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I Have a Secret to Tell You

March 27, 2017

Travel SecretI have been keeping a secret from you all! It is something I mentioned to my Mom the other day, and she says she tells her friends all the time about it, so it is about time I share it with you.

For the first three and a half years of my life, I was an only child, and for most of my childhood, my Mother worked from home. It meant I could depend on Mom to be there whenever I needed her. If I got ill at school, she would come. If I forgot my homework, she would come. I knew that many kids didn’t have this great mom benefit as both their parents worked! Dad played a part in this dependency too! One time I had to have minor surgery on an ingrown toenail and I wouldn’t let the doctor do it until my Dad arrived. Although this was mainly because my Mom can’t stand the sight of blood and I didn’t want her to pass out on me!

The Impact

At this point, I am sure you are thinking, what does this have to do with travel? Well, all the dependency led to me having anxiety about sleeping away from home and homesickness. It probably wasn’t the only cause, but it certainly contributed. I remember being at a sleepover in elementary school and making my parents get me in the middle of the night. I don’t remember sleeping over at friend’s houses much after that. The event that really made it an issue though was I was at church camp one summer a few hours away from my house, and I had so much anxiety I made myself sick. This also resulted in my parents driving several hours in the middle of the night to come get me (after much begging on my part!)

Fast forward a few years and I decide to go to college that was a six-hour drive away from my parents. Now that I am older, I can handle being away from my parents, but the phone bills in college were epic. This is pre-cell phone days, so I easily had a $100 or more phone bill a month. While I remember it differently, my parents said the first semester was really hard on me. I think I am blocking it out of my mind.

A few years later, I moved to New York City. The phone calls continued, but now I had a cell phone and nights and weekends were free! But by then I only saw my parents twice a year at most, and I seemed to be fine.

More years pass, and I moved to a small Caribbean island for three months. I didn’t have a cell phone, and the internet was spotty. I didn’t talk to my parents every day, and occasionally I would get emails asking me to check in with them.

Do you see a pattern here?

And Now

Obviously now this doesn’t bother me much at all as I live over 8000 miles away from my parents. The phone calls continue and thank goodness for the internet! I talk to one parent or both almost every day, though.

I travel all over the world without any issues, and I am rarely homesick. I have no plans to move back to the United States anytime soon, and I love living abroad. Of course, I still have the moments of wishing I could be home, but that is mainly because I feel like I am missing out on things back home.

Some would say my parents did me a disservice by coming and getting me when I want to come home. However, I would disagree. My parents and I are extremely close as a result. The phone calls home are not quick 5-minute talks but can be an hour or more. It also means my parents never have to worry about where I am and if I am okay. I call when I get to an airport or when I arrive at my hotel. Even while sailing Greece last year, I managed to call them every other day or so. It also gives me peace of mind as my parents, like all of us, are only getting older. It is reassuring to me to hear their voices and know they are doing okay.

Why

Why am I telling you this story, it’s embarrassing, right? I am telling you to encourage you to travel. Fears can be overcome even if they take time. I now manage to live far away from family and travel everywhere I want to go. It has been a lifelong process, but here I sit in my apartment in Qatar telling you this story and planning my next vacation. My advice is always to start with a small trip and gain your confidence, then go on a bigger trip. Not only will you feel better about travel, but you will also learn your limits. There is nothing wrong with having personal limits, but you never know what you can overcome till you try!

Blog, Travel

It’s Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails

February 6, 2017

It's Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails“It’s not all sunsets and beaches!” I say this a lot even if my Instagram may seem that way! Lots happen when I or when you travel that we don’t share with friends or even family. While bloggers may be more guilty of this than others, I am sure we all don’t tell people when things go wrong on our travels. I am here to share with you my travel fails!

Losing my credit card in Rome

Outside of moving to Qatar, only my second international trip was to Rome. I had decided to spend my 2013 Christmas in Rome instead of returning home. To save on costs, I decided to rent an Airbnb and cook for myself. The first day I was there, I went to the grocery store since I knew they would be closed for the holidays soon. I used my credit card to pay. I felt rushed at the checkout and put my credit card in my wallet, but not in its slot. The next day, Christmas Eve, I discovered it was missing when I went to pay for something.

It's Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails

I decided not to freak out immediately. It was Christmas Eve and the grocery store was closed and was hoping it was still there. There were no strange charges on the card. However, I didn’t know that Italians celebrate a holiday the day after Christmas as well, so I had to wait till December 27th to find out the card was not at the store. A nice Roman woman helped me translate that I had lost the card, though. Apparently, someone found it on the street and threw it in the trash because there were never any unauthorized charges!

Visas

My inability to get my name correct on visas plagues me to my current trip to Sri Lanka! The first time this happened, I was applying for a visa to Turkey. The first time, I got my place of birth wrong. I said Texas, but my passport said the USA.  The next time I applied, I forgot my middle name. I had to purchase the Turkey visa three times before I got it right!

It's Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails

Apparently, I remembered all this when applying for my India visa, which was good because the form is like ten pages long! Sri Lanka continues with the visa fails as I forgot my middle name again! Fortunately, after panicking for about 24 hours, they emailed me back and said it was not an issue as long as the passport number and birth date were correct. Hopefully, this will be the last time I make this mistake.

Lost SD card/phone

Somewhere in Turkey is my SD card of all my pictures of Rome on it! Somehow, the SD card fell out of my camera case in Istanbul. I was disappointed but was glad I had downloaded them already.

I also managed to leave my phone in a restaurant bathroom in Istanbul, but my faith in humanity continues as the cleaning man left it at the hotel front desk!

Realizing how bad my early photos are while writing this blog post! And my willingness to share them with you.

It's Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails

Illness

I am prone to getting sick, although it has gotten better in recent years. Sometimes this getting sick rears its ugly head while traveling. The time that sticks out to me the most is when I had food poisoning in Jordan. I actually had been battling it before I left for the trip. It was bad, but I thought I had it beat. And I did until the night before I was supposed to fly out. I woke up in the night, and it didn’t go away. I spent that night in the bathroom and got on the plane with a ginger ale in my hand praying it would hold off till I got back to Qatar. This bug lasted months and would come and go. It had returned the day before I was supposed to fly back to Qatar from visiting family at Christmas!

It's Not all Sunsets and Beaches: My Travel Fails

Another flight back to Qatar from home and I had an asthma attack. I learned how prepared airlines are to treat medical emergencies and how grateful I was to the doctor on that flight that sat with me for a long time to make sure I would be okay.

Land sickness is a thing too! I learned that while I don’t get seasick, my inner ear doesn’t like getting back on land after a week on a sailboat. I felt so bad a week into my Greek sailing trip; The captain took me to the local clinic on Ios. The doctor declared me dehydrated and ordered rest and lots of water. It continued for the two days I was on Santorini.

This post was written in response to the Travel Linkup hosted by Polly, Emma, Angie and Eppie. Head over to their blogs to see their travel outtakes!

Blog, Travel

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2016

I wanted to take today to thank you all for being readers and following me on my travel journeys. I appreciate you taking the time to read and your wonderful comments. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you joy, health and travel!

What are your travel plans for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas
Blog, Travel

A Blogging Break

June 13, 2016

blogging break

If you hadn’t noticed, I have been quiet on here. This is especially odd since I am in Italy for a month. That is because I have been debating whether or not to continue blogging. Blogging has been my hobby for a while now and I really do enjoy it. However, with a full-time job, it has begun to become stressful and I don’t want it to be. The other part is that the reward is not always visible to me. I enjoy taking photos and sharing my stories, but sometimes get very little feedback from readers. I understand as you are busy too! However, my motivation to blog is waning. I still have tons of ideas for blog posts and have been thinking of tons of stuff for Italy, but I just don’t have the motivation to write them.

Why I am sharing this with you? Well, first I didn’t just want to disappear. Second, I do have a few loyal readers and commentors and I feel I owe you an explanation. Third, I am still not sure what I am going to do long-term when it comes to the blog. Never say never, right? So for now we will call it a break and not a break-up. Maybe I will be back in a month or maybe the blog will morph into something else. Making this decision was difficult, so whatever happens, I will keep you updated here.

For the time being, I am still keeping up with some of my social media and may link to old posts as well. You will still be able to follow my travels! I didn’t say I was going to stop traveling! Click on these links to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or scan my Snapcode on the right. I will be honest that Snapchat is my favorite thing at the moment, so it may be the best place to keep up.

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