May 2014: An Overdue Update to the Escapades of Solo Travel Girl

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Tulips in Bloom at the Boston Public Garden, May 2014

Tulips in Bloom at the Boston Public Garden, May 2014

I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever written a post updating you on what’s been happening in my life but I feel to do so. Since the beginning of the year, it’s been a wild and wooly ride but with June in sight, I’m beginning to breathe.

Busy as a Bee
See, my day job is working in the Florida tourism industry and the winter/spring season is our busy season. This year was exceptionally busy – thank you Mother Nature for making it cold elsewhere and thank you economy for turning around – which kept my head swimming and my body working overtime, sometimes, 12 to 16-hour workdays. In addition to the day job, I maintain this blog, which is a full-time job in itself.

I’ve been taking my vitamins, worked with a nutritionist to lose about 30 pounds (and still losing), exercising, and eating much cleaner. My “numbers” (glucose, cholesterol, etc.) are awesome. With the ushering in of the busy season however, things seem to go out the window. In other words, I feel as though I have no control of my life and just kind of wing it and catch what’s coming to me. Life is settling down where I’ll have control again.

Since the beginning of the year, for this blog I’ve visited the Dominican Republic, Philadelphia, Orlando, Virginia and Boston. Up until the Dominican Republic trip, I’ve been healthy since last June, which of late, is a record for me.

I Truly Enjoyed Visiting Samaná, Dominican Republic, Feb. 2014

I Truly Enjoyed Visiting Samaná, Dominican Republic, Feb. 2014

And Illness Sets In
Two days after returning from the Dominican Republic, I fell ill and turned out I had a bacterial infection which was at least three times higher than what “abnormal” is. I was scheduled to fly to Chicago that weekend and participate in the Women in Travel Summit but my health care provider squashed that by saying my immune system had been compromised and I shouldn’t fly. I did go to Orlando right before that weekend to explore the Global Pet Expo show floor – I justified it because I wasn’t flying. After my one-day visit, I headed straight home and spent the weekend in bed, bummed to what I was missing in Chicago.

I traveled to Old School Virginia for a taste of Staunton, Lexington and Roanoke and returned with a virus infection. More specifically, the flu. I knew something was wrong when my skin was hot yet when I had the car air conditioner up to 80 degrees, I was still cold with body aches. Although I had a flu shot this season, I suspect it reduced the impact of the virus and although I could have stayed in bed for three, I only did it for one. Work was calling.

The following week was a trip to Boston to attend the AARP Life@50+ Expo and upon returning, I visited the local health department for my typhoid vaccination (for a trip to Guatemala). Walking in I immediately knew I’d get sick. I’ve never seen so many sick people in one room at once. Outside, parking was overflowing onto the adjacent lawn and roadside. I came down with a sinus infection later that day and unable to take time off from the day job, although the health center instructed me to.

Tasting Some of the Flavors of Virginia at Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

Tasting Some of the Flavors of Virginia at Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

Another Use for Social Media
Through Facebook I learned about a friend’s passing. She was a fellow travel blogger and member of the NASA Social community (aka: Space Tweep). About the middle of each month she would call and in January I didn’t hear from her. I noticed Twitter posts had stopped in the middle of the month so I posted on her Facebook page to see what was up. No response.

In February I called the numbers I had for her as well as emailed and messaged via Facebook. Still no response. In early March I posted in a mutual Facebook group where I received a message from a mutual friend. I spoke with him and learned of her passing, however, the assisted living facility where she died was trying to track down her family.

The end of April, one of her family members reached out to me on Facebook asking I if had heard from her. I was taken aback. More than a month had passed when I found out and certainly, law enforcement would have been able to track down family. In short, I connected her to the mutual friend who broke the news to her. Another Space Tweep is shining down on us.

Solo Travel Girl On the Set of WFLA with Anchor Yolanda Fernandez (left), May 24, 2104

Solo Travel Girl On the Set of WFLA with Anchor Yolanda Fernandez (left), May 24, 2104

Life When I’m Not Traveling or Working
Personally, I had a big moment over the weekend when I was the guest travel expert on WFLA’s  (NBC – Tampa Bay) 9 a.m. news program talking about travel websites and apps to help travelers plan their summer vacation. Honestly, I was a wreck leading up to it hoping it will lead to other opportunities. I had a facial, had a manicure and eyebrows waxed, visited the MAC counter at Macy’s where I spent as much on makeup as I have in all my adult life (okay, slight exaggeration, but I wanted to make sure I looked good on HD TV), and purchased a new dress and shoes.

Of course, I studied what I’d say pretty intensely and while I didn’t get to say everything I wanted, I think I did an okay job during the three-minute segment. Perhaps it will lead to other opportunities.

As for my personal life, well, when I’m home I spend time with my kitties and my weight loss has caught the attention of a former…not sure what to call him. Don’t worry, I’m exercising caution and skepticism. I did have someone ask to give me his number in a Walmart parking lot, and he flipped the table and asked for my number. After thinking about it, something was off and I haven’t returned his calls or texts.

My landscaping is flourishing – thanks Mom and Dad! – almost. Looks like my poor Meyer lemon tree has died. So sad. I am thankful to have someone cut my lawn on a regular basis because I have no idea where I would have time to do so.

What's Next? Sky's the Limit.

What’s Next? Sky’s the Limit.

What’s Next?
The trip to Guatemala for a relief mission with Clean the World is this week and I’m hoping to find what I feel is missing in my life right now and that’s a purpose. I’ve worked hard to earn the opportunities brought to me and I’ve traveled to amazing places but there’s been something missing. I can’t exactly pinpoint what’s missing but I’ve just been feeling emptiness lately and have a need to give back and learn about another culture. It’s only a four-day trip but an optimistic I’ll find what I’m seeking.

And after that? Other than a couple of weekends traveling, I’m looking forward to chilling and writing. I’m also looking forward to sleeping late on Saturday mornings. I have tales to tell and photos and videos to edit from last September’s trip to France to tell, along with the DR and Virginia, as well as other adventures.

I need to take a leap into putting in eBook or two together plus, I have ideas for Solo Travel Girl’s first guidebook and perhaps I’ll take the first steps in putting that together.

I also need to take time to mentally regroup.

That’s quite the update and I appreciate you reading this through and reading my blog. I also appreciate the comments, emails, Tweets and Facebook posts, especially when I’ve inspired you to travel alone, not lonely.

What are your plans for summer?

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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