A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
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!
- 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…
- 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.
- 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!
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 =)
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Thanks for sticking with me, readers!
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