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!

versatileblogger11
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!

14 April 2015

Childfree Series: 15 Things They've Said

Why you gotta be so rude?
These are the top 15 things people have said to me when they heard I didn't want to have kids. Starting with the words I found least offensive at #15, all the way to the #1 comment that breaks my heart.

(For the background on this series, see Childfree Series: Live Your Life!)

#15. "You'll love your own baby."

Love and like are two very different emotions in my world. I like a lot of things/people I don't love and I love a lot of things/people I don't like. I don't need to add to either population.

#14 "You'll love the feeling of being pregnant."

No. I won't. What a strange version of encouragement to give to a thin woman. All I hear is, "You'll love the feeling of getting bigger and bigger and bigger...."

08 April 2015

2. How I Travel: Where To Go?

It never occurred to me to count how many countries I've been to. It's just never been about a measurable goal or number to me; if I think a place sounds fun/cool/awesome, then I try to work it into my schedule. I read a friend's blog about getting to 20 countries before turning 30, and it made me pull up the map.

(At the end of this post is a super easy and fast "Europe: Where To Go?" regional quiz!
Take it to see which region of Europe you'll probably enjoy the most!)
How many countries will I have been to by the time I turn 30? (I've got like 277 days to go.)

I think 20. Depends on how you count the countries within the United Kingdom. To me, Scotland and Wales and England are completely different countries. And to play fair, if I get to count them in my total, then so do you!

Really, I was surprised by the number because I never even thought about trying to get there.

But then how did it happen?

02 April 2015

1. How I Travel: When To Plan?

I thought of another reason I will never be French: I plan my calendar way earlier than two weeks in advance. (Seriously. Ask any French person what they're doing in 2 weeks. They have no idea.)

Here's the start to a new cluster of questions I get asked a lot: how do you travel? Followed by the classic Who (to take), What (to pack), Where (to go), When (to plan), Why (bother) of everything else. I always start with my calendar, so that is why this "When To Plan?" segment is first.

We are already loaded up on places to go and people to see through August!

25 March 2015

Childfree Series: Live Your Life!

Welcome to a series about the most controversial subject in my life: our decision to be childfree. This series should end up as 3 posts over the next few months, but I could talk about this forever, so we will see! I tried to wait to write these posts until I would be too old to have children, but I can't wait 15 more years to talk about this, I'll go crazy. You might be thinking, "This is soooooo not what I thought Swags' blog was about!" But really, Volleyball = Travel for us because we are childfree!

I always thought that being a Christian would be the most controversial thing about me, but as it turns out, it doesn't bother nearly as many people as when I say, "I'm not having kids." Whether you are a man or a woman who wants children, who doesn't want children, or who is still undecided, this series is about a lot more than just babies. It's about life, death, marriage, singleness, and for anyone who cares about what they want their life to look like, both right now and in the ever-distant future. Et alors...

*           *          *          *          *
Always smug.
I believe every new day is a bonus.

With that said, I never expected to live this long.

18 March 2015

Monthly Musings with Marc - March

Athens' Dirty Secret

First thing I did when I got home from Athens was watch Disney's HERCULES. Tomorrow, I will likely watch TROY or ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

I needed to put Athens back on the pedestal in my mind because what I saw the last three days made me sad.

12 March 2015

My Morocco, Part 3: Places & Plates

I could talk about Morocco forever, but I'm going to control myself and make this blog my last entry. I was able to enjoy Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat during my four days there.

Are you ready for all of the photos?!

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