Hello from MIA, where I’m on my way back from a Seabourn Cruise media event. It’s nice to get one more flight in before the end of Q3…
August, and the whole summer, slipped away like a moment in time, and here we are on October’s doorstep. A month that is little more than a tease for us Floridians. Sure, I’ve got pumpkins and gourds (two I grew myself!) and mums like everyone else, but it’s still beach weather around here. Nothing new.
Still, I’m crazy about autumn even though I never really get to experience it fully as a Floridian. It’s candy corn season! And swetta-weatha (if indeed you think 78 degrees is chilly like I do). And it’s football season, new and improved with the addition of the best songwriter of my generation.
I love football and always have. I grew up in the Gators’ heyday, you know? But I loooooove football now that Taylor Swift owns the NFL and put that nice Kelce kid on the map. I kid, I kid. But isn’t it hilarious to watch the bros melting down online? I’m enjoying those videos a little too much.
It’s been a melty hot 90 days so let’s get on with Reflections from the Road | Vol. 56 and on to the end of the year, shall we?
AAA MEETS ANGIE AWAY
Have you heard? I’m a podcast host now! I took over hosting Traveling with AAA in July and guess what?! I absolutely love podcasting! It’s been such a refreshing change from all the writing I do, and inviting all my traveling friends to chat is icing on the cake. There are six or so episodes out now and at least that many more to come through the end of the year. What an incredible surprise blessing this has been for me, and an unexpected turn of events.
Call me crazy… but I kinda wanna start another podcast to talk about, what else? Taylor Swift, bad travelers, BLTs, my dog and Jesus. That would be a hoot, huh?
IT WAS ALL YELLOW
I had the best time checking out Minion Land at Universal Orlando with one of my work besties and North Florida neighbors, Rob from 2TravelDads. The new attraction, Villain Con Minion Blast, is really fun. It’s unlike anything else in the park, and the themed food is amazing as always. Although there’s a lot of BA-NA-NA flavoring so if you’re not into that, maybe don’t get the popcorn. I get so nostalgic every time I’m at Universal. Seeing former colleagues and just wandering around the Wizarding World reminds me of little publicist Angie. Time sure flies.
NATIONAL PARK LOVE
Rick and I had a true adventure in Montana and Wyoming. None of this 5-star villa stuff. We got into the wil-der-ness! I’m still trying to figure out how to share all the tales – maybe that’ll come in the next newsletter? Every day was crazier than the day before. There was a motorcycle accident, Rick yeeted a chipmunk, accidentally crossed paths with a bison and killed an elk with his eyes. I ate the best chili I’ve ever had, acquired the coolest new rock that might be a diamond and became a Junior Ranger. Did I tear up while taking the oath? I mean… obviously. The whole trip was wild and I can’t stop thinking about it. National parks really have a hold on me.
If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Yellowstone / Grand Teton, I compiled our road trip itinerary here with suggestions on where to stay and eat.
BABY ON BOARD
Not mine! Don’t get any ideas. I am the proud 1st cousin once removed of a brand new bouncing baby girl. It’s such a joy having a baby around even if she mean-mugs like nobody’s business. It’s been a long time since we had any human babies in the family so thank you to Chris and Britteny for taking one for the team.
WHEN IT RAINS
Well we’ve had a hurricane in the last 90 days, and although it was mostly a non-event for Jacksonville, parts of Florida really got walloped. In addition, our pool pump and washing machine both went out, but not before we bought all the supplies to remodel the Airbnb bathroom and bought Ricky a shiny new grill for his birthday. Goodbye, money.
Rick and I have both had medical procedures out the wazoo this year, and those bills are rolling in like waves on the shore. And finally, at the end of July, we spent more than I care to think about remedying a situation that has wreaked havoc on our home for over a year. Can’t say much but if you know, you know. It was expensive, and at least on that front, worth every penny. Now let’s hope it sticks.
PASSION FOR PROFIT
One day over the summer while I was in need of some stress relief, I just started painting… and I haven’t really stopped since. After four decades of really screwing it up, I finally have a hobby that I not only enjoy but that I’m protecting from turning into a business. I’m not taking commissions and I’m not putting anything on Etsy. Y’all have to hold me to it!
THE GRANDPARENTS ARE NOT ALRIGHT
Not *my grandparents, per se. Just the general demographic that predominantly uses Facebook. I made the egregious mistake of typing “buffalo” on a video I posted about bison from Yellowstone. Now, bison was in the caption, too, but that meant nothing to the bison defenders of America. They were *pressed.* You’d be forgiven for thinking I was out there running the bison down with my car while shouting my love for Christopher Columbus out the sunroof. But no, I was just calling them… I dunno, a really common name that tons of people use? No explanation could soothe them. And I confess, I had a little too much fun talking back.
It’s the vitriol for me. The joy they found in *catching* me in a mistake. But the irony is there was never a mistake. I choose words purposefully. I am educated, and it would shock them to know I’ve actually seen *real* buffalo in person in addition to bison. But there’s no room for that. There’s no reading a caption. It’s just *gotcha!*
The lesson here is that controversy is good for the algorithm. In all these years of creating helpful content, I’ve never gone viral. All it took was a hastily edited video and using the word “buffalo” to get 1.5 million views on Facebook and counting. I absolutely hate conflict and it bothers me how so much content is created for the sole purpose of riling people up. But it sure works. And don’t the billionaires know it. Watch the original video over on Facebook.
JAG FICK TAYLOR SWIFT-BILJETTER
In other words, I got Taylor Swift tickets… in Stockholm! Rae and I decided to just try to get tickets all over the place and we landed ones in Sweden. It works out perfectly because neither of us have been there before and Europe is always a good idea. We’re formulating a plan that includes river cruising, a scenic train journey and possibly recreating some Mamma Mia moments in Greece. Send ideas our way!
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
‘TIS THE DAMN SEASON
Only 162 or so days until my book comes out… but who’s counting? It feels like we’ve been on this journey forever already, but the finish line is in sight. And if I thought writing the book was hard, oh no. Now comes the real challenge: selling it!
Buffalogate 2023 was good practice for this next chapter, because that was just one word people didn’t like. Just wait ’til they get a load of 80,000 about religion, sex, travel and issues. There will be so many people who love it and relate, and they’ll be drowned out by the same dudes in a tizzy about Taylor Swift ruining football.
Just about everything I’m working on from now until March will be book-related or at least launch-adjacent, and just a glance at my calendar is making me feel like I drank a 2-liter of Diet Coke for breakfast. I’m excited but also anxious for what’s to come. So if y’all have any words of encouragement for a girl who is literally just about to see her lifelong dream come to fruition and her fun, funny but really vulnerable, never-before-told life story go public… send them my way.
In the next 90 days, I’m going back to revisit some faves: Costa Rica for the 2nd time this year – that’s two weeks away so I should probably book it – and The Bahamas for the 2nd and 3rd time this year. We’ll celebrate the wedding of two of our favorite Jacksonville friends, I’ll turn 42, bake my annual haul of 1,000 cookies, wrap up my first season as a podcast host and God willing, do it all with minimal external drama. LOL. That would be a first, but I’m ever hopeful.
See you back here Jan. 1 for Vol. 57 of Reflections from the Road. Cheers to you and a successful, abundantly blessed Q4!
Question of the Quarter: Where is your favorite place to celebrate New Year’s Eve?
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