Excuse my French but, Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé?
WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON RIGHT NOW?!
I almost feel like we’re living in a whole different world from the one I wrote about just 90 days ago. Did you know life could change this fast? Did you see any of this coming? I know I sure didn’t.
Here are some words and phrases new to me in the past 90 days:
- Social distancing
- Self isolation
- Community spread
- Flatten the curve
We’re in unprecedented times, y’all, so it goes without saying that this will be a heavier-than-usual edition of my quarterly update. I’m going to attempt to keep it short and try to avoid too much introspection, but you can access my daily updates here.
Now for goodness sake, go wash your hands, sanitize your mobile device and get ready: it’s time for Reflections from the Road | Vol. 42.
THE JET SISTERS GROUP TRIPS ARE LAUNCHED
Just in time for a worldwide pandemic! Womp. Despite this surprising development, I’m proud that we planned three incredible group trips to the Finger Lakes, Jekyll Island and Bath, UK. Our Jane Austen Festival trip is filling up fast, even with all the uncertainty.
To cut back on stress for travelers and us, we proactively postponed our Wine Weekend in the Finger Lakes and refunded our guests. I’m sad we had to postpone, but I know when we do get to travel together, it’s going to be extra incredible. We just have to wait it out.
Now’s as good a time as any to start daydreaming about when we can travel again. Check out our trips:
CALIFORNIA WITH RICKY
Rick left for a 3-week work project in Northern California on Dec. 2. It’s now Apr. 1, and he’s still not home! I’ll whine about it a bit in the Lows, but we did squeeze some adventures out of his one day off per week. There was no way I was going to go months and months without seeing him, so I popped out to visit twice in the first quarter of 2020. I got to visit Clearlake, Eureka, Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, San Jose, San Francisco and Monterey, and I added another national park to my roster with Redwood National Park.
It’s been an unconventional and challenging few months for us, but we’re making it work. For two people who hate talking on the phone, I think we’ve done a stellar job of staying connected in the weirdest time of our marriage so far. (Y’all pray for me with this new California beard, by the way. Send this man a razor!)
BACK IN THE NEW YORK GROOVE
I almost never get back to my old stomping grounds in NYC these days, so I get really excited about my annual trip to the Javits Center (yes, the one that’s now an emergency field hospital) to attend IMM (International Media Marketplace) and the New York Times Travel Show. Once again this year, I had the opportunity to speak with some of my favorite bloggers on how brands and creators like us can work together.
It’s always an exhausting week of networking, parties and speeches, and the confluence of my travel world and my old life in NYC can be overwhelming, but it’s really become an annual trek I look forward to. I’m especially grateful now to have had some time to wander my old neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen before March 2020 showed up and messed with my favorite city.
Despite the uncertainty of the times, wedding planning for Rae continues. She’s already tried on dresses and of course, she looks amazing in every single one. I think it’ll be easier to choose the perfect dress once they pick a venue and date.
The new fiancé and fiancée had an epic engagement party on the rooftop of the Aventura Hotel back in January. The parents finally got to meet one another, and Ben’s family is adopting me, no big deal. After the engagement shindig, we all went to CityWalk and had a night out for the history books. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment, but I’ll never forget singing YMCA and Sweet Caroline with my parents, brother and about 6 strangers on the boat back to the hotel.
The most fun I had all year, and in the nick of time! They weren’t kidding when they said Disney Cruises are incredible, and I’m so glad we ended up going. We were in the dining room when the captain announced that it would be the last cruise for a couple of weeks. It’s so crazy to think how everything changed in that moment.
Soon we’ll share all about our amazing trip including Marvel Day at Sea, the Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party and our lazy day at Castaway Cay. It couldn’t have been more perfect, and I appreciate the experience all the more given what’s happened in our world since. Keep an eye out for a video from the trip.
NEW EPISODE OF THE JET SISTERS!
April Fool’s! I mean, we did film a little episode but it’s not like, the real real deal with production value and a script and a sponsor. What can I say? We love what we do and we’re going to figure out a way to do it even if we can’t leave home.
If you like anything we do, your shares and likes and comments are more valuable than they’ve ever been. So thank you in advance for your support!
Recent Posts & Videos You Might Like (And We’ll Love You Forever for Clicking Around):
- Surprise! The Story of Rae’s Paris Proposal
- WFLA Morning Show: Why Kissimmee is the Best Place to Feel “Whelmed” on Vacation
- The Office Gifts Every Superfan Needs Right Now
- 20 Unique Hotels to Visit in Florida in 2020
EVERYTHING IS NOT AWESOME
I did not see 2020 turning out like this, did you? I guess I’m not much of a psychic, so we can forget that as a backup career if travel doesn’t work out.
Three weeks ago, we had a schedule so full of projects, I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to get it all done. Now? Everything is cancelled or postponed until at least August. Group trips, conferences, speaking engagements, new episodes of The Jet Sisters, content campaigns — all just on hold indefinitely. In case that sounds like a mild inconvenience, that also means the two of us aren’t getting paid at all.
We are hopeful that our projects will come back once we can all travel again. I’m learning to accept this new reality of not really knowing how things are going to play out.
I don’t often put the same thing in the Highs and the Lows section, but this time it made a lot of sense. Rick has been gone for four months, y’all. That’s too long for me by about 3.75 months. The time apart really made me appreciate the sacrifices military families make. I don’t think I could do it.
And it’s more than just being far apart; it’s the uncertainty of not knowing when he would get to come home, or if I should go visit, or if he’d still be in the same location when I arrived (spoiler: he wasn’t), or what we would do if he got the virus while he was there. It’s just been a heavy 90+ days on the marriage front. I’ve been looking forward to the day when he comes home (whenever that ends up being) so the season of uncertainty could finally end. HA.
GOODBYE, WEBSITE TRAFFIC
Rae and I have been working non-stop for several years to increase our web traffic, repairing old posts and fixing long-neglected back end issues. We finally got to a place where we were proud of ourselves and seeing real results, and then: COVID.
That dark blue line is our traffic from the beginning of March to the end, and the dotted line is last year’s traffic during the same time period. YIKES. No one is searching for travel right now, and for good reason. Since this is our actual job and not just a fun hobby, losing traffic and cancelling campaigns has some pretty serious financial implications for us. Our Airbnb occupancy has dropped like this, too, only there we’ve reached the actual bottom.
**I hope you know that we know that this not the worst thing to happen during all of this, but is a solid bummer for us. There’s a collective grief we are all sharing in different ways, so trust me, we know our work problems pale in comparison to those who are sick or working in healthcare right now.**
I’ve spent a ton of time in my life being chastised and feeling guilty about being a planner. I’m the gal who likes to know what the next steps are… 5-10 years down the road. So you can imagine how completely undone I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how I can fix this, or plan something, or work my way out of COVID-19. But the truth is, this is a dumpster fire I can’t work my way out of.
Not knowing what’s going to happen, when my husband is going to get home, if I’ll ever work again, if the business I’ve spent 15 years building is going to collapse along with the travel industry, if we’re going to lose our home or insurance or jobs, if someone I love is going to get sick… well, it’s easy to spiral with the what ifs if I let myself. So I’m taking it day by day, sometimes hour by hour.
I found this article super helpful: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief
You know how they say it takes rain to have a rainbow? It’s cheesy but it’s true, and I’m doing my best to focus on how incredible it’s going to feel when we can leave our houses. Getting on a plane had gotten so tiresome for me, but I know now that I’ll appreciate it exponentially when the opportunity comes again.
GRACE ON AISLE 5
You’re probably tired of hearing about the journey of self discovery I’ve been on – inadvertently – this past year or so. What I’ve figured out about the way I’m wired, as an HSP, and Enneagram 3w4 and an empath, has illuminated so much about why I do what I do. But it’s also shown me how everyone else in my life is wired uniquely as well.
I’ve got thousands of relatives, friends and colleagues who are all going through varying stages of anger, grief, denial, acceptance, etc. Everyone in his or her own way and on their own time. I’m trying really, really hard to see all perspectives and to understand why someone feels the way they do.
What everyone needs right now is ALL THE GRACE we can muster. I know that spending too much time on social media or watching the news is NOT helpful for me, so I’m limiting myself there. I simply cannot feel everyone’s feelings right now, and for the first time in my life, I feel like that’s ok. If that means spending less time on the phone with trying individuals, give yourself that gift. If it means gently suggesting (instead of angrily insisting) that friends stay home or stay six feet away, then we can try that, too.
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
2020 GOALS: REVISITED
Do y’all wanna laugh and see how God has been working on me to be ready for this whole situation? Let’s revisit a couple of my goals I listed in RftR | Vol. 41, just 90 days ago:
- Travel less. Take more meaningful, actual vacations and fewer work trips that require me to create constantly.
- Write more. Finish my book.
- Focus on becoming a foster mom and release my addiction to work and the validation it brings.
- Prioritize mental, physical and spiritual health over work, productivity.
My heart was already longing for a season of intentional rest before we got here. Obviously, I’d prefer we not be facing a pandemic, because it does look like we’re in for a gruesome couple of months, but God prepared me to find the silver linings in this time. Suddenly there’s this mandated space for some of the things I’ve desired that have not been available to me due to the pace of my life.
Just a few weeks into this whole new normal, I’m striving every day to put my faith in the right place.
- Do I believe that the government is going to take care of all of us in the coming recession/depression? Hard no.
- Do I know that I’ll have a career when/if we can travel again like normal in a few months? There’s no way to predict how/when travel might rebound.
- Can I make sure all my friends and family follow the right social distancing measures to ensure they don’t get sick? I’ve quickly discovered that grown-ass adults are going to do whatever they feel like doing, even in a public health crisis.
But here’s why I’m not freaking out:
- God has never failed to provide for me, so I trust that He will in this season, too.
- I’ve worked in travel since 2004. I’ve seen recessions and panic and travel has always bounced back. We are hopeful that will happen again.
- And even if it doesn’t. I’ll worship God anyway.
HOW CAN THIS BE GOOD?
I confess I’ve had some strong emotional ups and downs these past few weeks. I am mourning so many things… and as an empath, I’m also taking on wayyyy too many other people’s feelings. The knowledge that we’re only at the beginning of this has weighed heavily on me. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that things will get worse in ways I can’t yet imagine.
More than any time I can remember in my life, I know that I control NOTHING. I can’t control the virus, my industry or the economy. All I can control is how I react to this situation. So here are some questions I’m keeping in mind:
- How can I come out of this better on the other side?
- How can I be a kinder neighbor, a better relative, a closer friend?
- How can I come out of this healthier?
- How can I learn to rely on God more?
My instinct is to dive into work so I can distract myself from the scary unknown. Funny enough, I’m not feeling terribly inspired to write 10 Things to Do in Angie’s Backyard under the circumstances. Instead of fighting fear by becoming the world’s most productive person in quarantine, I am hoping to rewire some of my more unproductive behaviors in this forced downtime. I’ve still got plenty of work to do (albeit unpaid) and a book to write, so I won’t just be sitting around meditating, but I will be practicing active gratitude every day.
We know we have at least 30 more days of whatever we call this: quarantining, self-distancing, self isolation, lockdown. He’s got a plan and I’m here to be the arms and legs. So if there’s anything I can do for you during this crazy time, please reach out!
Here’s what I want to know. Where are you hunkering down? What’s it like there? Are people following orders or getting sloshed and making out on the beach like it’s the end of the world? Have you found a silver lining yet? We would absolutely love to hear from you!
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