Month: November 2016

Onward and southbound

There are few things as refreshing as a week filled with family and friends and holiday fun.

westfamily11-1

I’m feeling recharged and excited about our next adventure as we head southbound today for a few weeks in Texas hill country.

file_000-4

Wine, live music, good food and relaxation are at the top of our list. And since we’re coming back to Oklahoma for Christmas and our 10th anniversary is Friday (holy cow!), we decided to splurge a little. We ditched the camper for a few weeks to stay at an inn in Fredericksburg and an AirBnB in Austin.

We’re already off to a good start with some beautiful fall weather and a detour at Turner Falls in Oklahoma on our way to the Texas border. The 77-foot falls is lighter this time of year allowing a better view of the colorful orange and peach rock that supports the multiple streams that plunge into an emerald pool below.

turnerfalls23

And there’s a castle, right there in the middle of Davis, Oklahoma. It’s a funky, dilapidated stone complex with beautiful staircases and medieval architecture. Plus, it’s currently surrounded by the remnants of spectacular fall foliage. We’re already planning a trip back with the RV so we can spend a few days hiking.

 

turnerfalls55

Oklahoma may not have the Rocky Mountains that I love so much but there are some incredible spots in this state and I don’t spend enough time in them when I’m home.

Over the weekend, I squeezed in two portrait sessions for some old friends in downtown Guthrie. What a cool town. This is exactly the kind of town James and I love to explore – historic buildings, amazing architecture, cute shops and local food — but because we’re always so busy when we come home we rarely get to enjoy Oklahoma. That’s going to change.

{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":-0.02311553992331028,"customExposureMode":0,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":0}

As we head to Texas today, I’m looking forward to a break from tiny home living for a few weeks, some warmer temperatures and an anniversary celebration.

turnerfalls62

turnerfalls63

The holiday season is always my favorite time of year and it seems this year won’t be any different.

Any recommendations you want to share for Texas hill country? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Right at home

We have spent the last two weeks in Golden, CO while I have been helping a friend on a small project.

{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":-0.005909577943384647,"customExposureMode":0,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":0}

It has been nice to “get my hands dirty” so to speak and get back to some of the basics of being a landman in the oil and gas industry. Often you can begin to fill like a glorified paper pusher. But getting back to running title and leasing has been refreshing.

More importantly, it has been nice to be back in Golden. Besides Buena Vista, this is the first town that we fell in love with and that felt like home, besides home.

This is the town where we originally went from being two to being one. When you leave your family and friends and move to a new place far away you have no choice but to learn to lean and rely on one another.

{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":-0.02891031106049624,"customExposureMode":0,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":0}

This is the town where we know our favorite pizza place, local pub and the owners of the candy shop on main street. This is the town that has a Santa parade every weekend in December and goes all out for Christmas. This is the town that puts us close to the friends we have made, the ski resorts and the bustling downtown.

Traveling has been the experience of a lifetime and one I wouldn’t trade for anything. The ups and downs. The way it can challenge you to grow and expand your worldview. The way it can reinforce things you believe or create new insights you never had.

But this is the town that is comfortable. And there is something very comforting in the comfortable.

{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":0.02536835335195065,"customExposureMode":0,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":0}

Thankful

It’s a little cliche, but like most people this week, I’m counting my blessings.

We’re home for Thanksgiving embarking on the usual mad dash to squeeze in as many visits with friends and family as possible and I can’t stop thinking about how thankful I am.

I’m thankful for family and the flexibility to come home for one of my favorite holidays.

file_000-1

I’m thankful for friends who have supported and encouraged us and our crazy adventure.

{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":-0.0155144464224577,"customExposureMode":0,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":0}

I’m thankful for James who has put up with me for almost a decade now, including six months in a tiny home. I’m thankful we have the freedom to spend our 10th anniversary celebrating anywhere we want.

marble_30

I’m thankful for this insane, unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime adventure we’ve been on for the last 6 months.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-40-53-pm

I’m thankful that we get to keep traveling. Thanks to some recent work that’s come my way and James’ ability to work remotely, we are able to travel through most of 2017 tacking on about 6 months to our original goal of traveling for a year.Our first state line.

And last but not least, I’m thankful for you. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading about our journey. We love sharing it with you.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? Leave a comment below. I love hearing from you guys. 

I miss Christmas

Before leaving on our adventure, we sold a ton of stuff. So much stuff. Why did we have that much stuff?

We held a garage sale, sold items on Craigslist and Facebook groups and then donated the rest of our unwanted goods to Goodwill.

I was surprised at how easy it was to give up my things. Living with less is freeing and I rarely miss stuff, but right now I miss Christmas.

We used to have boxes and tubs and totes and bags full of Christmas decorations that covered our house inside and out. James used to say it looked like Santa threw up and that’s exactly how I like it.

Next week is when I would normally start covering the house in lights and decor. But I have only a small box of mostly ornaments remaining and no tree, lights or decorations small enough to fit in our tiny home.

It’s a week before Thanksgiving and I haven’t watched a single Christmas movie yet because they’re all packed away.

OK, now that I’ve calmed myself down a little: It was totally worth sacrificing all of my stuff, including Christmas decorations, for the adventure of a lifetime.

I’m sure I’ll have some Christmas-related items in our camper soon, but for now I’m counting down the days until fried turkey and Black Friday (which provides some of the best family time and biggest laughs of my whole year).

10805568_10101153983534981_1570180052868621336_n
Regulators! minus one of our OGs, Tommy, who is taking this gem.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool

view

We recently had the opportunity to spend a relaxing time in our favorite area of Colorado…Buena Vista and Salida.

It was the first time we have pulled into a campground to set up and not spent the next several days or weeks working on issues with a camper. It was the first time we have boondocked and enjoyed the luxury of having electricity, water and a comfy bed. It was the first time that we have pulled into a place and I haven’t thought to myself “how are we going to make it a year living like this?”

As you may be aware by now, we have a new home and the comforts it has provided cannot be expressed enough.

It was spectacular to enjoy a nice week in comfort, which allowed us to explore the area visiting some of our old stomping grounds and discovering some new gems.

We enjoyed a round of golf in Buena Vista, walked the river in downtown Salida and even found a free off-the-path spot to camp.

This round of our trip has reinvigorated my excitement for this year and all the things that we are going to see and explore.

Traveling doesn’t have to be hard all the time.

salidariver

The best things about traveling full time

This one doesn’t require much introduction.

These are the best things (so far) about traveling full time:

  • Second chances

I make a lot of mistakes and now that I have the time to dwell on them, they’ve become even more evident. The good news is that traveling gives me the flexibility to try again. Each day offers a fresh start — the kind that can only be found in the complete freedom of being on the road. It doesn’t matter if I was in a bad mood yesterday. Today is a new day. Our location, weather, activities, plans are constantly changing allowing me the freedom to start over anytime I please and try again. Today was better than yesterday and I have high hopes for tomorrow.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Moses for this gem.
Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Moses for this gem.
  • I still like my husband

I was nervous about living in such a tiny space with another human. It had nothing to do with James. I just need space. I always have and I always will, but how would I find that in less than 200 square feet? I didn’t. I found it outside. Most days, I’m setting aside a little time for me, lately in the form of an afternoon jog. A daily dose of sunshine and endorphins seems to be the solution. Turns out I still like my husband, maybe even a little more than before.

  • It’s the ultimate conversation starter

Apparently, not many 30-year-olds quit their jobs to travel for a year and see what happens. It’s a conversation starter that’s allowing us to meet the most interesting people. We’ve made friends with a North Carolina couple while attempting to open a wine bottle with a shoe (Youtube it people). We’ve been invited to work on a farm in Australia by a national park ranger, and we’ll probably go. We became fast friends with several Yellowstone employees, including an African safari guide from Kansas. At a brewery in Belgium, we carried on hours-long conversation with 10 fascinating individuals from 7 countries. This is why we travel.

  • Priorities change

I’m watching less television, buying fewer things and focusing my energy in new places. There are fewer distractions, which can be scary some days but is usually a good thing. Right now, I’m focused on eating better and getting back into a workout routine. It’s amazing how easy it is to prioritize without typical distractions that come with a 9 to 5.

wp_20161009_15_53_25_rich
Photo by James.
  • No schedule

I feel like I’m cheating father time right now. Not having a schedule is a scary thought for me, but turns out it’s awesome. I can do what I want, when I want. Lately, I’ve been filling up most of my time cooking, taking photographs, pitching travel stories, running, supporting local businesses, reading and dreaming about our next destinations. These are things I loved to do before we started traveling, but now I can do them whenever I feel inspired instead of during the few brief windows of time I could spare here and there. My photos are improving, travel pitches are more fun, food tastes better and books are more interesting.

What would you do with unlimited spare time? Comment below. It’s so fun hearing from you all.

Working remotely: fantasy or dream come true?

Working remotely is difficult.

Following years of freelancing and running a part-time photography business, I had no delusions about the challenges of working from the road. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but surely I could make it work.

Before quitting our jobs this spring, we saved up enough money to travel for a full year without working at all. However, one of our major goals for the year is to find ways to work remotely and make enough money to keep going.

Since May, I’ve spent hundreds of hours perfecting my resume, writing cover letters, updating online profiles, drumming up story pitches and researching freelance jobs. Very few have panned out.

There is no magic solution.

To be fair, we had a few hitches in our plan that deterred a couple of opportunities, but that’s to be expected on the road. If I’m going to make this work, I need to roll with the punches.

Since taking off in our new camper last week, I’ve found a renewed motivation likely brought on by our comfortable new home that provides a cozy workspace and all the coffee I can drink. I’m more determined than ever to freelance, to keep traveling, to make it work.

And I’m not just looking for anything that makes me a few bucks. I’m focused on becoming a coveted travel writer and photographer. This is my dream job so what am I waiting for?

I’ve recently booked a photo session and caught the attention of an online, RV magazine with my pitch about renovating and living in a vintage camper. These jobs won’t get me through another year of travel, but it’s a start.

It’s not going to be easy but I’m going to give it my best shot. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

What’s your passion and are you chasing it? If not, what’s holding you back?