Reflections from the Road: 4.25 Years of Angie Away

So much has happened since January 1, I barely know where to start. I’ve had a photo shoot on one of the world’s top beaches in The Bahamas, checked out a former strategic WWII naval station in St. Simons Island, waved my wand at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, frolicked with giraffes at an African outpost… in Orlando, spoke to teens about social media behavior at a golf conference in Dallas, interviewed Evander Holyfield on the red carpet and had a beach barbecue with some of the most inspiring women in the business world.

All of that was wonderful & memorable & so exciting, but nothing quite topped my trip to Amelia Island…

Angie and Rick

Highs

Does this ring make me look engaged? Miracles happen! Rick and I were probably the least likely people to ever get married, and yet here we are, plotting our October march down the aisle. He proposed on the beach on Amelia Island on Friday, February 13. He picked out the most perfect ring and dropped to one knee and popped the question. Bless him, he was so nervous! It was very short and sweet & I said yes… eventually, after I determined he was serious. (There was some confusion.) Thank you so much for all your sweet messages – we are blissed out! (And if you’re wondering how we met, here’s the tale.)

Treasure Cay, Bahamas. A few weeks after I said YES, Rick & I traveled around in search of a destination wedding venue. We found the perfect place on a white sand beach in The Bahamas. Just wait until you see this place! There are swimming pools with swim-up bars, the prettiest turquoise water you’ve ever seen and all the conch you can eat. It’s pretty much heaven.

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Southern Living: Aw shucks, y’all! Southern Living named me to their Top 30 Bloggers to Follow in 2015 list. How sweet is that? Sweet as sweet tea! I was also chosen as one of 35 Kick-Ass Female Travel Bloggers by Susan Shain. Yahoo! After working my tush off for so many years, it feels good to get a virtual high five.

Alex in Wanderland Comes to Visit. Fabulous Alex (friend) has been an honorary Orth since she came to Kauai with Alex (brother) and me back in 2012. She stopped by Angie Away Base Camp for a few cold days in January, and we popped down to Orlando to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and spend a day visiting Universal Orlando and my little sister who’s interning with the PR team. Alex truly is a part of the family at this point and we love having her around! Here’s her recap of our Florida adventure.

The First Tee. I had the honor of speaking to 29 outstanding students from The First Tee program at their annual meeting in Dallas. I shared my travel story with them along with tips on how to use social media for good. File this for later use, but I have such a passion for helping teenagers navigate the tricky online world. I’m on the lookout for the right way to do this on a larger scale in the future…

Red Carpet Reporting for the Tim Tebow Foundation. I had just landed in Dallas for my First Tee speech when I got the call that the TTF needed a red carpet reporter for the annual Celebrity Golf Classic Gala the very next day. I rushed to the hotel, booked a flight home for 5 a.m., and shellacked my travel-worn face with a whole lot of concealer prior to the event.

Me & Evander, one of the nicest professional face-punchers you could ever hope to meet

Me & Evander, one of the nicest professional face-punchers you could ever hope to meet. Photo courtesy of the Florida Times-Union.

On top of interviewing my old pal Tim, I spoke with legendary fighter Evander Holyfield, new head coach for the Florida Gators Jim McElwain, former NFL player Eddie George, Heisman winner Cam Newton, fabulously tall former NBA star Artis Gilmore & UFC athlete Brendan Schaub and quite a few other athletes and performers.

Red carpet reporting with Coach McElwain

Red carpet reporting with Coach McElwain. Photo courtesy of Amie Beasley.

I can barely convey what a joy it was to work at this event. Most celebrity red carpets are puffed up and self-promotional, but every single participant I interviewed was there to humbly support Tim’s mission to show God’s love to kids around the world. The annual Golf Classic raises millions of dollars for charities like W15H, Timmy’s Playroom, the Tebow CURE Hospital and Orphan Care. It was a treat to be there, it really was.

St. Simons Island. I spent a relaxing couple of days on assignment at the beachside King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. Check out the story in Jacksonville Magazine.

Plentiful work. Between my PR projects with Generation W, red carpet reporting, freelance writing assignments, social media campaigns with brands, speaking engagements and of course keeping up with AngieAway.com, my work schedule has been chock full. Glory hallelujah!

Found just off the shore on Treasure Cay Beach

Found just off the shore on Treasure Cay Beach

Lows

Hair disaster. I went to my usual salon to get my hair highlighted the night before Rick proposed, and I left with gray, black, green, purple, brown hair — NOT blonde, which was my intention. I definitely had a bit of a meltdown. Thank the Lord my maid of honor (RaeRae, of course!) was there to hold my hand and dry my tears. The salon fixed me up the next day before my date with Rick, but gosh. I was a mess.

Money. I know better than to worry about money. God always provides for me, because I am faithful with what he gives me. But I’ll tell you what… planning a wedding, for a frugal woman like me, is just a new level of financial insanity. I know it will all work out, but it’s a daily exercise in faith to put the whole budget in God’s hands.

Now that I’ve been in my apartment for a year, rent & Internet went up. I love having a base camp, but there are days when I am wistful for the bill-free life I had as a nomad. No car insurance, no oil changes for the car, no electricity. Nomads, cherish the bill-free life while you can!

Pain in the butt. For the past two months I’ve had wretched pain radiating from my sciatic nerve. I’m attempting to sort it out with massage therapy, but it doesn’t appear to be working. It’s definitely causing me to lose sleep and sitting on a plane for longer than about 4 minutes is agonizing. I’m open to suggestions for how to solve this problem quickly & cheaply since I don’t have insurance.

No dress yet, but I have shoes!

No dress yet, but I have shoes!

Lessons

Patience. You’d think after waiting 33 years for the right guy to come along that I’d have this whole waiting thing down to a science, but I don’t. As excited as I am to revel in our engagement and all the parties and showers and fun that come along with it, I’m also just so ready to be married and live together and … be married. You know what I mean?

Cut the Complaining. It’s very easy for me to slide into whiny mode about this wedding planning issue or that. (see above) In reality, I’m so happy that I feel like I have to water down my excitement by shining a light on the not-so-fun parts of the process. That’s just dumb. If you hear me complaining, feel free to throw confetti at my face and tell me to hush up!

Treasure Cay is full of treasures

Treasure Cay is full of treasures

Next Steps

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

The voyage continues! Up next, I’m off to Canada, Turkey, Puerto Rico – and that’s just in the next 6 weeks. It’s going to be a very, very busy 90 days until the next Reflections from the Road update.

Wedding Groove. In the midst of all the travel, I’m also trying to enjoy every second of being engaged. We only have about 6.5 months to go until the big day and I think I’ve settled into this whole wedding planning groove now. The date, location, wedding party and photographer are set, which I think are the toughest parts. Next up, I have to pick a dress… to be honest, I’ve tried on a dozen and they all look pretty good.

I don’t know if it’s just me or if maybe I just haven’t found THE ONE, but they’re all fine. I have seen Say Yes to the Dress, and that show tells me I am supposed to cry and freak out when I try on the perfect gown. But… I just don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. Any suggestions, ladies?

Snorkeling near Green Turtle Cay

Snorkeling near Green Turtle Cay

Now more than ever, I want to thank you all and extend a big cyber-hug to everyone who’s been on this journey with me for the past 4.25 years. I wouldn’t be much of a blogger without all your support and views and shares, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for every single Tweet and Like.

So tell me… where are you going in the next 90 days?

COME AWAY WITH ME!
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  • April 01, 2015

    Congrats on everything, lady! You deserve it 🙂
    Susan Shain recently posted..Where I’m Going in 2015My Profile

  • April 02, 2015

    Congratulations Angie! Love your writing style, you are an inspiration.
    Very sorry to hear about your back issues. I’ve been there and know the torture. The only thing that fixed me was a good chiropractor. Now I just go about once a month for maintenance visits and no back or Sciatic issues for 14 years now. Hope you feel better!

  • April 02, 2015

    Congratulations to you and your fiance! I have been reading your blog for a while and it’s fun to find out your future plans. I have one suggestion for your back pain. It might sound a little new age and hipsterish but I have recently discovered Young Living Essential Oils and am a huge fan. All the oils have different uses but my husband and I love Pan Away for aches and pains. I don’t sell the stuff or have any personal interest but I strongly suggest you give it a try. I am sure you can find someone local who can help you get hooked up or I would be glad to answer any questions or put you in contact with the person who introduced them to me. Good luck!
    Jan Ross recently posted..Dining Our Way Around St. Simons Island, GeorgiaMy Profile

  • April 06, 2015

    I agree with you on the wedding stuff. I’m getting married in November and I’m frugal and amazed on how expensive it is. It only took my 45 minutes to pick a dress but I was at a trunk show and had a time limit. I would just try several dresses and see which one fits your mood more and makes you smile. Go with that.
    Alexa recently posted..5 Tips To Make Your 1st RunDisney Race MagicalMy Profile

  • April 06, 2015
    Janelle T.

    Love catching up with your comings & goings and reading about your wedding journey! Your perspective & faith is awesome and I pray for wisdom and peace for your upcoming decisions!

  • April 08, 2015

    CONGRATS again on your engagement! And a lovely round up post of so many amazing things going on in your life. I always love hearing the variety of jobs/ things you do.

    P.s. I got engaged too recently and got the wedding in 4 months! Blogger to blogger , woman to woman, and travel lover to another travel lover, isn’t it more easy than others make it sound? We decided quick too and can’t do destination wedding since mom can’t fly ( you’re lucky!)but we’re doing HoneyFund for our registery . we have more than enough physical items in our apartment and two storage units and thrive on travel and experiences so that might be a good idea for you too! Plus then its straight cash back and can help with some funding from people who gift early on 😉 I think on the dress that I’m gonna pick one out in one day and call iit a day , go back to thinking about the honeymoon more haha

    Cannot wait to hear about it in October!

  • April 12, 2015

    WOO! CONGRATS GUYS! Happy travels 🙂
    Sarah Lusby recently posted..Free things to do in AthensMy Profile

  • May 03, 2015

    Good on ya. You sound like you’re in a really good place, in every sense, with all the right people around you. And you’re aware of it – so you’re appreciating it at the time. That is no small thing.

    IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG SINCE UMBRIA. We need beers.

    And in the next 90 days? On an adventure back to Barcelona, via a £25 and 36 hour Megabus journey (the bus is the adventure bit, ie. “massive potential for life-enhancing misery”); various foolish trips around the UK’s moors, mountains and anywhere else I can spend the night in discomfort; anywhere else that my budget will allow. Kinda making it up as I go.
    Mikeachim recently posted..Turó de la Rovira: The Ghost Town With The Best View Of BarcelonaMy Profile

  • May 17, 2015
    Kerry Sims

    Hi Angie, congrats on your engagement!

    Your pain in the butt section rang true with me- I’ve been having pain down one leg when I sit down linked to my back for a few months- anyway after 2 weeks of pain killers helping but not fixing I’ve just been referred for physio- have a long email of web links of how to self treat the relevant trigger points if you want it let me know! Hopefully they’ll work!
    Kerry 🙂 @evanskerry

  • May 28, 2015

    Oooh now I’m rethinking my Tieks purchase. Love that pair!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..5 Things I’m Loving About Nashville NowMy Profile

  • July 02, 2015
    Christy

    Love your website, so happy you are engaged…now lets get on to the really important stuff – you losing valuable sleep b/c of your nerves. Life is not the same if you are exhausted and in pain. I just went to physical therapy (NOT massage) for something similar (I was getting “tazered” all night from nerve pain in my legs). Physical therapy has done the trick, BUT I had to try a 2nd therapist. She is AYSTEM certified. I just don’t want you to settle thinking all PT is the same. I do understand you do not have insurance, but please re-consider paying outright. You are a lovely, YOUNG woman with a life in front of you. I waited too long and it nerves can get out of control fast & they are notorious for taking a long time to heal. xoxox

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