1. a member of a traveling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.
2. a nomadic or free-spirited person.
If you know me, or as you are getting to know me through this blog, you know number 1 is not me. Or is it? Just kidding! When I first read the second definition, I was not so sure it accurately described me either. The more I think about it, how I love to go from place to place, pick up and go places, it is starting to seem more fitting. Yes, there are others out there who are more free-spirited than me and others who truly live a more nomadic lifestyle than I do. I may be what you considered a glam gypsy. Have you ever heard of the term glamping? Basically, it is camping with a bunch of amenities that takes almost all of the camping part out of it. Nomads live from place to place, have no stable income and live off the land. I have a settled home but travel from place to place and will stay with friends or family. Thankfully I still have a stable income and I do not have to live off the land, but if it came down to it, I would.
Starting out as an assistant basketball coach for women’s college basketball, I traveled to recruit players as well as games I coached in. While at Tyler Junior College the travel was limited to around Texas and nearby states such as Arkansas and Louisiana for recruiting. During the summer, I drove all across the south working basketball camps at schools such as LSU, Mississippi State and Georgia. When I made the move to San Jose State in California, the travel became more regional, up and down the west coast. Being a recruiting coordinator meant I traveled quite often seeking out players at various tournaments all over.
In 2010, I eventually found my way back to Texas, coaching at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches. This time, travel took me all over the Midwest and South. During all of these business travels, I developed a love for visiting other cities and what they had to offer their visitors. Thanks to a pair of friends, Kenya and Michael Landers getting married in Mexico in 2008, I decided every year after that experience, I would take a one-week vacation in a foreign country. This trip was usually on a beach and meant to be a way for me to relax and rejuvenate for the upcoming year. Little did I know it would start a love for visiting other countries and experiencing different cultures.
After taking a timeout from college coaching in 2015, I found myself traveling every opportunity I got. It wasn’t only international travel that I took to. In the summer of 2015, I also traveled to New Braunfels, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Fayetteville, Arkansas and multiple stops in between in addition to a few Caribbean stops. By the end of the summer, I had decided I would move back to Fayetteville. When making a stop back in Nacogdoches, I was visiting some former coworkers at the university to talk about my recent travels. One former coworker said, “You are like a gypsy, traveling all over the place. Jodi the Gypsy, that is what you are.” And she was right. I am a free spirit who looks to keep traveling the world, learning about other cultures, facing my fears and challenging myself not only physically but mentally as well.
I understand that not everyone can travel like I do. I know that I am very fortunate to have this life. I feel it is my job and my responsibility to share all of the journeys and lessons learned to as many people as possible. This is one reason I started this blog, to share with you the good times and not so good times of my travels and experiences. Hopefully you get a little taste of what it’s like and it motivates or inspires you to travel somewhere, even if it is locally. It is also why I have started speaking to college athletes and leadership groups about my time on Mount Kilimanjaro. The daily mental struggle I had with myself because I was not coming in first on our daily hikes was not easy. I shared some of this in my previous blogs from my journal each day and go in to more detail in my talk about how I had to differentiate finishing first and winning.
In a nutshell, that is how Jodi the Gypsy came to life. I am grateful for all of you who continue to follow my journey as I share with you. I have a favor to ask and that is for you to share this blog with someone else who you think may enjoy these travels too. I want to reach as many people as possible! Thank you for coming back each week and as always, keep exploring!