In my monthly round-ups, I am looking back at my travels over the past four weeks, what went well and what didn’t, and what’s next for me.
Where I’ve been
I started the month in Germany – a rushed three-city trip to Erfurt, Leipzig and Berlin to say goodbye to my nephew, nieces, my brother and my sister. Because my flight was out of Berlin, I decided to head there a day early to meet up with some friends before flying back to the States.
Most of the month was spent in New York, but I boarded a plane to Los Angeles yesterday, and I’ll be spending the next few weeks in Southern California.. but I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s look back at the past 31 days:
First of all – albeit traveling much less this month, I ended up sleeping in 8 different beds in the past 31 days, only three less than in July! So much for slowing down…
Overall, August was a weird month, because I felt somewhat unsettled and uneasy the entire time, even though I was ecstatic about being back in New York. I missed most of my beloved New York summer this year, and was happy to get to spend at least one month there. And August is such an amazing month in NYC – it was scorching hot (much needed after I was chilly most of the time I was in Germany!), there were plenty of outdoor activities: open-air movies, sunset dates, rooftop drinks, bike rides, New York pizza (time to update my New York Pizza Guide again), beach days, kayaking, picnics in the park and island getaways (Governors Island and Fire Island). I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted, but reflecting on the past month now I feel like I fit in a lot, considering the heavy workload I was dealing with.
One thing that made me feel uneasy the entire month were incidents in my personal circle. I am a worrier, always concerned for my partner, my family, my friends, and when I know that somebody is not feeling well or facing some major hurdles, I can’t help but hurting / worrying for them. If you are subscribed to my newsletter*, you know that my life is in turmoil at the moment, and I think what also contributed to me feeling so unsettled is that I am currently not able to plan much for the coming months.
On the bright side: I loved getting back into a routine as that’s what I am craving at the moment: a workout routine, a fridge filled with my favorite foods, a kitchen to cook in, friends to hang out with. Not knowing where I’ll be two months from now makes me feel restless instead of excited to see what the future brings. I am definitely ready for a home base that goes beyond a few weeks at a time, something I already said at the beginning of the year – and yet it is more difficult than one might think to find a place to call home. For one, I am very picky and have a number of requirements that need to be fulfilled, and then there’s the issue that visa restrictions leave me with limited options. But that’s for another post. For now, let’s look at the highlights and lowlights of the past month:
What went right
Just when I started getting completely overwhelmed with work projects once again, I decided on a whim to join some of my friends out on Fire Island, where they were enjoying a little summer getaway. I’d been trying to get out to Fire Island for the past two summers and I was ecstatic to finally see this highly-praised little island off the coast of Long Island for myself. This happened to be during the hottest days of summer in New York, and it was just what the doctor had ordered. I didn’t bring my laptop and I took a grand total of three photos the entire time I was out there. It was a good reminder that I need to get away from my laptop and the time suck that’s the internet. My time on the island was much too short, by the way, and just whetted my appetite for more. Hopefully next summer!
Kayaking in the East River
Another thing that’s been on my to-do-list for a really long time? Kayaking on the East River. There are several places where you can kayak for free during the summer on both the East River and the Hudson River, and the spot I had picked was Brooklyn Bridge Park for its great views over the Manhattan skyline right across the river. When I finally found time to go kayaking, it was cloudy and it even rained just before we hit the water, but it was a great experience nonetheless. The majestic skyline, being back in a kayak (I hadn’t been in one since I went kayaking in Austin in May), and the best kayaking buddy one could ask for. We continued the evening with a pizza from Juliana’s at Pebble Beach, one of my favorite places to watch the sunset from, and finished the night with New York Cheesecake and Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Perfect.
Reuniting with my bicycle
I know that the saying goes ‘home is where the heart is’ but more fitting for me is ‘home is where my bike is’, and that’s New York City. After a failed attempt to release her from her temporary storage before flying to Germany in June, I finally got Lola (yes, she has a name!) back this month. Whizzing around New York on my bike is one of my favorite things to do in the summer (see last July’s roundup), and even though I didn’t get to take her out as often as I would have liked, it felt glorious every time we went for a wild ride.
What went wrong
Too little time with friends
It took me almost two weeks to get out of my work cocoon and my ‘I can only meet you if you come down to my ‘hood’ because I’m so busy with work attitude’, leaving not much time to see friends. Some of my closest friends in New York who I was really looking forward to see I didn’t get to hang out with at all, which left me majorly disappointed, other friends I only got to see one or two times, and others only for a quick catch-up session. Too little time. Realizing how hard it is to schedule things with people left me feeling pretty frustrated – it seems like in New York everyone is always busy. But then there were a few people who always made time for me and who were also up for spontaneous shenanigans, so not all hope is lost, I guess.
Poor time management
I don’t want to blame spending not enough time with my friends only on them – I am also to be blamed here, because I feel like my time management was terrible this month. Considering how many hours I spent in front of my laptop I made also much less progress on my workload than one would expect, and achieved less than I wanted to achieve. Most of the month I felt just overwhelmed by all the things I needed to get done and I even completely forgot two article deadlines. Luckily I remembered them the day before the articles were due and managed to meet them (sacrificing sleep) but this happened to me a couple of times in July already and I need to get more organized with the various projects I work on and clients I work with. Not only did I feel like I didn’t get enough time with my friends, but I also felt like I didn’t get enough much needed me-time, after barely having any time to myself in July.
Bitten by a dog
…and not just any dog, but a dog I was dog sitting for. I had briefly mentioned a ‘difficult housesit‘ in July 2015, but it wasn’t difficult enough for me not to accept the offer for a repeat housesit this year when the client asked me to come back.
Well, this was a first for me: the dog bit me. It was quite a painful bite, and luckily I had just gotten all my vaccinations renewed when I was in Germany last month, which saved me the trip to the doctor. The pup and I made up again after it happened and ended our time together with a big love fest – he is usually very sweet – but I admit that for a minute I was really freaked out and got a little scared of the dog (who is on meds for anxiety and depression).
Here we go again, the most frequent mention under ‘What went wrong’: me losing things. And I have to go back to July, because I completely forgot to include in my July round-up that I left a brand new jacket in an airport toilet stall in London Gatwick – complete with my sister’s car keys in them. This caused a huge hassle of me getting to my sister’s house when I was house and dog sitting for her last month, and not to mention that I lost her spare set of car keys. Plus a jacket I really digged but only got to wear once. Despite emailing Gatwick’s Lost & Found office and detailing my lost items, they were never to be seen again.
This month, I left my portable charger in New York when I left for L.A. (an item I use on a daily basis!!), I left earrings behind in several places, and god knows what else. Nothing was as bad as leaving my $300 headphones on a plane back in April and a bunch of stuff in March, but still, I could’ve done without losing anything or forgetting stuff in random places.
Website ups & downs
At first, I wanted to put it under What went right: Website progression… but later in the month, it turned into What went wrong: Huge website hassle. I’ve mentioned before that I had big issues getting my redesigned site up and running in June (and July), and felt like I was finally making progress this month. Until my hosting company started to shut down the site… all.the.time. At the moment, I feel like the site is down more often than not, and I am facing a pricey move over to another hosting company. I do hope that this will resolve all website-related issues I’ve been dealing with over the past three months, but the redesign is still far from finished, to be honest.
I got a nice income boost thanks to some unexpected affiliate income this month, but since it went straight into paying my tech guy and my assistant, I didn’t really get to enjoy the extra income.
What’s next for me
As I’ve already said – I will be spending the majority of the month in the L.A. area, and hopefully I will be able to visit friends in San Diego while I’m there. I am excited to reunite with one of my best friends in L.A., and to get to hang out with a friend I made on my travels – funnily enough, I am dog sitting for her while she sets off on her honeymoon to Europe and Northern Africa.
And then there’s a trip in the works that I am ridiculously excited about – but since no flight tickets have been purchased as of now, I am not going to spill anything just yet. Let’s just say that if things go as planned, my next update will be coming from another continent and from a country I love dearly (any guesses?).
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