Posts Tagged With: travel

We left… turned around… and then left again!

Bus painted? Nope. All seatbelts installed? Not yet. Couch, kitchen, bed, toilet? Not even close. We DO however have it registered, insured and ready to hit the highway legally but only able to sit one person. Because we’re going to tear out the driver seat, it would be a waste of time and money to rig a makeshift passenger seat before we do anything else. With that, we’ve decided that Matt will drive the bus and Shanti and I will follow in our car. This also ensures a reliable set of wheels just in case they’re needed on our first long journey. (I wrote that days before the event below).

The first 600 miles in our new home (currently just the shell) will be going from Miramar Beach Florida to Benton Arkansas. This is where it’ll be parked for a majority of the renovation. For those of you that have been following this blog for years now will recognize the location. You saw it in several past posts including one of my favorites, Sweet home…Arkansas?! And you recently saw the family in our last trip to Oklahoma. Shanti will be surrounded by cousins and we’ll have plenty of helping hands to turn this rig into a beautiful livable space.

These past few weeks have been full preparation, packing and watching Shanti grow so fast! She jumped from 3 month clothing to 6-9 month outfits and she’s only 5 months, geeze kid! For all of you fans, here are some pics of her recent weeks.

Ok back to bus! Day one on the road actually started at 8pm with cooler temperatures and less traffic. 2 hours into our journey and only 50 miles covered our beautiful beast (she’ll be named soon) had overheated. Since we were so close to home, we decided to turn around and have our amazing mechanic friend look at it. Last thing we wanted to do was push it and cause more damage.

The next morning was spent with test drives and engine work before we got the go to hit the road. Although Shanti does best at night since she sleeps the whole way, we were ready to get out of there so a noon departure is what we did!

Unfortunately the engine couldn’t take incline or long distances so every 30 minutes we’d have to pull over to let it cool. This is why it took us 6 hours to cover only 100 miles.

We were taking a break just shy of Mobile Alabama when we found out there was an International Bus specialist just up the road! Since it was 7p on a Sunday night they were obviously closed so we parked the bus at the cheapest hotel for a good nights sleep and early rise. Yes moms, we slept in the hotel, not next to it.

I’m currently writing the last of this post sitting in the hotel room waiting to hear the verdict from Matt who’s at the specialist shop right now. To be perfectly honest with you, although this isn’t what we imagined the first stretch to be like, we’re both keeping a positive attitude. Keeping awareness around that this is an adventure and a journey we signed up for! I think we would be doing a disservice to our spirit if we focused only on the completion of the bus, instead of being totally present while creating these memories. Oh Shanti, you have no idea of the photos and stories that will make up you’re first years of life.

I’ll leave you with her capturing my water bottle. You’re welcome.

Secret news: Coming soon is the launch of our online video channel. Oh boy!

Until then, thank you for reading and following (hint hint- click the button on this page that says “follow” in order to be alerted when there’s a new post).

Happiness to you and yours!

Categories: Baby Talk, Bus life, Travel talk | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Fitness week #13 – Turns Out it’s Tuesday.

I committed to write a post on health and fitness every Friday and so far, I’ve pulled it off. Well that’s about to change. I’m still eager to share with you my thoughts and research findings, however from this point it’s going to be spontaneous Friday’s (Aka – write when I want to).

The rest of this post is simply to encourage you to bring it back to the basics. Get outside and move! Enjoy the fresh air, take off your shoes and get dirt on your feet. Ever heard of “grounding” or “earthing”? To sum it up, it’s connecting with earths natural energy through touch to raise your vibration. For an extended scientific video click here. It always gets me excited when science backs up a “tree-hugging hippie” theory.

When I was I Penang Malaysia , I found a reflexology rock path that combined grounding with pressure points. Imagine starting or ending your day with this!

If not solid ground, find some natural water and get in! When was the last time you jumped in a lake, swam in the ocean or even just walked barefoot through a stream? Here was a “backpackers shower” while I was trekking south in New Zealand !

..and an amazing waterfall in Tobago with Ryan from Barbados!It’s so easy to get wrapped up in daily routines and forget that just outside is a world full of walking paths, singing birds (you don’t hear them unless you listen) and endless things to look at. Seriously friends, things… to… look… at! Not a phone, TV, romance novel, pile of laundry or dishes. Guess what, those dishes will still be there after your walk but the mind-clearing you’d get from the walk would be lost if you didn’t go.

Here is our family last week choosing nature instead of Netflix. Confession: A movie and snacks followed this walk but at least we got it in!

Thought for the day: Instead of hoping your mind will feel better after your body changes, try changing your mind so your body will begin to change.

Your body will follow your thoughts. It listens.

What are you telling it?

Categories: Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bus conversion – Making it a Clean Canvas!

Our first family photo in our first owned home! (A proper fixer-upper to say the least).The last week has been filled with many discussions over coffee about the layout of our new space. As you can imagine, the decisions we make now will determine our comfort and functionality of our future living. Luckily there are several nomads who have done this before us so it’s been helpful to look at other people’s ideas for our bus conversion.

Even though we’d (I’d) rather be drawing out the design and spending time on the color scheme, first things first… create a clean canvas. Matt has definitely gotten his workouts in by removing everything in the bus so we can clean, seal and protect the shell of our home.

Once the bulky items were removed (and we got a day full of rain) any leaky holes or loose seals were quickly taken care of. Rust was removed then protected with Rustolium and any gaps in the floor were patched up with fiberglass and magic.

I’ll have to be honest with you, it was hard for me to visualize anything besides a bus until I saw it completely gutted out. Now I can see the endless possibilities for our home on wheels. Of course due to the small square footage, every space needs to be accounted for and every item needs to serve a purpose with multiple uses.

Nerd alert… This excites me!

The following is my husbands quick breakdown of his experience this past week working with his new found love.

Matt + Fiberglass = Endless creations

“Laying the fiberglass is a messy, but super crazy awesome process. Especially when you think about all the possibilities and things to create with it.

First Step- Buy raw fiberglass sheets, and Bondo epoxy resin.

Second Step- Find all the spots that need to be sealed, and cut small fiberglass sheets to cover those areas. Prepping is key because the epoxy resin starts to set in about 12 minutes.

Third Step- Mix the resin one to one and have a brush ready! It time to move quick.

Fourth step– Completely saturated the fiberglass with the resin. I started brushing resin on the floor and then on to fiberglass to saturate it. I quickly found that that was not fast enough so I just started dumping it in with my hand!

Fifth step- Lay it out and smooth it with your hand or brush.

And boom! We are all fiberglass experts! That’s how I felt at the end of this process. It was a little stressful because of the time crunch, but it’s a easy process. I’m thinking there will be a lot of this stuff around the bus now!”

Something to look out for! Matt has been filming our bus journey and will soon be posting the videos online. That channel will soon be announced!

Categories: Accommodations, Bus life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Drum roll please…..

Matt and I had so much fun watching the poll from our first post about living on the road, thank you to everyone who voted! Jenn, Donna, Dustin, Brie, Shane, Gloria and Tiffany, it was awesome to get your comments too, thank you! Here is the final results from all of you that voted!

We looked at a few RV’s and although they would be easier and quicker to move in to, we realized that’s exactly what we don’t want! Designing the bus, taking the time and hard labor to build our home from the wheels up is just as much of the journey as living in it.

So after test driving, researching, reading, talking and YouTubing, we’ve decided on our new home. We will soon be a family of 3 on the 6 wheels of a brand new (20 year old) school bus!!

…but ours currently looks like this.

As the journey progresses, I’ll be going into full detail of how we transform this beauty into our new home. Pictures, videos, and maybe even an online video series?!

For now, I want to share with you the story behind these wheels and the family that made it happen.

Air Force Captain Nathan, his wife Jennifer and they’re little Eva are the family you want as neighbors and even more so as friends. They’re the type of people that welcome you with open arms, huge smiles and tons of genuine energy. After enduring what most of us would call a living nightmare, they have every reason to live in a world of self pity. Instead, this power duo carries a backpack-of-back bones with eyes focused positively forward.Imagine your significant other leaving in the condition of the top photo from below and returning unable to look you in your eyes (bottom photo).I now know what it’s like to be pregnant and I truly can’t imagine getting the news Jennifer woke up to just 90 days before delivery.

I was sitting here trying to describe what Captain Nathan had survived until I found this perfect recap made by Building Homes for Hero’s :

“Captain Nelson barely escaped death when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Taliban extremists hit his forward operating base in Afghanistan in September of 2013. Tragically, his body took the brunt of the blast. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury, collapsed lungs and would lose 46 units of blood.

After undergoing several life-saving operations, he was flown to the Walter Reed Medical Center to be reunited with Jennifer, who was six months pregnant, and she has never left his side ever since. His recovery from the shrapnel wounds, TBI, collapsed lung, severely bruised organs and a massive blood transfusion, is still ongoing.

For his service and his sacrifice, Captain Nelson has been awarded the Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, and several other honors. He is now paralyzed, and has limited use of one of his arms, but he and Jennifer have become inspirations to everyone they meet”.

Up for a good solid soul-cleansing cry? Watch this video of Nate sharing his experience and incredible perspective. Kind of makes your unbearable bad hair day seem a bit silly and much more tolerable.

Back to the bus…

During Nathans recovery, Jennifer bought this bus as a (brilliant) form of therapy. She was able to smash windows and rip out seats all while envisioning a new path for her and her family. She was designing the bus to be totally handicap accessible so that her husband could travel in comfort. As the years went on, Nathan not only recovered like a champ but went back to work. Meanwhile, Jennifer was also now back to work, playing supermom and maintaining wife of the year. Little time was left to spend in a dusty bus let alone traveling in it.

Fast forward to a pizza party we attended in which we were introduced to this amazing family. Our mutual friend casually said, “Hey Jenn, do you still have your bus?” (I was thinking – Cool, another traveling friend!) But to my surprise she said, “Yes, but I’m selling it now”.

I physically grabbed Matts arm when my guts alarmed me that this would soon be ours.

After viewing the bus and having a mechanic verify the engine quality (thank you Ray!), it was a no-brainer, we were going to buy it!

Except…

When discussing what the final price would be, Jennifer spoke up with confidence. (I’m paraphrasing according to what I heard).

In a gentle voice she said, “Me and my family are so blessed and have been given what we need… I believe in paying it forward and I’d be honored to be a part of the joy you’ll get and also bring to so many with this bus. I feel very good in my decision, I’d like to gift you the bus and just sign the papers over. It’ll be my contribution to your journey”.

This is when Matts jaw dropped and my eyes filled with tears. Unexpected and completely beyond our wildest dreams… in fact, it is the beginning to our wildest dreams!

Their gift will allow us to continue our adventure sooner than we thought possible! Next up, let the renovation begin!

To the Nelson family, “Thank you” seems like such an understatement for the gratitude our little family feels. We invite you to follow the process and watch as we transform your 20,000 lb baby into our new home on the road!
Categories: Bus life, Polls, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

There’s no place like home… on the road!

After 3 attempts to live somewhere stationary, 2 years of discussion and a recent “ah-ha” moment, Matt and I have decided to sell what we have (again), and hit the road! Instead of investing in a house with a picket fence, (can you imagine? Haha!) we’re going to be renovating a large vehicle into a mobile tiny home!

We’ve started a goal list with an old fashioned savings jar (which is a beautiful recycled zip cloth bag) to make this dream happen. We even created a cheesy drawing to record our earnings for a visual to manifest this journey! Do you see Shanti’s hand helping?

What kind of wheels are we looking at? For us, it has turned into more of a narrow it down game based on priorities verses knowing exactly what we want. What’s more important to our family? Safety, space, mobility, gas mileage, engine strength, comfort… the list goes on.

We’ve found 6 options and have narrowed it down to 3. Here are the ones who have already been cut from the running.

VW bus. The classic hippie van that invites minimal bathing with a laid back vibe. I can only imagine most of them with a sticker that says “Gas, Grass or Ass for a free ride”. For us, too small.

Sprinter Van. This one is the next up in size and probably the most mobile for it’s space. Super versatile, easy to drive and the average person can sand straight up inside! We liked the “incognito” idea, people wouldn’t know if we were a flower delivery company or the local plumber. However for our party of 3, still too small.

Monster Custom Off Road Beast. This home on wheels is designed for all terrain including cliff sides, bottom of the ocean, and tree tops. This was the winner until we realized it was a $450,000 above our budget. Bummer.

Now to the finalist!

Mid-sized Transit Bus. Decent in size, still fairly mobile and easy to park mostly anywhere.

Full length School Bus. Tons of living space but a giant to drive. Most likely to feel like home, but limited on places to park.

Traditional RV. Everything would mostly been done (plumbing, wiring, etc.) Plus comfortable space and clean layout. Just not as cool as the others.

We’re curious what you would choose if you were in our shoes… or what you think we should do! Click here to cast your vote!

Reminder to follow officially to get updates as we take off on this family adventure!

Categories: Accommodations, Bus life, Polls, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday Fitness #9 – Sunday of excuses!

Soooooo, I know it’s Sunday and this is a Friday post, but I’m pretty sure you all survived and now we’re back again! I’m one to say things like, “If you want something bad enough, you make it happen!” Or “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, not an excuse!”

Harsh right? With that said, instead of giving you excuses of why I didn’t post on Friday, I’m just going to share with you the reasons I chose not to make time to sit and write.

I lied. The only true “excuse” I’ll give you is my extreme lack of sleep lately. Any experienced mommas out there have a suggestion to get a 4 month old to sleep through the night…or at least not up every 2 hours?! Please comment below!

Back to my reasons…

We made a last minute road trip to Oklahoma to visit our family due to an unexpected event. (Everyone is ok, thanks for asking). Our little Shanti is such a great traveler! (I’d like to take partial credit for that characteristic).We got to see the whole crew of cousins, Aunts, Uncles, MaMaw and Papa (pictured below is Great Grandpa too)!

We had to squeeze our time in with Shanti in between everyone’s “I’m next to hold her!” requests.

Once we got back home (2000 miles later) we had visitors from Miami! Uncle Reni and Aunt Ti Ti couldn’t get enough of their little niece!

I still kept up with my morning stair walk, and so did my little workout partner!

Lastly… we started selling out our storage unit & emptying our closet! Why is Matt so excited?!

Keep tuning in to find out!!

No seriously, by “tune in” I mean officially follow this blog! It doesn’t cost anything and you’ll be notified when a new post is published… and believe me… you WANT to see what’s coming soon!

Depending on which device you’re using, there will be a follow button to click. Enter your email and then boom, we’re besties!

Categories: Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shanti meets more family!

I’d like to start by saying how grateful I am to be surrounded by a loving family, both mine and Matt’s. A group of people that have supported us from the beginning and now eagerly welcome our new addition. In a matter of 2 weeks Shanti met 4 Aunts, 3 uncles, 2 grandmas 2 grandpas, 2 great aunts, a great uncle, a great-great aunt and good bundle amount of cousins (no less than a couple dozen).

It’d take a few posts to gather all of the details, so I chose a handful of pics to show the love this family had to offer.

Below is Matt, his mom and her mother (Maw Maw)… 4 generations!

Following Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s visit, Matt’s brother and his family came to meet our little one. How exciting for her to connect with new cousins Jayden and Harper and her Auntie Erika and Uncle Jake!Just before leaving out of state, Shanti got one more outing with my mom. Can you see Gam Gam walking ahead of us?

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you’ve seen this family throughout the years. My twin cousin Lana and her husband with 2 kids drove all the way out to Florida to meet Shanti!

After a few days on the beach, they were heading back to the middle of America… so I hitched a ride… again! This time I sat hip side to my little girl on her first road trip!Check out this comparison…

Once we finally made it to Arkansas, Shanti got swarmed with more cousins, hugs and tons of love!

To get from Arkansas to Oklahoma I rented a car and strapped her in. Mother-daughter road trip here we go!

Upon arrival we were greeted with no less than an abundance of more happy attention. Aunties, Uncles, Great Aunts, Great-great Aunts, Pa Pa, Ma Maw and more!

With our cups overflowing with family love, Shanti and I boarded her first flight (other than the 14 flights she took while in my belly) back to Florida!

Success! I took this video once we landed after the final flight… our little traveler!

Back home with daddy and we couldn’t be happier!

Categories: Baby Talk, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First “Friday Fitness” post!

JOIN ME! I’ll be posting every Friday on our journey to a healthier state of mind, body and reaching personal best! There’ll be realistic weekly goals to challenge ourselves with and tools to help accomplish them! I’ll be sharing my voyage with recipes, workout ideas, struggles, successes and (the dreaded) transitional before/after photos.

It’s time. I’ve previously shared about my journey through the health and fitness world primarily through posts about healthy food choices and workouts while traveling. Some of my favorite memories bring me back to a race in Barbados , yoga in Panama, Paddle boarding and a hike in Tobago, and amazing treks of Machu Picchu. These were all incredible times during my peak in fitness and now I’ve come full circle back into a wonderful world of new challenges. Let me quickly explain from the beginning.

I was born a lovable 8 lb ball of happiness and sprouted into a round head balanced on top of a set of thighs.

Fast forward through the adolescent years and I developed into the “healthy” or “big boned” cousin (a term used to describe chunky kids who aren’t built to be naturally thin). Although some thoughts would cross my mind after comments made, I never really concerned myself with the issue. I liked food, especially ice cream, as well as playing outside, giggling with my friends and making a mess with art and crafts. I was a kid.

Teenage years brought boys, school challenges and a variety of other things to distract me from self-image issues. Even though I’d still compare my body to other girls (who didn’t?!) it was nothing of extreme or enough to break my focus of surviving the teen years of school. It’s hard enough just being human with new hormones stuck in a few buildings with a thousand other irrational, emotionally driven pre-adult creatures.

Between 18-21 I truly didn’t feel the shift (captured in the first 3 photos from the collage below). It was like I had the opposite body image than most girls. I was gorgeous! I was also gaining a solid 15 pounds a year without even realizing it. 45 pounds heavier than healthy, I began to take a closer a look at this human suit I had to carry around. It wasn’t so much of how I looked in a swimsuit or what guys would like, as much as it was me needing to change my habits. I had watched a majority of my family members yo-yo diet my entire life and I wasn’t about to follow in their footsteps.

I started to slowly lose weight due to small diet changes and a walk every morning, it felt amazing! This was all done slowly and properly in regards to mainstream options. No diet pills, no eating disorders, no obsessive physical training, just a transition in lifestyle.

Once I achieved a consistent routine, my body settled into its comfort zone, “it’s” comfort zone, not mine. This is when I went to the local gym and spent a portion of my savings to get a trainer. “Teach me everything!”… and so they did. I dove in head first to the length of dedication that Zack, best coach ever, finally suggested I branch out on my own as I’ve exceeded the need for his assistance. And so I did.

Here’s a glimpse at the 40lb transition. Going from 30% fat to 18%

My new life was amazing! I felt unstoppable and ready to take on the world. Ironically, in my own little way, that’s what I did. This is when herhappytrails.com began and my big blue backpack took flight for the first time.

During the 6 year journey around the world my body naturally transformed according to my current behavior. I ranged from super strong while trekking parts of South America I shriveled down to nothing while recovering from a parasite in Malaysia , fluffed back up in Europe during the pints-o-beer at Oktoberfest then lost it all once landing in Japan. Needless to say, I returned to the states and the weight just seemed to fall into place. Some “places” I didn’t enjoy, but it was all necessary.

During my tiny days, my female cycle had completely vanished and I was told by several doctors (both western and homeopathic) that the chances of me ever carrying a child full term, let alone getting pregnant, was slim to none. For 8 years I held this belief with me. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me. I was single, traveling the world, loving life and had no time for things such as marriage and babies.

Enter Matt Stone.

I met my husband on a trip back to the states while visiting my mom. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve seen that journey unfold. The reason I bring it up is because during this time, I started to involuntarily put on (necessary) fat that produced more estrogen. It started my cycle back up! It was like my body knew what was ahead.

This all brings me to the point of this entire post. First comes love, then comes marriage , then comes baby in the baby carriage! I hope at least half of you have chanted that on a playground somewhere.I was going to be the cutest, most fit and active prego I could be, I’m sure like most of us dream of being, that was until I was put on bed rest. After denial, refusal and my own little pity party, my world switched focus from selfish body image choices to health and protection of me and our unborn baby. No running, no working out, not even a walk beyond the mailbox. I’m still amazed I kept my sanity while losing strength and gaining cushion.

Now we have the little light of our lives and the current reason (excuse) I have adorable love handles with squishy arms to match. No more bedrest! Of course I wouldn’t trade my post prego body for the beautiful addition to our family and bla bla bla… but let’s be real, this fluff has has got to go (as well as this robe I’ve been living in!)

Confession: I’m using this blog and your attention to hold myself accountable while hopefully inspiring one, two or a hundred of you to do the same. If it’s the last 5 pounds you’re after, the first 50 or simply the ability to finally run without sounding like an excited pug, I truly hope you’ll find some encouragement here. I plan to be real, raw and transparent through it all. So authentic that I’m not even going to post a present pic today. So there. Na-ner Na-ner.

Lets ease into this week with your first challenge, JOIN ME! See that cute little button that says “follow” on the bottom of the screen? All you have to do is enter your email… no payments, no rights to your first born, no advertisements, just an address that can be notified when a new post has been published. Then you can comment, ask questions and help me pleasantly plow through this chapter of life. I thank you in advance!

Categories: Baby Talk, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

7 years ago today…

What were you doing on this exact date 7 years ago? I was zipping up my backpack to load up before my mom dropped me off at the Sacramento airport for the first day of an unpredictable journey around the world. I can recall having no fear or at least no hesitation in the adventure I was about to embark on. Just excitement and a new found enthusiasm for life!

As each year unfolded and my passport filled to the rim (with about 80 stamps!) I encountered new friends, adopted cultural traditions and continued to allow my mind to expand. Sometimes it’s surreal when I look back on the photos as it usually feels like I’m talking about someone else from a book I read or movie I saw. If you want to see a clear layout with links of my first exciting year on the road, take a look at the 2012 archives!

I was going to make this post about some of my favorites from around the world, cuisine, music, architecture, etc. but as I began to write I felt more drawn to explore what kind of lessons I gathered from a variety of places. Could be that I’m 9 months pregnant and my sensitive hormones are on high, or simply because I’ve never really stopped to ask myself such a question.

So Erika, where did you learn some significant lessons and how did you walk away from it a better person?

PERU – Although I visited several different cities throughout the country, a little village has always stood out to me. I rarely go back to a place I’ve been, but the magnetic pull was too strong for me to ignore in Huambutio. I was invited to volunteer there in a variety of things from teaching English to painting walls, cooking and even to coach gymnastics.

The lesson here was simple, appreciation for the simple things.

Sounds obvious or cliche, but there were a few events that triggered this conscious thought. First was the toothpaste. We taught the kids how to make their own toothpaste (that they got to take home) and the importance of dental health. The enthusiasm and gratitude they showed was outstanding! Something we may all take for granted or even see as a thoughtless item we look for on sale at Target, but these children guarded their portion like it was gold. Makes me wonder if they had ever used any… ever. Next was meal time. The children’s breakfast everyday was 1/2 of a hard boiled egg with a scoop of plain oatmeal (not your Starbucks brown sugar, toasted nut and cranberry shenanigans, but warm oats and water). We would divide an apple into 1/8 slices in order for everyone to get a bite as a snack and occasionally got to accompany it with a few pieces of toasted corn. Lunch and dinner was whatever we picked that day from the garden. A clear memory I have was the evening they said we were goin to make corn bread. Now, I was aware enough to not aimlessly look for a box of ready make Betty Crocker, but I was on the scout for cornmeal and the rest of the ingredients. I can’t remember how long they let me look before informing me that we actually have to go pick the corn to start the process. After I was done blushing, off to the garden we went! An experience that made every bite of that bread savored as if we had spent hours preparing it… because we did!

I suppose all of this hit me harder than I was expecting when I flew out of Peru into the states to visit family. My first stop was Dallas, Texas… home of everything huge! I had my apple bits, a few nuts and some cash to get me buy as I plopped down in the food court during my layover at the airport. A family sat next to me who didn’t go out of their way to be discreet. The children were clearly mad at the toy they got in the happy meal, a meal that they didn’t want to finish for whatever reason. After fits and French fries on the floor, the meals went into the garbage. I’m not claiming that we need to starve to appreciate fullness, or go without toothpaste to love a good sale at Target. I will admit however, that I may have judged this situation in the moment, but looking back now it was an opportunity that invited me to reflect on my own behavior. Had I carelessly disposed of food that could of been leftovers or compost? How many times did I complain, especially as a child, about the items in front of me with no gratitude that I even had options!?

Moving from food to activity, we ventured to the outdoor area and I was pleasantly surprised at the creative use of items that would typically land in the trash. Used plastic containers, snack wrappers, laundry bottles, juice boxes, warm out shoes and more. I loved it!

This experience as a whole opened a new part of my character to this day (even ask those close to me), it’s left me very aware of waste, unnecessary abundance and a love for keeping things simple. I am that weirdo that has 1/4 of an apple in my fridge with full intentions of eating it. I order a to-go box with my meal whenever we enjoy the luxury of eating out. I choose not to go to Costco and buy a village sized pack of paper plates on sale because I “might” need them someday. By no means am I claiming some sort of award winning lifestyle, just sharing the lesson that 7 years later still sticks in my everyday existence. And now with a little girl due any day, I hope to carry this in our family and raise a grateful human that appreciates her surroundings and has gratitude for our simple luxuries.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On the road again!

After 8 months in Folsom, we were preparing to make our journey from California to Florida. First step was to sell our beloved Toyota 4Runner and purchase a “grownup” vehicle, a family friendly, fuel efficient, safe and reliable Subaru Crosstrek.

In the meantime, we had been looking into renting a Uhaul trailer to tow all of our belongings and after weeks of research, we (he) decided to build a trailer on his own to save cash and have something we can keep… and let’s admit it, it was a cool project for captain construction to have some fun with 😉 I’ll admit I was a little hesitant in the beginning but as time passed it proved to be perfect! I’m so proud.

Ok, so we’re packed, loaded and ready to go! Looking at the car-trailer photo from above makes me giggle knowing that everything we own is in that picture (excluding Matts surf boards). We have so much to be grateful for and so minimal to worry about. Beautiful!

The last time we made this trip (in reverse) we took the northern route through Nevada, Utah, Colorado and then on. This time we chose to go south to visit a few friends along the way and see some new scenery. First stop was in Riverside (Southern California) to see Craigg! You’ll recognize him from his first trip to Barbados, my time in Japan and most recently at our wedding.

Next up was Phoenix to hug Christie and John! Another bundle of joy that you’d recognize from Doing work in the AZ and also our wedding!

There really wasn’t anybody from Arizona to Oklahoma so we just made a quick overnight stop in New Mexico and woke up to get to my dads house for bedtime.

Our time in Oklahoma was short and sweet but allowed for a solid catch up with our family and announce the gender of our little one! We gave all 5 siblings a can of silly string and let them unload on us. Too much fun!

After Oklahoma we made what should of been a quick trip to Arkansas but considering we stopped every hour for the prego to pee, it took us far longer than expected. Sorry babe. The photo below is me attempting to get comfortable with a pregnancy pillow that was gifted to us. Epic fail… but we eventually made it to beautiful Hot Springs!

More cousins and tons of love greeted us on our final extended stay of the trip.

We made it to our last stop of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in which the camera regrettably didn’t leave our bags. I have no picture highlighting our visit with Matts grandparents (Maw Maw and Paw Paw) but it was short, sweet and full of homemade cookin! Early the following morning we said our goodbyes and put home in the GPS. Final destination, Miramar Beach, Florida!

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