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In my monthly round-ups, I am looking back at my travels over the past four weeks, what went well and what didn’t, what’s new with Globetrottergirls.com and what’s next for me.
Where I’ve been
With the exception of a short trip to New Jersey, I spent all month in New York City. But standing still in the city that never sleeps is never like ‘standing still’ – I didn’t even have time to turn on my TV once this month to catch up on the TV shows I wanted to watch or to even start the books I’ve been dying to read. As usual, I’ve taken on too much and I am feeling the effects of too many 4-hour nights.
What went well
Let’s start with the good stuff: what went well this month? And there were many things that went exceptionally well!
New friendships While I was a bit lazy on the meeting new people front last month, I finally got my mojo back and turned from a bit of a hermit back into the social butterfly I usually am. I met some great new people, wished I had more time to nurse and maintain these new friendships, but my visa is running out and the fun is over. I would even have had a housesit right after my current cat sit. There is nothing I can do about visa regulations, however.
Having a visitor in town
Usually people just pass through or spend a couple of nights in New York – but it is rare that somebody specifically comes to see me. This was different in July when I had a special visitor for eight days, something I hinted already on in my last round-up. My friend Anna, who I met trough her aunt Shannon in Chiang Mai in late 2011 and then traveled to Cambodia with in the spring of 2012, came for a week of New York funsies. Anna who was 11 when I first met her and was now 14, had turned into one of the smartest, funniest and maturest teenagers I’ve ever met and I had a blast hanging out with her for a week, showing her some of my favorite NYC spots, taking her to the beach, to Coney Island, to Central Park and even to a pre-screening of Ant Man hosted by Paul Rudd, Ant Man himself, which turned out to be a movie I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. We hung out with some of my friends, had lots of good food, and several make-over sessions. I was a bit worried about the responsibility I’d taken on – making sure I’d get the kid back to Florida in one piece – but I was complimented on my ‘parenting skills’ several times throughout the week by friends who saw me interact with Anna – a huge relief for me, and I am happy to report that we made it through the week incident free.Being recognized by a follower I still feel funny about the word ‘fan’, but I was recognized by one of my followers in a lesbian bar this month, which was nice. We hung out several times after this initial random meeting (hi S! 🙂 ) and once again I am super grateful about the people that have come into my life through this site. I also got several really nice and touching emails from readers this month – plus an awesome housesitting offer which I think I’ll accept! – which I am a bit behind on answering but just know that I’ll get there and that I appreciate your emails.
Surviving two months of cycling all over New York! I made it through two months of cycling in New York City nearly without any incidents, but on my very last day with Lola Warrior Princess I ended up running over a pedestrian (I swear it was her fault, she just stepped into the bike lane without looking) but we both made it out with minor injuries only. Even though I consider myself an experienced cyclist, biking around New York – particularly Manhattan – is still pretty scary and I’ve read about some horrific accidents, some of them very close to places I was staying at. That’s why I am ecstatic that I made it (almost) accident-free through two months of heavy cycling, often logging over 20k a day because I was cycling back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn so much.
What went wrong
Work(over)load Like I said above – if you are looking for a place to sit still for a while, New York is not the right place. And I am too much of a FOMO person to stay at home when I know my friends are out doing something fun. Especially because here I always feel like I’m on borrowed time. I’ll be leaving soon. I have to fit it ALL in. Which inevitably leads to me getting burned out. I try to do too much, I am overwhelmed with work, I am trying to stick to my workout routine, so what comes short is usually sleep and at some point I just crash from exhaustion.
Plus, my workload has become too much to handle on my own over the past few months. I have been looking for an assistant for a while now to hand over some things I can outsource, but other than one interview with a promising candidate back in January my search hasn’t led anywhere. So instead of reducing my workload this year like I had planned to, I kept taking on more work, and while I am thrilled about the progress I’ve made growing the business, it also brought with it an increased workload which left me feeling overwhelmed at all times. My email inbox, which I haven’t properly dealt with for about two months now, keeps growing into this insatiable monster that is gonna swallow me one day (that what it seems like, at least). I get more emails from people who want something from me than I can possibly answer – and with that I don’t mean reader emails and questions which I’m always happy to answer but emails by companies who want me to promote their products, PR companies who invite me on press trips, advertisers who are looking for a potential partnership, and all sorts of other requests and offers which range from interesting to plain weird. And that’s only one tiny aspect of this business which I run by myself that involves researching and writing stories, proof-reading and editing articles, editing and selecting photos, engage with my audience, negotiate with sponsors and business partners, deal with technical issues, figure out technical stuff that I don’t know anything about (I am not well versed when it comes to IT & computer stuff, to be honest, which makes self-publishing on a self-hosted website pretty difficult at times), be all over social media, admin stuff, making sure all invoices get paid, and making sure I pay all the bills on time.
And speaking of hosting – my hosting company has been up my ass all month threatening to take the site offline and cutting it off several times, with me trying to figure out how I can make them happy again and prevent getting shut down. All of these things combined can get a bit too much sometimes, wearing me down and make me think maybe it’s time for something new? I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish sometimes I could take the weekends off like normal people, not work on holidays or have 9 to 5 working hours instead of falling asleep with my laptop on my lap, like I do most nights. And let’s not forget that I’ve been doing this for more than five years at this point – longer than I’ve held any other position.But then I love blogging too much to just throw in the towel; the flexibility it gives me and of course the location independence that comes with it are rare and despite all the issues I face I enjoy what I do – all aspects of it. So instead of shutting down Globetrottergirls, I will instead attempt to finally slow down and get better at time management.
You may have noticed that as a result of this little July meltdown I didn’t publish a whole lot of new content this past month, and I’m already feeling re-energized after allowing myself to take it slow for a while instead of publishing halfheartedly written, mediocre content.
Leaving New York heartbroken I touched on this briefly in this week’s Polaroid: I am so not ready to leave New York. I feel like I’m missing out on all the summer fun that makes the warm hot months of the year so amazing here, and August was my favorite month here last year. And like I said above – I also think that if I had more time here, I wouldn’t feel like I need to rush around like crazy all the time, trying to fit it all in. Having spent one month out of my 90 day visa in Arizona and California, I was only able to spend two months in New York this year and that’s just not enough. The more time I spend here, the more it feels like home, and it simply sucks to get kicked out the place that feels home the most to me, especially at a time when I don’t want anything but to slow down and stay put for a while, and the people that mean the most to me happen to be based in NYC, too. I’m working on being able to stay longer in New York next year – stay tuned for news on that – but I don’t even know when I’ll return, and that just plain sucks right now.Losing my phone Spoiler alert: I got it back! I offhandedly placed my iPhone on top of a stranger’s car while I was doing a photo shoot with a friend in Brooklyn, forgot that I put it there and we moved on to the next location, where I realized I didn’t have my phone. Luckily we were just around the corner from the parked car, but when we ran back there, we saw the car driving off. We ran after it assuming the phone would fall, but didn’t find it in the street. My friend started calling it, and it rang and rang, but no answer. I put my phone in the ‘Lost Phone’ mode, showing my friend’s phone number on the home screen, and just waited. Half an hour later, she got a phone call from a woman who said she found my phone on top of her car – after driving for nearly 10 miles around Brooklyn! I am still amazed that the phone didn’t fall off the car during the entire ride, and was so relieved that she was an honest finder and returned the phone to me (I hadn’t backed up in a while and would have lost quite a few notes and photos…). How lucky am I?!
A difficult housesit Let’s just say that not every housesit is easy, and some pets are more challenging than others.
What’s next for me
As I am typing this, I’m on my to the UK! It’s been way too long since I spent some time here in the summer, and I will be spending the weekend in Brighton for Pride, which I will attend as part of the #mustlovefestivals campaign which aims to promote festivals all over Europe. I’ve been to Brighton Pride before – but that was nearly a decade ago, long before Globetrottergirls. I can’t wait to return this year equipped with my camera and notebook and to share this giant Pride party with all of you! You can follow along this weekend live via social media!