Portrait of a Thirty Something: Amy Adams

Our next Portrait of a 30-something is my friend and former roommate, Amy Adams. Amy is a world traveler as well as a travel blogger. She recently got back from an epic trip around the world where she went to Israel, New Zealand, Hawaii, Oslo, Turkey, Barcelona, and Athens all in the span of two months. She did it all for less than $4500 for TWO MONTHS away in over 7 countries including flights, lodging, food, and any tourist activities and souvenirs, so she’s a great person to talk to about going on an amazing trip without breaking the bank. Amy writes about her world trip and all of her travels on her blog, This Borderless World.

Amy formerly worked as a concierge in a hotel. She was also a flight attendant. She’s had travel in her blood for quite a long time. But this summer, Amy has been the queen of staycations. She’s walked almost every New York bridge from the Queensboro to the Brooklyn to the George Washington this summer, and she’s also constantly inspiring me by going out and exploring a new area of the city, or a new museum, or even a new cemetery! She just never stops!

Read more below about a 30-something who proves that life never has to be boring and that there’s always more to explore!

Name/Age/Location: Amy Adams/31/Queens,NY

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What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of in your 30s so far? 

When I was 19, I came to the US with no plan, minimal possessions, very little money and the most excited, motivated, positive and enthusiastic attitude imaginable! The possibilities were endless and I was tremendously excited about being in the country of my dreams.
In hindsight, I love that free spirited, fearless, independent girl who did what she wanted, listened to her own inner voice and was never discouraged. After almost ten years of living in the comfort and security that a traditional life offers,  I’m doing a complete 360 and wanting to revert back to that solo traveling, wanderlusting free thinker! I like her better than the make-up wearing, brand name clad, conventional girl I became. My 30’s reiterated in the clearest way possible that life is fleeting… so live your truest life. I’ve wholly embraced this new (or rather old) concept and I’m very excited about where this takes me.

What do you NOT miss about your 20s? 

My 20’s were exhilarating and thinking back on it now is exhausting but worth it! Circumstances lead me as far north as Vermont, and then to the Deep South for a few years. Then I lived up and down the eastern seaboard until finally landing in my dream city! I wish I had arrived sooner but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world!

Looking back, what shouldn’t you haven’t been afraid of in your 20s? 

I’ve never had a nuanced existence- people either loved me or hated me. For the longest time I tried to reach this middle ground… which can only be described as “normal.” But I realized very quickly that I don’t do normal. Thinking about getting insurance or wondering when I should do my laundry or feeling the need to rush home and watch tv (instead of experiencing life) makes me sad. I was a risk taker in my 20’s and I miss that fearless, rebellious, and independent spirit! Everyone keeps saying you need a plan and you need a goal but I’m opting to live in the moment! No goals, no plans, no expectations, no limitations!

Any surprises about what your 30s are like? 

My 30’s have been incredibly edifying. I’ve been waiting for a while now to get excited about wanting adult things like a home, family, car, and a two week vacation. But I’ve come to realize that is not the life I want or the one I was meant to live. I’m one year in and I’m more optimistic and invigorated than I’ve been in years. I’m embracing my identity as a nomad. I feel younger, more energetic, humbler and psyched for a future unknown!

What do you find most challenging about this decade? 

At first I abhorred social media and believed it eliminated the possibility of establishing any type of relationship organically. Now I’ve come to realize it’s in fact enhanced the chances of meeting more people and making meaningful connections. It’s all a matter of perspective. Social media can be used for good or evil… which is empowering.

What are you most looking forward to? Be it tonight, next month or ten years from now! 

Living in the moment- every moment! And never ever letting other people’s ideas of a proper and perfect life affect my idea of my perfect existence. I also know there are like minded folks out there with similar unconventional attitudes and I’m excited to meet them!

What would you like to hear more about regarding the thirties? What articles would you like to read? 
I’d love to read about unique 30-something year olds who follow their own paths no matter what. I want to see people who listen to their hearts and drown out all the naysayers! I’m especially interested in those who “didn’t succeed” (according to societal standards) but are still on their own true path! I regard the persevering types as the most successful, interesting and inspiring. The most influential people on this planet died poor without a ton of support. They really are the wealthiest of all for they’ve truly taken ownership of their lives. That type of wealth can never be squandered!
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You Kinda Just Had To Be There. (or- The Bats Fly At Sundown)

I used to have a boyfriend who didn’t understand travel. He had no idea why I liked traveling so much or why I felt the need to personally go and see so many different places.

“You can see them online,” he said, (he was a major techie), “you can see photos and videos and you can read about any place you want on the internet with some googling. There are so many travel blogs and there’s Wikipedia. Why do you need to go there?”

It always made me sad that some people (especially ones close to me) don’t understand how the internet can’t capture the feeling of a place. Photos and video and even the most beautiful words aren’t the same as actually being somewhere.

In my thirties I travel more than ever. I travel for work most of the time, but I’d love to travel more for pleasure (Soon! Right now, I usually stay put in New York when I’m off from work..this is because of financial reasons mainly (darn you, student loan!)), but soon I shall whip out my international bucket list once again.

I advise everyone to travel because it exposes you to all types of details and feelings you may miss where you are. Changing your location can really change your mindset- and your preconceived notions of the way other places (and other people) are.

This weekend I’ve been working in Austin, Texas. I went here once before with Jane, just for fun. We had the best time, and discovered that Austin was nothing like our preconceived ideas of Texas…even though we’d never been to Texas before. Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and the whole place reminds me more of the hipsterville that is Williamsburg, Brooklyn than the cowboytown that I thought Texas would be.

Jane and I circa 2009 having a blast in Austin with the Longhorns!

Jane and I circa 2009 having a blast in Austin with the Longhorns!

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Yum!

Jane and I Yelping the best Mexican food in Austin...all cheesy goodness!

We Yelped all the best Mexican food in Austin…lots of cheesy goodness!

This time Austin brought a completely different feeling…though also very good. Firstly, I’m here with different people (my coworkers) and at a completely different time in my life. Austin feels almost like a totally different place – even though it’s still as fun as I remember.

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Something I missed last time in Austin with Jane was the fact that there’s a bridge downtown where 1.5 million bats live. They stay under the bridge until sundown when they all fly out to feed.

My coworkers and I were told we needed to see these bats fly out from underneath the bridge, so we arrived at 8pm and waited together. It was pretty exciting. We expected to see this sight:

Photo we saw online.

Photo of what the internet told us we would see.

But instead we saw this:

Nice view. But no bats.

Nice view. But no bats.

And then this:

It got dark. We could kind of see some bats, but not the way we thought we would (they were quickly flying out from under the bridge and then back in. Not doing a mass exodus like we saw in the photos.) Alas, it was too dark and they could not be captured with our cameras anymore.

Darkness. The bats were late. Then we could kind of see lots of bats, but not the way we thought we would (they were quickly flying out from under the bridge and then back in. Not doing a mass exodus like we saw in the photos.) Alas, it was too dark and they could not be captured with our cameras anymore.

But we had a good time anyway because we got to hang out together in Austin and watch for bats. And we did eventually see bats. And heard bats. Even though it was different than we thought it would be.

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And I can’t imagine getting the all the feelings I get from Austin just from googling it online. Because I felt this:

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And those pictures and my description can’t capture it.

Austin is weird. And young. And hipster. And Southern. And party. And foodie. And wild. And sunset. And morning. And healthy. And unhealthy. And night time. And yoga. And whisky. And bikes. And dancing. And all. And none.

It will be different for you.

You just have to go there.

Was that a gorilla I just saw on my run?

Was that a gorilla I just saw on my run?

Elvis? Is that you?

Elvis? Is that you? Are you in Austin?

The trash cans are solar powered? For reals?

The trash cans are solar powered here? For real?

Ladybird Lake

Ladybird Lake- I had no idea there was a running trail here.

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Wait, what’s this natural pool?

Wait, they made a pool out of LadyBird lake!

They made a pool out of LadyBird lake! Awesome!

You never know what you'll find once you're here

And who knows what you’ll find once you’re here…

Expert Travel Lessons Learned The Hard Way

In a recent post I wrote, Are You More Confident Now That You’re Older?, I touched on how a lot of times confidence comes from being okay with failing and getting rejected again and again.
Now that I’m 30, I’ve already accumulated piles and piles of messy, crazy mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned the hard way.

Before this blog, I used to have a travel blog called YouSomewhereElse (hence my wordpress handle LauraSomewhereElse). I don’t consider myself the absolute best expert on travel, per se, but I do travel more than 2/3 of the year for work, so I consider myself at least somewhat of an expert. And when you travel as much as I do, you rack up a whole lot of experience under your belt. Some of it is good, and some of it…not so much.

Right now I’m in the middle of a 5 city trip without hitting home between cities. I’m in city 4 out of 5. I’ve probably only spent about 10 days total at home in New York since the beginning of January. I’ve been traveling like this- at an ever increasing rate- for over 8 years, and have been on the road so much that I should be great at it, right? Well, sometimes even if you’re “great” at something, it just means that you do it so much that you’re bound to do a bunch of things wrong at least some of the time.

Just to prove that being a confident expert takes lots of failure, and to encourage you to not be afraid of the really bad experiences, here are just a few of the many mistakes I’ve made on the path to becoming a travel expert..

  1. I’ve gone to the wrong airport..twice. One time I completely missed the flight and they wouldn’t rebook it. I lost $550 buying a new last minute flight, and another $100 taking a cab from one airport to the other..only to miss that flight anyway.
  2. I’ve booked a flight on the right day,..but in the wrong month..and the $400 flight cost was non-refundable.
    3. I bought a cheap suitcase and had the entire handle come off on a hill in the middle of England.
    4. I bought a different cheap suitcase and had the handle come off in the middle of a staircase in Washington DC.
    5. I’ve exploded a bottle a seltzer all over my laptop and BROKE THE KEYS FOREVER in the middle of Philadelphia a month ago.
    6. I’ve been stuck in Charlotte airport for 3 days when the airport closed because of bad weather…and I had to sleep on a cardboard box because I was on the phone when they gave out cots.
    7. I’ve booked numerous bus tickets that ended up being at the wrong time..and they were nonrefundable.
    8. I let my phone fall off my lap while sleeping on a plane and it was stolen while I slept.
    9. I opened the back of a car where my suitcase was stored, only to find my suitcase gone! I thought it had been stolen and completely panicked, only to later realize that I was in the wrong car.
    10. I’ve accidentally tried to bring my permanent plastic Contigo water bottles filled with water through security…and have had them confiscated at least half a dozen times because I was in too much of a hurry to go back and dump them.

11. I recently dropped all my suitcases off at the wrong hotel. This was two days ago.

12. Today I went running in Fort Lauderdale, got completely lost, and had my phone’s GPS stop working on me. I had to continuously ask construction workers and random passerby directions for an extra half hour until my phone suddenly started working again. If it hadn’t finally worked, who knows when I would’ve made it back home.

So don’t worry about going out and failing. Failure probably means that you’re just putting yourself out there more…or at least I’d like to think so. Go ahead and make tons of crazy mistakes..and you’ll perhaps become a confident expert along the way 🙂

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