Take heart, all ye devoted fans who have written that you are in withdrawal because you no longer have my blog to read over morning coffee. I have not left for good – I only took a short break. While I absolutely loved writing about my travels and sharing my photography with you, it was an incredible amount of work. At the end of each day I would return to the hotel with 200-300 photos, all of which had to be downloaded from the camera to my laptop and individually named. Then I had to choose which of the day’s photos I would use and resize them for the blog. Only then could I begin to write and upload the articles and the photos. That doesn’t even take into consideration finding an Internet connection, which was sometimes the biggest challenge of all. There were several nights during my trip when I did not get to sleep at all and many others when I only got two or three hours sleep. So I took a much needed week’s rest from writing and taking photos.
Not that I have been sitting around since I coming home. I arrived in Sarasota, Florida late last Wednesday evening and spent two days opening a mountain of mail (a laundry basket heaped to overflowing), balancing checkbooks, doing laundry, trying on everything in my closet in search of clothes that fit me (an exercise in futility, since everything was WAY too big for me and had to be donated to the secondhand store), getting a new cell phone, and figuring out how to get an Internet connection with no cable (we have a satellite dish) and no landline phone. On Saturday I left Sarasota and drove to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to check on my house and pick up some clothes that fit (like most women, I have smaller size clothing packed away from the days before I gained weight). I’ve spent the last two days on the Outer Banks running around like a chicken with my head cut off, meeting with landscapers, realtors, lenders, builders, and bankers; cleaning the house; trying on every piece of clothing in my closet; and packing the car with everything I want to eventually cart back to Florida. This morning I left North Carolina, bound for Illinois and my niece’s wedding this weekend.
At this very moment I am in a hotel room somewhere in Kentucky, and for the first time in a very long time I did not have to search for a hotel that provided an Internet connection because I am now the proud owner of a Sierra 875U Aircard, which is a bit like a small cell phone that plugs right into a USB port on my laptop and lets me connect to the Internet from anywhere in the country. It’s VERY cool – I can even get online while traveling down the highway (assuming someone else is driving). From now on I’ll be able to focus on finding the cheapest hotel rather than the “wired ” hotel when I travel in the U.S.
It feels strange to be carrying a cell phone again – I’m not sure I like it but I realize it’s a necessary evil. Although I wondered whether it would feel strange to drive again after six months, that did not seem to be a problem – I hopped right in my car and didn’t feel the least bit uncomfortable. There are things I like since returning to the good ‘ol USA and things I don’t like so much. I like the fact that I no longer have to learn a new language every two weeks. I like the fact that I can easily find vegetarian food. I dislike the renewed exposure to our media. On the day I arrived back home I was watching CNN during a layover in the Philadelphia airport and was amazed that it was the same stuff I was hearing six months ago. I decided that I’ve lived for six months without TV and really haven’t missed a thing, so I’ve sworn it off – especially the news – since it is all either negative or garbage anyway. Of course, I am back to dealing with the everyday drudgery that is nowhere near as exciting as traveling around the world, but my outlook on life has changed so significantly that I seem to be able to keep it in perspective and not let it stress me out.
As for travel – well, you might think I would be tired of traveling and ready to stay in one place for a while but quite the opposite is true. It seems I’m addicted now. After the wedding and a nice long visit with my family I’m hitting the road again. I’ll either be going to Key West to take care of some business or, if I’m not needed in Key West, I plan to drive up to Maine and meander south through Vermont and New Hampshire as the leaves begin to burst into fall colors. Then, as soon as my house sells, I plan to go overseas again. My wish list this time is Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Borneo, China, northern India, Nepal, Tibet, Eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Spain.
So I hope you will stay tuned and in that regard I have a favor to ask of all my readers. Last month 1170 of you read my blog and although I know some of you, I have no idea who others are. I would like to create an email list in order to notify all my readers when I am traveling and where I am going. If you would like to receive these notices, please click on the above button labeled “Contact” and send me your email address with a brief note telling me to include it on my notification list. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your continued interest in my blog and I look forward to providing you with lots more travel adventures to enjoy over morning coffee.