It feels long overdue for me to write a blog to you – my friends, my family, my supporters. To think of all of you who have been on each journey with me, reminds me of all my blessings. You’ve watched me, some of you literally, some through the power of the internet, as I stumbled blindly in every aspect of my career and as I figured out who I am.
From that 18-year-old girl who had no idea how to contact a publicist for a celebrity interview, to that 20-something, who decided to start publishing a novel, with no idea where to start, and now, to a 30ish digital media strategist.
Thank you for every like, retweet, email, purchase and hug. I consider you all part of this never-ending journey I’m on. I can’t wait to share the next part with you.
In 10 short weeks I will be leaving this tiny island in Florida and will be on my way to… EVERYWHERE! Well, not everywhere, but many places. I’ll be traveling for 6 months straight and I cannot contain my excitement!!!
Florida was a great place for me to reflect and write my nautical novel, Indigo Waters (out now, get it here or here, end plug), but I knew from the first few weeks here, that it was not home. So how did I come to the decision of 6 months of travel plans?
Long story short, my friend and I are planning to move in together, but the end of our leases didn’t sync up. After very little contemplation of either heading to Nashville or New York or Ohio (where my friend/future roommate lives), my best friend Natalie suggested I just travel around, which of course, included a stay with her in New Orleans.
With plans to start my next novel Decaf For The Dead, which I’d like to set in the Pacific Northwest, it all started to make perfect sense. The concerns I got when I announced these plans were, of course, money and my job. Let’s face it — I’m not someone who doesn’t have to worry about money. Yeah, I’m selling books, but I have great months and terrible months. That’s the nature of the indie book business. And yes, I work in the entertainment industry, but not all jobs pay lucratively. Fortunately for me, the perks of this work is I am not tied down to a location. I’m a freelance everything basically — journalist, novelist and publicist. Freelance is great and very freeing, BUT it’s also unpredictable money-wise.
Right after the New Year, I put a strategy into effect. I looked into cost-effective modes of travel, accommodations, and how many cities I could go to. Each month, I paid off a city’s expenses. With the help of keeping my job at Starbucks, I was able to live comfortably while doing all of this. And now with just 2 months to go before my travels begin, all I have are a few last minute details to pay off. While I’m traveling, I will only have to worry about food, entertainment and the very few bills I will have without rent and utilities to worry about.
Pretty amazing, huh? I think so. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to go on these adventures. Some skeptics might think I’m crazy. For instance, someone I grew up made a comment to my sister recently. “Sandy just can’t stay put, can she?” The tone seemed to have a negative connotation, which I expect from some people. They can’t understand my need to see what else is out there. Then again, they can’t understand my need to create constantly either. Or the fact that owning a house and starting a family just isn’t important to me right now.
My sister’s reply to this childhood acquaintance was a great one. “I know, isn’t it great?” That meant a lot to me. My family can be skeptical of my decisions, but they also know I always find a way, and am more well-rounded for it.
I take chances on new places, new people, new experiences, and new projects. No, I’m not a millionaire. No, I’m not a best-selling author. And no, I’m not Oprah. But I always look forward. Even more important is, I always have something to look forward to! Let’s face it, life is hard. Sometimes we make it harder by worrying about all the possibilities of failure and pain. Sometimes we complain rather than make a change. Maybe we don’t get our hopes up because we don’t want to be disappointed.
Ever since I could remember, I have lived my life with hope and excitement about possibilities. I dreamed big and continue to do so. Yes, sometimes I get my hopes up and am let down, but that never stops me from getting my hopes up again. Without hope, we are dull and joyless. Without hope, we do not believe good things happen for us, therefore we won’t even try.
When Natalie suggested my 6 months of travel, initially I thought, “I can’t afford that.” But the seed was planted, and instantly my hope kicked in. “Maybe I can afford it. I’m going to do this!”
I look forward to sharing all of my travels with you right here on http://www.sandy-lo.com and in www.halffullmag.com as well (look for restaurant reviews and articles there). I will be blogging very frequently with photos and experiences. I just hope you will all take something from my posts. My wish for this world is that will everyone dream often, keep hope alive, change the negative, and look forward to something, always. Whether it’s as small as a concert, a TV show each week, a book, anything — feel the joy for it and share that happiness with others.
That’s my secret. Simple pleasures, like a new movie or favorite song on the radio, are what got me through any hard time, and it’s what keeps my inner-child alive. What’s your joy? Share it with me in the comment section!
Thank you for reading.
Hugs, Kisses & Stars,