Hi Everyone, – I hope you are all doing great!!
I am back – and very excited about it. Of course it feels a bit crazy not being on the road any longer; not having to figure out where I am and where I am going, where I’m staying and what I am going to do once I am there… – ok, more or less I guess that is still the norm, but now it is back home in my own native English speaking country and now I can do it all with full open access to Pandora, Hulu and Netflix, – Yes, it is nice to be home!!
It has been a month since my last post, which was mostly just a summary of the stats of my blog for 2012 that WordPress prepared. Prior to that my last real post from the road was two months ago while living through the storm in Fiji, which is way too long ago. And since life has not stopped since getting back from the world travels, I thought I would give a quick update on what I have been up to and what I think I have planned for the next couple months, with a note of complete openness to changing it as we go.
Although it feels like the biggest way I have been spending my time since I have gotten back is playing “Words with Friends“, the truth is I actually have had a chance to do a few other things between checking the dictionary to see if “vaw” is actually a word. Now it is true that my life status is still “homeless and unemployed”, or more accurately I am living in a “box” and I am a “causal employee”. Which you cannot ask for a better employee status/title than causal employee, other then it would be nice if it paid a little more, or if it paid anything at all for that matter. And my temporary home, which I affectionately refer to as the “box”, is actually a great prefab house called a Kanga (www.kangaroomsystems.com) which with many thanks to my good friend’s Paul and Erin who recently built one as a guest house in their backyard in South Austin and were kind of nice to let me be the first occupant, I am not homeless anymore and not actually living in a box! – The Kanga is a great 14 by 14 foot home with a bathroom, kitchenette with a sink, a small table in the living area and a great Murphy bed and a deck with two Adirondack chairs on it – It is perfect!!
Now that you have my living conditions down, let’s get into the interesting stuff; getting back and having time to catch up with good friends and family! Much like most of my holiday’s since I graduated from college, getting back from a year traveling I jumped back in to by bopping across the country to celebrate with family and friends. This year it started with landing in Bellingham after leaving the Cyclone in Fiji and a quick stop over Hawaii. I was very happily met by my good friend Lindsay with a cold six-pack at the airport at 8:00 in the morning , followed closely by champagne with his wife Iva, all in celebration in addition to my getting back and touching US soil again, the recently had a new baby girl, Julinka (Julianna) who I got to meet when she was just eight days old!! She is gorgeous and I am happy to say that by the time I left I had spent a third of her life with her (at the time) – three to four days that is getting settled back in the States with Lindsay, Iva and Julianna, and going through all the boxes of things I had sent back to Lindsay while I was on the road and just getting re-amricanized!!
That was the kick of the holidays and the next 36 hours of flights and celebration, which started with flying into Austin for Heidi’s Christmas Eve Party. The Austin stay started off with a similar celebratory pick up at the airport by Laura and Robin (thanks guys!) and being whisked off to Heidi’s for a night of getting to see and catch up with a huge, fun group of good friends. The stay was brief, literally 12 hours from touch down to take off, with no time for sleeping allowed, it was perfect chance to see and enjoy friends for the holidays!!
The early departure flight out of Austin got me into JFK by 11 AM Christmas Day with a pick up by my niece’s and a chance to catch up with them in route home to my brother Dan and sister-in-law Teresa’s house for Christmas dinner and celebration with family including my brother Jim and the Scully family. I was a little too tired to be able to add much to the games after dinner, but I was able to keep up until 11 PM and have a great time catching up with family, which was awesome!
Time slowed down a bit after that whirlwind start of it all. The next day, Boxing Day, we went up to my brother’s families house on the Hudson and had a couple of days of chilling and hiking and having fun catching up. That day after Christmas, we watched three movies in a row, just to give you an idea of the chillness factor of it all! – Perfect again!
The pace picked up again that Friday after Christmas – I drove back in the City with my nieces and their boyfriends and made it uptown just in time for Erin’s boy friend Mike to make it to work on time, my niece Megan to get to her cooking school and for me to make it to my brothers Jim’s to see his new place on the upper west side and to drop off my bag and run out to meet a group of friends getting together in the City the night.
In the next 36 hours I was able to see and celebrate the holidays with about two dozen good friends at a bar in New York, followed by a quick nights sleep and another trip to the airport for a flight to Chicago for the chance to see and celebrate with another dozen or so good friends and family, for a night out in Chicago, which included visiting multiple old stomping grounds to end only as it should closing up at the Lodge. – Perfect!
Making it back to the Midwest you would assume I would spend the following week or so heading up to see family and friends up in Northern Wisconsin, which would have been the case it was not for my good friend Reed who had a group gathering in Charleston and at his place on Kiawah Island, SC to celebrate New Years, so… of course, how do you say no to that – where else would I go. So, after 24 hours in Chicago I was back at the airport and this time on a plane heading back east to meet up with Reed and gang for the celebration in South Carolina!
Charleston and Kiawah were perfect. We did a “club ride”, riding bikes from club house to club house of all the golf courses on Kiawah and having a cocktail at each, starting at the Ocean Course where the PGA was this year followed by four or so more course club houses. That night we went out to the Sanctuary for NYE and the following day, New Years Day we did a day trip out in Charleston. And the last day getting in 18 holes of golf. A great way to kick in the new year and great people to do it with!!
I did get back to the Midwest on January 3rd to see family and friends that I missed on the short layover in Chicago the week earlier. Which sounds relaxing and I thought my schedule and plan actually was pretty laid back, until the car rental guy asked me where I was going… and I replied quit happily “I am totally excited, – I am going to see and catch up with family and friends in Wausau and then in Antigo. I am then hoping to head over to the Green Bay to the Packer’s in the playoff game against Minnesota as well as see my good friend Mike’s band play there in Green Bay. Head back to Antigo, up to Minacqua, back to Wausau, on to Stratford and finally back to Milwaukee for a night with family before flying back to Austin in January 9th” – He was like”hold it”, …while making a huge triangle in the air to point out the distance between all these places and saying – “you’re going all the way up to Wausau, than over to Antigo onto Green Bay and back to here… – OMG, – we need to line you up with a bigger, better car with four-wheel drive…” – Which he did and which I was able to do all the above, loving to see everyone long the way.
It was a great trip around to see everyone and it is so nice to be back in Austin now. Which all the above, almost gets me back to where I am today, but first getting back to Austin we had a two-week celebration, both welcoming me back to town, followed by celebrating my birthday, bar golf crawls and all. I have to say, I would not change a thing – It was the perfect welcoming back home after the year plus of travel. A HUGE thanks to all for all the great hospitality and great spirits welcoming me home!!
Now, what I am doing now that I am back?! – I am finally now getting settle into a little routine and having a chance to write this post. As mentioned I’m living in my friends guest house, which I plan to be in for the next month or so. I am taking the month to work on processing all I did and check where I am heading and what I am going to be doing next; write a book, go work for a large foundation or government agency, or change my job status from “casual employee” to active employee again. – All is yet to be determined. But I will let you know in the next month or so where I am and what is happening and where I am heading. In the interim, if anyone knows anyone on Lake Travis or Lake Austin that is looking for a house sitter to watch over their house (and boat/pool/tennis court) for the summer, please let them know I am available – and I will do if for cheap!! :)!