May, June, & July 2020 | Recap

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Long time no monthly recap! Back at the end of May, I was sitting down to write my regular monthly recap (can you believe I’ve been doing them for almost five years now?!). We were already deep in the coronavirus crisis, but then my country erupted in racial protests after the murder of George Floyd. The USA was, and is, facing a reckoning with police violence and ongoing racism in our country – all in the midst of a global pandemic. So… writing about how my month went really didn’t seem that important.

I took June off for the same reasons… it wasn’t the right time for me, as a white woman, to be taking up space talking about my own woes. I had a lot of learning to do myself, confronting my own internalized racism that I’m ashamed to say took me so long to acknowledge. Now that we are into August, it finally feels right to do a little look back on the late spring and summer that was.

But before I go any further, let me make one thing clear:

Black lives matter.

I know this is a travel blog – but what is more political than travel? And if you find issue with the statement above, then I kindly encourage you to click the ‘x’ button.

Walking along Empire Bluffs in Michigan this July.

Where was I in May, June, and July?

  • Countries: USA
  • Cities: Lansing, MI; Traverse City, MI; Charlevoix, MI
  • Flights: 0
  • Days on the road: 7

May – Michigan still had a stay-at-home order, but we were finally allowed to visit second homes. My family has a small cottage on a no motor boat lake, so I spent a lot of time here in May.

June – Michigan’s stay-at-home order was lifted on June 8, and businesses began to reopen. This didn’t really affect me, though. I still stayed at home (or at our cottage).

July – I had two small road trips within Michigan this month! I went to Traverse City and Charlevoix, both in Northern Michigan. These were both for work projects – it felt amazing to get traveling again but I was quite nervous and am still processing my feelings and reflections from what I saw around Michigan. Other than that, I spent all my time at home or the cottage.

Most popular Instagram in May, June, and July…

 

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My favorite Instagram in May, June, and July…

 

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May, June, and July on the blog…

Well, the BIG news and what I’ve spent a LOT of time working on these past months, is a COMPLETE blog redesign! I worked with an incredible graphic designer/brand designer and web designer. As I’m writing this, the new design is almost ready to launch but still needs a few tweaks.

So stay tuned for the new design – I promise it’ll be here shortly!

I’ve also managed to get some blog posts churned out. These are the posts I published:

Phew, after typing those all down, I see I’ve been busy!

View from our family cottage where I’ve spent a LOT of time the last few months!

May, June, and July adventured like…

  • Looking for a job! If you read my March or April recap, you know I was laid off from my (brand new) therapy job at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, I’ve done a LOT of continuing education courses to keep up my skills, and I made it to interviews for some school-based therapy jobs (my dream setting as a therapist). I didn’t get any of them, though, and now it’s totally up in the air whether schools will be open, whether they’ll be hybrid, in person, online… who knows! I won’t lie. After spending so long getting my qualification in the USA and passing my board exams, it is very frustrating to not be able to work as a therapist yet. So I’ve recently started applying to content writer positions, too, which I think could be a good fit especially if I can find one in a therapy or healthcare setting. With the pandemic and my own health situation, a remote job is probably the best fit for me right now. So – I’ll keep you posted!
  • Freelance writing. Still freelance writing and loving it! I have toned it down a bit, though, because I’m focusing on…
  • Redesigning the website!! As I mentioned above, I’m deep in a three-month process of rebranding and redesigning Endless Distances. I hired two amazing designers and it was a big investment for me, but also a long time coming as Endless Distances actually turned five in May! I can’t wait to share the final product.
  • Lavender farm road trip. For my first travel / any time spent outside my residence since March, I went on a four day road trip of Northern Michigan lavender farms in July. This was for a freelance article (but I’m sure I’ll also share a blog post!). My mom came with me and it was SO fun to get out and explore – very needed. It also felt like a HUGE culture shock, though, to be out in the world after 3+ months of staying at home.
  • Charlevoix getaway. I also spent a few days in Charlevoix on a press trip for some articles. It was an incredible trip but by the end of it I was feeling burned out and frustrated with how selfish some people can be! Overall, people wore masks and businesses had GREAT precautions in place. We went to one farm market, though, that had a sign on the door saying you DIDN’T have to wear a mask!! (For reference – it is legally mandatory in Michigan to wear a mask indoor any public space, and in “busy” outdoor spaces). The worst part was NOT A SINGLE EMPLOYEE WORE A MASK. We booked it out of there ASAP, and I wrote some strongly worded reviews online. I was there with the tourism board to potentially promote this business, but let me tell you… that will not be happening.
  • Other than that… I make crumpets about 2-3 times a week from “Bread Pitt” my gluten free sourdough starter! I’ve also been doing some yoga, and recently joined a pool membership and have been swimming 3x a week (the precautions this pool has are wild… the best place I’ve seen so far for disinfecting, distancing, etc). I’ve swum in Lake Michigan a few times this summer and spent a lot of time paddle boarding on our own little lake. And of course I’ve been signing petitions daily and trying to educate myself on anti racism and the BLM movement – I have a long way to go but I’m glad I’m finally on that path.
Cooking has been quite relaxing for me the last few months. I made hand made gluten free pasta that turned out INCREDIBLE! (If I do say so myself)
Bread Pitt makes some damn good gluten free crumpets!
Marshall has been a very good stay-at-home buddy 🙂
Grabbed some incredible gluten free & vegan donuts (takeaway) from my favorite bakery in Grand Rapids. Feels very full circle because back in March, I was meant to have a work training in Grand Rapids and I was planning to visit the bakery afterwards. But that was the day work was canceled, and a few days later I was laid off… I’ve been wanting to go to that bakery ever since LOL.
I’ve loved traveling around with my mom this month!

May, June, and July in health…

  • I restarted weekly pelvic physical therapy in June, for my endometriosis/chronic pain/etc.. It has had a PROFOUND impact on my health and pain levels, and I’m very grateful to be able to get the care I need again.
  • I saw the endometriosis specialist. I mentioned in April that I got a referral to Michigan’s only endo specialist / excision surgeon. I was SO nervous for my appointment, in July. I don’t feel quite ready to discuss it all on the internet, but the short version is I will be having another surgery. It’s not scheduled yet but will probably be near the end of the year.
Lavender is therapeutic, right? Good thing I visited about 10 lavender farms in July!!

May, June, and July in savings…

If you’ve read my other monthly recaps this year, you know I set myself a BIG savings goal. I have a dream to go on a round-the-world trip, and promised myself this was the year I’d save the money to do so. Then a global pandemic hit and I got laid off – LOL (not really… that’s an *I’m crying* kind of LOL).

Somehow I’ve still managed to squeak by meeting my savings goal each month! So I’m very very very happy about that. I think being stuck at home, not spending on travel or food or shopping or gas or car insurance has certainly helped!

Probably the biggest drain on my bank account the last months is gluten free flour to feed my sourdough starter haha… worth it when I can make amazing gluten free pizzas on the barbecue like this!

Upcoming in August…

Freelance writing: Obviously will continue with this! I actually bought a separate domain because I’d like to launch a second site all about breaking into freelance travel writing. This has been on the back burner though due to…

Launching the new web design: Yay! I’m excited to launch the new Endless Distances web design this month. Shall I do a blog post explaining it all and the entire branding process?

Wearing a mask: And all the other precautions to avoid getting or spreading COVID-19. The pandemic isn’t over, y’all. Far from it.

Voting: Sent in my absentee ballot yesterday. Are you registered to vote?!

SOMETHING HUGE AND EXCITING AND TERRIFYING: Let’s end this on a cliffhanger shall we? 🙂 Something wild is happening this month – I honestly haven’t figured out my own feelings on it, whether it’s the right decision or not… I’m not ready to share yet, but check back next month 🙂

Here’s to a fab August and final month of summer. What will you be up to?

Sarah xx

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Oh hey! I’m Sarah, the writer behind Endless Distances. When I’m not here, spilling all my gluten free travel and wellness travel tips, you can… find me on the floor at parties petting the dog.

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