The Time I Became a Bobblehead

With the Olympics beginning this week, I can’t help but think of a visit I made to Park City, Utah for a few days last March. What a beautiful place to be, even for this warm-weather-lovin’ girl! When we were out there, I heard murmurs that there may be the opportunity to go for a bobsled ride at Utah Olympic Park. Continue reading “The Time I Became a Bobblehead”

a year ago today…

Dreams Road Sign

A year ago today, I set out for my greatest adventure to date – becoming a full-time freelance writer. I left a fulfilling full-time job, working with people a terrific group of people whom I respect, to follow my passion into the unknown. After a year of see-sawing, I decided to take the plunge and make my move – we’ve only one life to live, after all, and I wanted to live mine to its fullest.

I’d been freelancing part-time for about seven years, with some level of success. I have regular outlets for which I write, and am constantly researching the marketplace for new ideas, new media, new editors. When a story idea strikes, I shuffle through my mind to think of which may be the best fit, and go for it. Freelancing can be a tough gig – there’s a lot of rejection, a lot of unanswered queries, a lot of uncertainty.

But freelancing can be quite, well, freeing, too. I set my schedule, which may mean a morning session at the gym followed by quiet time with my pup, or a mani/pedi mid-day when others are desk side. It may also mean than when a deadline is looming and inspiration strikes, whether that be 8:30 a.m. or midnight, I’m up and at my computer working. I am my toughest boss, and my worst critic.

A year ago today, my husband showed me once again his unparalleled confidence in me, supporting me in this wild endeavor, simply knowing that it would be a success, especially when I felt unsure. My family has been incredibly supportive, too, knowing that if I trusted in myself, I’d be fine. Friends joke that I’ve retired, and simply travel now. But as any freelancer knows, we most likely work harder for ourselves than we had for any 9 to 5 job (or, 8 to 5 is more likely).

And over the past year, I’ve had incredible experiences. I’ve traveled to Portland (Maine), Charleston (a number of times!), Auburn, Maui, Savannah, West Palm Beach, Jupiter Beach, Huntsville, DC, Cancun, Sarasota, Orlando, Park City, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Austin, Brussels, Bruges, Paris, Toronto, Clearwater, Barbados, Chesapeake Bay, Roanoke, St. Louis, Vancouver Island and Minneapolis.

I’ve met incredibly talented writers and photographers, many of whom have become friends. I’ve worked with new editors, and those I’ve worked with since the beginning. I’ve learned a lot, be it from a travel bloggers’ conference, or talking with colleagues. I’ve partnered with a group of six amazing women, all travel writers, and today we’re celebrating our one-year #girlstravel chat anniversary over on Twitter (join us @ 2 p.m. ET)!

I’ve got a lot more to learn, too. I need to learn how to better manage my time so that evenings are spent with my husband and pup, rather than in front of the computer screen. I need to learn how much is too much, and whether it is in fact OK to decline an invitation or an assignment. I’m going to learn how to become more efficient in my writing, and how to better partner, at the KEEN Digital Summit in Nashville next month (thanks again, Aly Walansky! @alywalansky).

One thing I do know is that I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure, it’s sometimes scary, nerve wracking and uncertain. But then again, what great adventure isn’t?

A year ago today, I followed my dreams.

What I would do in five days in Queensland


If I’m selected to visit Queensland, the first thing I’ll do even before my arrival is realize a long-time dream of visiting the Land Down Under. Years ago, a friend and I vowed that we’d go to Australia to celebrate our 30th birthdays. That magical number has come and is well gone, yet my desire to travel south of the equator is just as strong and has yet to come to fruition. Until now.

After settling into the realization that I am indeed in Australia, it’ll quickly be time to get moving and enjoy all that I can of what Queensland has to offer under its 300 days of sun – in five days.

(c) Tourism Queensland Image Library
(c) Tourism Queensland Image Library

Day 1

An avid ocean lover, my first must-do is snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Who knows, maybe I’ll freshen up my SCUBA certification and dive down under. I can’t wait to see for myself all of the colorful undersea creatures that call the reef home. I’m especially hopeful to catch glimpse of sea turtles and manta rays, and if I happen to hear whale songs off in the distance, I’ll be the happiest girl alive!

courtesy of Queensland Blog
courtesy of Queensland Blog

Day 2

Above the water’s surface, surf lessons are certainly in order. I’ve taken lessons a couple of times in the past – in California and Hawaii – and with some of the world’s best surfing right here on Queensland’s  Gold Coast, I’m sure to hang 10…with a little help from a pro, anyway. Afterwards, soaking in some rays on the beach will definitely be in order.


Day 3

Back on land, a hike through the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (now known as the Gondwana Rainforests), a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, will be amazing. I can almost hear the powerful waterfalls plunging into the emerald pools below. And if jungle surfing is available, I’ll be more than ready to zip amidst the trees!

I can’t imagine anything cuter than snuggling up with a koala bear at the Australia Zoo in the Sunshine Coast area. I’ll certainly be missing my pup at home and will have plenty of love and cuddles to share with the furry little boy or girl.


Day 4

All this adventure is sure to make a girl thirsty! Fortunately, Australian wines are my favorites, and there are plenty of wineries to choose from throughout the area. I’ll certainly want to visit those found along the Gold Coast Hinterland wine trail, as well as the blossoming Sunshine Coast region. Of course, I’ll need to sample the gourmet local fare along the way, too!

(c) Spa qualia
(c) Spa qualia

Day 5

The perfect way to finish my Australian stay will be to retreat to a luxurious spa that blends ancient Aboriginal traditions, indigenous plants and oils, and unique therapeutic services, leaving me time to reflect upon the incredible five days I’ve spent in the magical place of Queensland.

Many thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland, Delta Vacations and Johnny Jet for the opportunity to create my dream itinerary in Queensland – what fun!