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I started these monthly updates to tell you about my current whereabouts, my most recent travels, what went well and what didn’t, plus a little sneak peek of what’s next for me.
If you have seen my last Polaroid Of The Week, you already know where I am right now – if not: I am back in New York! I certainly didn’t think that I’d be back here so soon when I left last month, but I couldn’t resist the chance to visit again for Halloween (I happened to be in NYC for Halloween last year, too) and the New York Marathon (I entered the lottery in March but sadly wasn’t picked – I do, however, get to run on my favorite running routes in NYC again) and to cheer for the runners, like I did last year, and to visit some places that I didn’t get around to exploring this past summer. Plus, I have been continuing to eating my way through New York which has been great, to try out new coffee shops and bars, and to see the beautiful fall foliage.
I am here only for a short visit in between trips (although I realize that three weeks in New York is what most people consider a loooong trip, and not a quick stint), and what brought me here was the invitation to try out Norwegian Air’s transatlantic flights and review their service, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner Experience in particular. They are the only low-cost airline that offers transatlantic flights at extreme bargain prices (Los Angeles – Copenhagen for $196, anyone?!) and I was happy to accept the invitation. Since I have yet to take my return flight, I don’t want to share my excitement about Norwegian’s U.S.-Europe routes just yet and will wait until I have landed safe and sound in Europe again.
Where else have I been in the past four weeks? I started my month in Israel, spent
some not enough time in Germany with my family, squeezed in a short trip to Berlin and a few days in Munich, where I went to Oktoberfest. Which has been the highlight of my month – at least until now. That said: I haven’t been to the Halloween Party I’m invited to yet, which is supposed to be pretty epic. So far, Oktoberfest was the most fun thing I’ve done all month, although I have to say that it’s also been fantastic to catch up with friends in New York and to go on a ‘leaf peeping’ road trip upstate to marvel at the fall colors, and to hang out with my nieces and nephew for a few days.
What went well
Work-travel balance: Okay, to say this went well would be a little bit over the top but since it has improved hugely from last month, I wanted to highlight it here. I am still struggling with this, especially during my hectic travel schedule in Germany I felt constantly overwhelmed, but since I’ve arrived in New York, I made a point to focus on work and to resist all the fun temptations this city has to offer. I have also gotten back into a workout routine, managed to sleep more than a few hours per night and decided to extend my Christmas break in Germany to recharge my batteries after a much too busy year.
What went wrong
Of course the month couldn’t go by without another tech incident. My iPhone died, which is annoying considering I upgraded the battery when I had my screen repaired at the end of August, so that I would have an almost new phone again. Like I’ve said before – I am just not lucky with expensive gadgets and have yet to decide how much I am willing to spend on a new (read: used) one… definitely no iPhone 6 for me.
I also managed to loose my debit card, the card I always use to get cash out, after having it replaced only a few months ago. Luckily, it happened in New York where I can survive pretty much cashless. This reminds me that with all of last month’s mishaps of breaking technology and being sick, I completely forgot to mention that I lost my wallet in Israel (with about $50 in it – no important credit cards, but still) and misplaced my other debit card. Coming to think about it, I shouldn’t be trusted with gadgets AND money / bank cards.
Exciting news – I am off to Sri Lanka in a few days! I have been a proud member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association for nearly two years now, and the association is organizing its very first conference – TBC Asia which will take place next month in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The conference is the first travel bloggers conference in Asia, and presented by Cinnamon Hotels in partnership with SriLankan Airlines and the PTBA. After attending the Social Travel Summit in Leipzig this past April, where I soaked up every single word in the excellent sessions on social media and working with tourism boards, I am even more excited to attend a conference with similar workshops, fabulous speakers and a well-rounded conference program, put together by Cinnamon Hotels. And then there’s of course the networking aspect – it is always great to exchange ideas, see how other people do certain things and talk about running a blog professionally, since there are not many people I can talk about this stuff with (especially as a nomad!).
If you are a blogger – a quick word on the PTBA: The PTBA was only founded in 2011 and is hence still a pretty young organization, but I think it is important to have an association that represents bloggers who do this professionally, just as journalists have their association (and most other professional groups have theirs). The PTBA puts a lot of effort into connecting travel PRs with bloggers, to provide support and advice to its members whenever possible, and now with this first conference put together by the PTBA, I am even more glad that I signed up to be a member of it, and think the membership will pay off even more in the coming years.
I will use the conference as a jumping-off point to explore Sri Lanka on my own for almost five weeks and am hoping to squeeze in a detour to the Maldives while I am there – fingers crossed that I can make it happen. Did you know that the Maldives are only a 90-minute flight from Sri Lanka, and that return flights can be found for as little as $150? I feel like I have to take advantage of being so close to my absolute dream destination!
If you have any tips for Sri Lanka for me, feel free to share them in the comments below!