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May 15, 2017

Another Way To See the USA

This is the first "summer" we have not returned to California. Not only that, but we did our USA trip in the spring this year, so there won't even be a summer trip!

Our USA plans locked into revolving around Marc's little sister, Alex, getting married this year!!!

The first week of May wedding in Alabama meant two main things.

1) We could only stretch our trip to about three weeks.

2) Let's figure out what's around Alabama!

Our trip roster ended up looking like this:

One week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to visit my uncle, aunt, and cousin.

Four days in New Orleans, Louisiana, to see a totally different city in America.

Four days in Mobile, Alabama, for the wedding and a true Deep South experience.

Four days in Destin, Florida, where Alex and her new husband live to get some sunshine and rest before heading back to Europe!

It was a bit of a crazy ride, but here are some of the highlights!

Tulsa: my cousin took me swing dancing! One of the most fun nights EVER. Made a bunch of fun new friends, ran through a thunderstorm, and enjoyed an evening of fabulous music and hilarious dance moves!

Tulsa bonus: taking a day trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, to go through the Crystal Bridges museum!

New Orleans: OMG the food!!! We loved every meal we had and will definitely be back for more someday. We also loved the area around Frenchman Street.

NOLA bonus: music and food in the park right behind our hotel!

Mobile: obviously this highlight was the wedding! Alex did an amazing job bringing everyone together and designing a very classy event! (More photos to come eventually!)

Mobile bonus: we were surprised by the similar architecture to New Orleans and the story about how Mobile is actually the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the USA - HA!

Destin: sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! We spent everyday at the pool. The only problem with being in Destin was that we didn't stay long enough!

Destin bonus: we didn't make it to Crab Island, but we will next time!

The whole trip ended up going pretty well and we are most happy that Alex and Cory enjoyed their wedding!!!

What's next? Well, Marc headed back to Vilsbiburg to work, and I may have ditched my flight to Munich on our Paris layover...

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May 3, 2017

German Swag 101: Vils-BBQ

We have realized something lately - or rather, finally.

We have had access to unusually large and private backyard garden spaces at all four of our European homes, and we have never really taken advantage of it!


Now that we feel really settled into our Vilsbiburg world, we have discovered that we have the ability to host barbecues in our backyard!

It's a "Bring Your Own Meat" potluck setup, and all idea credit is due to our Swedarican (Swedish-Costa Rican, of course), Diana!

What we didn't anticipate was how awesome it would be to introduce our international friends to the very American campfire tradition of s'mores.


Granted, it has been an adventure finding marshmallows (in the USA, it's got an entire section of shelves to choose from; in Germany, marshmallows are hiding and it's up to you to find them!), and we found some graham cracker-like cookies that have a chocolate coating.

We are excited for what the summer in Germany holds, mostly because we know there will be plenty of BBQs!!! Sounds like a good reason to throw a 4th of July party abroad, right?!
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May 1, 2017

Live Well: May

Welcome to this installment of the Live Well series provided by my very own sister, Lindsay Wampler. I may be a traveling expat athlete, but I really haven't explored the health and fitness aspects of that world on this website - which is where Lindsay comes in. 

Lindsay is a 28-year-old occupational therapy grad student in Southern California and health and fitness coach. Her family consists of her wonderful husband, Justin, two dogs, and a cat. They both strive to live well through healthy eating and exercising, and I am very thankful that Lindsay is happy to share her expertise with us each month! 

Be sure to check back the first of each month to see what Lindsay's Live Well advice is, and please feel free to share her wisdom with your family and friends!


Apologies for the small hiatus of the Live Well series in May. Life happens, doesn't it? One of the beautiful things about life is that everything may be in a constant stage of flux around you, but if you have a home to come back to everyday...priceless. I'm in a season of gratitude this May in realizing how blessed I am to have a place to call home.

Beverage Boost

Nutty Smoothie
Serves 1

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 banana, frozen
1/2 cup ice cubes
3/4 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp. organic peanut butter

Add all items into blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Workout of the Month

I am challenging you--YOU! Y-O-U! Right here, right now! I am challenging you to walk AT LEAST 5,000 steps a day! Walking is one of the simplest changes we can make to increase our health and wellness. If you do not have a way to count your steps (if you have a smartphone, you have a way!), aim to walk at least 2.5 miles a day.

Healthy Eating Recipe

Serving as desired

Ezekiel corn tortillas
Coconut oil (I used PAM Coconut Oil, but if you have the solid oil, heat it to a liquid)
Salsa or fresh tomatoes, mashed
Green onions
(Toppings of choice)

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or brush tortillas lightly with coconut oil on both sides. Place tortillas on baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes. Take tortillas out of oven and top with salsa, cheese, green onions, olives, and toppings of choice. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.


Essential Oils Mixology

Match Made in Heaven
3 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Tangerine essential oil

Fill home diffuser with distilled water. Add essential oils. Voila!

About the Author

My name is Lindsay and I once was a Swagerty, too, but I now am a Wampler. I am a Christ-lover and am disciplined to live the life of my dreams! I suck at traveling because I am scared to fly, but I love to explore the cities around me and build a home I love to spend time in. I am a wife, mother of fur babies, occupational therapy graduate student, online health and fitness coach, and a sharer of my love for essential oils! I am also a lover of all things Disney!

You can find me on Facebookmy group page, and Instagram or reach me directly through my email at lindsayannwampler[at]gmail[dot]com. I would love to hear from you!

Let us know if you try any variations of these delicious recipes, challenging workouts, or essential oils mixes in the comments below!!!
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April 24, 2017

Elite Volley Agent Swags

I have just joined Elite Volley as an agent/recruiter!

We work in four main areas.

1. Helping International Student-Athletes get scholarships to play volleyball at top NCAA universities.

There are plenty of recruiting agencies overseas that tap into foreign players and their dreams of playing college volleyball in the USA. The difference with Elite Volley is that it is completely FREE for the athletes to post their profiles and be contacted by the universities.

They will never have to pay for this Elite Volley service throughout the entire recruiting process. We are literally only here to help create opportunities for the athlete!

2. Representing Elite Professional Athletes and placing them in volleyball clubs worldwide.

The founder and owner, Ryan Jay Owens, and I connected over our bad experiences with agents and agencies that left us wanting when we first started our international volleyball careers. We are both passionate about open communication, accessible support, and having a quality long-term relationship with our athletes.

We want volleyball players to understand all of their options, and Ryan has done a great job producing a Pro Volley 101 video series where interested athletes can learn about what their futures could hold.

I met Ryan originally when he partnered with Susan Salzbrenner of Fit Across Cultures to host the Athlete Blab in 2016. Susan's book Play Abroad 101 is also an incredibly helpful and insightful resource in educating athletes on what it's really like to transition to professional sports life overseas.

3. Offering NCAA universities and coaches access to our international recruits database.

We actively recruit the national team rosters from the U16 to U19 levels and are proud of the recruiting list we have compiled so far and continue to build. We currently have athletes from (countries listed alphabetically): Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey.

While continuing to grow our base of athletes from these countries, we are also focusing new efforts in Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Slovakia, and trying to reach as many more countries as we can in the process!

4. Promoting international clubs as they post their openings (both for players and coaches) to our professional volleyball database.

Instead of merely contacting agencies or hoping the right player will find the club's email address, clubs can now post into our database exactly what they need and can offer to a potential athlete. This network database will eventually extend to players who are looking to post their profiles to be contacted by clubs. Think of it as an always evolving volleyball jobs forum!

I am very excited to be a part of the Elite Volley team and looking forward to helping more and more athletes achieve their dreams of playing volleyball abroad!

Here's the thing: you can help, too!!!

We are always looking for athlete mentors, international connections, and how we can get the volleyball opportunities message out to as many athletes as we can!

There are three simple ways you can help us right away.

1. Share this blog post (via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or email) and tag all of your volleyball, sport, and international friends and family, asking them to share with their network as well.

2. Comment below or email me directly that you would like to be involved as an athlete, coach, club, college, or mentor!

3. Shoot me an email, text, or direct message on Instagram or Twitter asking for a media-type photo that you can post and share on your social media network.

You can also now connect with me on LinkedIn, and you can see what we're up to at Elite Volley on Instagram and Facebook!

If you want to learn more about how this all happened, and the Agent Swags video that inspired it all, check out my previous post, New Work, New Season, New Vision.

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