Reflections from the Road | 34 Months

Cheerio from London! I’ve just landed at LHR in advance of World Travel Market and am posting this edition of Reflections from the Road from a cafe at the airport. (p.s. Thank you, Boingo, for the fabulous WiFi – I would be lost without it!)

Though I never get used to paying the equivalent of $5 dollars for a cup of tea, I still adore this city. Secretly I think I want to be English or at least live here, as my DIY home decorating projects have slowly revealed.

Little hints in my apartment of my love for the UK

Little hints in my apartment of my love for the UK

No time to dilly-dally today, y’all. I’m off to walk these old streets, meet with a few dozen friends and soak up the history all around me. Can’t wait to be inspired like I always am. 

So here we go…the update from 34 months of travel!

A terrifying work project, to say the least!

A terrifying work project, to say the least!

Highs

Work up to my eyeballs. I have been so blessed with projects the second half of 2013. I’ve reached a point several times in the past few weeks where I’ve declared, “That’s it! No more new clients! And I’m taking November and December off!” But then some different, exciting or interesting opportunity comes along and I just can’t say no.

The workaholic I try to pretend I’m not just keeps trying to claw out… and I think, now that I’m a freelancer, I have even more of an excuse to allow such behavior.

Ah, well. I’m taking it while I can get it. You just never know when the feast will become famine once again.

Exploring Nashville on a break from the #KEEN2013 Conference

Exploring Nashville on a break from the #KEEN2013 Conference

Conference Chaos. I spent much of the past 60 days preparing for three conferences taking place in a two-week span. The first was the inaugural KEEN Digital Summit in Nashville, a conference geared toward savvy entrepreneurs and blogger types, masterminded by Kristin Luna from Camels & Chocolate. After road-tripping from Jacksonville to Nashville with my little sis, I spoke on a panel about Marketing to Millennials, which I’m discovering an ever-growing passion for. Turns out, my Millennial, entrepreneurial, flexible nature is the whole reason office life was such a drain on me. If I’d been able to make my own schedule or have a voice with management, I might’ve stayed in the PR agency world forever. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be!

In other conference news, since I decided a visit to WTM in London was an investment I needed to make this year, that unfortunately meant I couldn’t speak at the Generation Wow teen conference in Jacksonville – an extension of the Generation W movement started by Donna Orender. For the first time ever, 400 of the brightest high school girls from my town will converge and hear from leaders from all over the country. I didn’t want to miss my opportunity to share my insights on using social media the right way, so instead, I created a 10-minute video for the teens.

I should’ve known creating a video would be the long road, because I’m a perfectionist and everything has to be just so. 50+ work hours later, I submitted it… and it looks like there could be some really excellent results from my work, not the least of which is impacting teenagers to see the value in using social media as more than a place to make ugly faces and hashtag every emotion.

The Florida Keys. Most of my travel was strictly work and/or conference based in September and October, but I did manage to steal away to the Florida Keys with my Fella for a couple of days. It was his birthday and he loves to fish, so it seemed like the perfect place for a fast getaway…only it was much too fast, our fishing trip was rained out and frankly, the Keys require a more in-depth visit to really soak up the culture & the pleasant island vibe. Fortunately they’re only about 6 hours away by car… so we’ll be back.

Paradise in my own backyard - Islamorado in the Florida Keys

Paradise in my own backyard –  Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada in the Florida Keys

Lows 

I struggled to come up with any real substantial lows in the past 60 days. How wonderful is that? Hallelujah!

I’ve hit a plateau in my weight loss which has been frustrating, but it’s a first world problem and one I can remedy with some hardcore gym time once I get back from London. I had some more computer drama that resulted in another marathon visit to the Apple Store, but the geniuses saved me again and now I have a new external drive that’s solved the storage problems that have plagued me for years. I’m just thanking God for this time of calm & contentment!

Lessons

Accepting limits. I have started to come to terms with the fact that there is not enough time in a day, a week or maybe even a lifetime to complete all the projects I want to. I’m learning to prioritize little by little, but it’s certainly not been easy.

I have half a dozen businesses I want to start on top of everything I already do with the blog, freelance writing, PR & social media consulting projects, travel, etc. that I just know could be successful, but I legitimately can’t do it all on my own. I already have to force myself to have a work-life balance now that I’m a freelancer.

I know in my heart I don’t want a life that means 12+ hour days, 7-days-a-week, but I find myself taking on all the projects I find interesting… and then having no room for things like showering, grocery shopping, working out… or even just sleeping enough.

No one knows how to drive. I pray every day that God will give me the patience to manage these Floridian drivers, but I barely make it out of my apartment complex before the New Yorker in me is waving my hands in a rage. Do they not install turn signals in cars anymore? Why is everyone afraid to use them? Rawrrrrr! (Kinda thankful I’m taking a few weeks off of driving to use the Tube in London… I could use the respite!) 

Speaking about Millennials at KEEN

Speaking about Millennials with Kristin Luna & Sarah Unger at KEEN

Next steps

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

2014 Planning. For the first time in years I already have a pretty good idea of what the next year is going to look like. The first half of 2014 should be jam-packed with PR/social media client work. More to come about that later… let’s just say, it’s a reprise of a project I worked on in a past PR life. And I’m stoked about it!

I’m waiting to hear about an enormous travel project for the fall of next year, which, if it works out, will be quite the epic adventure. Really!

I’m hoping to redesign AngieAway.com early next year with better navigation and just general overall prettiness, so yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff in the works!

THE YEAR OF ANGE. The influx of projects has pretty much stalled all of my personal goals… but I’m hoping to eek out success by the end of this year. Only two months left though… ack!

  • Lose 20 lbs. I’m on a plateau but hoping to lose at least 5 more pounds by the end of the year.  That’ll put me pretty close to my goal.
  • Write a book. Not a word written so far. Um. I keep waiting for free time…
  • Volunteer locally & abroad. Working on it!
  • Read 24 books. I read one book in this 60 day period – Model Misfit by Holly Smale, the 2nd book in her series Geek Girl. It’s a fun, quick read and really cute, so check it out!

Completed Goals:

  • Get an apartment.
  • Find a new church. (And I LOVE IT!)

So that’s what I’ve been up to in September & October. Thank you for your patronage & your continued support & most especially, your encouraging comments! It’s always nice to hear what you think & where you are!

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COME AWAY WITH ME!
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  • November 01, 2013

    Lots of good stuff, Angie! I can’t wait to hear about this epic adventure in 2014…..
    Helen Anne Travis recently posted..The 5 Most Important Brazilian Portuguese PhrasesMy Profile

  • November 01, 2013

    I’m so happy I was a part of those Sept/Oct plans! And I hope you have a blast in London, then take some much-needed time off. Just talked to a gal today and gave her your name, so an opportunity for a near-to-JAX weekend away might land in your inbox soon 😉
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday: Nashville, TennesseeMy Profile

  • November 02, 2013

    Our paths just missed crossing in London! Have fun there!!! So great that you’ve been blessed with so much work.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Ask Andi Anything + Giveaway (Part 9)My Profile

    • November 02, 2013

      Ah! Seems like we’re always just missing each other!

  • November 07, 2013
    Jerry Winburn

    Great stuff Ange,Your Grandmother sent me the link, Have been Showing you off in Afghanistan,All My buds cannot believe you travel by yourself that much.Maybe we can meet up in Dubai or somewhere in the UAE.Ican take you shopping ,or to the tallest building in the world.Good luck on your adventures. Love from dodging Rockets in Afghanistan, Uncle Jerry

    • November 08, 2013

      Uncle Jerry! So good to hear from you! You might be my very first reader from Afghanistan =) Y’all be careful over there and keep dodging rockets. Will we see you at Christmas?

  • November 12, 2013

    Geez, that’s a very busy schedule! Even though it is stressful it is still a blessing to travel different places. Just take care of yourself and I hope we can hear so much more about your travel adventures next month and next year.

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