Reflections From The Road | 2 Years of Travel

It’s been two years since I quit my PR job in NYC and embarked on the greatest adventure of my life.

How two years slipped by me so fast I’ll never know. It blows me away every time I flip through photos from 24 months of wandering. The memories come flooding back and I realize just how many amazing people I’ve met and unbelievable stories I’ve heard and freezing cold airports I’ve slept in. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it!

And now, here’s an update on the past 60 days of travel..

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Hiking on the Na Pali Coast

Highs

Bali Hai. My 6-week Kauai adventure with my little brother continued with Halloween and the arrival of two friends from home, Scott & Cathy. We celebrated my birthday, picked avocados from our auntie’s farm, ate my signature fish dish, dubbed “Opah Gangnam Style,” saw a dozen massive rainbows (and freaked when they started to go double!) and hiked the Hanakapiai Trail despite my protestations. We ate well and rested well and just spent a mostly relaxing, active, pleasant time in paradise. And my word, was I ever tan! What more could you ask from a vacation?

My Halloween costume: Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

My Halloween costume: Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

One Day in NYC. On my mega-journey from Kauai to LAX to JFK to Madrid to Casablanca – WHEW, I’m still recovering! – I had a 12-hour layover in NYC. And do you know what I did? I went to Starbucks, ordered a venti chai latte and made a beeline for the best cheap mani/pedis in the USA. Then I had lunch with Bethany, birthday cupcakes with Erin and a hug on the corner from Neil, Hannah & Susan. It was such a sweet day and a nice way to break up an excruciatingly long journey. I really miss NYC and my friends who live there.

Intrepid Travel’s Morocco Experience. Well, the #AKAway Intrepid Travel trip to Morocco finally came to fruition, after many months of planning with my cohort Kirsten Alana of Aviators & A Camera. And out of thousands of entries, we awarded two trips to readers of our blogs. My winner, Marie-Eve Vallieres of Eurotrip Tips, was able to join us for the 15 day adventure around Morocco.

If I had to choose, I think I’d have to say that our sunset camel ride in the Sahara Desert was my favorite part of the trip, with beautiful Chefchaouen coming in a close second. Morocco was one of the most interesting countries I’ve ever photographed, and I can’t wait to share the colors with you!

Passports with Purpose. We did it! We raised more than $100,000 to build wells in Haiti with Water.org. Thank you so much to all who participated, most especially my awesome partners Tieks and Boingo. I have been so blessed to work with both of these great brands in 2012, and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring. I also gave away a year’s worth of free Boingo Wireless to one lucky Angie Away reader. Was it you?

Christmas at home. I’ve yet to miss a Christmas in Florida with Mom, Dad, Little Sis & Little Bro, and this year was no exception. We ate Mom’s delicious cooking and played with our new toys like the kids we’ve always been. And we dressed up in souvenirs I brought home from Morocco. My family is the coolest!

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Aladdin & two Jasmines

Lows

Ouch. Thanks to a massively stupid decision on Kauai’s Hanakapiai Trail, I’m now missing one big toenail and expecting another to pop off any day. I STILL HATE HIKING!

2012. The Year of the Hospital.  For all the wonderful travel opportunities and friends I’ve made this year, it has been an absolute nightmare at home, from my brother’s accident in January to the loss of two beloved family pets, to suicides, murders and miscarriages in the lives of extended friends and family, to my aunt’s recent admission to the hospital for rare legionnaire’s pneumonia. I have spent more time in the hospital this year than I ever have before. Still, my brother and my aunt both survived and that counts as more blessing than I can ever show enough thanks for.

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Pretending to be a Saharan princess

Lessons

Budget Rent a Car. STINKS. I got a notice well after I returned from my trip to Hawaii saying I’d be charged $75 for excessive sand left in my rental car. You can read the whole story here. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with how Budget fleeces its customers and I recommend using ANYONE but them for your car rental needs.

Get Back in the Box. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “What’s next?” Granted, that’s a pretty good question for someone like me who’s off exploring the four corners most of the time, but I gotta be honest – I don’t always know the answer! And I’ve felt some heat lately from friends who think it’s time for me to “get my life together” and “settle down” and “get a real job.” But guess what? I’m this way. I’m not wired for normal, average or regular. That should be plain as day by now, I think.

As long as I can afford to keep it up, I’m going to press on living this dream of mine – conventional or not. I am NOT getting back in the box. Not if I can help it.

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Dreaming up the next adventure

What’s Next

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

THE YEAR OF ANGE. It may be a bold move to dub 2013 the YEAR OF ANGE before we even get started, but what is life without a little roll of the dice? I was born on Friday the 13th, so I really feel like 2013 is my golden year. And y’all, I have every intention of rocking it. (Now if my relatives will just stop with the near-death experiences already…)

My extensive and well-thought out list of resolutions has me on track to lose 20 pounds, write a book about my adventures, volunteer locally and abroad, read at least 24 books and set up a more stable, permanent lifestyle for myself – at least for 2013. I know it’s going to be hard to top 2011 and 2012, but I’m game to give it a try.

Mapping out 2013 travels. I have no flights booked for 2013 yet. Not one! How scary is that?! There are a few destinations at the very top of my list – Peru, Cuba, Canada, Ireland & Scotland… but if 2013 is anything like 2011 & 2012, I’ll end up from here to Timbuktu by the time it’s all said and done. Maybe I’ll spring for a site like Latin America For Less to help me with Peru. I’m not so sure about the others just yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

Putting Down Roots? I’m buying a car! Ahhhhh! Who does that?! (Oh, everyone else in the USA except my strange little group of full-time traveling escape artist friends? Yeah….) I’m also heavily leaning toward signing a lease in the next couple of months so I’ll have a home base, but every time I think about it I get hot flashes and think, “What if I want to spend 6 months in Zimbabwe and I’m stuck with a commitment?!”

I don’t have any answers. I still haven’t figured out how to be Angie Away while also being Angie Right Here, Right Now. My conflicting desires to be everywhere at once are a constant struggle, pulling me in all directions. So 2013 is going to be an experiment in balance.

New travel tales! Coming soon… Europe, Kauai, Morocco!

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Most Popular Posts From the Last 60 Days

Mythbusting Angie’s Mysterious Travel Lifestyle

2012 Travel By the Numbers

2012 Highlight Reel – An Adventure Retrospective

Travel Industry Customer Service – Why Budget Rent a Car Won’t Ever Get My Business Again

Angie’s Holiday Gift Guide

Where to Stay in Kauai

Morocco in 9 Words

Exploring the Hanalei River Valley by Kayak

Bad Decisions on Kauai’s Hanakapiai Trail

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What do you think about my plans to get a car and an apartment? Is that CRAZY? And where should I pencil in for a 2013 visit? I’m open to suggestions, especially new places. Leave me a note in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

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  • January 02, 2013

    I had a lot to say about this but now all I can think is: CAMELS!

    I hope you bought the Altima. Pretty much everyone in my family owns one, and we love them.

    Lease? Wha? I need an email that tells me where! Stat.

    2013 = The Year We Travel Together Once More. There’s nothing more to say about that.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..In 2012…My Profile

    • January 04, 2013

      I haven’t bought it yet but I’m planning on it! Still looking for the perfect one. Never heard a bad thing about the Altima!

      Will email you about this lease business… and a million other things =)

  • January 02, 2013

    Not having any plans is kind of a good plan in itself! I’m the same way at the moment and while I am feeling slightly panicked about it, it’s good to know that the options are endless.

    I’m in the opposite phase to you though. I’m trying to get rid of a house and car! They’re only holding me back from my travels at the moment so they’ve gotta go!

    • January 04, 2013

      You wanna trade me your house and car? Might be a sweet deal 😉

  • January 02, 2013

    What a year! I have “plans” (lol) to go to Peru in like Sept-Oct time…. let’s do it together!

    • January 04, 2013

      I’m “going” over spring break with little sis… but like Kristin said, we need a sister extravaganza sometime this year. Let’s decide where to do a Baackes/Luna/Orth sis trip!

  • January 03, 2013

    I hope you go to Cuba! We LOVED our visit last year, and I have approximately one million posts about the country if you’re in need of some inspiration.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..2012 kind of rockedMy Profile

    • January 04, 2013

      I am DEFINITELY going to check out all your Cuba posts. Can’t wait to get there!

  • January 03, 2013

    A car?! Sounds like you will be spending a little more time at home than last year then! Definitely do Peru. It was amazing. I can give you some tips on what not to miss!
    Arianwen recently posted..A lesson in cocaineMy Profile

    • January 04, 2013

      I’m looking forward to your tips! We’ll only have about 10 days at the most, so it’ll be shorter than most of my jaunts.

      PS – saw your glass door breaking update! holy cow! glad you’re ok!

  • January 04, 2013

    I just love this, Angie. You keep me smiling when I think about the life of travel and telling tales… I’m so glad our paths crossed in 2012, and I hope they do again in the not-too-distant future. Praying that your next year is full of good and perfect gifts!
    Bethany ~ twoOregonians recently posted..DuskMy Profile

    • January 14, 2013

      Thanks, Bethany! We should catch up soon – I know you guys have a ton of new exciting things to talk about!

  • January 04, 2013

    I think it’s great you will have a home base! We have a home base (and two full time jobs we wish we didn’t have) but still managed to visit 25 counties last year. Can’t wait to see what you get up to in 2013 and I hope our paths cross again soon!
    Jennifer recently posted..Celebrating New Year’s Eve in ReykjavikMy Profile

    • January 14, 2013

      And you make it look easy! Going to TBEX or TBU ?

      • January 14, 2013

        I’m not sure. I think TBU starts the very day I get home from a month long trip in Canada and the US. It just depends on the location, but I hope to be there!

        Since I need to be in the US in April and May, I won’t be making it to TBEX Toronto. I really hope to be at TBEX Dublin, but October is just too far away yet.

        I’m a commitment phobe suddenly because an awesome opportunity *could* just come up!

  • January 09, 2013

    I love reading your adventures! I, too, struggle with the balance of how to be “settled” whilst being a professional vagabond. I think there’s a way to have a home base & still be free as a bird. With all of the AirBNBs, VRBO’s, sublets, you may be able to get PAID to be away AND have all your creature comforts upon return, if you fancy. There HAS to be a way!
    And as far as traveling & must-sees, must-dos, I have a magical, amazing Shaman in Peru. Javier. http://www.ayaruna.com/

    All my best to you!

    • January 11, 2013

      You make a great point about VRBO & home rental. There’s also the option to housesit – I know tons of vagabonds doing that. Thank you for reading!

  • January 23, 2013

    Lovely post. Just came to your blog via Alexin wanderland and I am so glad I did. You have had some amazing adventures. Sometimes not knowing what to do next is the way to go. I am not sure at the moment what I will do beyond April this year, but it is kind of exciting.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Travel Bloggers Best Dozen ProjectMy Profile

    • January 25, 2013

      Thanks for reading, Tammy!! Great to have you pop over from Alex in Wanderland. She’s awesome, isn’t she?
      Angie Away recently posted..Umbria Photo EssayMy Profile

  • February 05, 2013

    Great blog!! 🙂

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