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Since I left home for my Great Escape, I’ve been doing monthly roundups of my adventures filled with anecdotes, private little moments, and thoughts that are found nowhere else on this blog. As this site is not just a resource for other travelers but also my own personal travel diary, I like to take some time to reflect on not just what I did, but how I felt. You can read my previous roundups here: Month 1, Month 2, Months 3 and 4, Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, Months 8 and 9, Month 10, Month 11, Month 12, Month 13, Months 14 and 15, Month 16, Months 17 and 18, Month 19, Month 20, Months 21 and 22, and Months 23 and 24.

Toronto TravelsToronto

As I started to write my Month 26 and 27 recap, I realized that I never did Month 25. Whoops. One month in North America, no trans-continental moves? It sounds laid back but wow, was this a whirlwind period.

Last year I spent the majority of my summer stateside and decided to make it a general policy for myself — be home when it’s warm, bounce when the temperatures drop. However, Indonesia had other plans for me and so I tried to compress an entire summers’ worth of visits to family and friends within a six-week interlude between Southeast Asia trips. This month was a milestone of sorts as it kicked off my third year on the road.

Where I’ve Been

Three Days in Toronto / Canada

• One Day in Rochester / USA

• Eleven Days in Albany / USA

• Three Days in Philadelphia / USA

• Eight Days in New York City / USA

• Five Days in Miami / USA

Albany TravelsAlbany

Highlights

• Kicking off my third year of travel! When I set off all those many many months ago I could only have dreamed that I’d make it this far.

• Reuniting with all my blogging buddies at Travel Blog EXchange Toronto. This was my second year of TBEX and I left feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the friendships I’ve made with some of my fellow bloggers. Most people get to see their coworkers five days a week, but in a way I get to see my “coworkers,” if you want to think of all of us that way, just once or twice a year. This is such a crazy industry, and sometimes a lonely one. But there are so many gems, so many people who my adoration for knows no bounds. For one of those people to look you in the eye and get what you’re going through and say, “You know you’re one of my favorite faces at these things, right?” Well, that just melts my heart.

• Getting to see my big sis Margaret. TBEX’s Toronto location was perfect for me as the driving route brought my directly through Rochester, home to the younger of my two older sisters. I could only stay for one day thanks to a dentist appointment back in Albany but we managed to squeeze in plenty of bonding time in those twenty-four hours. This is two years in a row I’ve managed to make it to Rochester and I’d love to make it an annual tradition.

• Quality time in Albany. A variety of medical appointments meant that I had eleven solid days in my hometown — a nice chunk of time with which to catch up with my nearest and dearest.

• Spending Fathers’ Day with my dad. Traveling mean I miss a lot of birthdays and milestones and I have been a pretty negligent daughter for the last few Father’s Days. For this one I drove right to him, and we spent the day (and the next two after that) checking out his new home base in Philadelphia.

• Photographing Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. It took a lot to top “lounging around Dad’s new townhouse” as the highlight of my time in Philadelphia — sorry Liberty Bell, you didn’t make the cut. But Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens had me bonding with my camera deeper than we had in weeks.

• Falling back in love with my favorite city. Okay, this one is cheating, because every single time I’m in NYC I fall head over heels again. But this was a pretty great stretch. I got to finally meet Jess and Dani in person, go wild at a crazy Bang On NYC event, checking out the Renegade Craft Fair, and last but most certainly not least, attending my very first Mermaid Parade! My heart hurts every time I leave this city.

• Every single moment of Miami. I always had a sneaking suspicion that I would love this city and wow, was it ever confirmed by my inaugural visit. The whole trip was such a dream, from the people to the parties to the pristine weather, I don’t even know how to begin picking out a single highlight. And of course the fact that I was invited by Visit Florida to begin with was a huge honor. To go and be a voice for millennial travelers, and promote a state I love — what a job!

Philadelphia TravelsPhiladelphia

Lowlights

• The TBEX letdown. Okay, to be fair, Keystone was so fantastic it was probably nearly impossible to live up to. But this TBEX just didn’t live up to the last when it came to the quality of events. Additionally, the event nearly doubled in size and I felt very overwhelmed by the change. I went from feeling like I was part of an exciting movement and a close-knit group of wild dreamers in Keystone to feeling like an insignificant speck in an exploding industry in Toronto. I don’t want this to become a blog that talks about blogging. But let’s just say — quantity does not equal quality.

• Medical drama. I was supposed to have surgery this month but due to bureaucratic drama and the difficulty of scheduling doctor’s appointments, (I had three appointments in my eleven days in Albany, and two of them cancelled on me after I scheduled months ahead!) it got pushed back. Which meant more time to panic. Great.

• The Weather. My time in Albany specifically was marked by a series of rainy days. My mood clouds over as soon as the skies do, and I struggled through this period of endless grey.

• Running myself ragged. I really felt the grind of constant go go go in this month, where I was trying to do it all and see everyone and please every person. I ended up backing out of planned trips to Martha’s Vineyard and to visit a friend in New Jersey because I just couldn’t take any more movement. I wish I could have just taken my itinerary from this period and doubled the amount of time in each location. My workload and responsibilities and increasing but thus far I haven’t made the inverse adjustment to my travel schedule — and that, I feel, is a one way ticket to burnout.

New York TravelsNew York City

Budget

Things were looking rough income-wise in Months 23 and 24. Thankfully, the pendulum swung back up — hard — just in time for Month 25. My first consulting gig really paid off, as well as a return to normal land with my other income.

Thanks to unbelievably generous friends and family I didn’t pay for any accommodation this month, which helped offset the otherwise overwhelming cost of being in the USA. Panera lunches and gas tank refills don’t buy themselves, ya know.

Fitness

Fitness was a stable part of my life this month. In Albany I ran a few times with my friend Michelle, hit a Body Pump class with my friend Kristin, and did my usual weights routine at home while my dog Tucker supervised suspiciously. In New York City I stayed with friends who have a gym in their building which I made use of several times. And in Miami I got to work out with a personal trainer — my cousin!

Miami TravelMiami

What’s Next

My six-week stint stateside was followed by my return to Indonesia.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

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12 Comments...
  • Sally
    September 23 2013

    It’s always nice to come home, I’m home for 7 months till I head back to New Zealand (5 months to go!) but it always reminds you why you love travelling.
    Happy and safe travels for future months!
    Sally recently posted..Photos: Tonga

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      I actually wish that I was home a little longer this time. Six weeks really isn’t enough.

      • Sally
        September 25 2013

        It’s hard to know what the right amount of time is doesn’t it? I understand 6 weeks is short, for me seven months is too long and New Zealand is calling my heart home – if you ever head to the area be sure to make an announcement.
        Random question: have you ever thought of doing a reader meet up?
        Sally recently posted..Photos: Tonga

        • Alex
          September 25 2013

          I actually tried to do one once in Bangkok! I had tons of interest at first but when push came to shove it never worked out. Ah well, I’ve been lucky to meet up with readers one on one along the way!

  • Dad
    September 23 2013

    The Philly Chamber is miffed you did not cover the Liberty Bell….you will have to make amends on your next visit.

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      Wait in line for hours to see a big broken piece of metal? There better be a gift shop…

  • Getting to see you in Miami was so awesome!!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Banner Elk, North Carolina: Winter

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      It was! Such a special surprise 🙂

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    September 23 2013

    Hahah – always love when Tucker sneaks into the photos or commentary! That little dude is so cute!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Doing my part – a lionfish recipe.

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      I agree Rika! This blog need a lot more Tucker somehow…

  • Cycle Party
    January 29 2014

    Wow, 25 months! Indeed the Great Escape.

    • Alex
      January 31 2014

      I can’t believe I’ll be celebrating three years of travel this summer! Thanks for reading!

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