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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.

Great Ocean Road

Road trip along the 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!

Just Maui-ed!

Just Maui-ed!

Just Maui-ed!

Wedding in Maui

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!

Actually married!

Actually married!

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!

Thankfully he wasn't bitten by this snake!

Thankfully he wasn’t bitten by this snake!

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.

Cocktail serving at the Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort.

Cocktail serving at the Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort.

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.

IMG_1654

All expenses paid trip to Central and South America!

Meg in a stare off with a Black bear in North Carolina.

Meg in a stare off with a Black bear in North Carolina.

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!

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Happy Holidays!

    16 Comments

  1. Fascinating story! Happy New Year…can’t wait to read about your upcoming travels.

    • Thanks Carlene! Have a wonderful new years – all the best for 2014!!

  2. What a lovely year in review. Bitten by a snake was not a good experience but I’m glad he came out of it alive ! I’m so happy about your travel plans for next year in May 2014 ! That would be an awesome adventure ! I’m so glad we have discovered each other on the virtual world ! Happy new year Megan 🙂

    • Thanks Natasha! The snake was definitely a close call; we’re incredibly lucky! All of my virtual friendships have made my move to the US so much easier (without knowing anyone otherwise) so thanks for being apart of my year!

      Have a wonderful new year, looking forward to staying in touch in 2014!

  3. Merry Belated Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    It’s great to read what you and Mike have been up to this year. I just started blogging recently and didn’t know where it would take me. But, thanks to reading this, I hope I have blogging success like you.

    Congrats on the upcoming trip! You will have a lot of fun and do wonderful things. I can’t wait to read all about it.

    • Thanks Fil!

      Wishing you a wonderful new year and a lot of blogging success for 2014!! What I’ve learnt this year is that it’s super achievable with determination!

      Happy New Year!

  4. Great to see you are having a wonderful and positive life. 🙂

    • Thanks PT!! Happy New Year to you and family 🙂

  5. What a great read, you are a true inspiration! Good luck with you South American travels, and I’ll see you when you come back to Sweden. Or maybe our roads will cross somewhere in the world, who knows?

    • Thanks Malin!! Mike hasn’t been to Sweden yet so we will definitely come for a visit at some stage; or hopefully our paths will cross earlier!

      Have a wonderful new year 🙂

  6. Congrats, Meg, on a fabulous 2013! Big things last year and I expect to see more great things from you this year. So nice to have (e-)met you and I look forward to more exciting tales! 🙂

    • Thanks Phoebe!! To you as well – I think yours was just as big!! Thanks for being apart of my friendship group this year; have loved following your adventures and getting to know you.

      Happy New Year!

  7. What an eventful year and 2014 is coming along nicely too!

    • Fingers crossed! Happy New Year Kirsty!

  8. Looks like a cool year! Your wedding(s) look amazing!

    • Thanks Jp! I’ve just finished editing the wedding photos (nearly 12 months later!!)so should be putting them up soon!

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