Expat Update: May – Aug 2018

My blog doesn’t run chronologically, when I’m not travelling I just have to pull my inspiration from whatever I feel like writing about and it’s not really a true life account of what’s going on RIGHT NOW!  This update shares everywhere I’ve been in the last 4 months as well as other bits and pieces of what’s been going on in my life!

Time I’ve been living in the USA = 2 Years

Where I’ve Been

USA

IOWA – Farley, Epworth, Peosta, Dyersville, Dubuque, Clear Lake, Mason City, Ventura, Walcott, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Guttenberg, Bernard, Palo, Manchester

ILLINOIS – Chicago, Ottowa, Oglesby

INDIANA – Porter, Chesterton

MICHIGAN – Silver Lake, Hart

WISCONSIN – Kieler

AUSTRALIA

NEW SOUTH WALES – Sydney, Narrabeen, Palm Beach, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay

QUEENSLAND – Brisbane, Beerwah, (Gold Coast) Surfer’s Paradise, Coomera, Tamborine

JAPAN

Narita

TURKS AND CAICOS

Providenciales

Travel Highlights

The fact that I’ve actually left the country and been on the road again!  Japan was my 40th country!  It was completely different from how I imagined it to be but I still thought it was awesome…including the electronic toilets, what a novelty they were!

Related Post: A Guide to Visiting Narita and Naritasan Temple: Japan

Naritasan Temple Japan

I got to see my family again!  I met my sister in Australia and got to spend her birthday with her which was lovely, we even had a dance party on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then my mum and dad came to visit me in the USA.  We went on a little road trip, heading up to Silver Lake in Michigan again, before hanging out in Iowa.  I set up my house like a little B&B, laying out tea and coffee making facilities, wrote a little hotel directory and left them a gift basket on the bed!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Michigan

I went on a couple of blogging trips in Iowa.  I had a conference in Clear Lake where I stayed in a yurt, followed by a stop in Mason City.  I recently got back from a trip to Waterloo and I won tickets to see Kelly Clarkson in Cedar Rapids in a Twitter chat!

I’ve done goat yoga, stand up paddle board yoga and had a 1 hour session in a floatation tank!  As well as a solo week away in Turks and Caicos, where I literally sat on the beach and read.

Travel Lows

I had to say goodbye to my family again.  Twice.  Each time it feels like a little piece of my heart has been ripped out of my body.  I wrote an in depth post about some of the struggles I’ve been going through as an expat.

I nearly missed my connection flight in Dallas, TX because of my stupid expired visa.  I now have to fly with a LETTER saying I’m allowed back in the country but it also means I have to join the slowest line in history.

Brisbane to Sydney Australia road trip car hire

The car hire company in Australia charged my credit card with an unknown fee of $40 and they didn’t send me a bill or a breakdown of the charges.  I was told that toll charges would be added onto the bill as they have an i-pass type system but I’m pretty sure we didn’t go through $40 worth of toll roads.  Part of me wondered if they slapped on a big service charge fee for them handling the tolls.  I filled up the car with fuel within the correct radius and we had the extra insurance to cover damages (although as far as I’m aware we had no damages), so it’s the only thing I can think of.

Apps I’m Loving

I’m still keeping up with Duolingo, I’ve done it every day without fail…even in my capsule hotel in Australia I’d lay there and do my Spanish every morning! I’m hoping I can get to the point where I can listen to the free podcasts and be able to understand parts of them!

I’ve been playing the ‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’…it’s a little bit repetitive but I’m obsessed with Harry Potter and therefore addicted to this game!  On a side note, I can’t wait for the next Fantastic Beasts film in November and in January I’m finally going to see the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play!

Dragon Challenge Universal Islands of Adventure

Another game is ‘Fight List’.  You are given a category and then have to list as many things that would fall into that category as possible.  For example ‘countries beginning with B’.  Me and my mum play against each other so it’s something we can do together despite living in different countries!

Products I’m Loving

(Disclosure: The following links are Amazon affiliate links)

Now the weather is nicer, I’ve been able to fly my DJI Spark drone a lot more!  I took it to Australia, Turks and Caicos and I’ve been flying it in various states.  I even managed to get it to track me automatically while riding a bike!  Part of me wishes that I’d got the Fly More pack so I could go higher with the controller, but there’s now a middle ground option where you can get the drone and just the controller on Amazon for the same price I paid for just the drone!  Here’s the link: DJI Spark With Remote Control Combo

DJI Spark drone and landing pad

My latest drone accessory is a folding landing pad!  It’s not just a fancy helicopter pad, I find it really useful for taking off and landing on a surface that’s not flat and hard.  Such as grass or gravel.  On the Spark the blades and gimble are quite close to the ground so the landing pad protects these components.  It was really useful when flying in the sand dunes at Silver Lake.  I don’t think I’d have had a chance flying it there otherwise unless I tried to take off and land on my hand! Pgytech 55CM/75CM/110CM Fast-fold landing pad

Related Post: Tips For Travelling With A Drone

Books I’ve Enjoyed

I’ve now read 27 books this year! I’ve been a bit slack with my reading though and haven’t read as many as I thought I would!

In the last few months I’ve enjoyed: Snowing in Bali by Kathryn Bonella, Brits On Route 66 by Vicky Graves and Emily Unchained by Kathy Warwick.

Snowing in Bali is a book I spotted at Sydney Airport and ended up buying with my leftover currency!  It’s about the hidden drug world in Bali.  I kinda like reading books about the dark side of a destination (such as Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas), it’s interesting to hear the other side of it.  I found it to be written very well and couldn’t put it down!

Brits On Route 66 is by my friend from back home written all about their Route 66 road trip.  We were actually at a Heathrow airport hotel together the night before they flew out to Chicago (I was flying to San Francisco)!  Obviously I’ve driven Route 66 myself and I found the book SO interesting!  It’s packed full of information and their trip was completely different from mine!  It really is a journey that has so much to see and do and don’t think 2 people’s trip would EVER be the same!

Emily Unchained is written by somebody I used to work with back home and we even lived down the same street!  The book is a fiction story about life as a single parent based loosely on her own experiences.  Even though it’s fiction, I can see where some of the inspiration has come from and couldn’t help but picture locations at home while reading it!

Maldives Overwater Villa

What I’ve Been Watching On Netflix

While my parents were visiting we had a bit of a Netflix binge session!

Scam City – This was on my last update but now there’s a second season!  All about tourist scams in cities around the world.  Just like Snowing in Bali, it’s interesting to see the dark side of a destination.  It hasn’t exactly scared me off of travelling to these places, more like it’s given me a helping hand as to the type of things to be aware of!

The Dark Tourist – Where Scam City focuses on the popular tourist cities, The Dark Tourist looks at some of the destinations that people visit for very different reasons, such as a haunted forest in Japan, places that have experienced nuclear disasters and tours of the JFK assassination in Dallas.

Some Blog Collaborations I’ve Contributed To

Anita Hendrieka – 30 Unique Things To Do In London For Under £10

The Invisible Tourist – 9 Incredible UNESCO Sites in Australia & New Zealand

Nomad By Trade – The Best Beaches in Michigan

Everyday Wanderer – Travel Destinations to Experience America’s Diversity

Mineral Point The Most Cornish Town USA

Gypsy With A Day Job – Route 66 Road Trip

A Traveling Life – The Best Things To Do in Krakow

The Savvy Globetrotter – Best Road Trips in Australia Chosen By Travel Bloggers

Travel Photo Discovery – Free Things To Do In Barcelona

Everyday Wanderer – The Best College Towns In The Midwest

Bel Around The World – These 77 Drone Photos Will Make You Want To Fly A Drone Immediately!

Kids and Compass – Fantastic Family Friendly Castles In The UK To Visit

Pack The Pjs – Most Incredible Beaches Around The World

World Is Wide – Childhood Family Travel Memories (interview)

Camping in Cornwall

What’s Coming Up Between September – December

For the past 3 months, I haven’t been at work due to the school holidays, hence how and why I’ve travelled so much!  I had so many plans for my blog but I’ve actually been switched off for the most part and just enjoyed my travels and being with my family.  I even cut down posting from twice a week to once a week!  It has also meant though that I haven’t been paid for the last 3 months and funds are now pretty low!

I haven’t got too much planned as of yet.  One of my best friends from home is flying over to Chicago for the weekend, which will be fun!  The biggest thing that I’ve booked after that is flights home for Christmas!  I land back in the UK on Christmas Eve and I’ll be there for the rest of December and the first week of January!

Other than that, the only thing in the diary is that I’m going to see the band Blink 182 in Cedar Rapids next month!

You can follow my adventures on:

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER

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Expat Update. British expat living in the USA. Where I've been and what I've been enjoying recently!

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6 thoughts on “Expat Update: May – Aug 2018

  1. Sounds like a lot of adventure! ❤
    I hope you enjoyed the Mason City/Clear Lake area. I work at a seasonal restaurant just half a mile down the road from where this yurts are located! We close up for the summer in about a week, and then I'll be off on my own adventures.

    Like

      1. Well, I’ll be moving to the Cedar Falls area, and I have lots of weekend trips planned to festivals this fall. Also planning on volunteering at a haunted house and finding a new job for the winter. Then next year I have an out-of-state move on my mind! So just a lot of change on the horizon. 🙂

        Like

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