I know we reflect each year on how quickly the 12 months flew by, but wow did this year disappear! 2013 was a phenomenal year: stressful at times, but as usual, packed full of international adventure!
Mike and I kicked off the new year in Tasmania, Australia. Both unemployed having just left our jobs to make the international move to the United States, we spent January with family and friends in Tasmania, and drove Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.
In February Mike and I were faked married. While we had planned the wedding of our dreams in Hawaii, allowing time should my US visa be delayed, my US visa was delayed! Original plan being to enter the United States on a fiance visa, marry, and then settle in the United States, our interview in Sydney with Immigration came back as February 19. The wedding in Hawaii was February 14!
What was a girl to do?? Get married anyway! We flew to Hawaii as planned (feel free to read my rant about Hawaiian Airlines), had a spectacular ceremony with our closest family and friends on the beautiful island of Maui, and enjoyed a 5 day Hawaiian retreat before flying back to Australia for our interview with United States Immigration!
We obviously charmed the immigration officials because my fiance visa was approved on the spot, and we flew back to the United States that same week. We now have a large pile of frequent flier points from all of the international travel back and forth!
Our legal wedding was in a courthouse in Fort Myers, Florida, on March 27. I vote for two anniversaries meaning two sets of gifts each year! Our honeymoon consisted of a road trip through California, Arizona and Nevada, highlights including the seal and sea lion colony of La Jolla Cove in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Las Vegas, and spending a week in Arizona with relatives after finding ourselves stuck in a snowstorm near the Grand Canyon!
Of course, now that we’re married we’re being bombarded with questions about when we’re having kids; click here to read our stance on that!
You would be shocked and surprised at how much dust accumulates in a house after being left vacant for 12 months, however we settled into life in Florida quickly, I learnt how to drive on the opposite side of the road, and Mike found work as a server in a fine dining restaurant.
Weekends and days off have been spent hiking, biking, kayaking and roadtripping around Florida. We were pretty proud to spot both a panther and black bear this year while hiking! Mike also got bitten by a snake during one such trip, however thankfully made it out of the situation alive!
My immigration status as a “legal alien” meant I had to wait 3 months for work authorization, and as you can imagine it was incredibly hard having to adapt to life by the pool! In those 3 months I developed an internet addiction and created a website! Thanks for reading!
My blog has been my biggest and most exciting project this year, and I have been dedicating every waking moment to building it into a popular travel website. I’ve taught myself a lot about web coding, search engine optimization, social media marketing, online marketing, networking, content curation and photo and video editing.
I learned pretty quickly that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to maintain and build a blog, especially after I started work. I’m cocktail waitressing at one of the Marriott resorts here in Florida. While it’s not law, this kind of lifestyle makes it easier to travel.
In July our blogging efforts won an all expenses paid trip to Central and South America! Mike and I are heading to Costa Rica, Panama, Chile and Peru starting May 2014 on behalf of DoubleTree by Hilton to blog and write from their hotel locations.
We also took a road-trip from Florida to Washington DC in October where we managed to organize complimentary accommodation in luxury hotels in exchange for reviews on our blog. Excited to keep working on our brand and see where blogging can lead!
Highlights from the DC road-trip were finding ourselves surrounded by Black bears in the North Carolina Outer Banks, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, sliding down waterfalls in Brevard and a night at the legendary Biltmore Estate.
Mum and Dad visited from Australia in November and bought with them a much anticipated suitcase full of vegemite and tim tams! We had a phenomenal two weeks showing them around Southwest Florida, including Sanibel Island, the Everglades, and a surprise overnight stay at Miami’s Biltmore Hotel.
December saw Florida tourist season hit, and we’re now both on 6 crazy shifts a week until May 2014. We’re both working off tips, so busy means phenomenal money; we have decided to work as hard as we can until May when we will have sold the house and shipped our belongings to the West Coast to take off on our Central and South America trip.
We plan on extending this trip to last for 6 months to include Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Ireland, as well as a relocation from Florida to Arizona.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year; thankyou for being apart of ours!