Indian Visa Shenanigans

How did I start my day?  Well, thank you for asking.  I started it by going to the Indian Consulate here in Paris because they requested an “in-person interview” about my visa application.  It gave me the warm fuzzies when the travel agent told me that she’s never had this request before.  Yay me…always the trailblazer.

Anyway, I ask the travel agent if I need to make an appointment.  She tells me no, just show up sometime this week between 9:30 and noon.  I was like, “Are you sure you can arrive unannounced at the consulate office?”  TA, “Yes.”  So that is what I did.  And, e-family, what do you think happened?  Do you think this process went smoothly?  Spoiler Alert…it did not.

I arrive around 9:30am to beat the rush and catch folks in a good mood.  I had learned from my visit to the French Consulate in Washington, DC that some of the workers aren’t morning people but I decided to take my chances.  And crapped out.  I wasn’t rolling 7s or 11s, y’all.

However, I arrive and speak with a nice African gentleman working the gate.  As I explain the purpose for my visit, he waves me thru and I go up to the front desk.

Me:  Bonjour, Madame!  I’m here for an interview regarding my business visa to India.

Deepa (that is what I am naming her):  Why are you?

Me:  *thinking — “I just told you.”*  Says out loud, “I’m here for a visa interview.”

Deepa:  Do you have an appointment?

Me:  *looks pitiful* No, Madame.  I was told by my visa agent that I did not need one.

Deepa:  *unaffected by my pitiful look* Who told you that?

Me: *clearly Deepa isn’t processing my clear communications with her*  My travel agent.  She sent me an email stating this fact.

Deepa:  You can’t just show up at the office without an appointment!  Show me the email!

Me:  *woosah* *shows her the email*

Deepa:  Yes, it says clearly right here that you are supposed to show up for an interview.

Me: Wait…what?  Yes, it says I don’t need an appointment.

Deepa:  Exactly!  You did the right thing.

Me:  *Deepa is lost in the sauce at 9:30am*

So, Deepa then asks for my paperwork…which I don’t have since it is with THE INDIAN CONSULTATE OFFICE.  I inform her of this and she was like, “How do I know who you are?”  *Jesus take the wheel and my visa application*  I write down my name and passport number as that bit of advanced security seems to satisfy her.  Deepa then goes to speak with person in charge of my visa application.

You are probably thinking…it can’t get any worse, right?  WRONG.  See, these jokers are what Charlie Murphy likes to call “habitual line steppers.”  Which means they will cross the line each.and.every.time.

Setting the scene — Deepa walks me up some rickety steps, down the hall and to a large office where my piece of paper with my name and passport number are sitting.  I sit down in from of Mahdi (the name I’ve selected for this gentleman) and he continues to shuffle and look thru sheets of paper for 3 minutes.  I’m steadily looking at him like, “Sir?”  He finally acknowledges my presence and we have the following exchange.

Mahdi:  Why are you here?

Me:  *Take me to the King* Because I was told I needed to come in for an interview regarding my business visa to India.

Mahdi:  Hmmm. *picks up my passport*  Page 51 is blank.  Why?

Me:  *clueless*  Can I please see the passport to understand your reference? *he passes the passport and I see that it says to “see page 51” for endorsements.  I’ve never noticed this and nobody has EVER questioned me about it…and y’all know how much I use my passport.*  I don’t know what that is about.  I’ve never been asked about it.

Mahdi: *looking like, “gotcha!”* Where you come from?

Me:  Washington, DC but I live in Paris now.

Mahdi:  But this application says Washington.  There is no DC with it.  You do know that Washington is also a state?

Me: *wanting to get sassy in the mouth but holding my mule so I can get this doggone visa* I don’t know why the travel agent didn’t put DC on it.  I’m sure it was a simple oversight.  And, yes, I am aware that Washington is also a state.

Mahdi: *looking put upon like I asked him for a ride to the airport* Do you speak Hindi?

Me:  No, is that a requirement? *can’t help myself*

Mahdi:  Where you plan to go in India?

Me:  Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad

Madhi:  Hmm, what is this on your forehead in the picture on your French visa?

Me:  It’s a smudge.

Mahdi:  I thought you wore a dot on your forehead like some Indian ladies.  Have you been to India before?

Me:  No. *and at this point, it doesn’t look likely that I ever will.*

Mahdi:  Looks like you missed your flight. *They took so long processing my visa that I had to reschedule my trip for late February*

Me:  I know but it’s ok.

Mahdi:  What’s the capital of Washington?

Me:  *confused*  The capital of Washington?  In the United States?

Mahdi:  Yes

Me:  Seattle

Mahdi:  So you do know about the U.S.

Me: *taking out my phone to get Jesus on the main line*  Yes, sir.

Mahdi:  Okay, I will approve your visa.  Have a nice trip.

This is my life, y’all.  I promise you that I cannot make this stuff up.  India better be a freaking dream with everything I’ve had to go thru to get this visa 🙂


The Trials & Tribulations of Blind Bartimaeus…I mean, Me

Okay, y’all.  I’m going to take a bit of a quick detour from travel-related stuff to share a story about my recent visit to the eye doctor.  Saints, I’m asking for prayers again.  In fact, just keep me on the list as it seems like I forever stay on the Potter’s Wheel.

I have never had great vision.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I came out the womb wearing a monocle.  Who knows?  At the age of 2, I was wearing soft contacts.  In fact, my Mom had to drive over to Childrens Incorporated (where I was left to fend for myself every day and fight for justice against other toddlers) to take my contacts out of my eyes before nap time.  She loves me, y’all.  I’m pretty sure my Dad would have just given me a cane and told me to figure it out.  He was practical.

Anyways…where was I?  After getting the soft contacts at the age of 2…my parents began to notice that my left eye started to drift off to the side while I was staring at something.  My Mom doesn’t play any games when it comes to this type of thing and I love her for it because I would be looking a hot, sizzling mess without her!  Turns out, I had what was commonly called “lazy eye” and had to wear an eye patch for a year to strengthen that “wandering” eye.  Seriously.  Like I was some sort of kiddie pirate.  Now, I’m going to share some pictures that I’ve claimed were burned up in a fire because I look less than glamorous 🙂  But, it’s necessary to illustrate my struggle.

This isn't even Halloween...probably just a random Tuesday in March.  Still rocking the patch and making it work as a Blind Wonder Woman.

This isn’t even Halloween…probably just a random Tuesday in March. Still rocking the patch and making it work as a Blind Wonder Woman.

There were no “breaks” from the patch.  I had to wear that sucker 24 hours a day/7 days a week…even during Halloween.

My Halloween costume...a blind clown with bad hair.

My Halloween costume…a blind clown with bad hair.

It worked and after couple of years, both eyes were facing front!  However, the effects of this have followed me all my life.  My left eye has considerably worse vision than the right one.  I’m used to it but it does require an explanation every time I have to go to a new eye doctor.  Luckily, I’ve had the same one for a few years now.  But, during my last visit, it seems as though he has taken up some sort of office stand-up comedy.

For example, I am sitting in the exam room waiting for him to arrive.  I’ve already taken out my contacts per their request.  He walks in the room and this happens:

Me:  Hi Dr. P!  It’s good to see you again.

Dr. Seinfeld:  Um…but you can’t see me, right?

Me: *looking in his general direction and rolling my eyes*

We then go thru the exam and I ask him to write me a prescription for new glasses since my old frames were broken.  He then looks at me like I had told him I wanted to fly to the moon and says, “you know that’s going to be expensive.”  Sir, I did not magically become blind today.  I know how much these glasses will cost!  But, bless him…he wrote a note for me to get 20% off.  Which was a good thing because I didn’t realize that the optical shop had turned into Kanye’s Blinged Out Eye Emporium.  After I picked out my frames and they rang up the total cost (including lens)…I think I blacked out for a few seconds.  I was like, “Wait…is that in U.S. dollars or pesos?”  Child!  I can’t even deal right now.  I just asked how much a whole new set of eyeballs cost because that has to be cheaper than these magical glasses made with moon rocks, unicorn hair and fairy dust.

Then I had to go get fitted for new contacts.  Y’all.  Just stop reading now and say another prayer for me.  I need it.

So I get a new contact prescription and they now carry it in soft contacts (I’ve been wearing hard and gas permeable lens since I was 13…and I’m now, um…older than 13).  So, the tech is showing me how to put the soft contacts lenses onto my eyes.  Now, keep in mind that I don’t have my contacts in and it’s already established that I am Rayletta Charles…but he proceeds to draw a picture of how to put them in then says to me, “Oh…you can’t even see this can you?”  Sir, I rebuke you and your artistry.  He should’ve just punched some holes in the paper and had me run my fingers over it like it was in Braille.  *sigh*

But at least I now have new glasses & contacts.  Now, I wait and go thru this again next year.  Keep me lifted up, y’all 🙂

Balinese Booty Massage

I’m calling on the Prayer Warriors, y’all.  Saints, please put me on your prayer list.  I’m sitting in an ePew placing my burdens on the iAltar.  Y’all???  Why is it that every time I get a male masseuse, my 75 minute Deep Tissue Massage turns into a 45 minute Booty Roll Detox?

It rarely happens with female massage therapists.  But, 95% of the male therapists I’ve had go straight to Booty Town and stay there like a matinée is playing.  Why?  I wear panties which I thought was the international sign for “don’t touch this” in the massage world.  I just knew this time would be different.  I know my booty is big.  But it is big because of genetics…not because that’s where I carry my stress.

So, the massage begins and I’m laying face down on the massage table and things are going well.  He starts with my upper back and shoulders.  Great pressure. Perfect massage so far.  Then he moves down my back.  Still okay because I got my “Don’t Touch This” panties on so I’m cool.  Next thing I know, he has pulled my panties down and started kneading my booty.  Wait!  What just happened?  The last time someone pulled my panties down like this was when I got a whipping for something I probably didn’t do (I’m still fighting those bogus charges with my parents!).

After 10 minutes, I’m thinking he’s going to wrap it up and move on to the legs.  Nope.  He LEANS INTO THE BUTTOCKS WITH HIS ELBOW!  Um, why is he kneading like I got booty knots?  I thought you just got knots in your shoulders?  Do I suffer from butt distress?

Sir?  Why are you now doing a “wax on/wax off” motion?  I’m going to need to shut down this production of Karate Kid – Bali.  In fact, I’mma need you to slide them hands back up to my shoulders, k?

Lord, help a big booty sista out.

To be honest…the massage was wonderful (once he stopped focusing on my booty).  I felt all kinds of relaxed afterwards.  Once I got dressed and caught sight of my backside in the mirror, I’m pretty sure my booty said “Namaste.”

Hey! How Can I Travel Like You?

20130601-113254.jpgI like to think of travel as a close friend.  Someone I look forward to spending time with…and can’t wait to see again soon!  Many have asked me how I’m able to travel the world like I do.  So, I thought I’d share my journey.  If you want to travel the world…you can do it!  You don’t have to have a certain background.  Just a belief in yourself, determination, faith and a sense of adventure.

Most of the time, I’m asked “What do you do?”  It’s an innocent inquiry as to how I am able to travel to so many places.  I’m always so tempted to answer by saying “I’m an adventurer, explorer &  globetrotting travelista!”  But, while I consider that WHO I AM, it’s not the job title on my business cards…yet 🙂

So, what do I do?  I am responsible for compliance for a global company.  I know that seems really general but it isn’t really important as to WHAT I do…but more importantly, HOW I was able to transition from a job with absolutely no travel into finding one that allows me to explore the world.

I started out working in the legal department of a credit reporting agency.  I did absolutely NO TRAVEL.  Well, I did get to drive 23 miles from Atlanta to Alpharetta.  Woohoo!  Four years into this job, my mother suggested we do a family trip somewhere overseas.  We decided on Italy, booked the trip and headed off.  For those of you who have read my Roaming Thru Rome post, you know that is how this blog started. That is when I caught the travel bug.  I had such a phenomenal time.  While the post focuses on a lot of the hilarity that ensued, it wasn’t until my brother and I were walking around the Ponte Vecchio in Florence that I stopped and said, “I need a job that will pay for me to see the world.” I realized then that I had been missing out on so much.

After my trip, a friend suggested I read The Secret.  This book really helped me to shift from viewing my current circumstances in a negative light to clearly identifying what I wanted to do next and speaking that into being.  I can be Debbie Downtrodden, Negative Nancy & Pissed Off Patty all rolled into one sometimes.  I figured it was time for a change 🙂 So, I created a vision board with photos of international cities I wanted to visit and words that described my wish to find a job with overseas travel.

My desire to see the world was born in Florence.  That was July 2007.  In October 2007, I received a call from a recruiter asking me if I’d be interested in a compliance audit position.  I had absolutely no audit experience.  However, the company was looking for someone with a law degree to focus on certain legal-related audits and felt that I could easily pick up the audit piece.  To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested.  Then, the hiring manager called me and told me he had just gotten back from a month-long trip overseas to Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Ireland, etc.  At this point, all I heard was “international travel.”  I was sold!  A few weeks later, I was offered a job with my current company.

It didn’t start out with the international destinations that I dreamed of.  Here I thought I’d be flying off to the French Riviera.  When, in fact, during the first 2 years, my only “international” trips were to Mexico City and Toronto.  Mostly, I had to travel to places like Louisville, Mississippi since my boss called dibs on all the interesting foreign destinations.  I was not feeling that.

As planning was underway for the 2010 calendar, a few things happened.  First, my boss was promoted out of our group and into another business.  Second, I spoke up and became aggressive about being assigned international audits.  Everything then fell into place.  I spent 70% of my time in 2010 in the UK and Europe.

At that point, I realized that I needed to figure out how to become a specialist in compliance areas that would require international travel.  It takes time but those baby steps help build the foundation to get you where you want to go.


But the best laid plans sometimes have unforeseen pitfalls.  My company sold its European business in 2012 and I was then promoted into a compliance position within a business.  While the business segment had a sub-business that had international offices, I was assigned to the domestic sub-business.  Which meant ZERO international travel.  I was devastated.  I didn’t want to drive around the southeast to mills!  But, I dusted myself off and put together a new plan.

That meant talking with sister companies that had international offices as well as having a frank conversation with my new boss.  Sometimes, you just have to put it out there and tell them what you want.  I was clear that I wanted to focus solely on international-related matters.  Not just because I love travel, but because I’m intrigued by international business.  The nuances of laws and regulations between different countries keeps me on my toes.  Turns out, my new boss didn’t care for international travel so I was blessed to be able to shift into a new position where I am now responsible for compliance for our international business.

So, how do you get to travel internationally for business?  Here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Work for a global company.  This will allow you the opportunity to gain access to the international offices.  Think about joining a capability group (i.e. compliance, IT, law, etc.) that will allow you to work across the organization with multiple business lines.
  2. Work for a consulting firm.  This could be a law firm, forensic accounting…whatever firm offers services to companies.  Companies hire consulting firms to conduct investigations or independent audits in various areas (i.e. anti-corruption, data privacy, antitrust, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, etc.).
  3. Research job qualifications on LinkedIn.  This will help you to figure out what skills are most often listed for positions that have international travel.
  4. Leverage your transferable skills.  This will allow you to change careers.  Maybe you are in IT and know a lot about data privacy due to the various restrictions that need to be in place when setting up email accounts for international employees or transferring data to the U.S. from other countries?  Look to join a company in their Privacy group.
  5. Become an Agent.  If you have a background in sales, this would work for you.  Typically, Agents sell goods on behalf of a company.  Find a global firm and talk the hiring manager into letting you handle a foreign market.
  6. Be fluent in another language.  You will see that most international positions prefer to hire someone with language proficiency in the countries they will be interacting with.  Knowing another language gives you a competitive edge! Companies will see that they don’t need to pay for an interpreter to go with employees or consultants to foreign countries.

heart-intuitionThese are just a few suggestions to get you started.  The biggest piece of advice I can give is to surround yourself with positive people who can encourage you when you start to doubt if it will ever happen.  Think optimistically and know that you will find a way to travel the world.  Create a vision board; tape Post-It notes with motivational quotes next to your computer screen; and start living like the job is already yours!

If you have more advice to add to the list, I’d love to hear it!  Thanks for reading and good luck!

Buddhist Bootcamp

20131015-205704.jpgI’ve been saying that I’m going to start incorporating the principles of Buddhism into my life as soon as I can finish the “How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life” by the Dalai Lama.  But, excuses get in the way.  Work gets in the way.  Everything gets in the way except me making the time.

So, I decided to ease into it.  You know, start with going to yoga and ending with me finishing the book during my sojourn to Bali. That was such an awesome idea in theory. In practice?  Well, we’ll see.  I’ve got the book pulled up on my Kindle waiting for my attention.  Somehow, it got shuffled behind some trashy romance novels that some unknown person I downloaded.

Anyway, I started off with yoga.  Lord help me.  It looks so easy in the magazines.  I bought cute yoga attire from Athleta then signed up for a 75 minute Hot Yoga class.  Easy peasy.  I intended to walk out so zen & relaxed.

The class started and I was like, “this is cool!”  I’m stretching and the positions aren’t that difficult although I’m about as limber as an iron rail.  But no matter.  ZEN!  That’s what I’m here to achieve.  Then, I notice how quiet it is.  In spin class, I can’t think of anything else except trying not to die on the bike because they have me doing some sort of dance routine complete with jazz hands to 2 Chainz.  But here, it is so tranquil that my mind starts to wander and now I’m thinking about everything but yoga.  That’s when irritation sets in because you can’t zone out when the positions get harder.

Yoga Instructor (YI): (in a sing-song breathy voice) Slowly move into downward facing dog.

Me:  (moves into position) This ain’t bad. *tinkling music and YI painting us a scene with words* [then I start thinking about the stank email I got from John at work and my blood pressure starts to rise.]

YI:  Now move into a plank for 27 minutes

Me:  WTF?  27 minutes?  Ugh! [mentally drafting a response to John’s email that will go something like, “Sir, I suggest you use the backspace key next time you think of sending some crazy email to me because I ain’t the one.  Don’t try me, try Jesus.”  Hmmm, maybe I need to re-word that a little as it might come across hostile??  THESE PLANKS HURT!!!  JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!]

YI:  Doesn’t that feel wonderful?  Like puppies resting on your tummy?  Breathe in deeply.  Think of yourself as the breaths, not the breather. You are one with the universe.  A flower opening up to the welcome the sun.

Me:  Ma’am?  I can’t do that.  This is too much imagery.  My core fell out of my body 10 minutes ago.  I’m about to do the crying baby position, k?

YI:  Now…transition out of the plank and cartwheel into the Terrible Twos Tantrum position (or whatever it is…honestly, I had stopped listening after my muscles locked up and were like, “please know your limitations.”).

Me:  OMG, is this a tumbling class?  WTH?  *falls out*

YI:  Namaste

Me:  Call 911

See?  This is why I can’t have nice things and be thin and calm.  WHY IS YOGA SO HARD???  This was supposed to be my introduction into Keeping it Calm — Buddha-Style.  At this rate, I ain’t going to make it.

So now…I’m back to reading the book and trying yoga again.  Maybe it will be easier on the beach in Bali?  Maybe this time, I can use imagery for good thoughts instead of mentally written curse-out emails?  I don’t even know.  What I do know is that I really want to learn to let foolishness roll off me like waves of cool water.  I read inspirational quotes by the Dalai Lama and think, “He is so wise. I need a better coping mechanism besides chocolate and alcohol.”

Do any of you follow Buddhist principles?  Any suggestions for a newbie?

The Cookie Monster Coat

All I wanted was a fabulous new coat.  Why did that have to turn into The Biggest Loser audition?  Seriously?  Ugh.

I’m working on a new blog post updating “What to Wear When Travelling Abroad” with some cool new & beautiful finds from small retailers (scarves, coats, accessories, etc.).  I’m so excited!!!  So, one of the items I recently attempted to purchase was a beautiful coat. Like all purchases, I picked my size (going up a bit so I could wear bulky sweaters and not look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man).  Once I submitted my order, I receive an email from the supplier asking me for my measurements so she could verify that the size I selected was appropriate.

This coat was the business, y'all.  Unfortunately, it only comes in sizes preemie to 3T.

This coat was the business, y’all. Unfortunately, it only comes in sizes preemie to 3T.

Isn’t it fab?  This coat gives me life!  Do you know how fierce I’d look walking around Paris rocking this baby?  I had dreams!  I had accessories!  But, after a couple of weeks, what I didn’t have was a coat.  So, I follow-up asking about the status of my order…only to receive this email:

Dear Customer:  This coat does not fit you. We have given you a refund. Please check your account.  Thank you.

Wait.  Whut? Return to Sender cuz I know this ain’t meant for me.  O__o  <—– that is me giving her the side-eye because this is a hot bed of foolery (and yes, I said “whut” because “what” will not accurately capture my feelings at this moment).  The coat doesn’t fit?  Are you serious?  Ma’am, I rebuke you and your shenanigans.  Sigh.  Now I gotta write a response back to her.

Apparently, this is how the coat would fit me and my Precious-sized self. #smh

Apparently, this is how the coat would fit me and my Precious-sized self. #smh

Dear Coat Voldemort,

Why does this coat not fit?  Is it made for toddlers?  I am an averaged size woman.  I do realize that I may look the size of Godzilla since you all are so tiny in China…but trust me when I say that I am not planning to wear this coat while hanging off the side of a building kidnapping a woman and asking her which diet works best for her.  I need details about why this coat (which is offered in sizes S, M, L, XL and XXL) will not fit me.

Did seeing my measurements make you bust out into a verse from “Brickhouse” by The Commodores?  No, I am not a size 2…but I am not a body double for the Kool-Aid Man either.

So, ma’am, I’m gonna need some answers because you have messed up my Fierceness of Fall plans behind this.  If you have to sew 2 coats together to fit my supersized ass, then get to sewing because I need this coat in my life and you ain’t taking it from me.  On second thought, forget it…I will take my business someplace else where they won’t smack the cookies out of my mouth while making my coat.


Gone With the Wind Fabulous

Dealing with my feelings.

Dealing with my feelings.

Too much?  Sometimes I can’t help myself.  When I read her email, I was like, “no she didn’t.”  How am I too fat for a coat?  Y’all…iCant.  She basically remixed Beyonce’s “Ego” song and said, “you’re too big, it won’t fit, lose weight…you gotta a big bootay….a big, big bootay”.  #devastated

Birthday Detour


So…this month marks a milestone birthday. I’m not going to say which one because it’s kinda like Voldermort…The Birthday That Cannot be Named. I’M NOT READY!!! WHY ME?!?!?!? Sigh. Pull it together, Nikki.

For the past few years, I’ve actually dreaded August 24th. To put it another way…if I’m driving down the road and the exits are birthdays, I have taken detours and steadily refused to acknowledge those exit signs for the past 5 years. I just go by my spirit age anyway…which is 27.  Ha!


It’s not that I’m afraid of getting older…it’s that I am disappointed in the fact that I haven’t achieved all the goals I’ve set for myself. I’m a planner. I create Vision Boards. I’m the girl who loves to check things off her “To Do” list. And, lately…well? That ain’t been happening. I’ve felt stuck. All I want to do is buy a plane ticket and travel the world for the next few months. Chill out with a mimosa, camera & laptop. Immerse myself in the local culture. Finally start using the Italian I’ve been struggling to learn for the past 3 years. I want to hit the pause button and figure out what to do next.

One thing has become crystal clear in the past couple of months…time doesn’t stop or slow down while you try to shore up the courage to go after your dream. Sometimes, you just have to take the bull by the horns and go for it. That could mean leaving the financial security of a stressful job to strike out on your own. It could mean taking a sabbatical to figure things out.  It could mean reserving some “me” time to focus on my goals instead of giving all my time & energy to a corporation.  In the end, it should mean that you are free. And, with freedom comes contentment, peace & happiness.

I can’t say that I’ll start taking the birthday exits as I’m pretty sure that I will be 29.95 for the next 15 years 🙂 But, I can say this…it’s time to start living the dream instead of just dreaming the dream. So, I guess I better start the party!


Writer’s Block Ramblings

writers blockLike a bear coming out of hibernation, here I am blogging again after a 2 month absence.  Why the “web silence”?  Why am I making up words?  It’s all because of the writer’s block.  I just can’t get inspired to write anything witty about my travel & running experiences lately.  After reading an article about just writing down anything to get the juices flowing…here I am.  So, here we go (and don’t blame me if this is complete nonsense).

sam jackson

1.  I cut all my hair off and went natural last August (which caused me to look like Idris Elba…and not the fine Idris either).  Fast forward 11 months and now I look like Frederick Douglass.  Sigh.  I can’t manage a hairstyle that I like yet.  And, to make matters worse, I’ve developed some sort of nervous habit where I’ve been the past 8 months pulling out my hair because of stress.  It’s looking like the end of days around here.  I look a hot mess.

2.  I decided in January…back when doing resolutions was in style…that I would run 12 races in 12 months.  What was I thinking?  I blame all the holiday candy.  So far, I’ve completed 7 races but you know what?  I’m tired and I want to lay on the couch, eat Reese Cups and watch True Blood.  But, I guess I’ll run 5 more races.  I may be addicted to chocolate covered crack but I’m not a quitter.  Now, next year, I’m making one resolution…

18889-New-Year-funny-resolution-2014-wallpaper (1)

3.  I’m addicted to Instagram…why did I not realize that with a couple of filters, my work could be featured at the Louvre?  Ha!  No lie…I will stop on a dime and take a picture of a nickel on the ground if I think I can make it edgy in black and white with a mist background on Instagram.

4.  Hashtag livin’ — um, I understand that people like to use hashtags in social media.  But, I feel like there should be a length limit on those tags because I don’t have time to dissect #ican’tbelieveshesaidthatontherhoa…what?  Shouldn’t you have just typed that out?  Why are you hashtagging a complete sentence? #ain’tnobodygottimeforthat


5.  I gave up sugar 2 months ago and right now, I feel like I will stab someone in the throat for a red velvet cupcake.  And, some ice cream…with Reese Cups sprinkled on top.  Might as well throw in some Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Starbucks too.  While at the grocery store this weekend, I passed by the cookie dough on my way to get cheese.  All I could think of were warm, gooey, delicious cookies…but I knew I’d feel so guilty that it would be like I relapsed.

6.  Held hostage — Mother Nature is a filthy whore who holds hapless women hostage once a month.  It’s not fair and I don’t think women should be held accountable for anything that happens during that time.  I mean, you are basically a hostage negotiator when dealing with women during that time of the month.  Sigh…this perfectly describes last week:


7.  And just because I’m in that kind of mood…

Michael Scott

Look at that…I’m cured!! #notreallyIjustdon’tknowwhatelsetosay.  Any recommendations for overcoming writers block?

I’m Baaacckkk!

Hey, y’all!!! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve last blogged. Did you think I broke up with you? No worries, I only do that via a text message that basically says “it’s you, not me…kick rocks, sucka”.

Honestly, my sabbatical was really due to a combination of writers block, an extremely hectic work schedule and general apathy. Also, I was suffering from mental rickets caused by mud cancer which I contracted during my failed Tough Mudder race in April. Mental Rickets (or “MR” as it’s known in the crazy community) causes dementia & delusions of grandeur which end in the inevitable sobfest that everybody but the sufferer knew was coming because…well, you are crazy. Sorry. I’m a sufferer too. Now that I’m in recovery, I will probably be some poor soul’s sponsor.

Get ready to ride with me again. More posts are coming! I’ll be writing about Tough Mudder (which I have renamed the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That 5K”), Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, London & Amsterdam!! I’ve missed y’all 🙂

In the meantime, check out my passport. She’s got 24 new pages…so we ain’t calling her fat…but pleasantly plump & ready for travel! Just like me. Ha!

Finding Nikki

heart-intuitionI started this blog about 18 months ago with the purpose of sharing my travel stories and inspiring others to travel.  Then, I became obsessed with the “Stats” page…and scrutinized every post while asking myself why I wasn’t getting more visitors, likes, followers, etc.  I started changing my writing style, writing on a variety of topics…all in an effort to see that blue bar rise.  And still nothing changed.  It was like I was banging my head against a brick internet wall.  Why weren’t people catching on to my blog?  Am I not interesting?  Maybe my writing sucks?  I know it can’t be my sense of humor because I’m funny, dangit!  All of these questions I asked during my downward blog spiral.  I began to question myself.  And you can’t question yourself or your abilities if you expect to be successful.


During my downward spiral (which thankfully didn’t include bath salts & binge drinking), I realized 2 things:  1) I had gotten away from the original purpose of my blog and made it all about me; and 2) I found some awesome bloggers who inspired ME!

273804852315650202_mjBoTy0N_cBefore I became obsessed with stats, I enjoyed writing.  And I think it showed in my work.  I’ve had so many people say that I should turn my travel tales into a book.  Unfortunately, I started to write my book proposal during The Dark Times (which is basically when I got caught up in stat whoring).  The proposal was going nowhere.  I had absolutely nothing to say…I couldn’t articulate the concept of my book to save my life!!  Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to pitch my travel show idea…and cannot seem to formulate the words to adequately convey how awesome my idea is.  It’s like I was stuck.  But last week while enjoying the sun & beach in Cancun, it hit me.  I can’t write my proposals because I don’t believe in myself since I felt like my blog had failed.  Which is so crazy in hindsight.

People define success in so many different ways.  So why am I choosing to define myself as a failure when I have successes?  One being that my blog post on the Warrior Dash was recently published in Obstacle Racing Magazine in December 2012…which was major for me since it was the first time I’ve ever seen my work in print!


I’ve also had the major blessing of being inspired by so many awesome bloggers here on WordPress!  Whenever I start to doubt myself, I go to Candy Coated Reality to get inspiration & motivation.  Lesley Carter has a totally fabulous blog called Bucket List Publications…and let me tell you, this is THE place to go if you are trying to figure out what to put on your bucket list.  Whenever I need a laugh, I love to read Sandee’s 1800ukillme blog (her post on “Chilean bass sex tapes” will have you on the floor).  I’ve also found some beautiful places to visit by reading the awesome travel blogs of Tvor Travels, Still Times, Toemail, and A Traveller’s Tale (just to name a few).  I am even inspired to take more time to explore my own city due to reading Aaron’s The Adventures of Elatlboy blog (and he takes some pretty cool photos too).


So, I guess it comes down to realizing that when you feel uninspired, take a step back and connect with others.  Believe in yourself and define your own success rather than relying on others to validate you.  I choose to believe that success happens in stages…and this is but one link in a massive chain of success.  Before I sit down to finally finish my proposals, I think I’m going to break up with my Stats page…because clearly things haven’t been working out.


Thanks for reading and as always…happy travels!

P.S.  I’m always looking for new inspiration, so please let me know of any blogs you’d like to recommend!  Thx!