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Personal, Travel

What I Do While Not Traveling

July 16, 2018

I haven’t been on a plane since October 23, 2017! That is almost nine months of no international travel and I have only been on one road trip. Not since before I moved to Qatar has it been that long since I have been on a plane. I am also not working, which begs the question, what I am I doing while I am not traveling! Read what I have been doing to stay busy.

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Reading has always been a passion of mine. I usually have several books I am reading at one time. Sometimes one will really catch my interest and all other books and time go out the window. Because I haven’t been traveling, I seemed to be drawn to non-fiction lately. Much of that non-fiction has been adventure travel.

The Stowaway is one I most recently finished. A young Brooklyn teenager successfully stows away on a ship heading to Antarctica. This true story is set in the 1920s and really made me want to sail the world. (Always been a dream of mine!)

The Last Wild Men of Borneo is the one I am currently reading and it centers around two men exploring Borneo. One ends up living with a tribe in Borneo eventually disappearing. The other becomes an indigenous art dealer. I am enjoying the book, but have some moral issues with the men’s activities.

Take a Course

From January to April, I finally did something I had wanted to do for a long time. I took a Full-stack Web Development course. I had started an online one while living in Qatar but found working full-time and school too stressful. When I left Qatar, I knew that I would have the time to complete the course while not working. It was still really hard and it was a full-time course in which I went every day of the week from 9-5. If this is something you are interested in as well, I took my course from DevMountain and I highly recommend them.

Listen to Podcasts

While driving to school every day, I became an avid podcast listener. My commute was about an hour each way, so I had plenty of time. I have developed a few favorites during that time and I still listen to them anytime I am driving around town.

If you are a fan of true crime and unsolved mysteries, then I suggest you check out True Crime Garage. Nick and The Captain usually produce two shows a week covering everything from missing persons to serial killers. They are funny but also well-informed. This show is not kid friendly as you may imagine.

I love learning new things, so I have loved Radio Lab for years. Radio Lab is all about science and technology. One week might be about space and the next reproduction. Each story has a human touch though and isn’t just straight reporting about science. Many of the stories are also personal and show hosts talk about their own experiences.

Scroll Through Instagram

Most days you will find me on Instagram whether it be posting my own photos, watching Instagram stories or saving images of places I want to visit one day. For most of 2017, I didn’t post to Instagram. The changes in the algorithm made me not want to post and it still drives me nuts. However, I have recently been posting my photos from my trip last year and I have loved reliving the memories of that trip this way. Here are some of my favorites from last year.



Read other Blogs

One of the things that got me into blogging in the first place was reading other blogs. Many of these are not travel focus and some are. The blog I have been following the longest is The Small Things Blog. I initially started following her for her hair tutorials. Her life has changed over the years and so has her blog, but because I like her I keep coming back. I also follow her on Instagram stories all the time.

Many of my other favorites are friends from blogging groups. They include Suzie Speaks, who I have actually met in person and she is just as great in person. The Global Housesitter, who is a Kiwi couple who travels the world in their retirement by housesitting all over the world. But I Smile Anyway by Ritu who makes me laugh and smile with her funny stories. There are many, many more!

Eat Out with Friends

Since I haven’t lived in Dallas for so long, my friends have been taking me to new places and some old. We tend to eat together at least once or twice a week. I have reconnected with some old friends and made a few new ones. There is such a variety here and it isn’t all Tex-Mex and steak. One of our favorite places to eat is Fireside Pies. They have amazing wood-oven baked pizzas and outstanding desserts. Much of their ingredients are local too.

Hang Out with Twitter

Twitter has been something I have tried to love more, but many people had just been posting links instead of having conversations on there. In the last couple of months, I have seen that change. Maybe I am following more chatty people now, but I am loving it. I am not on every day, but do try to pop on a few days a week. Are you on Twitter? My Twitter is @agirlpassport in case you want to follow me there as well!

What Do You Do to Keep Busy?

I am always looking for new inspiration to keep me busy. Do you have something to recommend? Share with me in the comments!


Medical, Personal

When Life Happens…

April 29, 2018

Most of the time we go about our lives not expecting the worst to happen. Bumps come along and we deal with them. My life hit a bump and then it hit a mountain. 

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Last October, I was still traveling when I was struck by a bad case of vertigo. The first episode of it happened in Barcelona. It was so bad, I went to the emergency room while I was there. They gave me a shot and it helped for awhile. For the next week, I seemed to be fine as explored Porto. By the third day in Lisbon vertigo had returned. It was even worse than before. I couldn’t eat because I felt so sick to my stomach and I couldn’t write because looking at the computer made it worse. I got out a few times but spent most of the week in bed. Not the best way to see Lisbon. 

My trip was supposed to last about two more weeks but I wasn’t getting better and I really did not want to go to the emergency room in Portugal. (I am sure it would have been fine, but I wasn’t thinking clearly at that point.) I canceled the rest of my reservations and rebooked my ticket home for as soon as American Airlines could get me on the next plane. I was disappointed but was happy to already have a doctor’s appointment for when I returned.

Not all Bad

The bright side in all of this was I had met someone in Greece in September who happened to be from my hometown and still lived relatively close to my parent’s house where I would be returning at the end of my trip. 

While it wasn’t love at first sight, it was love by the second date. Unfortunately, he had to return to the US for work and I continued on my way to Malta. We talked every day, sometimes for hours. I wanted to come back early, but he wanted me to finish the trip. We had already made plans to travel when I returned home. I knew I had found the right man for me. He was caring, thoughtful and loved to travel. I never thought I would meet someone while traveling let alone someone from my hometown. I especially never thought that I would fall madly in love like in the movies.

The whirlwind romance continued when I returned home. He met my family and I met his son. I was going to go to school in January and he was extremely supportive of that. 

And then…

Four days after Thanksgiving, I woke to several missed phone calls and texts from his son and one of his friends. When I called his son back, he immediately asked me if his Dad was with me and I, regretfully, had to say no. 

He then explained that his Dad’s house was on fire and they couldn’t find him. I asked if his truck was at the house and his son said yes. My heart sank. If his truck was there, I knew he was in the house. I tried to stay calm for his son’s sake and offered to come over but the street was blocked off because of all the firetrucks. I fell apart after we got off the phone. Even though it wasn’t confirmed yet, I knew he was gone. 

It took several more hours for the fire to be put out enough for the fire department to look for his body. Later we found out he died of carbon monoxide poisoning and not from the fire, which was a blessing in my mind as he had no idea what happened to him. To this day, we don’t know what cause the fire and we may never know. This is so hard to deal with as I really want to know how the fire started and how just hours before we were both in the house and everything was fine. 


I am telling you all this for several reasons. One is to let you all know why I just disappeared with no explanation. I had planned on taking a break when I got home because my love for blogging had waned and then vertigo made it difficult. I do miss blogging and am hoping to get back to it soon.

I am writing also to tell you how important it is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house. I don’t know if it would have saved my love’s life, but it could help save yours or your loved one’s life. We installed one in my parent’s house and I have encouraged all my friends to do the same. Please get one and check your smoke detector batteries at the same time. 

Most importantly to remind you that our time is short and we never know when we could go or when it might be the last time we talk to someone. I know, in theory, we all know this but we take it for granted that bad things could never happen to us. Fortunately, I had told him I loved him that day several times and we had been texting just an hour or so before this happened. I have no regrets just struggling with his absence on a daily basis and what to do with myself now that all our plans will no longer happen. 

Take the time to tell your loved one that you love them often and never take any day for granted. I hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis soon.