Expat Update: August 2017

I can’t believe it’s the end of August 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: 1 year and 3 weeks!

Where I’ve Been


  • Iowa: Epworth, Farley, Dubuque, Holy Cross
  • Wisconsin: Kenosha, Janesville
  • Indiana
  • Michigan: Belding, Grand Rapids, Mears

August Highs

August has been full of lots of Midwest travel!

I went on my first blogger trip, spending 4 days exploring Kenosha and Janesville in Wisconsin!  I had such a great time and you may have noticed that I’ve already started sharing content from my visit!  There’s lots more to come in the next couple of months!  Some of my highlights include seeing an owl while hiking part of the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail and exploring Kenosha’s lighthouses!

Wisconsin Ice Age Trail Owl

A 10,000 Step Self Guided Walking Tour of Kenosha, Wisconsin

Discovering The History of Kenosha, WI at the Southport Light Station Museum

Visiting Janesville’s Rotary Botanical Gardens, Wisconsin

Kenosha North Pier Lighthouse

I went to Des Moines to visit the Iowa State Fair!  As a first timer I found it absolutely crazy!  I ate deep fried food on a stick and learnt the correct way to give a chicken a bath!  Although I did struggle to see the fascination with a cow being made out of butter…

Iowa State Fair Straw Sculpture

I found a new favourite place…Michigan!  I was just about ready to pack up my stuff and move there.  Our stop in Silver Lakes was a quick last minute decision as a mini detour on the way home.  We soon ran out of time, wishing we had longer there (and I picked the house I want to move in to..).  I loved the sand dunes and sand boarding was awesome!  I’ve camped in the Sahara Desert and went sand boarding in Australia, yet the dune type landscape never fails to impress me!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Michigan

August Lows

I think I lost one of my 9 lives (I must be down to about 5 now).  I’m going to be blunt and say it, I think drivers in America are idiots.  I even have a whole blog post in my draft box about what it’s like driving here from an expat’s point of view.  No one sticks to the speed limit and the amount of people that drink and drive (and see nothing wrong with it) is worrying.

We got stuck in interstate road work traffic coming back from Michigan.  People were tailgating, lane hopping and squeezing into gaps that weren’t really there etc.  Next thing the car in front slams on the brakes, leaving us no choice but to swerve into the other lane to avoid smashing into the back of them.  First I was waiting for the front of my car to go crunch but then I realised that by swerving, it put me, in the passenger seat, smack bang into the path of any traffic in the other lane.

THANKFULLY/AMAZINGLY the other lane must have been paying attention and both me and my car drove away damage free.  I was so in shock I was froze solid for a good hour trying to control my hamster heart rate.  I think I even blacked out for a few seconds.  I couldn’t even bring myself to look and see what had happened behind us, I didn’t want to know how close I’d come to potentially dying or being T-boned by a truck or something.

I’ve been in a car crash before that wasn’t my fault and I still get slightly freaked out in certain circumstances so this wasn’t my idea of fun.

In The News

Barcelona was the next victim 😦 Me and my sister stayed on La Rambla back in December 2015 and loved our time in the city.  It’s so sad thinking of people that could have been like us two, just enjoying their time exploring and then have it ruined by a bunch of crazies.

Barcelona Spain

The USA experienced its first total solar eclipse in 38 years this month.  I’m younger than 38, but being an expat I actually saw my first eclipse in 1999 back in the UK.  It was an anti climax then and it was an anti climax again.  Iowa wasn’t in the black out zone but people viewing it in places further away seemed to see it better, I guess the high cloud obscured it too much.  I watched it through a welding helmet.

August Blog Collaborations

Spreading the love to other blogs I have contributed to this month!  Take a look!

From Essex to Iowa – Blog Expat

I also spent 7 days curating on the @WeAreXpats twitter channel! WeAreXpats

Travel Item of the Month

Bagail packable backpack
Bagail Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack – $12.99

I was recently contacted by Bagail to review their travel packable backpack.  I travel with hand luggage only the majority of the time and one of the things I always pack is a 2nd backpack/bag.  Something that annoys me is trying to control the straps when squashing it into my bag!  But this Bagail backpack folds up on itself to around the size of a packable raincoat.  The pouch then becomes a zipped internal pocket when unfolded!  I love the way there are water bottle pockets on the side (a MUST on all of my backpacks!).  There are 2 front pockets as well as the big main compartment that has a divider and the pouch pocket.  It’s surprisingly a very large backpack!  The material feels similar to parachute material, from a comfort issue I think this would be great to use as a beach bag or something where you need to carry softer objects such as spare clothes!  Green, orange and red (I have red!) are currently $12.99 on Amazon, black and blue are $16.99.

American Item of the Month

Jelly Belly Machine
Jelly Belly Mini Bean Machine with 3.25oz Bag of Jelly Beans– $18.65

I recently got this Jelly Belly Machine while I was in Kenosha, Wisconsin (there’s a Jelly Belly warehouse tour there!) and I love it!  It has a coin mechanism in it and dispenses 3 – 4 beans at a time.  It’s great for controlling pigging out because I actually have to find a coin (usually 1 cents!) before I can get them out!

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 = THREE

Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America – George Mahood

(Non Fiction – Exactly what it says on the tin, a travel memoir of a road trip through Small-Town America!)

Route 66 Kicks – Tony Hill

(Non Fiction – Another Small-Town America travel memoir, this time travelling along Route 66!)

Gone to Green: Gone to Green Series – Book 1 – Judy Christie

(Fiction – A journalist from Ohio inherits a newspaper in Louisiana.  The story follows her journey during the first year of owning the newspaper as she settles into a new town and gains peoples trust)

Book of the Month:

Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America – George Mahood $13.99 (Kindle: $2.99)

George Mahood’s ‘Not Tonight, Josephine’ is FULL of British humour and sarcasm.  I laughed a lot while reading this!  I’m amazed his beat up old banger of a car actually got him across the country as it constantly seemed to be breaking down!

What’s Coming up in September

Things are started to slow down a bit on my end as I’m now back to work after my 11 weeks off!  It’s our wedding anniversary on the 5th so we’re bound to do something for that.

Other than that, my only plan at the moment is to go to the Cornish Fest in Mineral Point, Wisconsin!  Cornwall is one of my favourite parts of the UK so I’m excited to see what the festival is like!

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


Phew! Have a great September 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.

4 thoughts on “Expat Update: August 2017

    1. Thanks Lori! It’s shocking how bad/impatient some drivers are! I get road rage but I don’t drive ‘violently’, I just shout at them even though they can’t hear me haha


  1. I hear you on the driving mate! They are pants here too! I’m always looking at them wondering why they are in such a rush?! I’d love to see them on UK roads after weaving in and out of their massive road lanes. Try driving in one half the size! And yes the drink-driving is atrocious. I think I see a road accident covered every day on the local news. That and a shooting!


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