So close I can taste it…


I waved as a little tear drop rolled down my cheek passing the exit for I-35N toward Minneapolis. We continued on I-80E leaving the first glimpse of Minnesota that we’ve seen in months in the rear view mirror. 

As we visit our loved ones, a question that is frequently asked is, “Don’t you miss home?” The simple answer- Of course I do, but maybe not for the reasons that you may think. Every untraveled road in my life has shown me new things and brought me into uncomfortable situations. This is where I thrive. The parts that make me miss my past residence are also what make me want to go back. The connections that I have made in these places mean more to me than a house, or any other physical possession that I could ever ask for. My people are why I miss home. As I begin the forth month on the road, I can confidently say that I have made a home in many locations around the U.S. and have been building these comforts my entire life. Traveling is in my blood and ‘wanderlust’ has proved that I am not a person that belongs in one spot, but in many places. I could actually live anywhere in the world and make it my home. Don’t get me wrong, one of the first things I will do when I settle into my next place will be bake a batch of cookies and take a long nap in my bed. So, just know that all are welcome into mi casa wherever that may be. 

Cheers to all the people in my life that helped me make every home my own. I will be back to relive good times and make new memories. Much love!

Thank you Tony and Linda for the wonderful hospitality!

Quick note: I will most likely be skipping tomorrow’s post because I will be busy celebrating one of my best friends weddings! Congrats Allie and Matt! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and physics!

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Tornado Alley…


The location Manhattan, Kansas. It only took a little over 24 hours to find a fly baked into my chicken fingers at a local grill, scratch my other hand by barbed wire (requiring another bandaid), and witnessing flash flooding/3-hr tornado watch warnings. Surprisingly, the constant weather warnings scrolling across the bottom of the television screen wasn’t the highlight of my experience here; although that definitely didn’t make it boring. We were warmly welcomed by Nick’s cousin, Leah. It’s an amazing feeling to know that his family is just as amazing as my own. Between chilling with Netflix (not the 2015 meaning of ‘chilling’), eating lots of watermelon and battering down the hatches for a typical evening in the central U.S., we spent time exploring the local beauty. We enjoyed the sunshine while walking downtown Manhattan, gawked at a tangerine and lavender sunset kissing the vast sky above and hiked the gusty Konza Prairie. While trying to grasp the rocks so we didn’t blow away on the Konza, relationships were strengthened and confirmed.
Thank you for the weekend, Leah! Can’t wait for future memories!

I also want to take a minute to extend my thoughts and love to the tragedy that struck my hometown of Antigo, WI this weekend. Growing up in a small, family-oriented town you tend to sometimes forget about how close the world is. These unimaginable events aren’t real and can only be seen on TV. That said, I am sending all of my strength and condolences to the families and the entire population of Antigo because once a Robin always a Robin. Be strong and grow together. 

Fighting off bears…

I was all alone. Just me and him. I was sweating from the grueling hours before. I was so close to the end that I could taste it and then I blacked out…

That was a bit more dramatic than what actually happened. First of all, “he” was a rotary cutter. I was working so intently on crafts that I was sweating. Finally, when the cutter slipped and sliced my middle finger like a piece of meat I felt faint, but I did not black out. Thankfully, I made the decision to not go in for stitches because I had the best of friends patch me up and take every other sharp object out of my reach. I also had a therapy dog for the rest of the day providing me empathy and comfort.

Besides my act of clumsiness, I have adored my time in Omaha. We have been staying with college friends for the past few days. I’ve come to see that no matter the time between visits, true friends make it a cinch to pick up right where you left off. Good times were had prancing around downtown in the ice cream and candy shops, tours of The College of Saint Mary and lazy nights playing Mario Kart.

Love you my dear Kayla. I can’t wait to see the perfect mother that you will be! Paul, I stand true to what I told you four years ago (pre-marriage, house and baby). I will still come after you if you hurt her. 🙂FullSizeRender (5)

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4 days, over 1,600 miles…

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Top: Mt. Emily, Oregon; Bottom Lft: Salt Lake City town square; Bottom Rt: Great Salt Lake

This weekend we made a trek. Friday morning we were in Seattle, WA. Abracadabra, and tonight we are in Omaha, NE. It might not have been as smooth as waving a wand, but it definitely was filled with memories. We stopped for some sleep in Idaho, Utah & Wyoming, Nebraska with a few bathroom breaks in between, but that was about it. Constant car time (8-10.5 hr trips) with Nick got me thinking that maybe I could help couples out with tips on traveling with their significant other. As a result, maybe you’ll both survive. 🙂

Tip #1: TIME ALONE. This is very important for your own personal sanity. It could be anything from sticking your headphones in and watching a movie to going for a quick walk at the rest stop.

Tip #2: DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY. You don’t even have to be on a road trip to do this one. In order to make new memories and grow together, I find it crucial to try something new frequently. A large part of our trip has been discovering new places, people and experiences and it keeps us on our toes. I love this!

Tip #3: DON’T SPEAK. This one resembles the first tip, but it is different. Sometimes all you need is to sit next to someone in your own thoughts. Some of the greatest moments shouldn’t have to include words.

Tip #4: LISTEN. Even if I am always right (hardly ever), listening is key. Actually, this tip applies to any healthy relationship. However, in a cramped car with no room to walk away from disagreements you are given many opportunities to better you’re relationship by listening to one another. *Note: Tip #3 is not meant to follow tip #4.

Tip #5: BE THERE (for yourself too). Last tip, but certainly not the least. Traveling can be stressful, draining, surprising and captivating. That said, in order to make sure that the good times outweigh the challenging times, focus on the moment. Try to be there emotionally, physically and spiritually for yourself and your significant other.

Hope this helps! Any questions or other tips, please feel free to comment below.

Love from the central time zone!

20s…

  
  
  
 Ever ponder why when you’re younger you can’t wait to hit your 18th and 21st birthdays, but as soon is you turn 30 you wouldn’t go back even if someone paid you to. My theory is because your 20s are your crucial learning years. I am a firm believer that you never stop learning if you have that desire; but at age 13, I couldn’t possibly imagine a world so big. I recently read an article of an interview with Melissa McCarthy and she described her 20s as “a decade of tears.” This quote struck me, not because I’m currently living through my 20s and it gave me no hope. Instead it helped me relate and not seem so distant from my peers and role models. I can be clueless and it’s okay. 
I am in the age group where I can remember not having a cell phone as a third arm. In order to call a parent in school, I would have to go down to the office during my study hall to use the land line. Now a days though, if I don’t respond to a text within an hour I’m pronounced dead. We live in the age where everyone needs to ‘one-up’ each other. This includes vacations, weddings, and life in general. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing pictures and reading about life’s adventures of my fellow generation. I am guilty of this as well. But when the grandma in the booth next to mine exclaims how I am a ‘typical product of the 21st century because I am scrolling through my iPhone’ it gets me thinking. She’s not offended because I checked my phone during a meal or the fact that I’m dressed in blue jeans and Nike’s for the third day in a row. She is referring to my age. Instead of being curious about my story, she clumped me into an entire 10 year block of millions of people. Damn! I guess that just gives me another reason to keep doing what I do. 
I’m reaching the middle of this decade in my life, and amongst the floods of tears I haven’t even pushed the brakes a little down the learning path (as if I had a choice :)). Keep the endless questions, concerns and uncertainty coming!

Seattle was not sleepless. I actually slept quite well with the pitter patter of the rain hitting the glass window. Heading back toward central U.S., first stop Idaho.

Much love!

The land of books…

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Portland, OR-You took the breath right out of me. You were nothing that I expected, but everything that I needed. After being in small towns for awhile, it was refreshing to be welcomed back to a city by a Target and a transit station. Portland has characteristics of a smattering of different cities in the U.S., but had a whole new individual feel. Portland has it all.

A few of my favorite moments from my time in Portland were eating a maple bacon bar from Voodoo Doughnuts, wandering through the Rose Gardens, and discovering and refusing to leave Powell’s Books. The people are friendly, the location is quant and the rhythm is one in it’s own. Even though my time was short here, but I won’t hesitate to make my way back to this charming town.

Popular for their high number of strip clubs per capita, everyone is bound and determined to have a swinging time. Butt seriously, superb place.

Living…

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Top 2 pictures: Crater Lake National Park; Bottom 2: Burney Falls Memorial State Park

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“What do you do?” The first question that people ask after an introduction. My current response, “This. I travel. I live.” The questionable/slightly concerned/curious/envious look that I get staring back at me never gets old. At first, that look made me feel a little incomplete and less than satisfactory. Now it takes no effort to hold my head high when I exclaim what I do everyday. I have had days where I’ve cried. I have had days where I’ve smiled uncontrollably. But I’ve never had a day where I haven’t felt alive. I’m not a drone or replaceable.

When I think of other cultures, it doesn’t surprise me that they are more relaxed and less stressed than Americans are. One simple reason-they don’t let there work define them. For example, when I studied in Austria during my very first class my professor was 30 minutes late to arrive. However, he didn’t frantically rush through the door and give us an excuse of how traffic was terrible or how he forgot to set his alarm. He simply stood calmly in the front of the room, introduced himself, welcomed us to his beautiful country and told us that the first thing we should learn in life is that meetings are about the quality of the relationship, not the quantity. It’s been almost five years and that lesson still sticks with me.

Today is Monday, and for most people that means the beginning of yet another draining work week. My advice to you today and every day: don’t forget to live. Don’t let your life get caught up in money or your job. That does not define you, so don’t give it the power to. Of course I’m not saying you should act rash and quit your job, pack up all your belongings and travel around the country. Oh wait….

Live it up!

Feel free to share your story below. I would love to hear from you!

Many thanks and hugs to Jenny and Brent-the best hiking partners.

Me vs. The World…

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One of my most impactful memories of me vs. the world was during the summer I turned eight. I was terrified when I had to pack up and move away from the only life that I had ever known. It took me a while to adjust and make new friends; but once I did I realized that I could go anywhere and experience anything that I wanted. I had just discovered my greatest strength. As I became older, my horizons for exploration broadened. So, I began checking states and countries off my list. When I arrived in young adulthood, like most people I was overcome by money and possessions. That to me was a like a light bulb or a smack in the head telling me that I hadn’t followed through on my dream. I decided to try the same technique that occurred when I was just eight-years-old, flipping my world and beginning fresh.

This imperfect, unpredictable, terrifying, beautiful life is mine. Even if I am clueless on what my next move will be, for the first time in my life, I’m not scared. On Wednesday, I was biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and getting screamed at by an older man that I was riding too slowly. And by Thursday I was gazing in awe at the snowy point of Mount Shasta. This is it. This is everything I dreamt it would be. With that, I’m going to embrace my inner fantasy and roll with it.

Action!

Wide Open Spaces…

   
   
If you are a product of the 90s, you will empathize with me when a song like ‘Wide Open Spaces’ by The Dixie Chicks gets replayed over and over in your mind. And of course you can’t help but sing along because you know ALL of the words. That was my day yesterday. As soon as I stopped holding my breath through the tunnel leading to Yosemite Valley, I couldn’t seem to catch it again. Yosemite Valley is the heart of Yosemite National Park and an acceptable reason to have Dixie Chicks stuck in your head all day. After all, it is the perfect description of ‘a place in the clouds, a foundation of stone.’ We spent the entire day hiking through rock and soil to discover the seven wondrous waterfalls of the park. Early afternoon after our forth water fall sighting, we pulled over for a meal of peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks. When we were sitting on the grass overlooking the water rushing past us I took a moment to let it sink in. 

Yosemite was the forth National Park we’ve visited, so I can’t help but compare them to each other. However, the thing is you really can’t. They have there own unique and brilliant qualities of Mother Nature proving once again that she is queen. We live at her grace. Always. 

Yosemite was high on my list of places to see. Now I can say that the unfailing beauty and spectacular views did not disappoint. 

I would highly recommend visiting Yosemite National Park and also taking a trip down memory lane by popping in your old Dixie Chicks cassette (of course, by that I mean to look it up on iTunes). 

Smile and breathe.

Surprises continue…

   

  

  

  

 Like Monday’s post submitted on Tuesday, I am a day (fashionably) late for Friday’s post. As for most of my travels, I have been in and out of cell phone and Internet reception. This generally includes most of the campsites we are staying at. Tonight, we are at a campsite about 30 miles south of Yosemite National Park where thankfully I have just enough service to update all of my followers on my past week of adventures.

As my parents were in a little Southern California road trip of their own this week, we decided to hitch our ride to theirs for a few days. We walked out way through the San Diego zoo and USS Midway, floated with the currents gawking over pods of dolphins surfing in the wake of our boat and splashed in the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. When it was time to split paths, I couldn’t stop beaming because this trip continues to present little things to smile about. Cheers to the beginning of our third month on the road. 

Thank you mom and dad for meeting us!

Love from he Pacific! Tomorrow is Yosemite!