoy hearing about your adventures around the world!

  • September 01, 2011

    hi Angie! I’m loving reading all of your adventures here and on Twitter. I think what you’re doing is really great, and it’s been fun to read! I can’t wait to see what’s next

    • September 01, 2011

      I can’t wait to see what’s next myself, haha. Thanks for reading!

  • September 01, 2011
    amber sturtz

    love reading about your adventures when i get the chance! and of course, love catching up with you around the world…where should we meet up next?!

    • September 01, 2011

      I LOVE meeting up with you all over the place! Fancy a trip to Africa??

  • September 01, 2011
    Jordan S

    I love reading your adventures! I think your a great writer! Keep up the good work!!

  • September 01, 2011
    Nichole Mendoza

    Hey Angie. We met on a Cruise Whitsundays tour in Airlie Beach, AUS.

    I just wanted to say that I love reading about your adventures and it has truly inspired me. So much so that I am planning a move to OZ in January/February!!

    Before that big move, however, I am doing a girls trip with my besties to the Bahamas or Jamaica, I recall you worked in PR for the Bahamas. Do you have any suggestions for all-inclusives, preferably adult only 🙂

    Thanks. Can’t wait for your African adventures to start!!

    -Nichole

    • September 01, 2011

      Nichole – that’s awesome! I can’t wait to hear about what you’re going to be doing there. That’s great news! Email me at bigappleangie @ gmail dot com and I’ll let you know some good Bahamas tips!

  • September 01, 2011
    Michelle Lovell Helmer

    Love living vicariously through you! Keep up the spirit! …Go Gators!

    • September 02, 2011

      Gator Nation really is everywhere… I’ve run into Gators in the most far-flung places! Thanks for reading & encouraging me =)

  • September 02, 2011
    Samantha

    Love reading about your adventures and I particularly enjoy the Churches Around the World posts. Keep living the dream and I hope you make your goal of traveling to 6 continents!! Go Gators!

  • September 02, 2011

    of course you know that i read. and that the reflections posts are my favorite.

    8 months ange…i can’t even believe that you have lived the life of a traveling gypsy for 8 whole months. i’m so proud of you for chasing your dreams, for being so honest about your adventures and love how much you’ve learned about yourself along the way.

    no matter where your adventures take you, keep writing friend. you’ll always have an audience.

    love!
    lj

    • September 02, 2011

      I’ll keep writing even if it’s only for you, haha. We’ve got to keep each other updated somehow since phone tag doesn’t seem to be working…

  • September 03, 2011
    Jamie

    SO, it’s off to Africa next is it?????
    THAT should be interesting reading!
    Watch out for the Lions and Tigers and Hippos and Rhinos…….

    • September 04, 2011

      Yes! Looks like Africa =) I’ll keep you posted!

  • September 05, 2011

    Congratulations on making 8 months! Time sure flies…

  • September 06, 2011

    240 days–wow! I honestly can’t believe it’s been so long!

    • September 06, 2011

      Me neither! Also can’t believe I’ve now been home for over a month!

  • September 11, 2011
    Daryle

    I’ve read every single one of your posts. Keep ’em coming! Best wishes on your next adventure.

    • September 11, 2011

      Thanks, Daryle! I appreciate you reading!

  • September 13, 2011

    I cannot even explain how much I admire you for taking on these adventures! I am studying PR now and also have a ridiculous passion for travel, so your blog is beyond inspiring to me. Keep doing cool things… I bet you will never regret it!

  • September 20, 2011

    I have no idea how I stumbled upon your blog – must be the Bali trip. Despite being an Indonesian and having visited Bali often, I still adore the island and love reading others’ stories.

    Good luck on your travels – I have recently quit to do some travels too, thought instead of RTW, I’ll do my own backyard for the time being – having been to US, Europe, Australi/NZ – one needs to check out her own.
    backyard! All the best for your adventure.

    • September 20, 2011

      Hi Veny – thanks very much for reading! Bali was one of my very favorite stops on the trip. So wonderful!

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