As I write this post, Hurricane Hermine is making her way along the Florida coast and slinging us with increasingly torrential rain and strong winds. This is our first hurricane since owning our new house and I hope our wood-frame house will hold! I did experience a serious tornado warning in our Memphis home last year, but it was over within a couple of hours that Smokey and I waited out in a hallway closet. However, hurricanes take DAYS so here I am, stuck in my house with plenty to write about! So let’s talk travel shall we?
For the last 8 years I have been traveling across the globe and sharing my stories on this blog. This blog was officially started back in 2008 as I began to chronicle my travels when studying abroad in Denmark. Since then I have traveled to 15 countries and countless cities within the US. Living in China and Malaysia for a few years kept my trips to a maximum since there’s nothing like living in a smoggy city to ignite the need to escape (like to the Phi Phi Islands).
But since 2015 we have been lucky enough to call the United States our home once again. It has been amazing and more challenging than I could have ever anticipated. This is the first time I have lived in the US as an adult. Living in Asia was difficult but it allowed a certain amount of freedom. Since moving stateside, our trips have been reduced to a few long weekend trips around the US and one international trip a year. Things are definitely good, just different.
Moving back to our hometown was always our goal but it was not in our plans for a few more years. So we were massively surprised when Peter was relocated back to Florida after only 11 months in Memphis. Surprise! This April we put our house on the market, said goodbye to our beloved Memphis friends, and moved at least 5 different times to various temporary living and storage situations in St. Pete. It has been an exhausting 4 months but very settling.
In Asia we only had clothes and fake electronics to our name, making it very easy and efficient to move. This time around we added furniture and a dog to our list, making the move a lot more difficult. It took us 3 months to buy a new house and sell our Memphis home exactly one year after purchasing it. Crazy huh? Being a homeowner is very hard yet rewarding and I find weird pleasure in running a household. I would be lying if I said I don’t miss the freedom of living in Asia but this is where we are supposed to be in this moment of our lives. After being away for so long it’s time we caught up to our family and friends.
Fortunately this year we have continued to travel within the United States. Oddly enough I have been able to travel to Tennessee 3 different times already! Once to Memphis to move our furniture out of our house, another time to Knoxville for Peter’s tennis tournament, and finally to Nashville for a Bachelorette party. I love Tennessee! So so much. Hopefully we can return many more times in the future.
And without further ado, let’s delve into my travels over the last 4 months! All photos were taken with my iphone5.
Universal Studios, Harry Potter World
For my 28th birthday, Peter took me to Universal Studios in Orlando for two days of head-hurting rollercoasters and Harry Potter. It was my first time visiting the newly opened Diagon Alley inside Universal and let me tell you, IT WAS INCREDIBLE. The Escape from Gringotts ride was fun but as always I enjoyed just walking around the shops and exploring all the details of the world (Knockturn Alley is especially delicious). An A+ birthday although I am definitely too old to physically enjoy rollercoasters anymore. Yikes.
At the end of May we drove back to Memphis to supervise the movers loading up our furniture and kitchen. It was another exhausting couple days of packing but I managed to see a few of my favorite people and say another tearful goodbye. Can I stay?
Next month we flew to Knoxville for Peter’s tennis tournament and had a great trip with lots of tennis and exploration. It was extremely hot and buggy which was rough considering the tournament was outside. We saw some old friends and spent a lot of time exploring downtown Knoxville. We especially loved the farmer’s market and eating BBQ on the river. Knoxville, you are pretty great!
In July I went back to Tennessee (again!) for my friend’s bachelorette party. Apparently Nashville is the #1 Bachelorette destination in the country and it showed. We encountered at least 100 other groups of girls dressed in similar attire and cowboy boots and we felt a bit unoriginal. However, we enjoyed the laid-back vibes, live music and a bar street that rivals Beale. The best part through was spending time with these lovely ladies and making fun memories together.
In August my family took a week off for back-to-back weddings in Michigan and Pennsylvania. From Detroit we drove to Northern Michigan which was absolutely gorgeous. We stayed at a golf and ski resort and spent time with our extended family in a rustic cabin on Lake Michigan with bonfires and games every night. The sun didn’t set until 9pm but it always set in the most dramatic and colorful fashion. My favorites from Michigan had to be the cute town of Harbor Springs, dancing all night to a funky band at my cousin’s wedding, and spending time with my cousins. What a trip!
After a few days in Michigan, we flew to Philadelphia and spent the night at my sister’s apartment after dinner with my family and my best 1D friend Susan. Peter and I visited the Pixar exhibit at The Franklin Institute Science Museum before taking the train to Lancaster, one of my favorite places in the world. We were there for my beautiful friend’s wedding and it was a joyous and extremely sweaty occasion! My family does not let a little sweat stop us and we danced until our shirts and dresses were completely soaked through! I love these people and enjoy spending every second I can with them. Till next time my friends.
Next up: New Orleans, Maine, Gainesville, Hawaii
2016 is the first year in a long time where I have no international trips planned. Next year might be different with opportunities to go Puerto Rico and South Africa. Will I take them? Only time will tell.
But first we have to get through this Tropical Storm! Welcome home.