20 May 2015

Postcards from Portugal

My cousin, James, and I are currently enjoying the Portuguese sunshine!

I might will probably write a lengthy "I'm in love with this place" post after I get back to France, but for now, I'll just be posting quick snapshots from these lazy days.

Welcome to #PostcardsFromPortugal! Hope you enjoy these moments, and maybe a postcard will even show up at your door!

(Don't worry, I won't be posting anyone's addresses! But if you see a postcard online for you, and it never comes, I probably don't have your right address!)

Day 1: Dear Parents
Day 2: Dear Sister
Day 3: Dear Mike & Daphne
Day 4: Dear Monique
Day 5: Dear Tom & Ingrid
Day 6: Dear Frendts + Grandma Millie & Aunt Denise
Day 7: Dear Tanyas
Day 8: Dear Amanda + Alex
Day 9: Dear
Day 10: Dear
Day 11: Dear
Day 12: Dear
Day 13: Dear
Day 14: Dear

For all of my Portuguese and Spanish adventures, check out ¡Vamos Juntos! and #ibin2014!

19 May 2015

Podcasting with Fit Across Cultures

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet, befriend, and chat with Susan Salzbrenner of Fit Across Cultures this past year.

If you're an athlete abroad, considering the idea, or a parent of an athlete who wants to keep their dream alive, following Fit Across Cultures will answer so many of your questions and concerns! Susan has dug deep into the professional sports world overseas, and her collection of podcasts reaches far and wide.

Susan's about to come out with her amazing e-book guide to playing abroad, and I'll be sure to give you all the information for that, too!

If you've ever wondered just how I ended up overseas and wanted to hear it through the real sound of my voice, you can check out our podcast!

Exploring Europe While Playing Pro Volleyball With Christy Swagerty, Episode 33


10 May 2015

The Legends of Swagandinavia: NORWAY

Norway was never really on my radar until a conversation during college with my late Grandma Carol. She had taken up a fascination with Norwegian rose art when she was much younger, and told me all about her plans to see the glaciers, fjords, and the other incredible sights Norway had to offer. Grandma Carol always had a lot of plans; plans to sell her house in California, plans to move to New Mexico, plans to go to Scandinavia. It was part of her quirky charm, these dream-plans that never came true.

As a 21-year-old, I remember thinking, "I hope I go to the places I want to see before I'm 80 years old."

I didn't go out of my way to make Norway happen. However, it did occur to me after Grandma Carol passed away that if I ever did make it to Norway, I would try to appreciate it the way she would have.

Family histories can easily repeat themselves in small towns in small ways, but it is important to widen the scope and setting of the story.

So, in the spirit of keeping Carolyn's dream alive and well, let's head to Norway: the land of snow-capped mountains, deep fjords, large Vikings, dead witches, and one flying ninja.

05 May 2015

The Legends of Swagandinavia: SWEDEN

My first view into Sweden and Norway can best be described as: easy.

There was very little cultural strain. A few tasty new foods. My look blended into the crowd. Everyone spoke English. Nature was bright, and cities were clean.

I didn't even have to plan anything outside of getting my plane ticket. I jumped into someone else's itinerary for a change, and that meant I could just sit back and go with the flow.

It was wonderful.

How did all of this come together, anyway?

01 May 2015

3. How I Travel: What To Pack?

As much as I love planning trips, packing is what makes me the most happy. I think it's the satisfaction I get from organizing and minimizing. Whatever the reason, this is my favorite part of the process. It confirms that the plan is set and the trip is actually happening!

This post is not a checklist of what to pack! I believe packing well is like a good habit, and a good habit stems from the proper understanding of why you should do something a certain way.

(But if you NEED a list, here's what I'll be packing for 2 weeks in Portugal.)

There are tons of strategies out there for packing light, but it all really comes down to one key factor: self-control.

However, since most of us can't just naturally control our urges to take our entire lives with us on a trip, here are the four ways I've been able to create healthy packing habits in my journeys.

28 April 2015

Monthly Musings with Marc - April

Fitting in Europe

I grew up in a military family and we moved often. This gave me the opportunity to live all over the United States, plus three years in Japan. I have lived in small towns, big cities, on military bases, East Coast, West Coast, and in both warm and cold climates. I have spent time visiting Latin America, working in Canada, and now nearly four years living and traveling throughout Europe.

I lived in Oceanside the longest!
All of these experiences have given me a unique perspective into what is great - and not so great - about living in the USA versus living in Europe.

21 April 2015

The Versatility of Blogging

I love blogging.

Technically, I started What Up, Swags?! when I moved overseas for my first volleyball contract in 2011. But I've been steadily journaling since I was 13 years old, so I feel like I've been "blogging" a lot longer than just four years. It reminds me a lot of my two years as yearbook editor in high school, and my teenage dream of becoming a journalist has somewhere to play.

Aside from the presence of writing in my life, the idea that Volleyball = Travel has been my reality since I was . . . four years old! Sure, I wasn't on teams until I was 10 or 11, but my parents were coaches, and a 3-hour team road trip was normal. High school volleyball trips took me to Europe for the first time, college volleyball and coaching camps flew me all over the USA (free trips to Alaska and Hawaii!), Canada, and even to the Dominican Republic.

All that to say, whether my life as an expat athlete/coach abroad lasts two more months or two more decades, What Up, Swags?! is going to be here for a really, really long time. It has become how I "scrapbook," preserving great memories, but also serving as a reminder to who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming. Volleyball and sport will always be a part of my life in some form or another, so no matter where I end up, travel will always be on the agenda . . . and on the blog!

Which brings me to this fun kind of "pay it forward" award of the "Versatile Blogger!" Phoebe from the Lou Messugo Blog so kindly nominated me, and I'm thrilled to share this honor with several great bloggers!

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