Good morning from mild, sunny London! Who would’ve thought the weather would be so perfect at this time of year? I decided to spend the next six or so weeks here after a month in the Middle East to have some down time and work on my book. Unfortunately, none of my plans for staying in one place have come to fruition, so in the midst of hotel-hopping and couch-surfing with friends, I haven’t even begun to think about writing.
To be perfectly honest, the past 60 days have turned my world upside down, so much so that I’m a little anxious about what the rest of 2012 has to offer. Here’s a recap:
The Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, Jerusalem
- My brother is alive and healing well! (See LOWS for details)
- I scheduled a connection in Atlanta on the way to Amman so I could have lunch with one of my favorite pals – Jamie. I have not had a chance to see her in person since I left on my RTW trip and wouldn’t you know, she’s gone and gotten engaged in the meantime. I turn my back for 5 minutes… I’ll be in Atlanta at the end of July to celebrate her wedding!
- Jordan! Petra! The Dead Sea! Sure, it was a social media consulting gig that brought me to Amman… but while I was there, why not see the whole country? It was even cooler than I expected – such a historically rich place. I visited the ruins at Jerash, dipped my toes in the icy Jordan River where Jesus was baptized, looked out on the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo, covered myself from head-to-toe in nutrient rich Dead Sea mud, slept in a tented camp in the desert at Wadi Rum and ate hummus for three meals a day. YUM. Can’t wait to tell you all about it! Here’s a preview… Petra, if anything, is under-hyped. I was stunned at how vast it was!
- When I realized how close Amman was to Jerusalem, I had to go. It was every bit as powerful and intense as you’d imagine. I can’t really quantify the whole experience in a few sentences, so I’ll just say I’m glad I was able to walk where Jesus walked and see what’s probably the most dramatic, contested, spiritually jarring location in the world. Another high from this trip: I stayed at a hostel I actually liked! (It’s Abraham Hostel in case you want to book it yourself.)
Floating the the Dead Sea
- I wrote about my little brother’s accident when it happened in January, but to recap: a gas can he was holding caught on fire and exploded. He had 3rd degree burns on 20% of his body. The first emergency room he went to sent him away without even cleaning his wounds and told him to drink Gatorade. By the time he came home about 8 hours later, he was badly dehydrated and going into shock. We took him to the burn center in Gainesville, Fla., where they admitted him for many painful scraping procedures, skin graft surgery and nine long days. Thank God I was there. For someone who travels 11 months of the year, I just feel very blessed that I was home at that moment and able to help take care of him and my mom, dad & sister during his time in the hospital. He came home on a Tuesday, moved into my bedroom at my parents’ house, and I packed up and left the next day for Jordan. God has impeccable timing! I wouldn’t have been able to leave if he was still in the hospital. It was hard to see him in pain (I don’t know what was worse – the initial burn, the subsequent hours without pain meds, the scrubbing and scraping he had to undergo twice a day before surgery, waking up from surgery in agony, getting the 400 staples out… I mean, how much can one kid take?), but I’m so impressed with his great attitude and resolve. I would not be half as friendly and upbeat in his situation. And now? He’s doing so much better! He’s even been able to go fishing which I know makes all the difference in the world to him.
- Though I’m 100 times more flexible than I was when I first started this traveling adventure, the past 60 days have really thrown me. My brother’s accident started the whole thing, and it’s been a bit of a domino effect ever since. No sooner can I make plans and sort my life out than I get an email that completely messes up the whole schedule and it’s back to the drawing board. That used to be ok, but now that I’m back to making money and budgeting carefully, it doesn’t fly. One of my clients has changed the dates for an upcoming engagement from February, then to April, then back to March. Needless to say it’s been difficult planning where to go while that sorts itself out. And I decided to stay in Amman for a while because I thought I had accommodations secured until Feb. 22, and I booked a flight reflecting that knowledge, but wouldn’t you know, the apartment was only available until the 11th. And so I stayed in Jerusalem a bit longer, wandering around the Old City. It actually turned out ok, but of course I would’ve done things differently had I only known. I hate inefficiency and money wasting!
- Per a friend’s recommendation, I signed up for the dating site OkCupid. What better way to meet people while living the life of a digital nomad…. right? WRONG. I’m strongly considering an out-of-the-travel-sphere post on some of the ridiculous messages I’ve received. Here’s a preview: “Damn, it’s a shame religion is such a big thing for you. You seem awesome otherwise.” Or this: “I’m looking for someone who wants their whole world to revolve around me, and their only measure of success is how well they have supported me and bared me many healthy children. Does that sound like you?” Ok, one more: “Marriage for money? I need a visa.” My brother thinks someone is playing a joke on me. I think it’s just my life as it relates to men.
- And I’ve been sick – almost Thailand sick, ever since Jerusalem. I don’t know what I ate or if that’s even it, but I haven’t been feeling well at all. A darn shame since I’m in one of my favorite cities in the world and I’d like to be gallivanting all over it!
Lessons & Goals
- Don’t play with fire. Well, that’s a lesson for my brother, but it applies to everyone.
- Don’t get water from the Dead Sea in your mouth or eyes. ICK and OUCH.
- Don’t hold on too tightly when riding a mule around Petra or the palms of your hands will bruise and you won’t be able to pick anything up for three days. That totally happened.
- Don’t make eye contact with guys in Jerusalem or they will attach themselves to you for the entire night no matter how bored or affected you pretend to be. There’s no getting rid of them! My favorite line from the guy shamelessly bothering me, “So are you going to write a story about how you kissed an Israeli guy tonight?” UGH.
I almost don’t want to say what’s next because I half expect everything to be the complete opposite when I check in with a Reflections from the Road post again. The theme of 2012 so far has been upheaval, so I’m just going to go with it. I anticipate hanging out in London a few more weeks, popping to Berlin for work and then making my way to Italy for TBU in Umbria. Whether my path follows that straight line or zigzags erratically remains to be seen.
Here on Angie Away, I’m making like Toto (music Toto, not Oz Toto) and heading to Africa… Kenya, specifically. Hope you like elephants!
And the last thing… I’m considering putting together a monthly email newsletter with more content, stories, photos and travel deals, but before I commit to it I want to know if you’re interested? No one wants more crap in their inbox of course, so I would take care to make it worth your while to read. But let me know… are you burned out on newsletters? Or open to a little more content from Angie Away?
Thanks for reading, commenting and virtually traveling around the world with me!
Did you “like” this post? It only takes one click to tell a friend all about it via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon or Google+, and I’ve made it SO EASY with all the little buttons at the top of this post. Sharing helps me stay on the road and to continue providing interesting content, so thank you in advance for your help!