Reflections From The Road | 14 Months In

Good morning from mild, sunny London! Who would’ve thought the weather would be so perfect at this time of year? I decided to spend the next six or so weeks here after a month in the Middle East to have some down time and work on my book. Unfortunately, none of my plans for staying in one place have come to fruition, so in the midst of hotel-hopping and couch-surfing with friends, I haven’t even begun to think about writing.

To be perfectly honest, the past 60 days have turned my world upside down, so much so that I’m a little anxious about what the rest of 2012 has to offer. Here’s a recap:

The Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, Jerusalem

 Highs

  • My brother is alive and healing well! (See LOWS for details)
  • I scheduled a connection in Atlanta on the way to Amman so I could have lunch with one of my favorite pals – Jamie. I have not had a chance to see her in person since I left on my RTW trip and wouldn’t you know, she’s gone and gotten engaged in the meantime. I turn my back for 5 minutes… I’ll be in Atlanta at the end of July to celebrate her wedding!
  • When I realized how close Amman was to Jerusalem, I had to go. It was every bit as powerful and intense as you’d imagine. I can’t really quantify the whole experience in a few sentences, so I’ll just say I’m glad I was able to walk where Jesus walked and see what’s probably the most dramatic, contested, spiritually jarring location in the world. Another high from this trip: I stayed at a hostel I actually liked! (It’s Abraham Hostel in case you want to book it yourself.)

Floating the the Dead Sea

 Lows

  • I wrote about my little brother’s accident when it happened in January, but to recap: a gas can he was holding caught on fire and exploded. He had 3rd degree burns on 20% of his body. The first emergency room he went to sent him away without even cleaning his wounds and told him to drink Gatorade. By the time he came home about 8 hours later, he was badly dehydrated and going into shock. We took him to the burn center in Gainesville, Fla., where they admitted him for many painful scraping procedures, skin graft surgery and nine long days. Thank God I was there. For someone who travels 11 months of the year, I just feel very blessed that I was home at that moment and able to help take care of him and my mom, dad & sister during his time in the hospital. He came home on a Tuesday, moved into my bedroom at my parents’ house, and I packed up and left the next day for Jordan. God has impeccable timing! I wouldn’t have been able to leave if he was still in the hospital. It was hard to see him in pain (I don’t know what was worse – the initial burn, the subsequent hours without pain meds, the scrubbing and scraping he had to undergo twice a day before surgery, waking up from surgery in agony, getting the 400 staples out… I mean, how much can one kid take?), but I’m so impressed with his great attitude and resolve. I would not be half as friendly and upbeat in his situation. And now? He’s doing so much better! He’s even been able to go fishing which I know makes all the difference in the world to him.
  • Though I’m 100 times more flexible than I was when I first started this traveling adventure, the past 60 days have really thrown me. My brother’s accident started the whole thing, and it’s been a bit of a domino effect ever since. No sooner can I make plans and sort my life out than I get an email that completely messes up the whole schedule and it’s back to the drawing board. That used to be ok, but now that I’m back to making money and budgeting carefully, it doesn’t fly. One of my clients has changed the dates for an upcoming engagement from February, then to April, then back to March. Needless to say it’s been difficult planning where to go while that sorts itself out. And I decided to stay in Amman for a while because I thought I had accommodations secured until Feb. 22, and I booked a flight reflecting that knowledge, but wouldn’t you know, the apartment was only available until the 11th. And so I stayed in Jerusalem a bit longer, wandering around the Old City. It actually turned out ok, but of course I would’ve done things differently had I only known. I hate inefficiency and money wasting!
  • Per a friend’s recommendation, I signed up for the dating site OkCupid. What better way to meet people while living the life of a digital nomad…. right? WRONG. I’m strongly considering an out-of-the-travel-sphere post on some of the ridiculous messages I’ve received. Here’s a preview: “Damn, it’s a shame religion is such a big thing for you. You seem awesome otherwise.” Or this: “I’m looking for someone who wants their whole world to revolve around me, and their only measure of success is how well they have supported me and bared me many healthy children. Does that sound like you?” Ok, one more: “Marriage for money? I need a visa.” My brother thinks someone is playing a joke on me. I think it’s just my life as it relates to men.
  • And I’ve been sick – almost Thailand sick, ever since Jerusalem. I don’t know what I ate or if that’s even it, but I haven’t been feeling well at all. A darn shame since I’m in one of my favorite cities in the world and I’d like to be gallivanting all over it!
Little bro the day he came home from the hospital 

  Lessons & Goals

  • Don’t play with fire. Well, that’s a lesson for my brother, but it applies to everyone.
  • Don’t get water from the Dead Sea in your mouth or eyes. ICK and OUCH.
  • Don’t hold on too tightly when riding a mule around Petra or the palms of your hands will bruise and you won’t be able to pick anything up for three days. That totally happened.
  • Don’t make eye contact with guys in Jerusalem or they will attach themselves to you for the entire night no matter how bored or affected you pretend to be. There’s no getting rid of them! My favorite line from the guy shamelessly bothering me, “So are you going to write a story about how you kissed an Israeli guy tonight?” UGH.

 What’s Next

I almost don’t want to say what’s next because I half expect everything to be the complete opposite when I check in with a Reflections from the Road post again. The theme of 2012 so far has been upheaval, so I’m just going to go with it. I anticipate hanging out in London a few more weeks, popping to Berlin for work and then making my way to Italy for TBU in Umbria. Whether my path follows that straight line or zigzags erratically remains to be seen.

Here on Angie Away, I’m making like Toto (music Toto, not Oz Toto) and heading to Africa… Kenya, specifically. Hope you like elephants!

And the last thing… I’m considering putting together a monthly email newsletter with more content, stories, photos and travel deals, but before I commit to it I want to know if you’re interested? No one wants more crap in their inbox of course, so I would take care to make it worth your while to read. But let me know… are you burned out on newsletters? Or open to a little more content from Angie Away?

Thanks for reading, commenting and virtually traveling around the world with me! 

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  • March 01, 2012
    Michelle

    Yes! I want a newsletter!

  • March 02, 2012

    Oh Angie… I could have told you OKCupid was not the dating site for you. Many of my friends in NYC use it and it is NOT the dating site for people looking for a long term stable relationship! I would love to read a post about your adventures with it though 🙂

    As for a newsletter… this is not related to you specifically in any way, but I just don’t get them. I’ve signed up for a few out of curiosity but I don’t really see whats in it for the reader, to be totally honest. I mean, I see whats in it for the blogger. But if I wanted travel deals I would go to Travel Zoo or something similar, and if I want more of the blogger hey are probably also on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m just not sure the appeal. I’m curious, as a reader what about them attracts you? That question is open to all, by the way!

    • March 04, 2012

      I’ve done Match & eHarmony before and never had good results. I think it might just be me though…

      And thanks for your feedback on the newsletter… I’m still pondering it but totally with you in many respects!

  • March 02, 2012

    I’m having an awful time with online dating right now, too! There’s a scary crop right now. I’ve had good experiences in the past. I am so, so happy your brother is ok. I can’t believe that happened. All thoughts his way for a speedy recovery!

    • March 04, 2012

      The online dating situation right now is really… something else. Never had so many insulting messages right off the bat! Oh well… back to the drawing board. Good luck on your end!

  • March 05, 2012

    Wow, 2012 has been an eventful year for you already, with extremes. Hope the rest of it is full of highs for you.

  • March 09, 2012
    Stephanie

    You don’t need a dating site, you just need your friends to set you up with someone. My boyfriend met his ex wife on a dating site…he met me by chance through his sister. So far our relationship has lasted almost as long as his marriage. lol

    • March 10, 2012

      Nice! I’d get my friends to set me up with people but it’s tough when I’m always on the road… some places I don’t have friends yet! I think I’m back to the point I always come to after a few weeks of online dating… the part where I swear off all men, haha

  • March 20, 2012

    Seems like you had an exiting adventure through in the past year. Love the floting picture in Red Sea

    • March 20, 2012

      It has been quite exciting! Thank you so much for reading!

  • August 17, 2012
    serone

    Lady Gator well this is about travel so you’re forgiven. Your post are good reading and for someone who is planning for a trip RTW my note from travel bloggers such as yourself will serve as my most reliable source material. Five continents forty months. So newsletters photos phone calls all will be of value. Especially the comments under highs and lows. Keep it coming and I’ll keep following. One thing though . “It’s all about the U” And online dating sites are minefields for perps. One more week until college game day. Safe Travels

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