In my March Monthly Preview post, I wrote about how my April/May plans were overshadowing everything else.
My excitement over my then upcoming trip to the Middle East kept me from living in the present. I don’t like to live that way but there was nothing I could do. My mind simply wasn’t disciplined enough to stop and breathe in the now. Something else happened that month that I fought with every fiber of my being to resist – I built expectations.
Expectations about Dubai.
Expectations about Oman.
Expectations on how I would feel about both places.
It’s a dangerous game to play.
We don’t need an old adage to explain to us these expectations will most likely fall flat.
I knew before my expectations reached the height of the plane I was going up in, that they would be shattered. Locals were going to be rude. They were going to hate me on the sole principle that I was an American. The streets were going to be filthy. Our tours were going to be let downs.
I kept telling myself this the full 7,000 miles to the Arabian Penisula. But my brain wasn’t buying it. If anything, my expectations had only risen.
So I said f*** it, this is going to be the best trip of my life.
And the jinx of high expectations be damned – it was.
Mostly because I got to pick up a random wild desert goat who interrupted our breakfast deep in the heart of Wahiba Sands.
Ok, so maybe there were other reasons too. Like the fact the Oman is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH.
I go into more depth on my Middle Eastern trip in the posts below:
I had hoped to have more posts on Oman up by now – especially in regards to their culture and people. It was so drastically different from any other local experience I had ever had while traveling. I’m proud to say that I was able to get to know the Omani people and I can’t wait to share my story with you. It’s been a challenge to write as I want to capture the essence of the people I met and help you get a better understanding of the Muslim culture in Oman. I’m perfecting the 2000 word draft I’ve created and will publish it on the site on Tuesday.
I also spent three weeks in London during the month of May and have an EPIC local’s guide to London coming this year. It’s so comprehensive that I’ve been working on it for 9 months and I need one more trip to London to complete it. I’ll be returning sometime in September so stay tuned.
What’s Coming Up End of May and June?
Memorial Weekend serves as the official kickoff of summer in the United States.
And for me personally? It signals the start of 3 months spent exploring my own country before returning to Europe in September.
I’m still fine tuning all the details and arrangements but as of now I’ll be spending a bit of time on the California coast (with possible trips north to Oregon or Washington), the east coast states of Maryland and New York, the eastern seaboard state of South Carolina, and one or two trips down to Florida.
Destination #1 – Washington D.C
For my international readers who may not know this, Memorial Weekend is a federal holiday for remembering all those who have lost their lives while defending our country.
What better way to honor the freedom they died fighting to protect than with a trip to the Nation’s capital?
My roommate and I are hopping on an Amtrak train later tonight to meet our old New York City gang. The 5 of us used to run wild in our younger years, drinking endless amounts of prosecco and wreaking havoc throughout the villages – both the East and the West, along with Greenwich of course.
But with age came the breaking up of the band as two scampered off to Boston and one followed her dreams of making a difference in the world all the way to DC. While my social life in Manhattan suffered a devastating blow, at least now we have excuses for debaucherous reunion weekends.
You’re no stranger to this fun group either as they’ve appeared on this blog multiple times.
You met our host Laura at the old Whitney Museum, watched birds attack me and Tricia before joining us for an adventure around Australia, read about Meagan consuming a lot of beer in Brooklyn, and listened to me whine about how I wish I was as good a bike rider as Sam while in Indonesia. (Wow. Talk about your #FlashbackFriday with these posts. I pray my writing has evolved as much as my photography skills have since then!)
I’m not sure exactly what we’re up to this weekend as I tend to take advantage of group trips by letting someone else do all the prep and planning (my roommate even booked my train ticket for me). It’s a refreshing change of pace from the solo trips I’m used to because I secretly HATE making decisions.
What I am sure of is that we’ll be hitting up one of the many galleries (most likely the Renwick), dining somewhere I can’t really afford since Laura is a massive foodie, and of course we’ll piss off a waiter for taking a 5 hour long brunch with – you guessed it – bottomless prosecco.
Destination #2 – Key West, FL
About 8 years ago my friend Christy posted this photo and caption on Facebook:
We were celebrating my engagement to a wonderful guy named Ryan.
If viral videos were a thing back then, ours would have skyrocketed to the Internet Hall of Fame as it was the most romantic proposal OF ALL TIME. It happened along the blinding, whitesand coast of the Bahamas. It had been a week since we’d seen each other. I had no idea he was even in the Bahamas and he had no clue I was in the Bahamas.
Then, right there at Senor Frogs, fate brought us together.
I was doing the Conga Line where instead of kicking out like in the traditional dance, every time we did the da da da DA, the bar staff would come by and pour tequila down our throats on that 4th beat. When the circle broke apart, I turned to see that the guy who had his hands on my waist throughout the dance was Ryan.
Our shrieks as we wrapped our arms around one another reached an octave that only dogs could hear.
We spent the next hour slamming back Kamikaze shots and sipping other sugary alcoholic beverages out of coconuts and pineapples. Then it happened. He
fell down got down on one knee and said a mix of incoherent words, drool sliding down his chin. “Yes! OMG YES!” is all I really remember from the conversation because quite frankly – tequila.
Then I blacked out for a bit while he went to vomit in the ocean.
I came to on the stage at Senor Frogs while the MC announced to everyone that we were engaged.
That led to free shots and another shriek of excitement as Christy agreed to be my bridesmaid. The three of us (along with our friend Katie who had no clue what was going on because she’d been too involved in her our own drama with tequila) went over to the Hilton next door to celebrate at their pool and private beach. We would remain there until it was time to board our cruise ship.
Oh yeah. I forgot to mention.
It was senior year of college.
I was 21.
It was spring break.
We were on a cruise with hundreds of other spring breakers.
And Ryan was just a good friend who randomly happened to be on the cruise ship docked next to us.
And we randomly happened to make-out at parties when we were drunk.
And the engagement was totally not real (though I would later find out when he tried to hit on girls on his cruise ship, they were all like “Aren’t you the guy who got engaged at Senor Frogs? You’re an a**hole.”). Sorry Ry!!!
Christy and I still laugh and share photos of this memory over 8 years later. In fact, I lied and tricked her into giving me access to the private Facebook album so I could source these photos.
That cruise was one of the best times of our lives. We went tandem parasailing, sang “I’m On A Boat” 1000 times, pranced around in silly T-shirts, took inappropriate photos in front of the corny sets the ship had put up, and posed like Kate and Leo:
Were we stupid and immature?
Umm yes. Clearly. But I can’t bring myself to regret my actions. It was our last year of college and we were 2 months from entering the real world. It was a scary time so we milked our youth as much as we could. We did Spring Break the way it was meant to be done.
And now we’re boring as f*** grown-ups.
Key West would be the last stop on the cruise. Christy and I ditched the 20 other sorority sisters we were with and decided to do our own thing. We drank our way down Duval Steet, hung with old saltys at a hole-in-the-wall bar that served $2 beers, asked Houston if we had lift off via the microphone in some random dudes astronaut helmet, pick-pocketed a statue, and followed the magical cocks (roosters – jeez get your head out of the gutter) back to the ship.
Now life has come full circle and it’s my turn to return the favor and be Christy’s (whose engagement is 100% real. I hope.) bridesmaid. So in June, we’re returning to Key West together for the first time since that cruise for her bachelorette party.
We’ll also be joined by these two whack jobs:
I’ll be Snapchatting (notouristiswear) the whole thing live because with an embarrassing crew like the below, how could you not?
PS – Don’t judge us. We were young and dumb, idiotic college students. Thanks for the memories Facebook. I had way too much fun digging these up…
Blog News and Announcements
For those that don’t already know I’m involved in a massive book project to help raise money for charity.
Project Alpha pulls together travelers from all over the world to write about the one trip that changed their life. The intent is to show how transformative travel can be while simultaneously giving back to the communities that have changed travelers’ lives for the better.
Over 50 travelers who’ve collectively traveled to 142 different countries have submitted their stories to be included in the book. All funds raised through this project will be donated to two different international charities – Save the Children and Unbound.
I’m proud to say that not only will my own personal story be covered in this extraordinary compilation, but I’m also part of the incredible assembly of editors. As if that wasn’t enough of an honor, I’ve also been asked to provide the foreword to the book.
I’ve written a more detailed post on the entire project that you can read here.
Since our campaign launched on May 22, we have already raised $4,192! We’re over halfway to our goal!
No one involved in this project will make one dime off of your purchase nor will we receive any sort of affiliate commission.
We are 100% doing this to give back to those less fortunate.
The book is available in three different formats and price points:
- E-Book: $10
- Black-and-White Paperback Book: $25 and will also include the e-Book
- Full-color Coffee Table Book: $65 and will also include 1 black-and-white paperback book as well as 1 e-Book
All versions of the book can be purchased on our Indiegogo site by clicking here.
To help get you even more excited about what lies within the pages of the book, our awesome team created this promotional video comprised of clips from all of our travels:
Thank you all in advance for your support on this project. It has been a blast to be a part of and I love seeing travelers coming together to give back.
What are you getting up to this summer? Let me know in the comments below!
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