This is not one of my usual posts. It isn’t SEO friendly, or filled with snazzy pictures. It is just an update on my ongoing adventure, guest starring my awesome editor and husband. We fell off the face of the earth for a couple of months and I want to explain myself, mostly as a way to hold myself accountable to the new goals I’ve set. It is time to re-evaluate and adjust… again.
WTF, Jen?! Where have you been?
I’m in Florida, USA.
“What?! I thought you were in Australia?” said all of my avid reader.
No one actually said that. I just like to assume you are all paying enough attention to potentially have said it. I’m sure you were.
Anyway, yes, I am in Florida. While we were in Australia, my mom called with news that she had a brain tumor and that she had no intention of getting it removed. She has a tendency to over-exaggerate, but I believed her when she said she was ready to die alone. So, we booked the next ticket out and traveled the 28 hours from Melbourne, Australia to Melbourne, Florida. It was a trip from “MELben to melBORN”, which was far funnier to me than it was to anyone else.
As I hope I have conveyed in this travel diary already, shit does happen on the road. This was one of those shits. After cancelling three house sits, two holidays with friends, and spending all my air miles, we’re back in the USA, camping out in my mom’s living room. We’re broke, bored, missing Thai food, and my mom is dying. After six months of living my best life, I’m finding myself nowhere near my best.
Mom is out of the hospital!!! After three weeks of doctors’ appointments and waiting for more, she has been set loose with a clean bill of health. No cancer, no ongoing observations, nothing! It was just “one of those things” said the doctor (along with a lot of other more specific and reassuring things). It was a huge relief.
I have an appointment in California this October. It seems silly to spend the little money we have left to fly overseas just to have to come back in a couple of months. I think we’ll end up trying for a USA road trip. The challenging part is that there isn’t a great (cheap) transit system in the states. We would need to buy a car… and insurance… and registration… and gas.
There is also the mental difficulty. Will traveling in the USA be fulfilling enough? Will I feel challenged and engaged? Will I eventually stop thinking “it might just be easier to get a job for a little bit”? It’s a thought I have been plagued with since we landed. I don’t want to give in… not yet.
I sold an excellent car in December of last year… and bought a new, shittier one, this week! I’m REALLY excited about it. Darla (we’re still trying some names out) is a 2013 Dodge Ram passenger van that was converted for use as a delivery vehicle. She is covered in dents, has a million and half miles on it, and has already cost a small fortune. But the van is the first step to reclaiming our freedom. It feels really good.
I’m tentatively stoked. Stoked is the right word, although I’m not sure it is possible to be tentatively stoked. But this is how I feel. I’m worried about the consequences of bailing on our Asian adventures early and changing plans entirely. But I am also really freaking excited to start this new, unplanned USA adventure.
The plan is to travel from Mom’s house in Florida, to my appointment in San Francisco, California over the next 70 days. We’re heading north towards the Midwest before going West to avoid some of the summer heat and humidity. I want to try and book as many house sits as possible along the way, but the remainder of the time will be spent sleeping in the van. Can’t picture me sleeping in a van? Neither can I!
I am STILL a travel blogger
I put together a new routine that has me working social media twice as hard and updating old blogs with better SEO on the daily. My goal was to have a DA (pretty much a website score) of 30 by October. Even with the two month drop, I am at 20 and am determined to make it to 30 by the end of the year. It is going to take a lot of hard work, and a lot of views from my fans (*nod nod wink wink).
J Brandon, The Author
Josh (writing under the name J Brandon Lowry) has been writing up a storm. The change of location and routine has set him back a little bit too. We worked together to shift gears a little bit and put more focus on the things that matter. We’re hoping he’ll be ready to start shopping his book around to agents after the holiday season. I can’t wait! I read his first draft and LOVED it.
So there it is. We’re hitting the road in a janky van and house sitting along the way. Wish us luck!