January 2020 Updates: It Feels Good to Be Home

In my January 2020 updates I mention my time in Abu Dhabi and shared this black and white photo of me walking gingerly along the top of a sand dune.
Walking on the desert near Abu Dhabi.

After spending the last four months abroad, I’m back in Indiana for a while and starting to get back into my routine here. I started January flying out of Uganda, headed for ten days in India (between Mumbai and Goa). From there I spent four days in Abu Dhabi, UAE before taking a direct flight to Chicago and driving home. Shoutout to my mom for driving three hours to pick me and Christian up from the airport. I love you, mom!

I have to confess – it feels good to be home. Better than I expected, despite the cold winter temperatures I’m subjecting myself to now.

I’d forgotten how nice it was to have a couch to lie down and a closet to hang my clothes. Having my kitty back was just as fabulous as I imagined though. Spooky has taken to very gently bopping us on the nose in the morning when he is ready for breakfast which I find way more endearing than I probably should.

I’ve been trying to catch up on mail and laundry, get back in the flow of work with HOPE, and start the year off strong with Suitcase Six. I’ve nearly finished the Global Directory Europe section which has been a long time coming! You’ll find all the country pages with top blog posts from other bloggers to help you plan a trip there. Accommodation recommendations, tours, itineraries, tips, dining recommendations, even language and currency recommendations.

Perhaps most excitingly of all – I’ve had my highest month of blog traffic ever! It’s been my goal for a while to have a month where I hit 30 views, every single day of that month. This time I knocked it out of the park and hit at least 60 views every single day! Fingers crossed this is the start of an upward trend.

This month I even managed to write five other posts:

Two on Rwanda

3 Days in Kigali: Our Rwanda Itinerary

3 Days In Rwanda: Costs to Travel Kigali

Two on sustainability

15 Sustainable Cities That Make Eco-Friendly Super Easy

40 Plastic-Free Toothbrushes & Sustainable Dental Care Products for a Zero-Waste Bathroom

And one post on my personal resolutions for 2020. I made some solid progress toward my resolutions this month.

  • visited India and UAE for 2/6 new countries
  • read 1 book from an international author (Americanah by Chimamande Ngozi Adochie – an incredible read)
  • booked bus tickets to visit Anna & Melissa in Chicago
  • read 4 new articles in Spanish
  • started learning how to code

I ate vegetarian/pescatarian most of the month, so February I’m hoping to crack down on that goal a bit harder now that I’m back in my own kitchen. My roommate offered up a box of chocolates that are not vegan, which foiled many of my otherwise vegan days this week.

What about the rest of the Suitcase Six girls?

For those who might not know, the name Suitcase Six came from my love for my five closest friends whom all inspire me and balance their shared love for travel with their work, in different ways. I haven’t seen them since we got together in Tahoe last summer and haven’t shared many updates on them, so we’re a bit overdue. Here’s the low-down though.

As of January 2020, Melissa and Anna are both working in Chicago. Tahvi moved from Seattle to New York City where she started med school last fall. Marie and Laura are finishing out the last couple years of their school programs in Los Angeles and Phoenix, respectively! It’s so fun to see my friends spread out across the country after all growing up in Indiana. Of course, I’d love to have them all closer but it gives me more reasons to explore. In fact, I have two Chicago trips planned for February and I can’t wait to scheme a way to see the other girlies this year.

What’s coming in February?

I’m trying to finish Global Directory pages on all the countries I’ve visited, plus share my first Woman of the Week interview in 2020. I’m hoping to post a bit from Abu Dhabi and maybe a couple Valentines themed posts too.

As for the rest of my life – I’ll be heading up to Chicago twice in February for social visits, plus brushing up my resume to start the job hunt process. There’s a lot to do as always and I’m ready to get started!

I hope you all are thriving and planning your next trip, wherever you are. Send me an email (suitcasesix@gmail.com). I’d love to chat!

Till next time, happy travels.



January 2020 Updates: It Feels Good to Be Home