Month: July 2016

Tips for planning the perfect staycation

As much as I love being out of my comfort zone, I needed a little dose of familiar.

In the spirit of taking back my year, I treated myself to a staycation at my alma mater (Boomer Sooner!) on Monday and was reminded how comforting my comfort zone can be.

IMG_4182 (1)The University of Oklahoma has always felt like home to me. From my first day on campus, I felt like I belonged there. And I still do. I wandered between the beautiful historic buildings in awe of the architecture, sat in my old spot on the leather couch in the lobby of the J-school, tried a Jesus donut at a new-to-me sweet shop on Campus Corner and shopped at my old haunts for crimson and cream.  And I did it alone. It was the most relaxing, enjoyable day I’ve had in weeks.

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Love the perfect rows of landscaping in front of this beautiful structure.
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Bizzell Library always impresses inside and out.
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My favorite shop now sells housewares! Adorable housewares!
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If something had to put Free Birds out of business I’m glad it was Hurts Donuts. The Jesus donut was insane!

Not everyone can quite their jobs and travel the country for a year. I get it. But you can have an adventure close to home. So get moving with these travel tips for a successful staycation.

Try something new at an old haunt. 

Don’t shy away from comfort. Hit up a nearby town that you already love, but take a chance on a new coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Or go to a favorite restaurant, but order something you’ve never tried before. You can enjoy the calm of a place you love while still experiencing a little adventure.

Travel light. 

Try going alone. Traveling solo can be scary, but you can do anything you want. The possibilities are endless. Take your time without worrying about what others want to do or rushing so they aren’t waiting on you. Trust me on this one.

Treat it like a vacation. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 minutes from home, this is still a vacation. Treat it like one. Splurge on a souvenir. Send a postcard. Take pictures. Grab a hotel. Embrace the idea of vacation and the relaxation will follow.

Stop putting it off.

The longer you wait, the more excuses you’ll come up with not to go. Even if it’s just a few hours of quiet time at a local bookshop, stop talking yourself out of it and go already.

What’s your favorite staycation memory? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

 

I’m taking my year back.

After three weeks at home, my mind is already reverting back to its comfort zone. Sweating the small stuff is my specialty and even without a full-time job and traditional responsibilities I managed to find plenty to stress about.

All of the sudden, updates to the camper that we planned to tackle after our stint in South Carolina have an immediate deadline. Simple tasks that were much more difficult in the tin can feel overwhelming in a spacious house with modern amenities.

What the heck is going on?

I stepped back into my comfort zone for a second and lost sight of what this year is all about. This year is about wonder, joy, discovery, adventure and so many other things, but not stress.

Today I take back my year.

IMG_3873We have decided to make Oklahoma base camp for the next month or so to be with family and work on the camper. There is so much in this great state to explore and, lucky me, I have time to do it. Adventures can be found anywhere, including Oklahoma.

In an attempt to get myself back on track, I’m starting a summer bucket list.

Summer bucket list

  • Boys camping trip in the tin can (hosted by aunt Whitney/the world’s best big sis)
  • Stratford Peach Festival
  • Hiking, but where?
  • Visit the OKC Boathouse District
  • Anthem Brewing Company tasting

Have suggestions to add to my list? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

The struggles are real and funny.

I’ve spent the last six weeks taking cold showers if/when water is available; brushing my teeth in Walmart bathrooms; eating a mostly sandwich diet; and tossing and turning on an uncomfortable foam bed. But as it turns out, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Before we hit the road, I was terrified of living in a 140-square-foot tin can. How would I cook? Shower? Sleep? Maintain my sanity in such a teeny space? I knew this would be difficult, especially since I hope to stay married to James after all of this. And living in a tiny home definitely has its challenges. Right now, building a food pantry and making the bed more comfortable are at the top of that list. The struggles are real. But I quickly discovered that the pros don’t just outweigh the cons, they actually contribute to the experience.

Living in a smaller space with less stuff has been freeing. There are fewer things for me to lose and dishes to clean so my stress level is already plummeting. Instead of being frustrated at a busted hot water handle, I find myself laughing repeatedly (sometimes hysterically) every time I twist the pliers that turn on our shower or giggling out loud when the icy water hits my back. The curtain that gives us “privacy” in the bathroom has become a running joke. Finding unused space anywhere in the camper warrants a celebration worthy of fireworks and a slow motion clap.

DCIM100GOPROThe tin can is also bringing James and I closer, literally. We’re spending more time together in a much tighter space and I’m having a ball. I guess what I’m saying is, we’re laughing a lot and having way too much fun for no good reason.

For now, we’re reveling in the temporary comforts of home like sleeping on a traditional mattress and long hot showers that don’t require pliers. But I’m looking forward to getting back on the road and discovering more of the nuances that come with our minimalist lifestyle.

Think you could live in a tiny home? What comforts of home would be the hardest for you to give up? Tell me in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Blessed

This past weekend we spent some time in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Although I could mention the great towns of Asheville and Boone, how well the trails were taken care of in the mountains, the amazing waterfalls and the delicious brews and wines of the area, what I came away with most was the word blessed.

We were blessed to do two of our favorite things, listen to peoples stories and explore. Multiple times we met people and we listened to their stories and we shared ours – how we made a decision to do this trip, saved like crazy and eventually set out. But over and over the word blessed kept coming out as I shared.

Most people assume we must be rich or trust fund kids to be able to take a year off in our 30s and travel. The truth is we are just blessed.  We don’t have unlimited funds. Instead we were blessed with the discipline to save and blessed with the support of one another to accomplish our goals. We were blessed with the support of parents and siblings and friends.  We were blessed with having a like dream and being in a position to chase it.

Once we arrived back to Conway, we received a call that brought our trip to a temporary detour. Tragedy struck and it was important for us to be back with family. And in the face of grief I still kept pondering this word that so strangely got stuck in my head over the weekend. Blessed. Had we not given our notice at work nearly 3 months ago now and had we not been blessed with the discipline to save and strive to reach our goals and had we not been blessed with the support of each other to make this dream a reality, I would not be blessed to be back home as I am now. I would have been off work for three maybe four days and would have to catch a plane back to Denver to get back to an office. But because of the blessing of timing I am able to be here for an extended time.

I am blessed to be able to be comforted and hopefully to comfort. I am blessed to have support in the trying times that lie ahead. You can’t prepare for the unexpected and if I could take away the pain there would be no hesitation, but through it all I’m lucky that we are blessed.