It’s been two years since I quit my PR job in NYC and embarked on the greatest adventure of my life.
How two years slipped by me so fast I’ll never know. It blows me away every time I flip through photos from 24 months of wandering. The memories come flooding back and I realize just how many amazing people I’ve met and unbelievable stories I’ve heard and freezing cold airports I’ve slept in. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it!
And now, here’s an update on the past 60 days of travel..
Bali Hai. My 6-week Kauai adventure with my little brother continued with Halloween and the arrival of two friends from home, Scott & Cathy. We celebrated my birthday, picked avocados from our auntie’s farm, ate my signature fish dish, dubbed “Opah Gangnam Style,” saw a dozen massive rainbows (and freaked when they started to go double!) and hiked the Hanakapiai Trail despite my protestations. We ate well and rested well and just spent a mostly relaxing, active, pleasant time in paradise. And my word, was I ever tan! What more could you ask from a vacation?
One Day in NYC. On my mega-journey from Kauai to LAX to JFK to Madrid to Casablanca – WHEW, I’m still recovering! – I had a 12-hour layover in NYC. And do you know what I did? I went to Starbucks, ordered a venti chai latte and made a beeline for the best cheap mani/pedis in the USA. Then I had lunch with Bethany, birthday cupcakes with Erin and a hug on the corner from Neil, Hannah & Susan. It was such a sweet day and a nice way to break up an excruciatingly long journey. I really miss NYC and my friends who live there.
Intrepid Travel’s Morocco Experience. Well, the #AKAway Intrepid Travel trip to Morocco finally came to fruition, after many months of planning with my cohort Kirsten Alana of Aviators & A Camera. And out of thousands of entries, we awarded two trips to readers of our blogs. My winner, Marie-Eve Vallieres of Eurotrip Tips, was able to join us for the 15 day adventure around Morocco.
If I had to choose, I think I’d have to say that our sunset camel ride in the Sahara Desert was my favorite part of the trip, with beautiful Chefchaouen coming in a close second. Morocco was one of the most interesting countries I’ve ever photographed, and I can’t wait to share the colors with you!
Passports with Purpose. We did it! We raised more than $100,000 to build wells in Haiti with Water.org. Thank you so much to all who participated, most especially my awesome partners Tieks and Boingo. I have been so blessed to work with both of these great brands in 2012, and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring. I also gave away a year’s worth of free Boingo Wireless to one lucky Angie Away reader. Was it you?
Christmas at home. I’ve yet to miss a Christmas in Florida with Mom, Dad, Little Sis & Little Bro, and this year was no exception. We ate Mom’s delicious cooking and played with our new toys like the kids we’ve always been. And we dressed up in souvenirs I brought home from Morocco. My family is the coolest!
Ouch. Thanks to a massively stupid decision on Kauai’s Hanakapiai Trail, I’m now missing one big toenail and expecting another to pop off any day. I STILL HATE HIKING!
2012. The Year of the Hospital. For all the wonderful travel opportunities and friends I’ve made this year, it has been an absolute nightmare at home, from my brother’s accident in January to the loss of two beloved family pets, to suicides, murders and miscarriages in the lives of extended friends and family, to my aunt’s recent admission to the hospital for rare legionnaire’s pneumonia. I have spent more time in the hospital this year than I ever have before. Still, my brother and my aunt both survived and that counts as more blessing than I can ever show enough thanks for.
Budget Rent a Car. STINKS. I got a notice well after I returned from my trip to Hawaii saying I’d be charged $75 for excessive sand left in my rental car. You can read the whole story here. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with how Budget fleeces its customers and I recommend using ANYONE but them for your car rental needs.
Get Back in the Box. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “What’s next?” Granted, that’s a pretty good question for someone like me who’s off exploring the four corners most of the time, but I gotta be honest – I don’t always know the answer! And I’ve felt some heat lately from friends who think it’s time for me to “get my life together” and “settle down” and “get a real job.” But guess what? I’m this way. I’m not wired for normal, average or regular. That should be plain as day by now, I think.
As long as I can afford to keep it up, I’m going to press on living this dream of mine – conventional or not. I am NOT getting back in the box. Not if I can help it.
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
THE YEAR OF ANGE. It may be a bold move to dub 2013 the YEAR OF ANGE before we even get started, but what is life without a little roll of the dice? I was born on Friday the 13th, so I really feel like 2013 is my golden year. And y’all, I have every intention of rocking it. (Now if my relatives will just stop with the near-death experiences already…)
My extensive and well-thought out list of resolutions has me on track to lose 20 pounds, write a book about my adventures, volunteer locally and abroad, read at least 24 books and set up a more stable, permanent lifestyle for myself – at least for 2013. I know it’s going to be hard to top 2011 and 2012, but I’m game to give it a try.
Mapping out 2013 travels. I have no flights booked for 2013 yet. Not one! How scary is that?! There are a few destinations at the very top of my list – Peru, Cuba, Canada, Ireland & Scotland… but if 2013 is anything like 2011 & 2012, I’ll end up from here to Timbuktu by the time it’s all said and done. Maybe I’ll spring for a site like Latin America For Less to help me with Peru. I’m not so sure about the others just yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out!
Putting Down Roots? I’m buying a car! Ahhhhh! Who does that?! (Oh, everyone else in the USA except my strange little group of full-time traveling escape artist friends? Yeah….) I’m also heavily leaning toward signing a lease in the next couple of months so I’ll have a home base, but every time I think about it I get hot flashes and think, “What if I want to spend 6 months in Zimbabwe and I’m stuck with a commitment?!”
I don’t have any answers. I still haven’t figured out how to be Angie Away while also being Angie Right Here, Right Now. My conflicting desires to be everywhere at once are a constant struggle, pulling me in all directions. So 2013 is going to be an experiment in balance.
New travel tales! Coming soon… Europe, Kauai, Morocco!
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What do you think about my plans to get a car and an apartment? Is that CRAZY? And where should I pencil in for a 2013 visit? I’m open to suggestions, especially new places. Leave me a note in the comments – I would love to hear from you!
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