Standing Beneath Giants: California Redwoods

We were awestruck by the energy and beauty during our travels through the California Redwood parks, we decided they deserve a post devoted solely to them. The Redwoods have been sitting in my bucket list for over a decade waiting patiently for me to make the trip. I always heard people speak of these grand trees and couldn't wait to be standing at the base of them peering (way!) up. Driving down the California coast we were lucky enough to visit three different redwood areas: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants, and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

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Washington Was...

To our faithful readers (eh um, that's you friends & family!!)  :-) ,

For those of you that know me, then you know how much I enjoy blogging about life, adventures, people, and places. I pour my heart and time into a blog post. And anyone who has done something similar knows the time and energy it takes to keep up with it. I'm afraid with Washington though, I am unable to devote much time (for now). You see, the sun, sand, and sea have been calling my name ever since we hit the beautiful West coast last month. I'm finding it harder and harder to pull myself away from time with family and am doing my best to soak it all up, so to speak.

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Musings From Spud: 10 things We've Learned on the Road

Well, here we are. I can hardly believe what I'm about to write, but we have officially spent a third of the year on the road. Crazy to think we drove away from Durango on June 15th with knots in our stomachs but excitement in our hearts. All in a short amount of time has been everything we hoped it would be, and sometimes more. Sure, we have rocky moments with kids in tow but at the end of the day we wouldn't want to be anywhere else. With the constant change we've surely had many opportunities for growth over the last few months. So we compiled a list. You know I love me a good list! Behold the list of: 10 Things We've Learned on the Road...

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O Canada! Part II: B.C.

Before we throw more Canada stoke and photos your way, feel free to check out Part I. As mentioned in that post, we left off having stayed several unplanned days in the Waterton Lakes National Park area. On a sad note (sorry!) we learned just weeks after visiting, a massive wildfire spread throughout the park. Firefighters were able to preserve some but the landscape has dramatically changed. A necessary process for forests and land, but hard to swallow the change given we were just there. Back to it...We were just as excited to continue on our Canadian road trip along Highway 3 and into British Columbia. Read on, though, because Canada wasn't all sunshine and unicorns...

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O Canada! Part I: Waterton Lakes Nat'l Park

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again. This place is it! It has everything I love. Everything I love to look at and do and hike and see. Canada, you have outdone yourself. You've taken ahold of my eyes and heart and I won't be the same now that I've gotten another taste of you. Gosh, I love being corny - but it's true!

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7 Family-Friendly adventures in Glacier National Park

Oh Glacier. Our diminishing Glacier National Park. Filled with so much beauty, yet my heart aches as the years pass and the glaciers continue to disappear. Do you know there are only 25 left? With global warming continuing to have a huge impact on these survivors, it is estimated there will be none remaining after 2030. You heard me right. None. Geez, what will they do...change the name?! I

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A Grand Time in the Tetons

As I sit on uncomfortable, patterned carpet that is lining the hallway of our hotel I can't help but reflect on our busy but enjoyable time in Grand Teton National Park. Chip and I are plopped outside our room not because we want to socialize with other hotel guests, but because we are seeking the complete opposite. Silence. Time Alone. Time to decompress. Take in the sights and sounds from this past week (and maybe do a little laundry too). To take a dip in the pool and hot tub (umm, sure we showered beforehand.... a week ago). We learned early on that we need this down time alone and often. Sometimes to escape the kids. Sometimes to catch up on sleep. Sometimes to blog, to work, or to have reliable internet service. And sometimes to simply recharge our bodies' batteries. Joke if you must about taking a "vacation from your vacation", but there it is.

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Gratitude

We are coming off a huge high after spending time in the midwest. When we first got serious about taking this trip, we excitedly spoke about seeing family and friends we hadn't seen in awhile, about making it a goal to reconnect with family and friends who were once part of our everyday lives. And, boy, were we ever surprised by the amount of you that offered up a driveway or home to sleep in. Leaving our home, friends, and neighborhood in Durango was difficult. But having welcoming hugs and familiar faces greet us along the way has been so refreshing and made the transition to life on the road much easier. We are humbled and grateful for the generosity that you all have shown us.

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"Water Wonderland" Michigan

Michigan snuck up on us like a cool summer breeze. One minute we were seeing family and friends in Ohio and the next we were relaxing poolside at a vacation rental in Mirror Lake with Chip's family. We spent six lazy days here going on bike rides, hunting for mulberries with grandpa, swimming in the pool, fishing, and plumping ourselves up with a lot of wonderful food. But, as always, all good things must come to an end and after a week we had to say goodbye to the comforts of a big, cozy home and help from family. We hopped back in Spud and ugly-cried out of the vacation rental driveway. It is always hard leaving family but after giving my cheek a swift slap of the hand, I snapped out of it and immediately grew eager to explore the rest of Michigan. 

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The Number$

Since we decided to take this journey a year and a half ago, we've had the good fortune to talk with a massive amount of people.  We get a lot of questions, but, far and away, people want to know about money.  Some will disguise it a bit and ask us what we "do". Others are more forthright and just ask how we can afford to take what they perceive to be a perpetual vacation. Most are just honestly curious about how we'll make ends meet. Good questions, everyone. They're ones we worried ourselves with at the beginning.

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Staying Connected

About a week into our road trip I started having nagging thoughts indicating something wasn't quite right. The intrusive feeling would hit me like an ocean wave, take hold of my brain for a few seconds, and then wash ashore as I'd forget about it for awhile. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that was making me feel a little uneasy. Finally, though, on our last morning at a random Missouri State Park I was able to connect the dots. 

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Stuff

As you can imagine, living in 80 square feet presents some challenges in terms of space. At 20 square feet per person, we've necessarily streamlined our lives getting rid of both our cars, furniture items, clothing we didn't wear, and junk that had no meaning or regular use (goodbye, food dehydrator). What didn't come with us needed to be stored in a ~6x12ft space. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, three weeks into our trip we've found that the less we have, the better we feel. A couple outfits each, cooking basics, a little toy box filled with books and artsy activities, one dump truck, two bikes, and a beach bag filled with cars, collapsible buckets, and shovels is about all we need to keep us going. Luckily, every place we have parked Spud so far has offered us an incredible backyard with lakes for swimming, dirt for digging, ducks for feeding, fireflies (aka "lightning flies") for catching, and paths for biking.

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Embark

I'm sitting in the passenger seat of our '86 Westy staring out the window at the endless wheat fields, towering windmills, and straight, flat roads of Kansas. It is dead silent in Spud (well, as silent as he gets at 65 mph), which is rare with jabbering twin boys. But it's naptime. Hallelujah! I unbuckle my seatbelt and like a flight attendant head to the back and sneak out two M&M ice cream bars from our mini freezer. I deliver one to Chip, then we cackle while waving them in the air at the boys' sleeping faces and scarf them down in celebration of quiet time. If only they knew what we did when they were asleep. I digress...

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The Top 6 Reasons Why We Chose To "Hit Pause"

Some of you think this idea is crazy. Some of you might think it's crazy awesome. It's a mixed bag and we totally get that. We are still surprised we both had the guts to say 'let's go for it' and then actually make it happen. It's definitely dramatically easier when both people in a relationship are on the same page. We have been answering a lot of very legitimate questions about why we are doing this. To get inside our heads a bit, we have compiled six reasons why we decided to quit our day jobs, rent out our house, and travel for the next year (or two?):

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Honey, I'm home...For good.

As I write this, I'm staring out our front window watching snowflakes fall on budding trees and green grass sprinkled with bright yellow dandelions.  My eyes and mind are playing tricks on me though. It can't be winter anymore.  I'm in denial that in one day it will be May 1st.  It feels like just yesterday, on a random December evening, that we were eagerly waiting for Chip to come home from work.

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Belize Part 3: Islands in the Sun

Out of hundreds of cayes, Ambergris Caye is Belize's largest island and located off the northeast coast of the country.  This caye (pronounced key) is known for its proximity to the barrier reef.  The world's second largest barrier reef, might I add.  Our first impressions of this island were of a mixed bag.  The water surrounding the island was the most beautiful azure I've laid eyes on.  But after exiting the plane we were thrown into a frenzied, dusty town overrun by golf carts and loud trucks. 

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Belize Part 2: I'm Walking On Sunshine

I love the tingle of anticipation that builds just before departing for a new locale.  I can never wait to see what it looks like, what it smells like, how it makes me feel, and what memories will be created there.  Today was that point in our trip to Belize.  The long day when we relocate from one section of the country to another.  If you recall, we had just left San Ignacio (aka the Jungle portion of Belize).  And the day started out a bit like the roads around here though. Bumpy. 

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Belize Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle

Why Belize, you might ask? The beaches, right?  I know. I saw those pictures too, before we booked our trip.  The ones that depict silky white sand gently rolling about, pushed by the turquoise ocean that calmly ebbs and flows.  The bright sun shining down on a handsome couple that romantically sips cocktails with a backdrop of a few dozen swaying palm trees.  Yep, I totally wanted that.  I'll admit.  But I knew Belize had a wild card.  Something up its sleeve to offer us, a couple that likes to adventure and explore, but also laze on the beach and sip tropical drinks.

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