Uhh…what happened? I landed back in the US, got hit with some killer jet lag, blinked, and then suddenly it was the end of September. Oops. Sorry about that. I’ve gotten up to some really neat stuff, though!
Where in the world am I? Settling into my new home in North Carolina after being a nomad for almost 6 months. From two weeks in India to three months in Sri Lanka to six weeks of road-tripping the US with my faithful adventure dog, it feels really good to sit still for a few minutes.
Items checked off the bucket list this month:
#367- Pizza at Lombardi’s in NYC
#169- Drive the entire length of Interstate 80 from New York’s George Washington Bridge to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco
#382- Attend the Iowa State Fair
#221- Browse through Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley, California (the 100th thing I’ve checked off my list!)
#337- Visit Half Moon Bay on the California Coast
#588- Visit Sedona, Arizona
See? I told you I’ve been busy!
Highlight of the month: Picking up my best girl from summer camp! If you’re a dog person, you’ll understand- being separated from your best friend for four months is the absolute worst! She had a great time at summer camp, though, and I know she was well taken care of while I was off poking around ancient temples in Sri Lanka. I sure do sleep a lot better with her sprawled out across most of the bed, though. We immediately made up for lost time by setting off on a 6 week road trip around the US!
Lowlight of the month: Having to cancel my month-long trip to Brazil due to Hurricane Irma. I should have been celebrating my birthday on September 24th by heading to the airport in Fort Lauderdale, but apparently Mother Nature had other plans.
Best meal: Duck fat cheese fries at Village Whiskey in Philadelphia.
Super close second: Carne Asada Waffle Fries at Loco Patron in Scottsdale, Arizona- one of my favorite cities on the whole entire planet.
New blog posts published:
I look like a great big slacker, don’t I? Oops. Sorry about that! In my defense, I’ve been working on some other projects, too. Like this article for the Gay & Lesbian Review: Pride in Sri Lanka: Still an Act of Rebellion
What I learned:
- Always get the travel insurance! I would be out a huge chunk of money from my canceled Brazil plans if it wasn’t for my World Nomads travel insurance policy. I used to travel without insurance all the time, and I’m really lucky that something like this never happened to me before. World Nomads policies are really inexpensive, and you need to have one when you travel, period. (If you use my affiliate link to sign up for your policy, it won’t cost you anything, but I’ll receive a small commission to help with the running of this site and my weekly pedicure habit.)
- It is pretty much impossible to lick the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair because they keep it behind glass.
- The Residence Inn by Marriott Austin South takes a Polaroid of every dog who stays there. How cute is this??
- Restaurants all over Scottsdale have started offering doggie menus. Murphy Ann really likes Dog Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast.
- The Grand Canyon is a really nice hole in the ground, but it gets unbelievably hot during the summer. (And September is still summer in Arizona!) Bring tons of water, especially if you’re visiting with a four-legged friend.
- Prickly pear margaritas are amazing.
- When in Sedona, get up before sunrise at least once and do a hike through the desert while watching hot air balloons glide overhead.
- Everything you’ve ever heard about California traffic is true, and then some.
- Watermelon beer is amazing (I’m looking at you, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon)
- Utah is gorgeous.
- Lincoln, Nebraska is super dog friendly and adorable. Who knew?
- The Iowa State Fair sells hot beef sundaes and they’re exactly as amazing as you’re imagining.
- Cleveland is also super dog friendly and adorable. Who knew??
What I read:
- Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain by George Mahood. George is one of my very favorite humor writers and this was every bit as hysterical as the rest of his work. If you love British humor, you’ll love George. If you don’t love British humor, you will after reading this.
- Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small Town America by George Mahood. More of George’s British humor and an outsider’s hilarious take on the US. If you like reading about other people’s travels (and you probably do, if you’re here), you may or may not laugh until you cry. Or maybe that’s just me.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This eye-opening true story of an African-American woman’s experience in a Baltimore hospital and how it impacted the fields of science, medicine, and medical research forever was absolutely riveting.
- Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Pure fast-paced literary candy, which can come in handy when you’re driving countless hours through vastly flat corn fields in the middle of the US for days on end.
What’s next? I had to rewrite this section because I was supposed to be on a plane to Rio de Janeiro on September 25th for a month of picking coffee beans, lounging on gorgeous South American beaches, and trying to look cool in Brazilian cocktail bars. Then Hurricane Irma happened, the Brazilian consulate in Miami had to close unexpectedly, and I wasn’t able to get my visa in time. I’m really, really bummed, but I also know how lucky I am that this devastating storm only caused me a relatively minor travel interruption. Considering how many people lost their lives and homes and businesses, I’m only going to thank my lucky stars that some travel issues were my only problem. Instead of Brazil, I’ll be writing about my new home in North Carolina and throwing myself into the planning of my next big bucket list adventure, driving Australia’s Great Ocean Road.
Did you get up to any cool adventures in August and September? Got any good travel tips for Australia? Leave a comment and let me know!