Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

We made it to Key West on Friday evening and immediately had a game plan. We had spent a day in Key West this past summer and knew we had to go back to DJ’s Clam Shack for a lobster roll and fried clams and to Blue Heaven for the perfect piece of Key Lime Pie. Night 1 = success.




The next morning we hit the beach for the sunrise wedding of our two friends. Everything was beautiful. Loved the bride’s JCrew dress 🙂





We spent the rest of the day enjoying a wonderful brunch and conch tour with the bride and groom. Took a nap. Watched a little Texas Tech football, and went to the wedding dinner where the bride and groom served wine from the California winery where they got engaged. Amazing! It was an honor to celebrate with them. Oh, and my Aggies beat #1 Alabama while we were at dinner. I may or may not have been monitoring the game on my phone while chatting with the bride’s grandfather whom I’m going to adopt 😉

All the best to you, Andy and Bayley! Thanks for giving us a great excuse to take a little mini-vacay and for letting us join you in celebrating the beginning of your new life together!


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It’s the Journey that Counts

Miami behind. Key West ahead.


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A Few Hours in Miami

So, it turns out flying to Key West is not cheap, but we had to get there as 2 friends of ours chose this as the perfect spot to exchange vows. How to get to Key West without breaking the bank? Hmmmmm. Flying to Miami looks cheaper. My sister lives in Miami. Bet the drive from Miami to Key West is beautiful. Perfect! We’re going to Miami.

And, so we did.

For 22 hours.

Neither Stephen or I had been before, but now we’re looking for reasons to go back. Barney fit right in on South Beach. No surprise there if you know our “no, I don’t eat milk bones – only fine cheeses and homemade dog treats” shih tzu. Don’t know how it happened, but the dog has developed quite the palette. Not even sure if it’s fair to call him a dog at this point, but I digress. Here are some shots of our 22 hour stay in Miami.

The pool and view from our beautiful hotel:

Barney and I enjoying a drink in the abnormally cold Miami weather:

Stephen testing out the hot chocolate with Bailey’s:

My beautiful sister:

Gorgeous Miami Beach:

Can I have some stone crabs, Dad?

Already missing this hotel.

Hope to see you soon, Miami! Thanks for the (super fast) fun!

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The Thankful Traveler

Thankful for a little November getaway compliments of 2 friends who decided to get married in Key West. Thankful for them, their decision to get married in a great location that mandates a vacation, my sister for being generally awesome and agreeing to hang out with us in Miami on our way to the Keys, and for the fall edition of my travel faves.

Also thankful for my jet setting shih tzu

And my Tom’s

And 3 years of life with my best bud

He’s thankful for duty free Harrod’s hot chocolate compliments of my last adventure.

Next stop: Miami

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Alright, Jane. Here we are again in London Town. This time, I’m ready to meet Emma.


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People are Just People

Sometime today when I can find water (which is more difficult that one might think here in sunny Portugal), I’ll take, for the first time, a particular pill. Also, sometime today I’ll get on a plane which will take me to London where I’ll get on another plane which will take me to a place I never knew if I would have the chance to visit. A place where the pill will matter. A place that I’d only read about. A place that, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I should feel about. Somewhere between the Jungle Book and The Secret Garden, I was intrigued by it. The Jungle Book and The Secret Garden….my window into India. Animals that talk and a fictional girl that lived there 100+ years ago who’s parents died of cholera. Definitely reliable sources, especially in modern times. Even though I make light of it, I really don’t know yet what I can relate to there. I like Indian food. I think their clothes are pretty. I have some Indian friends, but they live in same American world I do, so for the most part, they seem like everyone else I know. I haven’t yet been stretched to have the same experience they have had…to be taken out of my world and placed into theirs. It’s time.

It took 22 years for me to do some serious traveling outside of the US. Up until that point, I had wondered what it would be like to experience different parts of the globe. Some places in my mind seemed beautiful, some seemed rugged, some seemed reverent, some seemed rich, some seemed poor, some seemed scary, some seemed like paradise. This is what my head told me about traveling, but the truth was, I didn’t really know. What was it like to immerse yourself into something that is totally unlike what you know? I wasn’t sure, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether that was an experience I needed to have or to avoid.

A good friend of mine, who had traveled much more than me at the time, casually mentioned one day while she was preparing to go to Qatar that no matter where she had gone, she had found that “people are just people.”


People are just people.

I think that’s pretty true.

Sure, we represent different ideas, different cultures, different languages. All of that is to be cherished, but at the end of the day, maybe there’s a little bit less to be scared of when traveling to far off places when you remember that people are just people. People. Wanting. Achieving. Failing. Hoping. Living. People.

I can relate to that.

Years ago, I read a book that attempted to explain why people do bad things. It suggested that all people have desires that are innately good and God-given, but, when those desires become misdirected, everything falls apart. The desire to achieve can result in walking on others if not properly acted upon. The desire for worth can result in attempts to find it in just anyone or anything which may not be the someone or something that can really satisfy. You get the point.
When I think about the statement “people are just people,” I’m reminded of this book. Inherently, we all want some of the same things. These things are sort of built into us. Naturally these desires play out differently in the US versus China versus India, but we’re all looking for something. All grasping at some of the same somethings. It’s kind of the tie that binds. A common longing. A common drive.

So, tomorrow, when I first set foot in India, and I’m overwhelmed by new sights and smells and sounds, I’m praying that I can remember that these are just people. I don’t want to just observe. I want to connect. I want to be changed by my fellow people.

People. Sometimes leaping and sometimes stumbling through life. Looking for love. Looking for meaning, and by God’s grace finding it. People, just like me.

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Green Wine is Not Green

During my time here in Portugal, there have been some recurring culinary themes. Sangria. Sardines. Green Wine. Sounds great, I’ll have…..wait, what? Did you say “green wine?”

I’m the kind of person that has to try everything. I operate under the philosophy that I might not be in [insert location name] again, so why shouldn’t I give whatever it is a shot? I might not like it, but good news! I don’t live here, so I don’t have to do it or eat it again. This applies to just about everything in life except for skydiving. There is no amount (and I mean no amount) of money in the world that will ever convince me to skydive.

So, green wine. I need to try green wine, but what is it?

While sitting in the bar one evening in my hotel, I asked this very question of the Portuguese bartender and he revealed to me that green wine is not only un-green but a dry white wine with a slight sparkle. I’m sorry, what? I think you just combined several of my favorite words. I don’t simply need to try this while I’m here, I need to try it tomorrow.

So, I did. And, I’m a fan . I love green wine.

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A Few Hours in London

An embarrassing amount of time ago, I decided I would read Sense and Sensibility. It’s a great book. I’m just not a dedicated reader, BUT I did bring Marianne and Elinor with me and am concluding their story in the UK. Appropriate, I think.


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I’m weird. I like airports. Lots of hours at airports. Layovers at airports. Whenever people ask about my itinerary when I take a trip and I tell them that I have a long layover in X, they do the obligatory “awwww, that sucks,” and I nonchalantly answer “yeah” to be cool when on the inside I’m saying “cha ching!” I love a good stay at an airport.

Airports have energy, and they have lots of crap that you would never purchase in real life but suddenly screams your name just because you’re traveling…you’re going rogue…the adventurer is alive in you and you must embrace your last opportunity to grab a snow globe commemorating your fleeting location. I come from a long line of shoppers. What can I say? I like to browse through worthless stuff.

I also like to watch people. You can’t beat an airport for people watching…unless you live in Austin in which case this is highly debatable, but as Sofia would say “I digress.” You can be sitting at a bar in an airport and someone starts speaking broken English and the bartender asks where they’re from and they respond with some fabulous location you’ve only read about. I’m always instantly transplanting myself into their life when this interaction occurs. What if I had been born in Czechoslovakia (clearly this is not an option as auto correct is my only prayer for spelling this), Argentina, Japan….how cool would that be? I could be just like that person in that movie. I bet they’re smarter there. I bet they appreciate literature more. They certainly wear better clothes and have better food. Aren’t people who eat a Mediterranean diet supposed to live longer? I just got comfortable embracing black nail polish without instantly having flashbacks of the goth kids in middle school. I bet that’s already out in Europe. Wonder what’s in now? Dang. I definitely need to figure out a way to move to Europe. Then I could have character. I could have history. I’ll probably become a writer (who am I kidding) who wears cute glasses. Perfect.

Growing up, these types of thoughts weren’t just musings, they were goals. One day I will do that. That will be my life. Then college happens and you get the job. Then you get the job and you make friends. Then you meet someone special which is awesome and you stay in the city with the job. Then you’re on the downward slope to 30 (holy cow!) and look what happened…you’re still here. You didn’t go. Life kept moving and you didn’t go. Crap.

True confession…this has caused me major anxiety over the last several years and has caused my poor husband to wonder if I could ever be happy just being. Well, of course not! Duh! The point of life is to keep progressing. Keep moving. Do something crazy. You only live once. You have to pack a lot in, and I don’t have time to sit here and watch football. I was ambitious. I was passionate. I was breaking glass ceilings. And banging my head over. and. over again. I was exhausted. I didn’t (still don’t really) know how to rest.
It’s only been the past year or so, that I’ve said “God, what if I don’t move to Europe or wherever? What if I just stay here and do this job that I do everyday and like it? Did I fail? Will I have regret?” You know what? I don’t think so. Looking back now, life’s been quite the adventure, but as I’ve spent all of my time making my next plan, I didn’t really absorb the story that I was walking through. Now, I want to. I went to college, made great friends that got me through some really hard times, moved to a city where I knew one person, cried when my mom and my grandma left me there, found a guy I would have NEVER envisioned for myself but that couldn’t be more perfect, lost my dad, made great friends, ate great food 🙂

Sounds like a cool story to me. So, maybe this post should be called “I need football.” I need to sit. I need to absorb. I need to be. In Austin. In love.

So, as I sit in the airport about to embark on the most exotic trip I’ve taken yet, I’m excited to shake some new hands, eat some new food (are we sensing a theme?), make some new friends, and then go home. I’ll be really happy to go home. Home is Adventure Headquarters. It’s where we are now, and it’s where we’re meant to be.

One time I read a book that told a story of a woman that never fit in in the US in the 1950s because she had dark hair and was very short. Then she became a missionary in China. She stepped off the boat and saw that for the first time in her life, everyone looked like her, and she said, “Dear God, you know what you’re doing.”

Well, “Dear God, you know what you’re doing.” Thanks for letting me go for the ride.

Meanwhile, here is my favorite part of the Dallas Airport:

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