Hello my Lovers of Random. It’s been a minute. The last time we chatted, I was galavanting through Italy, eating my weight in pasta and riding Vespas through the narrow allies Palermo, Sicily. Life sure looks different now. I’d like to say that it’s fate that brought me back to you, but really it was just an email from WordPress telling me my domain was about to expire. Not being able to face the expiration of this adventure of my personal journey through letters to you, I find myself perched in front of my laptop, wondering where to even start.
Perhaps where we left off? I don’t know how I can possibly catch you up on it all, but we’ll hit the highlights for sure.
Italy was an exercise in personal growth – both spiritually and from the waistline, though every bite of pasta and every sip of wine was worth the extra centimeters of stretch in my Lululemon shorts. After Italy I shot down to Cape Town, South Africa, where I fell in love with a city like never before. I spent three months in the Mother City, seeing old friends and making new, hiking through the multitudes of trails and eating my way through incredible food. My best piece of advice- never believe a Cape Tonian when they tell you a hike is “easy”.
Somewhere in the middle of Cape Town, I was frustrated with the career path I was on, and began to entertain the idea that I should start a business. I was, after all, providing multitudes of free advice to digital nomads regarding their tax situations and receiving requests for additional services. On a bumpy road in Zanzibar over Thanksgiving week, Nomad Tax was born. I was an entrepreneur. I promptly woke up the next day to my first gray hair.
After Cape Town, I headed back to snowy Europe to reunite with some Earharts. A quick stopover in Amsterdam for NYE, and then we flew to Bansko, Bulgaria, a ski town where I spent way too much money on snowboarding gear to go down a mountain once. Luckily the miserable cold coupled with my lack of skills allowed me the time to focus in on the new business I had dove head first into. I spent the majority of the time locked up in my condo with my good friend Nicole mapping out how our process would work, and constantly rubbing my shoulder, which for months had ached all day and night.
Cold is not my jam. Until this point, I had perpetually chased summer, so I fled the snow capped mountains and headed for the beachy surf town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. (P.S., I don’t surf either). Jet lag proved good for business, as I woke early most mornings and cranked through the enormous amount of work that starting a business takes by day, and took each evening off to watch the sun set and spend time with my housemates cooking family dinners and lounging by the pool.
The deterioration of my shoulder led to a stopover in Medellin, Colombia on our way to a wedding to see an orthopedic surgeon. An MRI confirmed that yep, my shoulder was “fucked”. True story, doctor’s words. I had a labral tear known as a SLAP lesion, and I was dangerously close to detaching my bicep and having it roll up like a window shade. I was told to schedule surgery sooner rather than later, but we had a wedding to get to, so instead, I hopped a flight to Bariloche, Argentina.
People will tell you that Bariloche, Argentina is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And they are not wrong. Serving as the entrance to Patagonia, Bariloche is breathtaking at every turn. People will also tell you that Bariloche is the safest place in Argentina. That was not the case for me and my roomies. While at the aforementioned wedding (and failing at my 2019 goal of not getting embarrassingly drunk on Fernet), our AirBNB was broken into and the majority of our belongings were carted off in our own luggage. They even ate a yogurt out of our fridge. I can’t make this stuff up.
Not all who wander are lost.
While I fully believe that that is true, I had recently felt a more than a little lost in my wandering. I was aimlessly moving from place to place, new places, old haunts, not really knowing why I was where I was…. and then something traumatic like having your life stolen happens. It wasn’t just my clothes, or my shoes.. it was the stickers on my suitcase that I had amassed over my travels…. the kangaroo clipped to my backpack from that time we got stranded in Bali…. the journal that I kept while I solo traveled through Italy… and the passport that held the stamps from my journey. It was a piece of my heart and soul.
Before and after photos of my luggage.
From Medellin to Argentina, 22kgs in a suitcase and another 14kgs in a backpack.
After, 17kgs in one very cheap and heavy replacement suitcase.
It’s a personal attack, and the feeling that followed was “I want to go home”… and for the first time in nearly two years, I knew that home was Birmingham, Alabama. With some help from a dear friend, I hopped a flight to Buenos Aires and headed back to the ‘Ham to regroup.
But don’t worry Lovers. This certainly isn’t where the story ends. In fact, it’s just the beginning of a brand new adventure. But you’ll have to tune in next time for that.
Until then my Lovers,