Reflections from the Road | Vol. 10

Life usually moves at a slower pace when I’m home in Florida, but not this time. I’ve been mega busy! Between flying through the air, swimming in a giant shark tank, spending lots of quality time with my family and eating way too much Southern food, you’d be surprised at how much work I’ve managed to fit in. Here’s a glimpse at what I’ve been up to for the past 60 days…

A literal and figurative high

Highs

NYC. Any trip to the Big Apple has to go in the win column. I was there 10 days cat-sitting for some very sweet friends in their Chinatown apartment. I walked miles and miles every day; went to Hillsong; ate at some of my favorite restaurants; visited my old office; caught up with some long lost friends and made a handful of lovely new ones. It felt so good to be home and to have some *me* time after the insanity of little sis’ graduation the month before.

Fun with Friends. A heap of former NYC friends converged on Atlanta to celebrate the marriage of one of our former cohorts and it was so much fun! Jamie and I have known each other since we were in a Bible study together in Atlanta. We both moved to NYC at the same time, became fast friends, and have been there for each other through all that comes with being a single twentysomething in a big city. It was incredibly moving to be there while she married the perfect man for her. God has been so faithful!

A few weeks after the wedding, my hometown girlfriends gathered for a surprise 30th birthday extravaganza for our pal Lauralee. The extravaganza included bowling and a comedy show featuring none other than Dustin Diamond, aka Screech Powers. Now that’s how you ring in the big 3-0!

Adventures. Turns out, I don’t have to travel too far to find some epic adventures. My brother and I checked out Trapeze High Florida just down the road from our parents’ house for a hilarious trapeze lesson, we spent a wet and wild afternoon at a waterpark with our Texas cousins, and when I was in Atlanta, I went scuba diving with whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium to celebrate Shark Week. It’s such a relief that the fun doesn’t have to stop just because I’m on a perpetual motion hiatus.

Starry night. My brother, who as you may recall nearly died in a gasoline explosion earlier this year, lived to see his 27th birthday – and that definitely goes in the high column! We celebrated with a trip to my family’s lake house with a handful of friends, my Dad and a few cousins. I never expected to have such a memorable night, but as it turned out, the Perseid meteor shower coincided with our visit. We dragged air mattresses and blankets to the end of the dock and watched hundreds of meteors streaking through the sky, all the while laughing, chatting and listening to Miles Davis. It was a perfect moment in time and yet another proof point that I don’t have to cross oceans to find beautiful adventures.

Work work work. I am so, so, so busy with work and it’s such a blessing! I couldn’t have planned it this way if I tried. Presently I’m doing social media consulting for a hotel, freelance writing for magazines and websites, PR & digital strategy for an advertising agency and of course, keeping up with everything here at Angie Away. It’s way more than full time, but it’s fun and it’s what I like to do, so I’m a happy little camper.

New stuff. After almost two years of buying almost no clothes, no shoes and no electronics as I saved for travel and then actually traveled, I finally made enough money to buy a few treats for myself, including a shiny new MacBook Air. It feels so good to have a new pair of heels and a few new dresses, too, after wearing the same stuff for months and months on end during my official RTW adventure.

My best girls from NYC celebrating Jamie & Jayson’s wedding

Lows

TBEX/TBU/Jane Austen Festival. Since I’m not speaking at either travel blogger conference in Europe in September, I decided to forgo my other planned September activity – the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. It doesn’t make much financial sense to pop back over the pond for more conferences since I’ve heard plenty of the speakers before, so one of my most sought-after bucket list items will have to wait until next year.

Rental property purgatory. My parents have rental properties scattered all over town. This usually has no effect on my life since I was smart enough to move away… now that I’m back and technically living with them, they think they’ve struck the free labor lottery.  This wouldn’t be an issue except that in addition to Tropical Storms Beryl, Debby & Isaac, we’ve also had a rental property perfect storm — all tenants have vacated at the same time. Now, I know I would never leave a rental any worse off than I found it, but apparently the rest of the folks in the world don’t play by the same rules. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time painting, cleaning, rehabbing, cleaning, tearing up carpet, choosing paint colors, scraping, washing windows, going to Home Depot and cleaning. People are slobs and rental properties are a stupid, annoying investment. Angie rant over.

Adopt-a-Slum. It’s still slow going. I’m still frustrated, but just thanking God for the folks who have helped. So many friends & family members have contributed, and so many perfect strangers! As of today, we’ve raised almost $2,000 – only another $1,000 to go and I swear I’ll quit talking about it. Who would’ve thought it would take so long to raise such a small amount?!

I got to dive here. How amazing is that?!

Lessons

Priorities. I never set out to find myself or have an Eat, Pray, Love experience during my travels, but I will say I’ve really defined my priorities so much more in the past 20 months since I quit my job. I have so much more clarity about what I want – from work life to what sort of friends I surround myself with. I don’t have everything figured out yet of course, but I will say I’m perfectly content not knowing where I’m going to end up.

I love my flexible work schedule (in fact I turned down two *real* job offers since I returned home) and not having to live under the weight of a lease. I don’t have to know what’s next or where my next paycheck is coming from or where I’m supposed to settle down. It doesn’t matter… I feel like I’m very much living in the present, and that’s all I ever wanted.

It may not be for everyone, but it sure is working for me.

Celebrating little brother’s 27th birthday

What’s Next

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

Kauai, Hawaii. I’m over the moon about my next scheduled adventure – a 6 week trip to Kauai! I’ve been a few times before over the years, so I know exactly how gorgeous, green and delicious it is, and I figured it’s the perfect peaceful place to spend my birthday. My awesome shark-punching uncle lives there (yes, he punched a shark in the face) and I just know that after a few months of work, work, work, Kauai will help me decompress, run on the beach, do some yoga and get a chunk of my book written.

Destination Unknown. I’m working with some fabulous brands on projects, partnerships and adventures for the fall/winter, so stay tuned for some big, big things on AngieAway.com. You might even get to come along on my next trip… excited yet?! Me too!

Holiday Gift Guide. The first annual Angie Away gift guide is coming soon to a blog near you…

Grown up decisions. If all goes according to plan, I think I’m going to buy myself a car for my 31st birthday. Look at me being an adult. Go Angie, it’s your birthday, we’re gonna make a responsible purchase decision fo’ yo’ berfday… just like 50 Cent says.

I’m open to any and all car make/model suggestions or warnings. I haven’t had a car since 2006, when I spectacularly crashed my Chevy Cavalier, so I have zero idea what I’m doing… I just want someone to say, Here is a nice, safe, cute car with all the bells and whistles and great gas mileage. I have taken care of all the paperwork and research. Now give me $15,000 and it will work forever and you will never have any problems. Is that so much to ask?

New stories! Coming soon… posts on Jerusalem, Prague, Berlin, Bratislava, Vienna, Rome, London, Umbria, Switzerland, Croatia, Ljubljana and Costa Brava. I could never travel again and still have more stories in my heart than I could ever have the time to tell!

The perfect spot for stargazing

Most Popular Posts From the Last 60 Days

Americans Abroad | Why We Don’t Travel (Or Do We?)

A Technicolor Trip Through My Travels | Red, Blue, Green, Yellow & White

Why Hostels Don’t Make Me Hostile

Shark Week Live from the Georgia Aquarium 

Trapeze School | Adventures at Home 

Why Travel Hasn’t Cured my FOMO 

For all my posts on Jordan, click here. 

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So, did you catch the Perseid meteor shower? Have you found any remarkable adventures surprisingly close to home? Has your uncle ever punched a shark in the face?

Leave me a note in the comments – I want to hear from you!

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  • Avatar
    September 01, 2012

    The son of a choir friend plays guitar at Hillsong NYC.

    • Avatar
      September 10, 2012

      Oh really? That’s one of my home churches in NY. Great place!

  • Avatar
    September 01, 2012
    Serone

    Miles Davis shared w / family and friends. Ok. Ain’t mad at yah. Excellent choice

  • Avatar
    September 01, 2012

    Great article Angie. I think it is so important to live in the present – Excellent message to your readers! I hope you enjoy Kauai. My parents are retiring there and Tony and I are spending 2 months there in December… We cannot wait!
    Meg at LandingStanding recently posted..Great & Inexpensive Resources For A Traveling EntrepreneurMy Profile

  • Avatar
    September 01, 2012

    Hi Angie, I haven’t been here for quite some time after I started following your blog back a year ago, and my goodness. What an adventure it has been for you. You have an envious life! 😉 A wonderful and fulfilling life from what I can tell. Love this story. Freelancing is tough (I’m there), but like you said, the flexible work schedule is definitely something to be loved about.

    All the best for your travels!
    Veny (@MissLaiLai) recently posted..A Dream of Getting Paid To TravelMy Profile

    • Avatar
      September 10, 2012

      Thank you! Good to see you back here =)

  • Avatar
    September 02, 2012

    I loved this post! You have learned more about life in 20 months than most people in 20 years!!! Kauai is one of my favorite places in the world, enjoy!
    Andi recently posted..Puerto Rico & Dominica: Day 1 + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Avatar
      September 10, 2012

      So true! It’s amazing the amount of life experiences and lessons I’ve learned in less than 2 years. I can only imagine what the next two hold!

  • Avatar
    September 03, 2012

    I really enjoyed reading this post, Angie. I am happy that you’re happy in the place you are right now, as that is all that matters in the end. Keep having fun and smiling x
    Hayley recently posted..Aussie Bite: The BIG East Coast Road TripMy Profile

  • Avatar
    September 03, 2012

    You have come back from your RTW trip.. and I’m just starting mine. Loved Florida when I was there.. I remember this one night my mates and I stayed overnight at this crazy Alligator swamp. Found an aligator parked outside a hut in the morning! Enjoy Florida before you go off travelling again.
    OutsideTheGuidebook recently posted..The famous Porto Francesinha – A full belly the local wayMy Profile

    • Avatar
      September 10, 2012

      Florida is crazy like that! Alligators and snakes and all sorts of creatures absolutely everywhere!

      Have fun on your RTW!

  • Avatar
    September 05, 2012

    Awesome that you’re enjoying just living in the present – I’m trying to do the same, and agree that it’s exciting!

    Can’t wait to see what’s next for you!
    Amanda recently posted..My Bulgarian BabasMy Profile

    • Avatar
      September 10, 2012

      Living in the present isn’t always the easiest choice… but somehow it always seems to be the best!

  • Avatar
    September 05, 2012

    hahaha! I can picture it now:
    UNCLE MAD! UNCLE SMASH!
    JUDO SHARK CHOP!
    christine recently posted..Wax Head in MontrealMy Profile

  • Avatar
    September 09, 2012

    love your blog Angie x
    Hopskipandjump.blogspot.com recently posted..I’m going up the country, babe don’t you want to come?My Profile

  • Avatar
    September 24, 2012
    Mom

    Yes, about Adopt a Slum, I thought about those 2 million people that preordered the I-phone 5 and probably don’t think twice about starving families……

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