It is so easy to live in a bubble, get stuck in a rut, and never leave the comforts of home. That’s something that Angela Newell of Lakeland, refuses to let happen. Angela is married to her husband, Scott and has two kids; seven-year-old daughter, Eastyn and twelve-year-old son, Evan. She works from home coordinating events, advertising and marketing, and community relations for a wealth management firm in Lakeland, saying, “We support a lot of nonprofit organizations so I am the liaison between the office and them.”
Working from home allows Angela to pursue her biggest passion, and include her family in it as well. “My love is travel, I like to travel as much as I possibly can. As soon as I’m home from one trip, I’m planning the next.”
Though she’s always traveled, Angela explains that she really started traveling a lot in her thirties. “As far as domestic travel, Nashville is my heart, I love it.” She explained, “I just love that they have seasons change and I’m kind of a country girl you know, I love country music.” She says her dream is to have a small farmhouse in Nashville outside of the downtown city area.
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is another favorite destination of hers. Angela’s husband took her there for her 40th birthday and she fell in love with it, describing it as sort of like “a fancy Key West.” She talked about this special birthday, saying, “I went to Paris for my 40th birthday too. I had like a whirlwind two weeks where I just traveled all over the world.”
She spoke about Manuel Antonio, “I just fell in love with it. The people, the food is so amazing, the views.” Angela described having monkeys crawl up onto her patio, seeing sloths, parrots, macaws, toucans, and boundless stunning rainforest wildlife.
Angela sees traveling as a learning experience and wants to engage her kids in cultures and history from around the country and the world. “My kids are very young and they’ve seen every national monument you can think of from Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone, they’ve seen the Grand Canyon, they’ve seen Grand Teton, they’ve seen the badlands.” She talked about adventures they’ve gone on the last two summers saying, “My kids and I have driven across the country. This last summer we flew to Nashville and we rented a car and drove through 12 states and then flew home from Vegas.” The summer before, Angela and her children drove all the way from Lakeland to the Grand Canyon. “I’m free spirited, I’m not afraid to hop on a plane and fly anywhere with my kids, my kids are not afraid.”
She encourages her kids to make the best of their experiences traveling saying, “When we travel, we don’t shop. My kids grab a rock from every state we’ve been in because they know. They don’t even ask for a souvenir, we’re collecting memories, not things.”
Everywhere Angela goes, she brings her little yellow journal to write down restaurant reviews, and other notes about anywhere she goes. She does this not only for herself but also for reference if anyone asks her advice on where to go if they’re traveling somewhere. “I was traveling so much I thought,I ’m just going to start a blog like a journal, a private one, not anything that anyone would see.”
With the encouragement from others that had interest in her travels and the help of her cousin who is a web designer, Angela started The Gypsy Momma. She now documents everywhere she goes with detailed descriptions, fun tales, and photographs on her blog. Here is an excerpt from her Manuel Antonio trip:
“We stopped for lunch on the way at Restaurante Los Cocodrilos, a roadside restaurant with amazingly fresh food and the best mango smoothie I have ever tasted in my life. We watched a gentleman cut mangos and make the smoothie within 30 seconds. The restaurant was steps away from the Bridge over Rio, so we are able to see the huge wild crocodiles that free roam along the river.”
Angela spoke more about The Gypsy Momma, “Used to, you had diaries. This is kind of like my diary in the year 2017.” She sees this as a sort of a photo album her kids can come back to, to see photos and read stories of their travels.
Her blog and frequent travels led her to pursue her travel agent license. “My little journal, turned into a blog, turned into a kind of side little fun friends-and-family business for me,” Now, as a licensed travel agent, using her own experiences, Angela plans trips on the side. When we spoke, she was planning a trip to Ireland and Iceland for a group of people, “I’ve been planning trips for people for 10 years, just because I’ve been to so many places and people say, ‘When you went here where did you eat or where did you stay?’ So, I’ll help them and book their place or tell them where to go or suggest restaurants all the time.”
Aside from travel, Angela finds exhilaration in running, saying, “I am an avid runner! I ran a ton of marathons and half marathons.” She runs in races all over the country, and at the time we spoke, she was a week away from a trip to South Carolina to a town she had not yet been, to run a race. She says a goal of hers is to run a half marathon in another country.
When speaking with her, a tremendous amount of excitement was tangible in her voice–about everything, every story, every adventure, every memory she’s made. It was contagious, I hung on every word, fascinated by not only her travel tales but by her unmistakable optimism.
Why does she travel, what does she get out of it, what shapes her exuberant outlook on life? “Life is so short, it’s so short. I’ve had experiences in my life and lost family and friends and you just don’t know what the next day is going to bring.” She continued, “I get the biggest high when I travel to somewhere I’ve never been. I just feel so free, and when I’m home for a weekend or two in a row, I get antsy. We need to be seeing stuff we haven’t seen before because my life could end tomorrow and I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to take my kids on as many adventures as possible.”
You can follow Angela’s travels and get inspiration for your next destination by visiting her blog, www.thegypsymomma.com.