On Saturday, February 23, at 5:11pm, I turned 30. (Whoa! Madness. How did that happen?)
As you may have noticed, I didn’t make it to Tanzania after all. (In a nutshell: The trip briefly got canceled due to funding reasons, during which point I took on a whole lot of magazine assignments and some new clients for Odinn, and by the time they got the green light, I was swimming in work. Not a bad thing!)
But before you feel sorry for me, know that I’m OK with that—Kili will be there when I have the time to devote to it in the future, I will still be supporting the Ladies Trekking project from afar, and as a consolation, I managed to squeeze 10 full days out of celebrating my birthday, from a surprise party at my parents’ house to a brunch in Nashville with my local pals to a weekend in Asheville with my Semester at Sea friends to a day in Chattanooga with my #1, SVV. Not a bad way to welcome a new decade, right?
1. I’m not one of this people who has ever dreaded leaving her 20s behind. In fact, not only have I been lying about my age for years—there’s an age stigma in my industry, and people don’t respect you when they think you’re too “young” or “inexperienced” to be an ace reporter—but I have been looking forward to 30 for years! It’s the first time SVV and I have been in the same decade since we met eight years ago. Bring on the adventure, I say.
2. While I try to keep my blog clean, my daily speak involves a whole lot of four-letter words. Sorry I’m not sorry; it’s a means of venting and self-expression for me.
3. I try to smile at everyone, always, no matter how bad a day I am having.
4. I have no qualms with airing out my dirty laundry on Twitter if it concerns airlines. Man, I hate the airlines, don’t you? (Virgin Atlantic/America and Southwest aside.)
5. I am a terrible sleeper. Those of you who ask how I do so much and guess “you must sacrifice sleep,” hit the nail on the head. My mom says I’ve been like this since childhood. (I attribute SVV’s relentless snoring with my difficulties sleeping as an adult.) But! After years of requiring a sleep aide, as of Jan. 1 this year, I am medication-free. For that, I am thrilled.
6. Most times, I won’t lock the lavatory door when flying. Even greater than my fear of a plane crash is my fear of getting locked in the loo.
7. My least favorite country I’ve ever visited is China. Before I went, I never had a desire to visit, and sadly, it met every expectation I have. But I will forever name House of Nanking as one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants regardless.
8. Speaking of San Francisco, while I miss my (dwindling number of) friends and SVV’s family who dwell in the area, I don’t actually miss living there one bit. Been there, done that, never again.
9. I really don’t want children of my own. People don’t seem to believe me. Many of you guys don’t even seem to believe me. So I’ll tell you again: Childless by choice. My life, my uterus. (Read my essay in Cosmo on the topic in the April issue.) Though I do want at least a dozen nieces and nephews to act as my surrogate kids (because I can then return them to their rightful owner when they’re screaming, teenagers, need a diaper changed or my own wanderlust strikes). Kari, get on that, will you?
10. Despite having worked in the travel industry for nearly a decade, I don’t watch any travel TV shows. I have never seen an episode of No Reservations and the only Samantha Brown specials I have watched were via in-flight entertainment. (And I was even a contributing writer for TravelChannel.com and an on-camera correspondent for a special or two.) Not to say I don’t like travel shows, I just don’t have a whole lot of free time to watch TV, and I already have “my stories” (Nashville, Revenge, Homeland, Dexter and a few select sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family).
11. Similarly, despite my newfound obsession with all things home decor- and DIY-related, I’ve also never seen an episode of House Hunters. I hear Rehab Addict would be dangerous for me, so as of now, I keep all such programs at arms’ length.
12. I really hate abbreviations (see “totes,” “jelly” and even “abbreves”), though sometimes I’ll use an “obvs” or “thx” in an e-mail to make me appear casual (or, uh, caszh).
13. I always sit in the 13th row while flying. Not because I’m superstitious (or rather, the reverse, I suppose) but because other people are, and I feel like it’s the row that’s most likely to be vacant if there are any empty seats on the plane.
14. If I weren’t already immersed in my dream job as a travel writer, I’d want to be a flight attendant or a honeymoon planner or work in the country music industry or be Taylor Swift’s hype girl. Or all of the above. (Though someone oughta warn Taylor that she’s mighty close to being usurped by Jennifer Lawrence. Further proof here.)
15. I hate pants. OK, you probably already knew that, but SVV demanded I throw that in there. (I’m sure the construction crew who works behind our house daily already knows and loves this about me.)
16. I’m not much of a soda drinker, but I would survive on house-made ginger ale or root beer if I could. (That said, the ginger ale is usually more a vehicle for the bourbon than anything…)
18. Nor have I ever been in the hospital. (Knock on wood.)
19. Nothing makes me angrier than bad grammar.
20. I hoard Benefit like the Apocalypse is upon us, but I only wear makeup once or twice a month (mainly because I’m lazy and also work from home). I guess I’m just a sucker for pretty packaging. The same applies for Essie and OPI nail polish.
22. I have owned two cars in my life: a silver Ford Taurus, which I drove for eight years, and a slate gray Nissan Altima, which I’ve had for five. Even if I won the lottery, I don’t think I’d be the type to splurge on a fancy set of wheels; I’d rather spend my money on travel experiences.
23. I’m sort of glad my birthday month is officially over so that I can get back on the healthy-eating train. What is it about turning one year older that enables you to justify eating all the sh*t you please? I need to go on a water-only cleanse…or something.
25. I’m positive if I were to get clinically-tested, I would test positive for OCD. Asymmetry gives me the shakes, and I wander through the house straightening every last magazine and pile of clutter so that the edges are parallel to the surface on which they rest. Again, totally normal…
26. Another OCD tendency? The inability to end a sentence with a preposition, no matter if it’s on my “informal” blog, in a conversation or in an e-mail. In that same vein, I also can’t send e-mails that aren’t written in AP Style. My journalism professors will be happy to learn this, I’m sure. And Oxford commas make me cringe. Don’t even go there.
27. I have never smoked a cigarette. Not once. Nor have I ever been tempted to take a puff.
28. I’m pretty obsessed with my dog, Ella, and given that she and I spend countless hours alone together each week working from home, I might just have conversations with her as if she talked back. That’s normal, right? As is the making up songs for her I do on the regular… In return, she bosses me around as if she were a 200-pound Great Dane, barking aggressively each time she needs me to come upstairs to the bedroom and put the princess on her king-sized bed (as she’s doing now, actually).
29. I think Howard Stern is pretty much the greatest broadcast journalist on the planet. I only started listening to his show after I moved to the Bay Area and got satellite radio on my Altima; SVV would drive my car and leave it tuned into Howard. I interviewed Howard and Beth in 2007 while working the red carpet in New York, and at the time, my Lucky co-workers listened to him religiously, but I knew nothing about him other than that he was “controversial” (to put it mildly). Then, I started listening the next year and was immediately drawn in by his interview panache and ability to get celebrities to bear their souls. (I could do without the Ronnie Munn crap or the porn star interviews; that’s when I change the station to Sirius-XM’s The Highway instead.)
30. I just know we would be best friends in real life. Don’t you? (You’re starting to rethink this possibility after reading numbers 1 through 29….)
In the spirit of birthday gifts, I’m giving you something. (Or rather, the fine folk at TShirtPrinting.org are.) Six of you random commenters below will win Camels & Chocolate tees. Get excited!
These guys were so awesome to work with, and I’m sort of obsessed with their website, being a lover of vintage fonts and graphics—they used my logo to make these fun, bright-colored T-shirts and sent us a big bundle just in time for Christmas, meaning many of my family and friends got C&C stocking stuffers (which undoubtedly were on their wishlists in the first place). Plus! They’re based in the United Kingdom, but we still got the box in well under a week. And really, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to pal around town in a C&C-branded tee?