I recently learned that some of my readers skip past the monthly roundup, thinking its simply a recap of info they’ve read before. Au contraire! My roundups are usually filled with anecdotes, private little moments, and thoughts that are found nowhere else on this blog. Month Twelve’s post was particularly juicy and poignant — if I were to do a roundup of roundups, it would be my best yet. Basically, if you didn’t read it then, do it now!
Month thirteen kicked off my second year of living as a blogger and most-time traveler. My first year was pretty unbeatable — I’m going to have a lot to live up to! But I definitely kicked things off with a bang. On June 9th, 2011 I was on a plane to Scotland, and on June 9th, 2012 I was in Philadelphia, watching friends from The Cayman Islands get married. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be on June 9th, 2013!
Door to door from Albany I was on the move for five weeks. This was a jam-packed month that took me two months to write about. In terms of my ongoing emotional rollercoaster this month had a lot of steps forward and some unavoidable steps back. But I started to get back in the place where life had more highs than lows, and that’s always a good place to be.
Photos courtesy of Heather Holt Photography
Where I’ve Been
• Two nights in Philadelphia
• Two nights in Denver
• Three nights in Keystone
• Four nights in Reykjavik, Iceland
• Three nights road-tripping the Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland
• Two nights in Manchester
• Eight nights in London
• And everything between in New York City!
• I kicked off my second year of nomadic life watching two dear friends, who I met while traveling, tie the knot! It made me think a lot about travel and friendship and what a crazy ride it can be. I met these people in The Cayman Islands, they visited me in Thailand, and here I was at their wedding in Philadelphia and planning a visit to their new home in Hawaii. At the ceremony a moment of pure thankfulness washed over me — I’m so grateful for this global life I live and the crazy people I’ve met along the way.
• TBEX blew my mind. Emotionally this was the highlight of my month. I really, desperately needed to do something positive for me, and this trip to Colorado did that. I connected with an old friend in Denver, and went on to make a bazillion new ones in Keystone. I was at a point where I really needed to be reminded of the goodness and kindness and fun-ness of people and wouldn’t you know, a conference of 700 travel bloggers was the perfect place to find that. I listened to inspiring speakers, I talked wanderlust with other travel lovers, I played wine fueled Jenga until the sun came up, and I felt a hope and excitement for the future that I hadn’t felt in a while.
• Iceland was a dream, and when I think about it a surreal music video to the soundtrack of Soley plays in my head — getting massages at the Blue Lagoon, partying in the streets of Reykjavik in full sunlight at 3am, seeing pure joy on my sister’s face while snowmobiling on a glacier, falling in love with a city so hard, seeing my mom smile one morning when we came across wild horses in a field, scuba diving in this crazy neon world.
• So, I can totally rough it like the next backpacker and usually I’m cheerfully happy to take the cheapest options when it comes to accommodation, food, and other travel expenses. But I must admit that I LOVE my (now hopefully annual?) trips with my momma, when I get to bask in some luxury. We stayed in beautiful hotels, ate in luxe restaurants, and got to do some budget-busting activities. I would never be able to sustain this kind of travel all year round, but for one week it’s such a treat. Thanks Mom!
• I WENT SCUBA DIVING IN ICELAND. I think that’s the kind of achievement that calls for suspension of the caps lock ban, don’t you? The water was freezing (literally), the drysuit made me feel like I was being slowly strangled, and I was sore for days from carrying so much weight. And yet it was a highlight. Why? Because I emerged from that glacial water feeling like a hardcore diver. Also, it totally looked like this under there.
• It was really fun to take a creative leap and make my first serious travel video! Iceland was the perfect subject. I love having little projects like this. Traveling is wonderful and one of my greatest passions, but I enjoy it most when it’s hand in hand with something meaningful or creative project.
• This month was full of variety! Due to the cost of air travel I tend to travel by land and hit one general area at a time, so it was fun to hop around and have tons of mini trips instead.
• A big lesson for my and one of the greatest highlights of all was realizing how many generous and wonderfully hospitable people I have in my life. It’s pretty easy to feel like a freeloading bum when you don’t pay rent anywhere and spend most of your nights sleeping on the couches, floors and beds of friends. But I try to remind myself that I’m only accepting the hospitality that I myself would extend warmly — and I can’t wait to pay it forward when the day comes. To those that have hosted me and made me feel like I am home — thank you, thank you, thank you.
• Learning about the plight of whales in Iceland — I hope you’ll read my plea.
• TBEX was super inspiring, of course, but it also made me realize I have SO MUCH to do to bring this blog to where I want it to be. And while I made a huge master list of Super Important Top Priority Items to Implement ASAP…. very few of them have happened. Blog improvement fail.
• Minor point, but packing is still so stressful for me, considering how frequently I travel! In my defense, this time actually was tough. I had to pack one bag with fancy wedding clothes, semi-professional conference clothes, warm stuff for Iceland, rain stuff for England, and summer-in-NYC-acceptable clothes for the rest.
• While in Iceland my sister and I had a mega jet-lag-and-general-sibling-conflict-fueled showdown that resulted in my dramatically storming around the streets of Reykjavik at 3am. I vowed to myself several times that she was dead to me and once the trip was over we would never speak again. Obviously that was a tad dramatic, and of course everything is fine now, but I really upset my mom and dampened some of our trip memories. I don’t know what it is about family and tempers, why is my fuse so much shorter with people I’m related to? Not my finest moment. Love you, sissy.
• I had an emotional meltdown in London. I’d love to blame it on the weather or my ho-hum feelings for the city, but it went a little deeper. I’m not going to go into it any more detail, so feel free to slap me on the wrists for vague-blogging, but I returned home to New York so thoroughly rattled it would be weird not to mention it here in what is in many ways my online diary. For the full details, you’ll have to wait for my tell-all book. Ha!
Again, this category is getting somewhat irrelevant now that I don’t track my daily expenses. In general terms though, I could not live this way for long! Even with my mom paying for the bulk of our Iceland trip, and my only accommodation costs for the month being a modest house share in Keystone, I spent a small fortune. If only I could give up eating and drinking — I’d be rich!
The rest of my summer would find me exploring my home country by visiting familiar destinations like Martha’s Vineyard, Myrtle Beach, and Niagara Falls. Stay tuned!