Reflections From the Road | Vol. 19

Finding balance has never been my strong suit, even in the rare instance when life’s pieces seemingly fall into place on their own. If 2013 was a sweet, balanced respite on all three major fronts — Home Life, Relationships and Work — this year I’m experiencing much more extreme highs and lows. My living situation is excellent. I love my new apartment and having my little sister as a roommate – especially now that she has her own room! Our whole complex is like a hotel, so of course I feel right at home. And professionally, things have never been better. I’m working like mad, sealing deals, booking flights and planning for the next 6 months like a boss. You’ll see below that my HIGHS far outweigh LOWS, so I really have no response other than to be grateful.

On the relational front, things have certainly been better. (And spoiler alert! I know they will be again!) Here’s the update from the past 90 days…

Meeting Ruby the Giraffe at Busch Gardens during the PRSA Travel Conference

Meeting Ruby the Giraffe at Busch Gardens during the PRSA Travel Conference

Highs

New AngieAway.com. It’s here! If you hadn’t noticed, Angie Away has been revamped to be user-friendly, functional and oh so pretty! I’m extremely proud of the results. (If you’re in the market for a website or redesign, click here for contact info for my awesome designer Greg Gall.) What do you think of the renovations?

After the Diagon Alley red carpet - what an unforgettable night!

After the Diagon Alley red carpet – what an unforgettable night!

Diagon Alley. You’re a wizard, Angie! In 2010, I worked the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort. It was the best week of work I’d ever had, chock full of magic and roller coasters and sleepless nights and lovely colleagues and unbelievably down-to-earth celebrities and at times very hard, tiring work. One of the reasons I felt really at peace with leaving my PR job to travel the world was the feeling that my week launching WWOHP was so great, I knew I’d never top it with another work project. I’d hit the jackpot.

Love being back in the PR saddle! Clipboard in hand, of course.

Love being back in the PR saddle! Clipboard in hand, of course.

WELL. Lightning apparently can strike twice, because I just had the opportunity to launch Diagon Alley, Universal’s enormous and unprecedented expansion of the Wizarding World. I’ll write more about it soon… but yeah. It was just everything wonderful. A total career highlight. One of those experiences where you remember all the shiny, happy, fun moments and forget all the times you thought you might not walk again after being on your feet for 20 hours.

Harry Potter fans – make plans to get down there! Diagon Alley opens July 8.

Loved the Beach Boys concert- what a treat!

Loved the Beach Boys concert- what a treat!

Beach Boys. Weezer. Because I spent much of my young life at my Dad’s concerts, now as an adult I’m not really into big shows – BUT. I saw Weezer at St. Augustine Amphitheatre and the Beach Boys at Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando and just had too much fun dancing around. A little 60s nostalgia, a little 90s nostalgia. It was like reliving my teen years and my pre-teen years (Full House anyone?) all over again.

Enjoying the Weezer concert with Alex & Kristina

Enjoying the Weezer concert with Alex & Kristina

Little St. Simons Island. I spent two torrentially rainy days at the Lodge at Little St. Simons Island, and while the weather was pretty rotten, I actually really enjoyed the wild, untamed 10,000 acres. I met a HUGE alligator while biking in the woods, so that’s just about all I needed to be happy. Was it really less than 3 months ago that I was out there exploring on my bike in the pouring rain?

Top 100 Travelers to Follow on Social Media. I was surprised to be included on ChilliSauce.co.uk’s Top 100 Travelers to Follow on Social Media list with some of my favorite traveling friends. It’s not an Oscar or anything, but it’s always a treat to be recognized for years of hard work.

Lows

Ginnie Springs. See Wickham.

Wickham. Finding out in an all-too-made-for-TV-movie sort of way that your heroic and handsome Mr. Darcy is really a shady Wickham is not so fun. Kristoff is really a Hans. The Autobot is a Decepticon in disguise. (The hero is the villain, if you’re not tracking with my references.) I was in a fog for months as he “figured things out,” and recently, finally, the whole thing crashed into the ground. From past experience I know there’s blessing and provision in even the worst times. And I also know that I grow and learn the most when I’m feeling pulverized. So yeah, this is a growth spurt. The good news is I can already see the silver lining, and I know that anytime there’s sorrow, something really wonderful is on the way.

There are many worse things in life than this, and someday I might be able to write flowery words about what I learned and how I appreciate the good and leave the bad behind. Right now though, it’s just one foot in front of the other, one project, one deadline and one day at a time. (In the meantime, this unbelievable essay from Candice pretty much says it all.)

Chatting about travel on the WJXT Morning Show - did you see my segments?

Chatting about travel on the WJXT Morning Show – did you see my segments?

Lessons

Public speaking & TV appearances. If you’d told me I would grow up to be a mathematician, I’d be less surprised than if you told me I would actually speak in public voluntarily on a regular basis. Aside from cockroaches, public speaking is the one thing in the world that gets me in a tizzy. In the past three months, I’ve spoken at the enormous Jacksonville-based Generation W conference and the PRSA Travel conference in Tampa, and I’ve been popping up on morning TV in Jacksonville, too.

The crazy thing is that while I still get nervous – SO NERVOUS – for every opportunity like this, I am really starting to enjoy telling my story and sharing my knowledge. What IS this feeling? I am turning over a new leaf! And I have several speeches and conferences in the works for the rest of this year. Isn’t it a strange feeling when you surprise yourself?

A little pre-public speaking selfie never hurt anyone!

A little pre-public speaking selfie never hurt anyone!

Sometimes it’s ok to give up. I’m a giver. I forgive easily. I rarely ever give up on people or projects that I believe in. But I’m in the situation now where I have to let go even though it’s not in my nature to do so. It’s hard. But I’m doing my best. Sometimes it’s ok to give up.

Boundaries. Why does it always come back to boundaries for me?! With this new season in my life, I’m trying to find my footing and it’s really impossible when not everyone in my world is on the same page. What I need now is space, and you’ll see in the next few months that I’m going to get it by getting out of Dodge as much as possible. Travel to the rescue, as usual.

This giraffe doesn't know about boundaries either.

This giraffe doesn’t know about boundaries either.

Next Steps

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

Road trip! In 10 days, I’m going on an epic road trip sponsored by an epic brand with two epic passengers. I can’t wait to share details later this week. Watch this space!

Peace out. In the next 90 days, I have two countries and 5 states in the works — Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon & Washington, Costa Rica and Mexico. And I’ve purposely left some wiggle room for jaunts to Orlando, NYC and wherever else I feel like escaping, errr, traveling to.

And coming soon… so much more travel! The rest of 2014 is shaping up to be as exciting and jam-packed as any year before, so keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle and buckle up!

***

Thank you for reading & sticking with me for this wild journey! I couldn’t do it without you, so I hope you know how much I appreciate you being here all along the way. THANK YOU!

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COME AWAY WITH ME!
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  • July 02, 2014

    You have had some really cool experiences. I’m a HUGE harry potter fan so that would be the best day for me! Sorry about your not-so-mr.darcy :/

  • July 03, 2014

    Congratulations! 42 months is no easy feat and you’ve accomplished so much!

  • July 03, 2014

    You go girl! I am so darn bummed I missed you at that conference in Tampa but I think you are kicking ass and I love it. New site, tons of work, travel planning… you’ve got it going on! Yeah, the Wickham situation sucks. But you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you gives you great stories to tell at bars! xoxox

  • July 03, 2014

    Same! I’m terrified of public speaking but starting to enjoy it more and more with each talk…even though I spend the whole week before with my stomach in complete knots!

  • July 03, 2014

    Oh, the PR CLIPBOARD. Sometimes I miss that little accessory! But most of the time, I’m glad I gave it up. I LOVED watching your Diagon Alley experience unfold and am looking forward to reading about it. Great summary … and sorry about Decepticon. Letting go is good, and your attitude about it is fantastic. Looking forward to the next update!

  • July 06, 2014

    Wow! We can’t believe how busy your schedule was these past 90 days. Congrats on working, and escaping, so much 🙂

  • July 06, 2014

    Congrats on the 3.5 years! Wonderful to see your great journey!

  • July 10, 2014

    Damn, I love reflection posts! They always get me so fired up. And thanks for loving MY reflection post!

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