Six Years Later: How Blogging Changed My Life

Six years later: a look at how travel blogging changed my life.
Six years ago, on a warm October night, I lay in my bed in a century-old house, tossing and turning. Work, my 30th birthday trip to Croatia and my cloudy future in Atlanta all jockeyed for space in my mind. Yet, the only thing which kept repeating were the words “fumbling, stumbling, mumbling …” as my first night in Croatia played out on repeat in my head.

I need to write this shit down while it is in my head.

As I writer, I know all too well how quickly things write themselves in my ever-churning mind. The words appear, I can see them, feel them. I promise myself these golden sentences weaving into a story will remain in my head in the morning, and yet, they never do. Although I vaguely remember the prose which was rampant, floating in my gray matter the night before, they rarely are reproduced.

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When Your Travel Plans Turn into Murphy’s Law

From on issue to the next -- what happens when your travel plans turn into a real life Murphy's Law
“If anything can go wrong — it will.”

The best laid plans.

Today, we’re time traveling to late January of this year. I’m in Madrid and I decide that it shall be my new home.

It’s really easy to get a student visa here,” my friend explains to me.

Seeing as Spain was always tops on my list for a country to plant some roots in, I immediately begin researching the process of getting a student visa for Spain as an American. Let me tell you: it’s a royal pain in the ass.

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9 Things to Know About Expat Life

9 things to know about expat life
Today marks three years of life as an expat. If you asked me three years ago, when I arrived wide-eyed to Chiang Mai if I ever would have imagined being in Spain today, I would have likely looked at you and laughed … because really? That notion, then, seemed absurd.

And yet … here I am.

The past three years have been some of the most beautiful, the most amazing and the most challenging three years I have ever lived. I have laughed, loved and struggled more than words could ever convey. I’ve been on elephant rescues, I’ve seen more of the realities of life than I ever thought possible and I’ve battled with my own demons.

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The Story of My Thai Street Cats

Thai street cats
If you would have seen me the day I dropped of my two cats, Keeley and Jezebel, at their new home, you would have thought someone I loved had passed away.

Seriously.

I hadn’t cried like that in a long time.

There’s something exciting about starting a new life as an expat. A thrill. That ‘world is my oyster’ feeling. But, being an expat comes with sacrifices. Namely, having to part ways with people and animals you love.

Initially, I had considered bringing the cats with me to Thailand. But, everyone talked me out of it. And, thank goodness they did. Being a new expat, in a country in SE Asia with no home, no idea of what kind of resources were available, would have caused a lot of undue stress. Not to mention the stress for the animals I loved with all of my heart.

So, I left them in good hands and embarked on my journey.

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Reawakening in Spain

Spain

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Matias Negrete-Pincetic

“Tonight, can you please take me on a tour of my new barrio?” I ask my friend, Tobi, who has been my unofficial tour guide of all things awesome in Madrid since the second week I moved here.

“Yes,” she promises.

And then, we’re off. It’s early evening (by Spanish standards) and the sun still hangs high above the terra-cotta tiles of the magnificent colored buildings in Lavapies/Embajadero.

I’m fightings the ghosts of Chiang Mai and questioning my existence in Madrid when we head out. I’m numb. Our first stop of the night is La Inquilina, which serves up 1 euro tapas along with their booze. Tobi knows what I’ve been going through since I moved here, and tonight I am fighting past those demons in my mind. Tonight, I promise her, I want to live in the moment. To embrace my new home. And, that’s exactly what we do.

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Getting a Student Visa for Spain as an American

Step-by-step tips on how Americans can get a student visa to live in Spain via www.dtravelsround.com
For most of my adult life, I have dreamed of living in Europe. But, as an American, actually living in Europe beyond the Schengen visa limit of 90 in/90 out in a 180 day period makes it pretty much impossible (unless I get hitched to someone with an EU passport, which is never entirely out of the question).

So, what is a girl to do when those dreams of residing in this bubble of history and culture can’t be achieved without an EU passport? Answer: she gets creative.

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