Reflections From The Road: 30 Months

The past 60 days have caught up to the frenetic pace once was accustomed to as a NYC PR gal, and there’s no sign of a slow down as I zip through the summer. Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past two months and a peek at what’s to come!

One of many adventures in Queensland

One of many adventures in Queensland

Highs

Queensland, Australia. It’s been four years since Queensland’s Best Job in the World Campaign hijacked my life and ultimately helped me make the (best) decision (of my life) to quit my PR job and travel the world. I knew I’d never have the luxury of having enough time to visit far-flung locales like Australia while working at a PR agency, so I bailed!

To really bring it all full circle, I was invited by the same folks at Tourism Queensland to come check out the adventurous offerings in Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove. It’s no surprise, the trip was unbelievable, and I challenged myself to do some pretty wild activities that were all new to me – from Minjin swinging to jungle surfing to trike touring to river drift snorkeling to ATVing and more. I’ll be posting all the details here over the coming weeks and months, but if you need a fix in the meantime, check out my Facebook album.

Visit Florida! Being home in Jacksonville has given me such a perfect base to explore the rest of the Sunshine State. In the past 60 days, I’ve been to Amelia Island & Universal, Ginnie Springs with a huge Mother’s Day crew, Universal Orlando again to help open Transformers 3D – The Ride & Miami for the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party that took place at the Fontainebleau Resort this past weekend. In just the last two weeks, I’ve encountered Megatron and Optimus Prime, Al Roker, Steven Spielberg, Ke$ha, Jason Derulo, Krewella, Iconapop, Miley Cyrus and Pitbull. If 2013 started with a whimper, the past two months have shown up with a roar! Posts and pics with friends, food & celebrities coming soon. (To see the video of me riding Transformers with Al Roker, click here.)

Friendly Layovers. Lately I’ve been a little bummed when I reflect on the fact that I haven’t really connected with a ton of people now that I’m back in Jacksonville. I sort of expected to find a great community like I had in Atlanta and NYC, but the truth is, that’s been tricky. (See LOWS.) BUT, as a traveler, I have the luxury of dropping in on my friends all over the world as I pass through their towns. In the past few months, I’ve breakfasted with Chris in Brisbane, chowed on TexMex with Lauren in Dallas and ran into my old NYC roommate Kelly in Miami while hanging with Visit Florida at the Fontainebleau this weekend. It’s always such a breath of fresh air to reconnect with the people who know me best.

AFAR. I’ve recently been selected as an AFAR Ambassador and I can’t believe I’m only just now remembering to announce it! That should be a pretty good indicator of how insanely busy I’ve been the past couple of months. Check out my Ambassador page and keep an eye there for Highlights well before blog posts. (I’m just the tiniest year behind…)

Camping with family and friends at Ginnie Springs in Central Florida over Mother's Day weekend - a long standing family tradition!

Camping with family and friends at Ginnie Springs in Central Florida over Mother’s Day weekend – a long standing family tradition!

Lows

Oil change gone very wrong. Have you ever taken your car in for a routine oil change and had it stolen? No? Just me? There’s a great story behind this with a satisfactory ending, but I just about had a heart attack while it was happening. Post coming soon.

Strep throat. My gosh was I ever sick! Strep throat hit me like a freight train last month. I had a miserable fever for almost three weeks, and it took two courses of antibiotics and about $200 in doctor visits and prescriptions to finally kick it. I’m usually down to ride out any illness without a doc visit, but I knew this time the only way to get better was via RX. Wash your hands folks, and if you have strep – STAY HOME! Ain’t nobody got time fo’ strep. And ain’t nobody got money for uninsured doctor visits!

Dropkicking bad clients. Yet another client defaulted on paying me, though eventually after 60 days and the threat of legal action, they realized the validity of the signed contract. I just don’t understand how you can, in good conscience, sign a contract, receive the goods promised and then refuse to pay. What is wrong with people?

Helping to launch Transformers 3D - the Ride at Universal Orlando

Helping to launch Transformers 3D – the Ride at Universal Orlando

Lessons Learned

Greed & gluttony. I realized just how much my appetite for stuff has come roaring to life now that I’m officially only semi-nomadic. I was at H&M the other day and I wanted to buy everything I could see. I constantly find myself rationalizing why I need a new dress for every single occasion (I took four new dresses to Miami this weekend) … and I still have at least 3 at home with the tags still on. Before my RTW adventure, I was not much of a shopper, but being home with so many options and choices after having scrimped and saved for travel for so long, I’ve gotten a little carried away. I’m considering barring myself from buying any more clothes in 2013. Or for the rest of my life. I certainly have enough. (I need to stay OUT of Target.)

Missing community. While the past two months have been phenomenal for so many reasons, I’ve realized that many of the people who know me best are everywhere but here. To be fair, I do have several longtime friends in my hometown and I love spending time with them, but mostly they all have kids and lives and community of their own. And of course I have my family and my fella, and they keep me very busy, but it really is starting to be glaringly obvious that I don’t have that circle of gal-pals I’ve always had in other towns.

I wonder if it gets harder to start over the older you get? Moving to Atlanta and then NYC was easy because in big starter cities, you’ll always find pockets of people who’ve just moved and who are getting their footing at the same time. In Jacksonville it sort of feels like everyone who’s here has always been here and always will be and there’s no room for new or exciting or different. Maybe I’m just not plugged into the right spots. I’m still chipping away here and there, but I confess it’s slow going.

Getting excited for the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Getting excited for the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach

What’s Next

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

Alaska. T-minus 17 days until the big 50th anniversary trip with the grandparents. I’m planning to sit still (um, work my face off) until our road-and-train journey through the 49th state. They’ve been before but I haven’t, so they’ll be showing me the ropes in Denali, Anchorage and parts in between. Must find warmer clothes.

Bahamas. I’m going back to the place where my Bahamian love affair started – Exuma! Will be hosting a press trip with a client and a handful of other travel writers and bloggers on Staniel Cay. It’s only a quick 3-night jaunt, but I can’t wait to get refreshed in one of my favorite places in the whole world.

Finally finished my night stands!

Finally finished my night stands!

THE YEAR OF ANGE. Six-months into the Year of Ange and I’ve made headway on almost every goal… almost. Some items are taking significantly longer than I’d like. Here’s the update on where I stand with my biggest goals.

Lose 20 lbs. – I joined Weight Watchers and have teamed up with a couple friends who are in the same boat as me. It’s SLOW going, but I know WW works so I’m just being patient and counting my points.

Write a book. – Still haven’t started. Apparently I am under the impression that my book will magically write itself.

Volunteer locally & abroad. – Haven’t officially started, but I am considering counting all the cooking I do for my brother’s roommates. Those guys are almost as poor and helpless as anyone else I’d like to spend my time assisting!

Read 24 books. – Read Geek Girl by the darling Holly Smale. It’s a young adult gal book and so cute and smart and fun. Three books down… that puts me off pace by about 9 books. Eeeek.

Get an apartment. – CHECK! Loving it! And loving all the opportunities it’s given me for DIY projects.

Find a new church. – Regularly attending a church in Jacksonville but haven’t connected with anyone else who goes there strictly because I haven’t had time.

Oh yeah, and I went a little bit blonde!

Oh yeah, and I went a little bit blonde!

So that’s the topline update from May and June – what a whirlwind! As always, I couldn’t do any of this without your faithful readership, so thank you for sticking with me through the ups, downs, delays, imperfections and all! Leave me a note in the comments & tell me your biggest lesson learned in the past 60 days – I would love to hear from you!

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  • July 06, 2013

    Angie, you’re electricity is contagious and jumps right off the page! You made reference to a fella twice – so happy you found a special someone!

    On the gal pals front, I feel ya. I’ve been in Italy for a little over 4 years now and gal pals have been seriously lacking. I feel it the most, like this weekend, when Tim is away and I find myself just sad that I don’t have any friends to call up and go do something with.

    Anyway, you’re a woman with a plan and even though you haven’t started on some of those goals yet, I have a feeling you’ll accomplish them!
    Jennifer recently posted..Folegandros: The Authentic IslandMy Profile

    • July 08, 2013

      I think this lack of nearby friends is just part of the territory for gals like us! I’m really starting to think that this is just what it is and how it’s going to be. Given how many amazing women I know around the world – you included! – I think perhaps the lesson here is that I just need to stay better connected with the friends I already have!

  • July 06, 2013

    I absolutely love these posts, Ang! I’m proud of you for nesting so stylishly, being in a relationship that makes you happy, and starting Weight Watchers! Good for you for taking the wheel and making life happen for ya.

    • July 08, 2013

      Aw, thanks for the words of encouragement. It’s much easier to take the wheel when I have time to drive myself… if that makes any sense at all, haha. Easier to do all this while I have time OFF the road, is what I mean!

  • July 09, 2013

    I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely
    enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new stuff you
    post…
    Samui Resort recently posted..Samui ResortMy Profile

  • July 30, 2013

    Ugh to bad clients. Yay to a killer year–with even more in the pipeline!

  • May 26, 2014

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already
    😉 Cheers!

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