January 2017 Recap

I’ve been waiting a whole month for 2017 to begin. Of course, it’s *officially* begun – I did watch the ball drop while stuffing my face with buffalo chicken bread, but I also haven’t been outside of NJ and NYC since before Thanksgiving. There’s definitely something to be said for being home, drinking hot coffee, and sitting by the woodstove with a puppy in my lap, but I long for adventure. Luckily, adventure awaits me on Saturday for almost six straight weeks. If you’re interested in following along in real time, follow me on Instagram as I’ll be posting a few pictures a day and using Instagram stories to share my travels with you all.

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What I Wrote:

Posts on 10 Miles Behind Me in January:

Guest & Collaboration Posts Elsewhere:

As you can see from the above links, one benefit of being home for a while after traveling is that you can catch up on your writing from previous trips. I still have a few more posts to come from my autumn trips in Myanmar, the Southwest, and India, and hopefully I’ll be able to continue my writing while I’m away.

What I Read:

I borrowed (and still need to return, sorry!) the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which I absolutely loved, from my dear friend Caitlin. It’s an engaging read about two half-sisters in Ghana in the 1700s – one who is married off to a British colonist and one who is sold into slavery. Each chapter is about the next generation of one of the sisters and touches upon important historical time periods within American history and in Western Africa, and winds up in modern times.

When I stayed over with Katie after Travel Massive in December, I couldn’t help but notice her shelf of Zadie Smith books, so when I saw the bright yellow cover of Swing Time at the Ocean City library last week, I had to pick it up. I’m into the story which takes us from a girlhood friendship in London to volunteer work in West Africa, which is interesting considering my previous read and my own interests. I’m only 3/4ths of the way in and have to finish it before my trip, but I can definitely see why Katie reads a lot of Zadie’s work. Both of these books would be good to read during Black History Month, for what it’s worth.

I’ve also been slowly catching up on my New York magazines from when I was away in the fall. Articles I found particularly interesting are this one about the importance of access to safe abortions in America, this motivating one about Elizabeth Gilbert, entitled: “Let’s See How Alive We Can Be” (a quote that I’ve cut out and taped to the back of my door), and the latest editions of “Reasons to Love New York” and “Where to Eat“. I’m saving the crossword puzzles for my upcoming flights.

What I Watched:

I started watching Gossip Girl when I was procrastinating packing for Myanmar back in August, and finished the series this week, while procrastinating packing again. Seeing how the show turned out (especially because there’s reason to believe I once inspired a look on it) was way more fun than figuring out how many pairs of socks I’ll need for a six-week trip.

I’ve also been watching the Crown on Netflix with my parents, though I found the last few episodes a lot less exciting than the first few. We watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot one night, which I thought was filmed in the Middle East because of its absolutely gorgeous desert scenes, but Wikipedia tells me it was filmed in Santa Fe.

What I Did:

Aside from the typical “winter at the Jersey Shore” activities of antiquing, walking on the boardwalk along the beach, writing at the library, attending the Wildwood Dog Show, and practicing yoga at my old primary school, I made sure to get out of Cape May County a little bit.

My dad and I visited with my grandmother a couple of times, which is always important to me, but was especially this month since I’ll be missing her birthday party when I’m away. This will be her 97th and she’s kinda just the best. The last time I was sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of hot water that she teased me about drinking – she said she could just hear her grandmothers saying, “Glory be to God!” if she could tell them they’d have a great-great-granddaughter traveling so far away and for so long.

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Early in the month, I spent a few days back  in the Jersey City / NYC area because I can’t stay away when I’m home. I first caught up over avocado toast with my college roommate who I’m so impressed by because she’s doing what she’s dreamed of doing her entire life. I stayed in Jersey City where I was dog-sitting for one of my favorite couples and one of my favorite puppies, Jackson. I didn’t know there was going to be an intense blizzard and poor Jackson wanted to be outside even less than I did, but we did what we had to do and had a great weekend together.

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While in town, I was able to celebrate the recent engagement of one of my other favorite couples and catch up with some other friends at their gathering. Before I hopped back on the bus, I had coffee with one of my favorite travel buddies, Jeff, before he took off for Asia.

This past weekend, I was in NYC again for a few days. On Wednesday, I went to Travel Massive. On Thursday, I attended a Trav Media event and had meetings with some exciting travel destinations that I hope to bring to you on this blog. Many friends from my Fathom trip were also there from all over the country and it was so fun to see them. Friday started the NY Times Travel Show. I sat in on some great panels (my favorite being about adventure travel, by Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures), walked around the booths, attended an after-party, and spent even more time with others who are as obsessed with traveling as I am. (Pictured below are Marie & Karissa.)

10milesbehindme_jan17recap7That night was one of my other friend’s final nights in the city before moving out of the area, so I cut out of the travel stuff early to spend time with him and the friends I was staying with. We had a really fun weekend which included some alcohol, a Blink 182 cover-band concert, multiple bagels, and Cards against Humanity (“Where’s the ‘being a good person’ card?!”).

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January was a month I spent tons of time planning my trip, which yes, comes at a perfect time for me to escape. This month I signed petitions, made donations, and put my senators on speed dial. My friends and I continued to worry – but, more importantly, we started to act.

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January brought some uncertainty, but also a unique opportunity for me. My sister’s friend asked me to come speak with her 7th graders about traveling and blogging. Her students are writing their own travel blogs as they learn about the different countries of Africa. I went in on a particular Friday when I might otherwise have spent the day sulking and fearing for the future of our country. Instead, I was met with smiles and awesome questions and engagement from future writers and future travelers. I left them with a few of my favorite travel quotes to help inspire them to travel, but they inspired me as well in their enthusiasm and eagerness to see the world for themselves. The future is bright, folks.

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xx

This post contains affiliate links, which means some cash will be contributed to my chai latte/everything bagel fund if you purchase a product or experience I recommend. I would never recommend something I did not believe in. In this case, the links are for the two books I read this month and I highly recommend both!

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