September 2016 Review: Adventures and Expenses

What I Got Up To

September was such an exciting month! I wrapped up my time in Oklahoma City with my family. Then Lucy and I hit the road (got on an airplane) and headed to Cyprus, where we spent the rest of the month.

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A colorful door in the Old City in Nicosia, Cyprus

I’m based out of the capital Nicosia, also called Lefkosia (Greek) and Lefkosa (Turkish). I didn’t do a ton of research before getting here (not my style). But I have learned so much about this country. The politics, the UN Buffer, the history of the occupation, the complicated way Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots feel about it–I literally had no idea. When you meet people abroad and they can rattle off ten important American leaders and you just knew they had pretty beaches-mega humbling.

Corrupt politicians depicted sawing Cyprus in half for their own devices.
Corrupt politicians depicted sawing Cyprus in half for their own devices.

The flip side of this, every time I get closer to figuring out one part of the world, it creates more urgency around this whole crazy goal. I got here and learned x,y,z, WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE THAT I’M MISSING? I gotsta know, you know?

Pic of the Month

View of Chicago and the shore of Lake Michigan from my plane this morning. #viewfromtheplane

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My most popular pic on Instagram was this view of the Chicago skyline with Lake Michigan shot from the plane as we were landing.  I took it after I had already put this piece together on why I ignore people who think airplane shots are cliche. I get a wide variety of different shots since the composition is determined by the topography of the ground, the weather, time of day, your angle, etc. Some flights I don’t get anything good, but sometimes it really works out. Maybe eventually I’ll get enough new planeview material for a follow up post.

Places Visited

Austria:  Vienna

Cyprus:   Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia, & Paphos

USA: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Highlights

  • Exploring the Old City in Nicosia at night: Nicosia is a really beautiful city. But it’s also a very safe city. Being able to be a woman alone out at night in a foreign country walking through a walled city-that’s really special thing. So often safety keeps us from being able to experience the world at night alone. I am really grateful to spend time in a place so beautiful and so safe.
street art cyprus nicosia nighttime travel safety
Spotted this graffiti walking around after dark. it’s really refreshing to be in a city safe enough to be out alone at night.
  • Sun Dried Laundry: my AirBnB apartment here has a washing machine. Since Cyprus is so sunny and hot most of the year, sun-dried laundry is the way to go.
aphrodite greek mythology aphrodite's rock mediterannean sea
Aphrodite’s Rock where she emerged from the sea.
  • Swimming at Aphrodite’s Rock: the spot where Aphrodite is said to have emerged from the sea. Of the beaches I’ve been to here, that was my absolute fave.
  • First Writing Paycheck: take that anyone ever who told me a creative writing degree was dumb, I’m a paid writer now.
  • Launching my Facebook Page: It was really scary, because unlike blogging or other social media platforms, I don’t feel the need to pressure my friends to support me. But with a Facebook page, you need numbers quickly for momentum. I’m really grateful to my friends and family who supported me on this!
  • The Vienna Airport: Getting from Oklahoma City to Cyprus with a dog over four flights in three days was a lot. It worked out, but there were so many points where something could have gone wrong (like when she decided to poop in the middle of the airport with no warning even though she’d just gone). In Austria, I left my medicine in the hotel fridge, the line for checking in was like a thousand people, and I had hoped to be able to buy something in the duty-free shop (more on that later). Not only did I not have time to go back for the medicine, I also was afraid I might not make the flight. Well the line to check in flew by (Austrian precision at it’s finest), the hotel brought me my medicine (woohoo!), and I even was able to get to duty-free AND had time to eat a leisurely breakfast before my flight. I was so impressed.
  • My new Longchamp bag: I decided on a whim in my hotel in Vienna that I hated my day camera bag. Hated it. And I was already missing having a real, grown woman purse. So I started googling purses that work well as camera bags and saw this post about how Longchamp bags can be used as a camera bag with an insert. I realized that I really, really wanted one. It’s the perfect size to take my laptop to the coffee shop, can be a camera bag on non work days, and folds up to nothing when packed. I grabbed one the next morning, and I’m still in love. There’s nothing worse than hating your camera bag. And I felt like I was having to trade a camera bag for a purse, but with this bag I have the best of both world. I literally left my old bag in Vienna because I didn’t want to schlep it one day longer.
mosque cyprus north cyprus turkish selimeye mosque
The Selimeye Mosque in northern Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Hanging out in northern Nicosia: crossing the border to northern Cyprus is a trip. I’m excited to share more about it in the next few weeks.
  • Haloumi Cheese: DELICIOUS
  • Ice Cream: I’m in the European ice cream belt. Daily ice cream is totally the best.
lemon ice cream ocean basket dessert
Lemon Ice Cream!

Bummers

  • Technology Woes: I blew my laptop charger and my outlet converter instantly in Cyprus and got to spend the next day running around like an idiot to get a new one. Now I’ll never travel without two.
  • Breaking Things: The plastic holder on my only bathing suit snapped. I broke the key to the APARTMENT BUILDING in the front door. My air conditioner and washing machine work for me selectively but work for other people just fine. You could even put the laptop charger and converter with this. Somehow, I find a way to break things that should be unbreakable.
broken key airbnb
Broke the key to my AirBnB apartment BUILDING…smh
  • Website Issues: Of course, the day I launched FB, my site would start going down. It went down for about ten minutes every hour, and it was being crazy slow. Working with Bluehost was not a great experience. As this blog becomes a bigger part of my income, I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate these issues better.

Posts

My most popular post for September was My 7 Favorite Things to do in San Pedro, Belize, where I wrote about my ten-day trip there in August and shared links and resources to the highlights.

Other September Posts:

Travels with Lucy

Lucy flies like a champ (except for the above mentioned pooping incident). She sleeps almost constantly when we’re in the air, and in the airport she wants to be friends with everyone. I’ve flown with her tons, but never transatlantic and never as part of three days of back to back flights. But she was awesome.

TFW your dog abandons you in the airport for her new friends 😢😢😢

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Here in Cyprus, she loves hanging out at coffee shops while I write. She likes going with me to the market or bakery, but she doesn’t love having to stay outside when I go in. She’s also a little pissy at the way this apartment works, because her chosen spot is in the bedroom, but the internet doesn’t have signal there. When I’m working at home, she has to pick between sitting in her spot and being in the same room as me. This is basically her version of Sophie’s Choice.

September By the Numbers

  • Walking Hours: 39
  • Ice Cream Days: 11
  • Houses of Worship Visited: 5
  • Airports: 5
  • Swimming Days: 4
  • Beds: 4
  • Countries: 3
  • Continents: 2
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 1
  • US States: 1
  • Mexican Restaurants: 1
paphos lighthouse cyprus
The Lighthouse at Paphos

Current Obsessions

Expenses

Travel Expenses September 2016
Travel Expenses September 2016

My expenses are higher than I was hoping before I left on my trip. There are two big costs: traveling with a dog and needing a bunch of medications that I hadn’t been taking before July. Because I have a steady income right now, I’m not going to stress the overage too much. Instead, I’m going to keep tracking expenses and figure out a number that works for me. $50 a day might not be achievable with a dog and needing to spend money on meds. But it might be. I’m going to keep working on it. Maybe for me somewhere in the 1900-2100 range might end up being right.

For this month, my flight from OKC to Cyprus was paid for with miles, so the transportation costs are just the airline fee and Uber and Taxis to/from airports. Ground transportation are transportation costs once I’ve gotten somewhere. For Cyprus, it’s been mostly bus tickets with the occasional big taxi bill when I needed to get somewhere buses don’t go/I couldn’t make the bus schedule work for my timeframe.

Lodging for the whole month at $527 seems pretty good to me. My apartment is not perfect, but its nice and bright, with pretty views and good internet (in the kitchen), nice neighbors, and close to things I need.

Food is a little high. Meals out are so good and less expensive than back home, but they’re still adding up. I need to cook at home more going forward.

I’d also love to get rid of my car insurance bill, but the situation is a little hard to manage right now. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m going to investigate that over the next month to see if I can cut it or at least lower it.

Sunset in Nicosia tonight. #lefkosialvr

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My Favorite Pic

This is a hard one. Cyprus is so beautiful, going through my feed it’s hard for me to say which is my favorite. Here’s one that’s definitely high up there though:

The Famagusta Gate last night. #nicosiaoldtown

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The Famagusta Gate is one of the three original gates into the walled city, and it’s the one closest to my apartment so I pass it every time I go to the Old City. I’ve photographed it many times, but I always have a hard time capturing exactly how beautiful it is in real life. This pic comes close.

ledra street nicosia cyprus skyline view
Ledra Street Observatory Selfie

What’s Next

Have a few excursions to get done in Cyprus this week, then on Wednesday Lucy and I head to Athens, where we’ll be staying for October. To be honest, when I planned on going to Cyprus and Greece back to back, I didn’t realize hos Greek Cyprus is. So I’ve already been stuffing my face with Greek food, rocking out to Greek radio stations, etc. It will be cool to get to Athens and see what is the same and what is different.

 

If you want more day-to-day updates and travel pics, please like my Facebook page and follow me on instagram

You can check out previous month’s adventure and expenses here

 

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