My Travel Map

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear L.A., I miss you.

Dear L.A.,

I miss you. I mean I really miss you. On my flight back to Northern California I had a layover in Los Angeles and I desperately wanted to wrap my arms around the city. I was gonna say hi, but you looked busy, and I don't know, I didn't want to bother you. So how are you? Are you seeing anyone? I saw a lot of cities over the past few months, but in the end, my heart still belongs to you. I plan on moving back soon. Maybe we can get together and chat about old times, have a few laughs? Oh, I got a dog. His name is Sammy and I think you'll love him. Well, I guess I should go. I really hope you haven't forgotten about me. Here's to the endless possibilities that the future holds!

Love always,
Natalie

PS. Thank you to all my readers! Your encouragement has meant so much to me. I'm beyond grateful that I took this trip. I feel so much more relaxed, more joyful. I also have a ton of pictures and stories that didn't make it into the blog, and I look forward to sharing those with you in the future.

A lot of people have asked what I learned from this life sabbatical. I didn't have any major epiphanies, but I've learned that I want to live a simple, yet creative life punctuated by mini adventures. I want to plan for more travel instead of waiting until I'm going to burst. I want to write and paint and create instead of reading books about squeezing those things into my life. I want to have a job I love without having to take the stress home with me every day. I want to spend ample time with friends and family. I'm learning to enjoy living in the moment, and I must say it makes all the difference. I realize this all sounds like the inside of a greeting card, but there you have it. These are my simple, yet achievable goals. Thanks again, everyone. Happy adventures to you!


PPS. I'm going back to www.nataliedejohn.blogspot.com. It needs a makeover, but I'll have it spruced up this summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

South Beach, Baby

Okay, I've finally finished my Miami/South Beach blog. After the Bahamas, Amanda and took some time to kick it in Miami. It's an interesting town. Don't think I'd ever want to live there, but we did have some crazy adventures. The weather took us by surprise to say the least. The pictures below tell a better story.


Exhausted after our 4-hour bus ride to Miami. It felt so good to finally reach the hotel.






Roller skating in the rain at South Beach.






Then the skies cleared up!



Uh-oh. What are those dark ominous clouds over there?



They're approaching rapidly!



By this time the lifeguards kicked us all off the beach.



Then the rains came down and didn't stop for hours.






We sought shelter at our favorite crab shack.






It was chaos in the streets. We had to walk through the flooded streets to get back to the hotel. Check out the video below.





Here are more pics from our journey home:
























And then the sun came out again.



Then God provided a rainbow as a sign that it would never flood in South Beach again. Or at least not until the next day.








The weather was completely weird the whole time we were there. It would usually start off sunny and fabulous. And by the time we got settled on the beach, it would look like this:




But we made the most of it, of course. It's still fun to play at the beach in the rain.



Here's Amanda jumping into an abandoned sand castle.



We had a photo shoot on the rescue mobile.


On the last night we were there, we got caught in the rain again. Thankfully, the first bar we ducked into had hand dryers in the bathroom.








After karaoke and dancing and trying not to get hit by angry Miami drivers, we were super hungry. Earlier in the night we saw a Pizza By The Slice place and they told us they were open until 7am. Wrong! It was probably 2ish when we got back there and they were closed (yet they left the sign on). So sad.





We had a lot of fun, but by the last day, I was ready to go home. I think I'm ready to get back to L.A. I'm really missing it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bahama Mamas

Me: I keep having these dreams where I have...a job.

Amanda: You should write that down.

It did sound pretty ridiculous. But can you blame me? I spent last week in paradise and now I'm getting ready to join the working world. But let us not speak of that just yet. Time for Bahamas pics, followed by a South Beach blog.

Last week I flew to Florida to leave for a cruise to the Bahamas where Mark and Kellye got married. This was my first cruise ever and I loved it.


Bus ride to the cruise ship



Me and Amanda with our Orlando roomies, Kara and Amy.



Our cruise ship.



Pure relaxation.



Water slides!



I love my summer hair.



The wedding day. Freeport, Bahamas.



Mark and Kellye



The reception site. I know, right? I'm starting to think that a destination wedding is where it's at.



Does it get any better than this?



Amanda, Andrew, and me representing the Brass Monkey.



I don't want to leave. Ever.



A night out with new friends.



Me and Mark.



Me and Kellye



Sexy tigers--Kate, Elizabeth, and Amanda



Nassau, Bahamas



$3 Ferry Boat Ride to Paradise Island



So happy!






So many rum-filled coconuts. So little time.



I loved all the colorful buildings in Nassau.












On the last night of the cruise, a bunch of us decided to do karaoke. But it turned out to be lame. Luckily, we stumbled upon a lounge where the band let us sing on stage. I even got to play drums!



Last night with the gang. Good times.

I freakin' loved the Bahamas and hope to go back again. I have a bunch more pictures from my trip to Miami, but I'll save that for tomorrow...