inspire

A Note Card

A card. A hand written note. A stamp. Its final destination: Cape May, NJ. On its way to meet a girl I met years ago. A special girl.

I met her in when she was in 8th grade. She was still blossoming but I saw her shine. She was timid in a way but her quiet swagger made her stand out from the rest. Quiet confidence. A bright, bright future was on the horizon for her. I could just tell she was going places.

Fast forward a few years. I watched her learn to drive. She didn’t need me to pick her up anymore for practice. She got a college scholarship to a prestigious school to play a sport college. She worked hard to grow to an elite level in her sport. Her future was bright.

We stayed in touch over the years. She was from a military family. She wanted to serve. She chose to serve others. She is now in her element. Training for her new role serving our country. She will do great things in her life.

For now I cheer for her from afar. My note card is part of the process. The hand written note to let her know she appreciated. She is thought of. She is missed. She can do anything she puts her mind to.

The note card is signed by a few people she inspired over the years. People she volunteered her time with. People who aspire to be like her in a way. Never underestimate your ability to impact others. 

Young. Old. Near. Far. One can make an impact. Maybe it’s volunteering. Maybe it’s spending time. Maybe it’s a listening ear. Maybe it’s a note card. Whatever it is. Do it! Make time. Be significant. Make a difference. Somebody is watching you and learning from you.

To my girl all grown up in Cape May, NJ, may all your dreams come true. May your road traveled be full of adventures. May you return home safe. May you be the best version of you!

Let’s hope the postal service gets my note card to my girl before she is ready to set sail to her next destination. Fingers crossed.

adventure

Activities on the Road

It’s been a summer of travel so far. Short hops, long hauls, flights, drives, and everything in between. Not too long ago I wrote about how I like to experience places through local food and drink. In recent years, experiences have become as much of my joy in travel as the snacks and sips.

Here are my favorite resources for finding cool things to do on the road:

1.) TripAdvisor – This is, hands down, my favorite guide for activities and attractions. TripAdvisor is especially great for finding guided tours. Recently, in Colorado, we wanted to do a whitewater rafting trip. I looked at TripAdvisor first for reviews of the companies. After narrowing it down to a few top-rated and reviewed services, we went to their websites to check out schedules, pricing, and more. We ended up finding a great company with a skilled, friendly guide (and a top-notch riverside catered lunch!)

2.) Ask someone who knows – My daughter was recently in Colorado and had some great adventures. She’s also a travel professional at Ellie’s Travel Bug. She was quick to offer suggestions for our time in Colorado with a suggestion to visit Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We customized our trip with something new and fun, E-Bikes. I loved that we could make it as strenuous or chill as we wanted. Without Ellie, I wouldn’t have thought to head that direction. Another idea: if you’re at an air bnb, be sure to check out their suggestions or ask the host. We found a great swimming hole on a recent trip from a host’s tip.

3.) Take a Hike (or a Bike) – Hitting the trails is one of my favorite ways to experience a place. I use AllTrails for hiking and TrailLink for bikes. The reviews are priceless, especially the recent ones. Be sure to screenshot or download information about trails before you head out. Sometimes you won’t have service on the trail!

4.) Get Lucky – I’ve found great things through Only In Your State and other travel sites. Not surprisingly, when I start looking for cool things to do in a destination, the internet knows to send me all kinds of ads and resources. Sometimes those random ads pay off.

No matter what, get off the beaten path and do some interesting things on you travels. Even a day trip from home can leave you refreshed and renewed. What resources do you use when planning an adventure?

adventure, fitness and nutrition

I Hit the Road

For the first time in 2021 I hit the road for an 11 mile bike ride. Just me, the pavement, my trusty bike, a travel buddy, and some AirPods.

It was a spring day and the sun was beating strong. The breeze was just right when I went downhill. I took the scenic route on some roads that a small town noted as a great trek. I have no clue how many others take this trip but it was a fabulous ride today.

Good Hope, Georgia was the starting point. A postage stamp town of sorts. A gas station / general store and Dollar General were about the biggest storefronts I came across. That was fine by me today.

Instead of city life, I saw some chickens and lots of cows on the trek. I stumbled upon a historic landmark and breezed by what seemed liked a ton of cemeteries. Oddly enough the cemeteries were intriguing. Some had fresh flowers displayed and were well maintained while others were hidden gems in random spots where all else around them were either developed or forgotten areas. While riding my bike I very much enjoy seeing what is in plain sight. Some things we can easily miss when riding in a car rushing to our next destination.

The scents of the air were different with the passing miles. There was some fresh cut grass. There was the scent of animals lingering by the roadside. There were some nasty and foul stenches that smelled like the worst poop smell ever. Burning poop is all I could think of. I’m pretty sure some farmer was burning manure. The smell could cut straight through the best face coverings. Guess I know what to burn if I need to annoy my neighbors!  Onto more pleasant aromas. The floral smells definitely were more enjoyable as many flowers and trees were blooming around.

The sounds of the ride were also fun. Listening with one ear for approaching cars or trucks. Guessing what kind of vehicle will pass you as you feel the car approaching your rear. So many drivers are courteous to bikers enjoying the day however others could be annoyed and want to cut a little close to you. Listening to engines crank for tractors and lawn mowers. Hearing kids giggle when you pass a pool.

The cows were not only chatty with their moo moo here and there but also with their interest in humans. They rose from their naps, came close to the fence lines and just stopped chewing the grass to see what was passing by. It was definitely an experience. Take the back roads. You never know what you may see!

I guess you are living on the edge when sharing the road with cars while you are on two wheels. Similar to a motorcycle yet self-propelled. It’s great to explore new places, try new things and just escape the ordinary. That’s exactly what I did today.

Opt outside. Take a ride on a bike or maybe try skates. Just opt for active and enjoy the outdoors. I am sure I will write more about my cycling adventures in 2021 as I am opting to travel to new spots to see what adventures unfold for me.

Until next time. These two chicks will leave you with some stinky reminders of the burning poop field. The fact that we stopped to take a photo indicates we have issues. Just saying! 

Thanks to @waltonwellness for the shout out on Instagram and the great trail experience. Be sure to find your local Share the Road project.

celebrations

Whirly Adventures

It was that time of year again, where you age another year. How do you want to celebrate such a day? For me it’s about smiling with friends and doing something that will create memories. The planning was put in motion and a date was on the calendar.

This year Whirlyball was the venue. A group celebrated in grand style dressing up as vintage gym class heroes or zeroes. The theme in itself was so fun with the outfits. Then came fun games, cute name tags, awards and so much more. No detail was left out! The digital invite, the themed cookies, homemade cupcakes, and special people.

Whirlyball was of course the main attraction. A bumper-car-type mode of transportation with a manual steering crank of sorts. Using one hand to navigate, another hand to scoop n’ throw and then a gas pedal to put you in motion is definitely a challenge but it’s so much fun. You will have to Google Whirlyball to watch the videos but it’s so much fun. It takes skill to make a score. But failed attempts are just as fun as the score itself.

Boom, zap, bang, giggle, snort, scream are the words you hear over and over. Some bumps were intentional some not so much. The smiles and laughter of all attendees was just right for me. Many experienced Whirlyball for the first time. For me it was a repeat but the company made for an event to remember.

Celebration of another year is one thing but adventures with like-minded people is really the best medicine for anyone. Community was a big part of this year’s festivities. Seems like so much had been missed in the past year since my last party. 

5-0 is the next birthday bash for me. Wonder what adventures will follow? I guess you will have to wait and see. I will leave you for now with some of my photos as I chronicle my active lifestyle online.

Don’t forget to see if Whirlyball is near you. Everyone should try it at least once.

friendship, giving

Listen Up!

I often talk about active listening skills in professional settings. I often challenge many participants (especially males) in those environments to engage in activities that test their ability to actively listen.

It may not be every male who can’t listen but it is definitely a higher number than women by far. I often think about the why of this…

Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human. Anyone can give quick advice when somebody has a problem but those who are actively listening can hear your emotion, feel your pain and generally connect with you. Listening takes time. Listening requires one to be patient.

When I think of my own life and frustrations, I think of how my spouse doesn’t listen a lot of time. Doesn’t engage or empathize with anyone who has an issue or struggle. This makes me think back to something my mom taught me at a young age. Never pass judgment on somebody until you have walked a day in their shoes.

In order to be supportive or helpful one has to be willing to set their own feelings to the side, get down on your level, listen and really relate to your issues or struggles. This doesn’t even have to occur face to face!

If you are struggling and you text your life partner, one would hope they could read your words and really listen to your hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand that many close to me are grossly incapable of doing this. 

I think this honestly comes down to their inability to get down on your level. Feel the hurt. It’s a lack of genuineness. Ask yourself, who do your reach out to when you need to talk? Is it your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? Your spouse? Who?

Then ask yourself who will listen to you when you feel troubled? Is it the same person? Maybe it’s more than one person. The point is you are never going to reach out to the person who lectures you, passes judgment on you, or just brushes you off.

In order to be a better listener you need to give of yourself. You need to put the phone down and listen to the person in front of you. Maybe you need to stop playing a video game to read the words of a loved one.

Today more than ever our words are powerful. In today’s digital world words are a big way of communicating. Sending a note of praise. Sending a text of good will. Even sending an emoji with a smile is positive communication. We are all capable but not everyone does it.
Positive communication opens the door for building trust. One day somebody may need you. They may need you to hear or read their words. They may need you when they are struggling.

If you are not capable of using your active listening skills you may never hear or read those words. It’s unfortunate that many I know struggle in this area. This why I am opting to write this post.

If one person can make a change based on this blog, I feel like I have made an impact. Listen up. Turn on your antennas. Today’s world is hectic and crazy. We are all busy. We are all trapped in a digital world. But we are all capable of listening to words spoken or words written or even emailed / texted if we just slow down, pause and think about what another is saying. 

Remember “tell me more” offers the one person with words hope that somebody is there to listen to them. Offering hope is free.

I know I am making it a point to listen more listen to all around me and I encourage you to do the same. It’s a new year. Why not make it a goal to be a better listener?

Listen up!