Since I left home last June on my Great Escape, I’ve been doing (very delayed!) monthly roundups. Right now I’m picking up the slack! As this blog 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. I also like to remind myself of moments, incidents and random thoughts that never made it onto the blog! You can read my previous roundups here: Month 1, Month 2, Months 3 and 4, Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, and Months 8 and 9.
Month ten of my Great Escape brought me back to my home state of New York for a too-short visit (they all are too short though, right?) It followed my longest stretch ever away from home and so there were a lot of emotions swirling around. It reminded me how much I love and miss both my home city of Albany and my adopted city of NYC, but at the same time gave me a great appreciation for my current traveling lifestyle.
Believe it or not, this was one of my busiest months of the year! Between the events that I came home to attend, the food I had been craving for nearly a year and the people I so desperately wanted to spend time with, I feel like I barely stopped moving between leaving Bangkok and arriving back a month later.
Where I’ve Been
• One week in New York City
• Two weeks in Albany, New York
• One weekend in Atlantic City
• One more week in New York City
• Attending Restless Legs, a travel writers’ gathering that was timed conveniently around The New York Times Travel Show. This was my second year of attending and I loved sitting in the basement of a cramped bar on the Lower East Side, listening to a famous author read their work, surrounded by people who share the same passions. Its an exhilarating feeling.
• Winning 10,000 Amex points, also at the New York Times Travel show! I was already having an amazing weekend meeting new blog friends and obsessing over travel, but winning a big prize made the weekend feel even more serendipitous.
• Speaking of winning, there is another prize I picked up this month that I had a lot more to be proud about: I won a grant from the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. This definitely tops out at one of the highlights of the year, and I can’t wait to use the grant to do my Divemaster Course. The awards ceremony was part of the Beneath the Sea dive show, the biggest consumer scuba event in the US. This was my second year attending and once again I enjoyed the sensation of being surrounded by people who share my obsession… this time for diving!
• Laughing till my stomach hurt in Atlantic City. I’ve gone on two trips now with this particular group of three of my high school friends, and I’ve learned it really doesn’t matter where we go… there will be hysterical laughter. So far we’ve hit up Las Vegas and Atlantic City, so following that pattern I can also assume there will be tons of gambling and copious amounts of alcohol.
• I always love that moment when my car/bus/train pulls into Albany and I see the downtown skyline for the first time. I can feel the tension just leave my body. Normally what I cherish about my time there is relaxing and embracing a normal routine, but on this particular visit I kept super busy. I visited my old Montessori school and gave a presentation about Thailand, and I participated in the madness that is St. Patrick’s Day in Albany. I love my hometown!
• On the internet front, this blog had its first lil’ ol’ giveaway of a giftcard to my favorite New York City travel bookstore! I decided to write a post about this odd literary genre and had a lot of fun traipsing around the city visiting the three remaining outposts.
• Well, this sucked: my computer broke. While I was able to save most of my data first, I lost some irreplaceable things: notes I had taken on my iCal throughout the past year, a few folders of photos that I didn’t have backed up, etc. My whole life resides on my laptop. It was heartbreaking.
• Coming home for a visit threw on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. What am I doing? How can I be apart from these people I love so much? How can I be homesick for Thailand when I’m in my birthplace, New York? Where do I belong? I haven’t figured out the answers to any of those questions. But as my Dad so wisely pointed out to me, I am young and I’m not supposed to have everything figured out yet.
While I had a major break this month in that I didn’t pay for rent (I stayed with friends and family), I probably spent double my monthly accommodation budget for Thailand on, like, bagels in New York. I make enough to live comfortably in Southeast Asia, but this month showed me what I knew all along… I do not make enough to support living in the US.
Month 11 would bring me back to Thailand and to some major life changes.
Sorry these roundups are so behind, everyone! I’ll be caught up soon!