Expat Update: May 2017

I can’t believe it’s the end of May already!  Here I’ll be looking back on what I’ve been up to this month, the places I’ve been, the highs and lows, life as a Brit in the States and other random things I’m finding interesting this month!

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links.

Expat Update

Months living in the States: 9 months and 3 weeks!

Where I’ve Been


  • Iowa: Epworth, Farley, Dubuque, Earlville, Walcott
  • Illinois: Hillsdale, Moline, Coal Valley

May Highs

I’ve been playing local tourist this month!  I stayed at the Hotel Julien in Dubuque, went zip lining with Sky Tours, attended the Travel Dubuque Hospitality Breakfast, went to a stand up comedy night at the Diamond Jo Casino with some of my new Distinctively Dubuque friends and went to TorqueFest vintage car show (and saw Frankie from American Pickers) and Midwest Pride in Your Ride truck show!

Hotel Julien Dubuque Pool and Fitness Center

Sky Tours Dubuque Iowa

THEN, Memorial Day weekend, I took a trip to the Quad Cities (half in Illinois, half in Iowa…split down the middle by the Mississippi River)!  I spent the night camping at Sunset Lakes Resort, visited the Niabi Zoo and went to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum and Truck Stop!

Sunset Lakes Resort Illinois

I was also ‘Staff Member of the Week’ at work!  Each week a different person is pulled out of a hat. They get to park in a special parking spot and then all the other staff members write little notes with positive comments and compliments. As an expat in a new country, these messages were a real boost 🙂

May Lows

Ugh May seems to have been awful.  I ended up with a trapped nerve in my arm and tendonitis in my wrist.  I seemed to have a cold for about 5 weeks and then I managed to catch conjunctivitis from a kid at work.  I’m now just waiting on my wrist to fully recover and then I should be back to normal again!

It’s funny when you’re an expat how sometimes the smallest of things can make you sad. My Mum had sent me over a packet of scone mix in the mail.  I was so excited to make them, ate a bunch of them warm and then put the rest in a tub to have for lunches for the next few days.  Went back to the cupboard after a few hours and the tub was FULL of ants.  I was devastated that they had ruined my little piece of home and I cried for hours.

Steve Holcomb, my favourite bobsleigh driver and olympic gold medalist died at the age of 37.  I’ve been supporting him for the past 7 seasons and was in shock that someone so young just died.  His book But Now I See: My Journey from Blindness to Olympic Gold is one of my favourites and he’d inspired me to travel to places that had a bobsleigh connection.  I even went down a bobsleigh track in Latvia!  Just like Steve Irwin, he was someone that I hoped to meet one day, but that won’t happen now 😦

Sigulda Bobsleigh Track Latvia

In The News

There are talks for expanding the electronics ban to transatlantic flights between the USA and Europe! I’m so annoyed that this is a possibility so close to my trip.  I rarely travel with a laptop and the one time I plan on actually flying hand luggage only with it these talks begin!

Obviously I understand they are doing it to keep people safe in the long run but I can’t even begin to imagine how doing something like this will affect business travel!  It seems that a lot of flights have been getting rid of inflight entertainment screens with the idea that you watch it on your own laptop or iPad…if these electronics are now banned, is this an inflight service that will now just disappear?


I can’t imagine flying without my Kindle E-reader either! It’s made packing so much nicer as you can take a whole library of books in one tiny device.  It’s how I pass my time before and during flights and now that may have to be checked in too?! Flying just got a whole lot more boring *sigh*.

I just hope the decision is made after my flight out!

Blog Progress

The cogs are still turning!  I keep thinking of new ways and ideas for my new section on my site but I want everything to be perfect/link together before I finally start putting the wheels in motion!  It’ll be focusing largely on local tourism within Dubuque and the surrounding areas!

Plus, I hit a milestone amount of both visitors AND page views, so thank you everyone for taking the time to read my ramblings!

May Blog Collaborations

Just the one this month, by Lindsay, a girl I met at the Women in Travel Summit!

Dos & Don’ts for a WITS Travel Blogging Conference – I’ve Been Bit

Travel Item of the Month

Travalo Classic Refillable Perfume Spray, Silver – $17.99

I LOVE this thing!  It’s great for weekend trips/hand luggage only flights etc.  It is literally the size of my finger.  Simply pull the top off a normal perfume bottle and then place the bottom of the atomiser over the cap-less nozzle and pump it a few times to fill it up!  There’s a handy gauge on the side so you can see how full up it is.  I have this same one that I bought from London Stansted Airport!

American Item of the Month

Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book – $16.93

I’ve been wanting an adult colouring book for AGES but I could never find one that really jumped out at me.  UNTIL, I discovered one full of Route 66 pictures!  I loved travelling Route 66, it was such a memorable road trip and I can’t wait to make my way along the route again but in picture form!

My full review of Route 66 Splendor can be found: HERE

It may be needed even more now to kill boredom on flights! (See above ‘In The News’)

My Reading List

I love reading, I even signed up for a library card and I’m saving myself a ton of money!  (Fill up the travel fund!)  Here are the books I’ve read this month!

Books read = FOUR

The Limestone Review – Loras College

(A collection of short stories (fiction & non fiction), poems and essays, written by students from Loras College in Dubuque.  I picked this up during one of my Distinctively Dubuque sessions at the Dubuque Art Museum)

The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map – Gabi Logan

(Non Fiction – How to pitch to different magazines, online and print, with travel stories.  Very interesting, despite all the typos which I found ironic in a book about how to earn 6 figures by being a writer…made me think that anything is possible!)

Very British Problems – Rob Temple

(Non Fiction – Observations about the awkward situations that British people encounter on a daily basis)

Six Months To Freedom – Frederick Hedges

(Non Fiction – This is actually my Great Grandad’s diary from when he was a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II.  He talks about the conditions that he lived in while at the camp and general day to day struggles.)  It was really interesting to find out a little of my family history.  I fell in love with this quote that he said:

“There’s something that an Englishman is born with, that no other nation can obtain. I don’t know what it is, at least I cannot express it on paper, but one of the ingredients is guts, the will to smile when things are tough, and the determination to never humble himself, plus a sense of humour, that cannot under any circumstances be suppressed.” – Frederick Hedges

Book of the Month:

Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time $13.53 (*DEAL* Kindle: currently ONLY $0.99)

My Mum sent me this book over in the mail and I thought it was BRILLIANT. I was like yep that’s me, yep that’s me! I even told my American husband that he should read it because he may be able to understand me a little better!  It’s a very quick read as it’s based on what was originally a twitter account, so the ‘British Problems’ tend to be under 140 characters! I loved it so much I bought the 2nd book, Very British Problems Abroad, straight away!

What’s Coming up in June


But before that…on the 4th I start my journey home via Belize!  Me and the husband plan on visiting Magic Waters water park in Rockford on the way to Chicago, I’ll then continue the journey alone!  I’ll be in Belize for a week, basing myself in Caye Caulker and then a few days in Belize City.  I plan to relax and explore and eat lots of ice cream.  Belize will be my 38th country and will be my first week long trip in over a YEAR! (My last was to Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia in May 2016!)

Navy Pier Chicago

I then have 2 days in Chicago, with a little bit of sightseeing, before flying back to the UK where I’ll then be for the rest of June (and then into July)!  I have lots of day trips planned and a mini break to London with my Sis.  My time at home is jam packed and I can’t wait!

Don’t forget to follow me on my Social Media Channels!


Phew! Have a great June everyone!

Kylie Signature

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links (or products which I received in exchange for a review), which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking.  It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site!  As always, opinions are my own.


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