adventure, perspective

Big Adventures and Moves

Summer of 2021 was full of big adventures. Lots of travel. Lots of adventures. Lots of big chess moves. Lots of learning. Lots of time to think and escape the normal.

I missed my dog Teddie a bunch. I wondered if the feeling was mutual. I made sure lots of people loved on my dog while I away but I was hoping she didn’t have doggie anxiety wondering when I would return!

Now that I tell you how much I missed my pup, I also adopted a new pup. Her name is Bear. Now I will have Teddie & Bear. Corny combo I know but the name was a group consensus. Oh the new adventures those two will have. The learning for all of us. The potty training. The sibling rivalry. As we waited for the arrival so much planning was underway. The pet supplies. The staging. Giving Teddie some separation time from me was part of that. Hoping all works out. Stay tuned for the Teddie Bear stories.

Travel. So many firsts. So many destinations. Some pit stops. Some short stints. Others qualified as vacations based on days away. I adventured with family. I traveled with friends. I met many new faces. I tried a ton of new things. I stepped out of my comfort zone to lean in when I needed to. I also spent a small fortune in summer 2021. However, I feel the time and money invested in memories I will cherish thus the money was well spent and so was the time. 

Growth. I made a big purchase. A sign of tremendous growth. Starting from nothing and building to something. What a feeling! I also sold a big ticket item. An investment hit its maturity time. A diamond hidden in plain sight. One overlooked by many but the one I eyed. Funny how one’s lens can differ in life when looking at the same thing. This makes me smile. I’ve worked my whole life to fine tune my lens of life. I see the big picture better now. I still need to check the lens often but I’m staying in tune where many will be content.

Hitting the pause button on a part of my life I’ve enjoyed for many years to stimulate growth in another. Will it pay off? I don’t know. That’s part of the adventure when making big moves. I kind of thrive in this chaotic space.

Wish me luck as I cross new waters and weather new storms. Physically and literally. I am writing this as I cross the waterway on the Cape May Ferry. A first time adventure for this girl. All aboard. The ship is sailing.

healthy hacks

Healthy Hack: Travel Edition

The 2 Chicks have been on the road a lot this summer. So much joy, so much adventure, the occasional stress.

I’ve shared my favorite tips for experiencing local flavors and activities. Here’s another quick tip for life on the go that has saved me stress this summer.

And so, without further ado, here’s my fab tip:

Have a separate set of toiletries. And not just travel sizes.

Extra skin care, hair stuff, deodorant, makeup, brush, toothbrush, sunscreen…All. Of. It.

I actually discovered this hack during last school year. With all the stress and shuffling of schedules, I often went straight from the gym to work. My gym bag grew from just having a very basic set of skin care to the full assembly over time. All summer long, I’ve either taken my gym bag (with toiletries and my gym clothes / shoes packed), or grabbed the toiletries to put in a larger packed bag.

There’s nothing really magical about it, I guess. Still, it has saved me so much time in remembering all the odds and ends I need on every excursion and adventure this summer. If you don’t have any spares to start with, be on the lookout for coupons and deals. (Some might happen shortly when college students head back to school.) I also stockpile stuff from Clinique free gift offers.

Once you’ve got your set, you’re good to go!

Hope this helps at least some of you with that inevitable travel stress (or the pain of forgetting your toothbrush!)

family

Small Town USA

On an extended road trip, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my family’s heritage hometowns, Bemus Point, New York. Perched on Lake Chatauqua in western New York state, Bemus Point has a population of about 350 people. This population swells a bit in the summer and drops in the harsh northern winter, I’d suspect. Far removed from my densely populated life in suburban Atlanta.

Small towns are fascinating, so very different from my suburban life. I immediately noticed the banners on every light pole with photos of all the graduates from the local high school. Each student had their own banner, their own celebration. There were maybe 50-60 banners. My daughter’s graduating class is almost 1,000 in number. It was impossible to imagine how many miles of light poles her class would cover! Above each was an American flag.

Little woodchucks scampered everywhere on my morning runs. Numerous deer leaped for cover as I approached. Many of them were just out by the roadway nibbling when I startled them. So many creatures without that many people stirring at all hours. I smiled driving through the country side seeing all the different “heads up” signs for drivers. I’m used to seeing signs to watch for deer, but we also saw signs for tractors, bears, moose or elk (maybe?) and snowmobiles. We were way out in the northern sticks, sharing the road with many other creatures, not just cushy suburban SUVs.

Speaking of sticks, there were so many roadside pickups for firewood just out in people’s front yards. Hand painted signs…$5.00, $4.00, pay what you can. The honor system in full effect. (I also wondered if there was a price war between neighbors!)

My mother once lived in this town, and her parents spent decades living here. My family road tripped here many summers in my youth. Several downtown shops I visited as a child were still there. A local grocery store. A general store turned souvenir shop. The wing place near the dock. Each had a rocky road through the years but made it.

When we went out for dinner, many other parties that came in dropped by to say hello. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Driving around town with my aunt and uncle was a parade of small town dramas. Stories would tumble out as we passed houses of friends and family. Where someone had worked for the summer. Which person had sold their house for too much or too little. Who broke rules that brought them in front of the town council. Who didn’t keep their property up well or planted trees to block someone else’s view of the lake on purpose. Small town charm as well as small-minded petty. Little room to forget when the stories are so narrow and intertwined. Grudges and alliances last across generations.

Small town life has its ups and downs. A pleasant place to visit and remember.

adventure

Up Up and Away 2.0

It’s 4am. The alarm clock buzzes. It’s not the normal hit snooze. It’s travel day. Vacation time. I spring out of bed. I’m in motion. Excitement in the air but also jitters.

Stressed to get in the car with everyone and everything. Is there traffic? How long is the line at the airport? So many unknowns but I’m on a timeline. Unneeded stress for vacation time, but it happens. Bags checked. Now security. More stress. The aroma is straight marijuana or the pungent smell associated with it. The people in the lines reek. Do those folks even know the smell is lurking? Does the old lady by me recognize the smell? I just shake my head.

Mask on. Babies crying. Chatter in different languages. The cries get louder. Workers moving the trash by me in large bins. Elderly folks getting pushed in wheelchairs. The sounds of every kind of rolling suitcase you could think of. Today I am paying attention to the different sounds wheels make. Rickety wheels. Fast wheels. An annoying beeping sound distracts me. Overhead announcements. So much distraction.

The things you observe while charging your phone in the airport. The line for Chick-fil-A is never ending. It’s not even 7am. Everyone wants their breakfast. I have nothing better to do than count people in the line. Almost 100 people in line. Would you wait? My stomach is growling but I’m not waiting. Starbucks is open as well. Their line is long, too. Maybe 40 people deep. I guess I’ll wait for my on plane snack or maybe I’ll day dream about a yummy breakfast at my destination. I heard a lady talking about a pancake flight at a local place. Sounds intriguing.

Flying is interesting. The airport has great people watching. Today is my first to fly with a Boy Scout troop. All decked out in their finest uniforms. Maybe I will sit by one to ask where they are off to.

Let the adventures begin. Time to unplug for take off. Wonder where I’m going….

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?