Nothing makes me chuckle like reading the last edition of Reflections from the Road right before I sit down to write the new one. You’d think I would learn that filling up every minute of my life with plans is futile and that I would leave a little wiggle room to go with the flow.
It’s been a surprising, exhausting and exhilarating third quarter! Let’s dive in, shall we?
So what do you do when the Today Show wants you to serve as a travel expert, but the filming date is during your long-awaited vacation? You cancel that vacation, that’s what you do. About five minutes after I published my last edition of RftR, the one where I talked about our exciting trip to Costa Rica, I got a phone call that changed everything.
One moment, we were booked to San Jose and the next, I’d cancelled it all to film a segment at Universal Orlando Resort with host Tamron Hall and her nieces. It was so much fun to do – y’all know I love showing people around Universal! More about the experience coming soon.
ROCKY MOUNTAINEER REPRISE
To cap off my year as a Rocky Mountaineer Ambassador, I returned to Canada with my Mom to experience the Journey to the Clouds route from Vancouver to Jasper. We ate, we hiked, we ate, we made new friends, we ate, we searched for bears… and yeah, we ate. That Rocky Mountaineer food is just too good!
And Jasper was absolutely stunning. The weather was perfect, we met tons of lovely Canadians and got our fill of poutine, for sure.
STORYBOOK GREAT BRITAIN #OMGB
I’m not sure there will ever be a more photogenic Jet Sisters trip than the one Rachel & I took in September in partnership with Visit Britain. As an avid Janeite, the Jane Austen Festival in Bath has been on my personal bucket list for many years, so to be able to participate with my sister was such a special moment.
And if that weren’t enough, we were invited to a vintage garden party at Highclere Castle and had tea with Lady Carnarvon, the real life Lady Grantham at the real life Downton Abbey. I can’t tell you how many times we uttered, “IS THIS FOR REAL?!” during that magical day. Can’t wait to share more!
FUN IN FLORIDA
And speaking of little sis Rachel, she graduated from the University of Central Florida, y’all! Many of you have watched her grow up from photo-bombing toddler to present day traveling companion, so I’m sure you are as surprised as I am that she’s a full-grown adult out there searching for a grown-up job. (I’ve tried to convince her to come work for me, but no dice!)
Also in Florida… we road-tripped over to the Gulf of Mexico to hang with friends in Steinhatchee, scalloping over July 4th weekend… Rick & I attended a beautiful wedding for our pals Anita & Stash at Casa Marina Resort & Spa in St. Augustine… My siblings, Dad, Rick and friends got together to see Flight of the Conchords at the St. Augustine Amphitheater… I spent a week at Universal Orlando with the #UORBlogSquad, a group of bloggers you just may recognize…
ANGIE IN THE NEWS
I haven’t written nearly as much as usual in the past 90 days, but quality overrules quantity every time! Check out my latest appearances and articles!
Mic – These World Wandering Women Will Inspire You To Blaze Your Own Trail
Travelocity – 3 Places to Pamper Yourself in Jacksonville
First Coast News – Negative Online Review Leads to Threats | TV Segment
Travelocity – 5 Places to Cool Off in a Heat Wave
Today Show – Travel Expert Angie Orth Shows Host Tamron Hall & Nieces Around Universal
Elliott.org – Bahama Beach Club Wrecked My Wedding — and Then I Was Stalked
In unexpected surgical news, I’m down one appendix since my last update. In true Angie fashion, I spent a whole day trying to spa my way out of a health crisis. Literally, I went to the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island for two absolutely magical treatments… though I’m sure they would’ve been even better if I wasn’t a little bit convinced an organ might be rupturing.
I actually have everyone on Snapchat to thank for me taking my symptoms seriously enough to consider a hospital visit. All the horror stories about extended hospital stays as a result of a ruptured appendix convinced me to tell my husband that I was hurting, and then of course he all-but-dragged me to the ER, while I proclaimed my perfect health en route.
I was admitted to the hospital and “observed” for three days. (The only thing I really observed was the bill skyrocketing as trays of clear liquids arrived in my room three times a day. But hey, what do I know?)
The surgeon said appendectomies were pretty easy and I could even leave the same day, so I was ready to get the surgery party started and get on with my life. It wasn’t until after the procedure that the nurse started talking about ridiculous concepts like “rest” and “taking it easy” for “WEEKS” that I began to panic. I’d factored in one day of downtime and now they were telling me it could take weeks or even months?! Having never been hospitalized, I just didn’t think about the reality of slowing down post-opp.
Alas, the surgery was Wednesday and I was scheduled to be in Orlando for an Instagram campaign Friday at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. With hospital bills looming, I wasn’t about to duck out on my work responsibilities, so I went… but between that trip and the visit to the UK 10 days later, I vastly overestimated my own ability to heal. It’s now been five weeks since the surgery and I still have some pain and limited activity. Still, I’m grateful that limited activity for me has included some of the most fun I’ve had in a while.
FAMILY FEUDS AND OTHER RELATIVE DISASTERS
Having a home base in Florida has so many advantages, but being in close proximity to familial drama is not one of them. I love my extended family and I have a heart to help anyone no matter how much trouble is self-inflicted, but that consistently puts me in an awkward position. I’ve felt more like an ATM, a therapist and a mediator in the past few months than I ever have, and it has weighed on me.
ADIOS, COSTA RICA
Even though we cancelled our trip to Costa Rica for an amazing reason, I had some serious wife guilt as a result. It’s one thing to live my wild lifestyle when it’s just me that deals with the ups and downs, but I was sad that Rick didn’t get to catch a Rooster Fish or get the rest that he really needs.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
If only appendicitis were the only health drama over the past few months… but no, I also found out I have bulging discs in my neck. I spent 6 weeks of this quarter in neck agony and nothing helped. Poor Rick had another kidney stone episode and my brother, the accident prone yahoo that he is, got in a wicked scooter accident and left most of his skin on the road. For Christmas, I’d like us all to show up in good health, without bandages and with our many hospital bills paid off.
Having to share our so-ridiculous-it’s-almost-unbelievable story over and over again in order to protect ourselves from evil men sucks. There’s just no other way to put it.
This is not how I imagined I’d tell my wedding story. We just wanted to get married, have a nice vacation with friends and family and slap our photos all over Pinterest like the rest of the Millennial population. No one wants to relive a crappy experience over and over, but that’s what I keep doing.
As much as it’s not fun to relive it, it’s the right thing to do. I can’t even count how many emails I’ve received from people who have been similarly cheated and scammed by the same pirates. Folks have had their homes taken, have been attacked while on vacation and have been dragged through the Bahamian court system for years with frivolous lawsuits by the same folks who think it’s ok to threaten me to take down my reviews.
There have been at least three other couples whose weddings have been affected by the people in charge at Bahama Beach Club since ours. I know that shouting it from the rooftops is the right thing to do, if only to let others in the same situation know that they’re not alone, and to prevent other brides and grooms from the same fate.
THE BALANCE OF LIFE
Writing these quarterly recaps is cathartic for me in so many ways. Looking at each quarter as its own microcosm helps me to find some balance in the highs and lows of life. For every painful moment there’s a corresponding euphoric experience or happy memory, all equally important in the grand scheme of God’s plan for my life. It’s not popular to think that God allows us to go through the hard stuff just the same as the fun stuff, but every experience leads us closer to Him.
DON’T LIKE IT? CHANGE IT.
I’ve heard more whining over the past few months about completely fixable situations, and it’s made me realize, some folks just don’t want to change. They want to whine about what hurts but leave all the solutions on the table. You are always just one decision away from a completely different life, and it really is jarring to me when folks refuse to see that. Life is too rich to waste it on being unhappy with circumstances you absolutely can control.
ALWAYS SEND FLOWERS
I always have the intention of being the person who sends flowers or cards when folks have surgery or a death in the family, but being constantly in flux and on the road has made that hard and sometimes easy to ignore. The friends and family who sent me cards, treats and flowers after my surgery made my heart so, so happy. Clearly, receiving goodies & words of affirmation are my love languages! So I want to be the one who goes above and beyond and sends flowers or even just kind words in the future, if just to brighten someone’s day up like so many did for me.
JUST SAY NO TO HASHTAG ACTIVISM
Anyone else feeling more distraught than ever with the state of the world… and less free to talk about it without getting into a heated argument? It seems like people are expressing opinions more frequently and more forcibly than ever now that social media has made everyone a publisher. There’s a lot of talking and hiding behind social platforms while still not doing anything to bring about positive change.
My training as a journalist has made me value fact-checking and I’m disgusted to see how much “news” is shared far and wide without anyone looking into the truth of it. Do people even read full stories anymore or is the headline the thing?
Perhaps the best way to deal with all of this is to shut up – and that’s what I’m going to do. Not that I ever talk politics anyhow. Even in the face of disasters and tragedies, I don’t want to feel like I have to come up with some perfect message or share just the right hashtag at the right time to convey my personal sadness.
Of course I’m sad when there’s a terror attack or a shooting; we all are.
We all agree something has got to give. It doesn’t seem like the hashtags or Facebook rants are fixing anything though.
I’m unfollowing people who stir the pot. I’m promising to be kind in all my written words. I’m not going to stand behind a banner or a hashtag and cut myself off from others who may feel differently. I don’t need to shout on the Internet or prove to anyone that I support this group of lives or that group of lives. I am in favor of all life.
I’M PUDGY, NOT PREGGO
I haven’t said it here on the blog but just so it’s out there in the public domain — we are not trying to have kids. If we do make a biological one, it’ll be a God-ordained surprise. So no need to wonder or ask or pat my tummy. I’m just chunky from stress eating, lack of activity due to my neck & (painful) abdominal surgery.
Thank God Regency dresses didn’t require corsets!
The Next Steps
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
1st ANNIVERSARY IN KAUAI
Rick and I are celebrating our one year anniversary in the place I now wish we’d gotten married in the first place – Kauai! We’re going to symbolically press reset, and if I can manage to heal up enough by then, have some epic outdoor adventures. I can’t wait to share one of my favorite places with my favorite person. (And y’all can come, too. Will be very active on Snapchat!)
I’m headed to Mexico with the Travelocity Gnational Gnomads for some tacos and tequila, and then Rick & I are planning a short road trip, either to Savannah or perhaps Central Florida. What do you think?
If I took the next few months off to rest, y’all would understand, right? Other than Hawaii and Mexico, I’m planning to take it pretty easy over the next few months to work on a couple DIY projects and preparations for a very busy 2017.
By the next RftR post, we’ll have a new president here in the U.S. and half our population will live in Canada, one way or another. At least there will be less traffic and hopefully less whining come January 1!
Tell me something wonderful that’s happened to you in the past 90 days – I would love to celebrate with you!