I feel like this is the first life update in a year where things are better, not worse. As absolutely horrific and scary and heartbreaking as the last update was, this one is actually a beautiful breather. Isn’t that life? It’s a constant battle to stay aware that God is working things for my good whether life is a hot mess or a victory parade.
This quarter, I filled my cup more than I’ve been able to in quite a while. I rode new roller coasters and spent quality time with my best friends, sang karaoke for the first time in years, networked (also for the first time in years!), filmed 20+ TV interviews in one morning, visited Utah for the first time, sipped Champagne on a luxury train, rode a horse (fun) and a Hummer (not fun). I don’t think I’ve been this busy since 2020.
Of course it doesn’t mean that bad news isn’t still there, lurking every time I dare check Twitter. But at least, for a moment, my personal life is more good than bad. All I can do is be grateful for the rest.
Put your hair in a ponytail and plop down in your coziest chair. This special edition of Reflections from the Road | Vol. 51 is here.
CHAMPAGNE ON A TRAIN
Y’all know how much I love the Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada. And great news for ‘Merica, we have our own scenic route now. It’s called Rockies to the Red Rocks and it’s gorgeous. I’m not sure there’s a better way to see the world. Read all about my trip on the new route here.
We had an overnight in the adorable town of Glenwood Springs, and you will absolutely not be able to guess who we ran into there. Here’s a hint: she’ll tell you what you want, what you really really want. You have 5 guesses.
So happy to be back on your TV! This quarter brought me back to Kissimmee to film a satellite media tour (SMT) on the rooftop of Reunion Resort. We filmed all morning, something like 20 TV interviews for Miami, Austin, Ft. Myers, Chattanooga, Charleston, Pensacola and beyond, plus some radio interviews thrown in. I absolutely love talking travel so SMTs are right up my alley. Did you happen to see me in your market?
Never have I ever been this excited about speaking at a conference. The 3rd (and final, womp womp) TravelCon took place in Memphis and it felt so incredible to be around my people again. I’m not the biggest hugger in the world, but I hugged the heck out of every one I haven’t seen in years. And Kristin Luna and I revived our long-running talk about working with influencers, along with Milton Memphis. And, for the first time in way too dang long, Alex in Wanderland and I sang karaoke. “Black Velvet” of course, how very appropriate for Memphis!
A few weeks later, Rae and I bopped over to IPW, a very different kind of travel conference in Orlando. I had some incredible meetings, I met an astronaut, I am excited about future Jet Sisters episodes, but I also had the best time hanging with my friends at the after hours events. We had Epcot and Islands of Adventure all to ourselves and let me tell you, it does not get any better than that. Rae, Rob and I rode brand spanking new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot and it was absolute pure fun. I can’t rave about it enough.
LONG ISLANDERS IN FLA.
Rick and I have been married almost 7 years, so I bet you will be shocked to know his family from Long Island has never come to visit us! We finally fixed that back in May when his mom, aunt and brother came to stay with us for a week. Our families haven’t really been together since our Bahamas destination wedding in 2015, so we had a lot of catching up to do. We had pool parties and BBQs, went horseback riding on the beach, spotted alligators and manatees and ate like 13 meals a day. (Seriously, there has never been so much food in the fridge.) We had so much fun and once I catch up on sleep, I’ll be ready to return the favor and go see them on Long Island!
GUESS WHO’S BACK? BACK AGAIN?
The virus who shall not be named just visited our family again. Oddly enough, we all came down with it within two weeks but none of us got it from each other. Everyone made it to the other side with no major issues from what we can tell. Thank God. It was a whole lot easier recovering without two foster teens in the house this time.
THE CDC SAYS DON’T DO THIS
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re vomiting uncontrollably, do not get on a plane. Like the guy next to me on my flight from Jacksonville to Denver. This was not motion sickness, y’all. This was full blown freaking ebola virus or something. Like… have we not learned that our choices affect other people’s health? Don’t travel if you’re sick!
SPOKE TOO SOON
And speaking of throwing up in public. My personal low of the past 90 days was probably when I made the very stupid decision to go on a Hummer tour of Moab and got motion sickness within 20 minutes. Did I throw up in a water bottle? Yes, I did. Am I proud of it? Actually, kind of. It took some skill. I begged the driver to let me out so I could just walk back to the hotel but he said some nonsense about coyotes or something so I had to stick it out. Three hours of hell. 1/10 do not recommend.
HIS NAME IS NO NO NO STOP
Skywalker dug out from under our new fence and I couldn’t find him for 30 minutes. I was driving around the neighborhood, screaming SKYWAAAAAAALKER out the window like a lost Star Wars fan on May 4, and just about to have a full blown panic attack when our neighbor called. He just wandered right over and made himself at home. Did I mention I caught him licking an electrical outlet the other day?
This dog, darling as he is, is constantly getting into trouble and taking years off my life. He reminds me so much of my brother as a kid, although my brother fortunately never ate my shoes or lizards.
Apparently the Lord is going to continue teaching me patience until my dying day. In a world where I can know anything RIGHT NOW or buy anything for delivery RIGHT NOW, there are still some things that you just can’t rush. Like a book deal… or the completion of my She Shed. I don’t think we’re much closer to finished than we were in the last edition, but I’m about 5 seconds away from hiring someone and paying them any amount of money just to get it done. I want to write in my Casita!!!
In the meantime, I’ll be here in my perfectly gorgeous and usable home office. What do you think of the glow up?
Side note: I finally got around to hanging some photos I got from the Poster Store. Art on the wall makes all the difference, don’t you think? Here’s a discount code for 35% off if you’d like to decorate your space this summer: ANGIEAWAY35. Valid from Jul. 1- 15, 2022. 35% off on prints only *excluding selection prints & 10% off frames.
MY LIFE IN WEEKS
There are so many wonderful things about being connected via social media. I never would have been able to travel the world without apps and a smart phone, and I certainly wouldn’t still be connected to all those friends around the world. And can you imagine this whole Panini hit 30 years ago, before we could just hop on a video call or instantly let someone know we’re thinking of them? That would’ve been insufferable, so I am grateful to live in the era of tech.
All the same, I waste way too much time doom scrolling. My life could be half over (or more, but I’m not going to think about that) and when I look at it like that, I want to spend the time I have doing so much more than consuming the Internet.
When I turned 40, I discovered the Life in Weeks concept and ordered a calendar to help keep me present and accountable to how I spend my time. When you color in the weeks you’ve lived so far, it really puts in perspective just how little time we have to do big things on this planet.
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
A NEW ERA
I can’t believe I finally get to say this but after so many years…. Just kidding. I still can’t tell you the news. Watch this space because an announcement is forthcoming. Eeeeeeee!
THE BLIND SIDE
Rick and I just got re-certified as foster parents, and we are starting to consider welcoming more kiddos in the future. I wasn’t sure if that was ever going to be the case given the challenges of the past year, but space has helped a lot. Now it’s just a matter of us being home, healthy and ready before we say yes again. Don’t hold your breath though. With the deadlines I’m staring down, it’s going to be more than a minute.
LOVE AND THUNDER
We had some incredible group trips planned for 2020, and we all know what happened to those. I’m starting to feel the urge to ramp up again and am considering a weeklong trip to Iceland in February or March of 2023. If you’re interested in going, slide into my DMs or drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to send you the info if I decide to go for it.
So the celebrity I ran into in Colorado was none other than Mel B. from the Spice Girls. How’s that for an incredible sighting in a completely unexpected place?! My inner 7th grader very nearly lost her mind.
You observant readers will likely notice several other celebrities in this post, from legendary travel host Samantha Brown to business boss extraordinaire Nicole Walters to Bruce Melnick, actual astronaut. And don’t forget all my famous blogging friends, 2TravelDads, Camels & Chocolate, Alex in Wanderland and Nomadic Matt. And RaeRae is there, too. What a wild, fun, blessing-filled 90 days. Thank you, LORD!
That’s all I have time for at the moment. Must press publish and get this out to you wonderful folks before I head to the lake for 4th of July weekend. I just bought Skywalker a life jacket this morning, so we’ll see how he likes lake life. Have an incredible weekend and an even better next 90 days. See you back here Oct. 1 for Vol. 52 of Reflections from the Road!
What’s the most amazing and wonderful news you’ve heard in the past 90 days?
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