Jesus Year (Turning 33)

One of my favorite aspects of being so active in this crazy online travel world is meeting people like me — and especially connecting with people who are living parallel lives. First, there was Abbey Hesser, of A Chick with Baggage, who not just shared my name as she gallivanted through her travels, but had been living in my exact building in Santa Monica, California as she planned her long-term travel. Yes, we’d been living mere feet from each other while fantasizing about setting out, planning our trips, throwing caution to the wind — and then met on-line months afterward.

My most recent connection has been with Jenny Sundel, of Jesus Year Project (SHOWN LEFT). I talk often of leaving a job and then living as an expat for a year in Costa Rica. Jenny left her job a year later — and went off to Paris to live as an expat for a year. But there’s more: She’s the very person who took the job I left behind! When she asked me to write a guest post on what I learned while living as an expat at the age of 33, my “Jesus Year,” of course I said yes!

Please check it out!

33 Jesus Year Revelations

Meet Spencer, as he learns the meaning of Pura Vida

Yes, it’s true… My blog is being redesigned into a Vegas blog, to reflect my return “home.” Meanwhile, it just so happens that one of my favorite online travel friends (who I happened to have met twice IRL “in real life”) heads down to Coco. Please support his trip the same way you did mine! Leave comments, share on Facebook, etc. I can’t believe he’s really there!!

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My favorite photos: “best of” Costa Rica!

I spent an entire year in Costa Rica, so it’s almost impossible for a sentimental sack like myself to choose favorite photos. For me, the “best” pictures are the ones that remind me of the good times we had. I miss my friends. I hope you fall for everyone just like I did… For starters, here are the guilas (kids). They’re a cheeky bunch and jumped in the pool the second after I took this photo so I wouldn’t take any more.

 

Pura vida!

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Celebrating Latin America — my first ebook!

It wasn’t until I got involved with the inspiring travel online community that I read my first ebook. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what the point was. Now? I read every one I get my hands on! Having been through the print book process twice (I have no doubt I’ll end up writing a book — someday), I know first-hand how difficult it is to get a publishing house to gamble on a new author. So I absolutely love the fact that more and more writers are taking it upon themselves to put in the grueling hours to put together their own ebook. They’re fresh and exciting and fun to read, covering topics like photography, stunts and, of course, travel.

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Life after long-term travel: adjusting back

Unpacking all of my belongings after more than a year away was a strange rite of passage, and one that was much more emotional than I thought it was going to be. I lived out of two suitcases during my time away in Costa Rica, most of it in a little house the size of a car. I learned to live with only the basics. But when I moved back to Las Vegas, a storage unit’s worth of belongings came with me. Alone, I watched the movers fill my new house with boxes, each a mystery that had been untouched for 13 months. I had no idea what I was in for.

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Proud to be the anti-Eat, Pray, Love girl

Borneo

When I first ran away to Central America, my friends pushed me to start a blog called “Eat, Pray, Abby.” Thank goodness I didn’t listen! While legions of female fans of the best-selling phenomenon are, as we speak, traipsing the globe trying to be the next Elizabeth Gilbert, I was most certainly not one of them. And my story illustrates what came to be my favorite aspect of travel and career breaks.

No, I did not find my one true love while on the road. Instead? I ended up right back at the office. Forget romance, I fell back in love with my career. I’ve suffered much “what kind of ‘live free’ example are you?” ribbing, and I laugh about landing back behind the desk.

Yes, in the end, I became the anti-Eat, Pray, Love traveler. The point?

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