Bars, Beers, & Books: 48 Hours In Dublin

We did it! We made a complete lap around Ireland in under two weeks and lived to tell the tales of our mother-daughter trip! I only had doubts because well, a rental car plus narrow roads plus driving on the opposite side plus foreign country (not to mention I had not driven at all in 10 months!) all could have equaled a number of different outcomes. But besides the minor bumps in the road, we came out victorious! The final two days we got to stow our car away and use public transpo in Dublin, the vibrant capital city of Ireland. We had a lot to squeeze in and as the title implies, a fair bit of it revolved around bars, beers, and books with visits to the famous Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse and Brewery, and Trinity College’s Book of Kells Exhibition & Old Library.But first, check out the ground we covered in the map below...

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Ireland Part 3: Are You Ready For Moher?

Here we were, entrenched in our mother-daughter adventure through the small country of Ireland. On this particular day we were buzzing along a narrow, winding, and picturesque Irish road at 8:30 in the morning. The sun dazzled brightly in the blue sky, the weather was a hint warmer than the previous day, and our bodies sensed we were about to have a notable outing with each other. Today was Mother's day and we were driving towards one of our bucket list items. A place we had both longed to visit for several years. Little did we know we were about to treat ourselves to one of the best Mother’s Day experiences of our lives. And together. After parking our rental in a near-emtpy parking lot (visit in the off season, people!) and using the restrooms for a quick pit stop, we busted out in one of those "shopping mall lady" powerwalks to catch our first glimpse of the world famous, most outstanding coastal features in all of Ireland: The Cliffs of Moher!

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A Little Mingle Around The Dingle (& Then Some)

My mother’s and my whirlwind (and very scenic) tour of Ireland seemed to be starting off on the right foot (okay, minus the couple “miscalculations” we had encountered while driving)! We were only 24 hours in and had already enjoyed each other’s company and the Emerald Isle immensely. But we were on the move in this next section. It is probably the chapter of our trip when I wish we could have slowed things down and had two extra days to explore everything you’re about to read and see. But heck if we were going to let time slow us down. We were determined to squeeze in every bit of scenery and Irish beer we could in ten days so buckle up as we travel through southern and southwestern Ireland, which includes the Dingle Peninsula...hence the title.

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Teedo & Lindsay Do Ireland: In The Beginning

How many of you out there have a bucket list? I've personally kept a list since 2011 but admit I need to check in with myself to see how I'm doing. What about a bucket list with another person? I never had but realized that can be just as doable when one day out of the blue I flicked my mom a text. The question? "What's on your bucket list?" She replied with five places: New Zealand, Vietnam, Glacier National Park, Hawaii (one last time, but this time without her husband/my dad), and Ireland. If you know us at all, then you know that was the start of an elaborate plan...

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Final Stat List: 1 Year Of "Hitting Pause"

If you've been following our journey, then you know I'm a sucker for stats and fun facts (the boys would chime in here: "did somebody say suckers?!"). On June 15, 2017 we jumped in Spud, our '86 Westfalia, drove through a start line made of toilet paper (thanks neighbors!), and peaced goodbye to the tenants that were going to be taking over our house for the year. Thus began our adventure that took us to many beautiful spots, reunited us with family and friends, and created long-lasting memories for our family. And let me tell you, the trip was so freaking fantastic I can't even find the right words other than that to describe it. So let's get to it - I've gone ahead and compiled a juicy stat and fact list rounding out our one year on the road. You're welcome!

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Tearing It Up (& Tearing Up) At Our Final Stop In Arizona

When I look back on our time in Page, Arizona, the deepest corner of my heart aches. It was in this spot that we spent the final leg of our year "hitting pause." Even now, as I write two months later I can't help but feel nostalgic. Feelings, memories, and gratefulness rush back to me like a tidal wave. I miss it. I realize I still really miss it.

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Our Family's Volunteer Project At Camp Yavapines

Before we left home last June we spent a lot time determining what the goals of our trip would be. What did we want to accomplish? Learn? How could we change? Be better people? How did we want to grow from this opportunity? Every time we brought the topic up, we quickly realized there was a common want or need. We wanted to help. In a very broad way, we simply wanted to help people, the earth, animals. We didn’t care! We were open so long as it was a fit for our whole family. We knew from the get-go that we would be incorporating random acts of kindness as a daily goal but I wanted to take it a step further. I kept coming back to the idea of volunteering.

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5 Southern New Mexico Places You Must Visit

New Mexico is the 16th state we've been fortunate to further explore this year and it's easily one of our favorites! We've had the opportunity to experience the northern parts of the state in the recent past but had big bucket list dreams in the southern region that we were looking forward to. If you haven't been to some of these, hopefully this post will entice you to scoot them up higher on your must-see list (and maybe you'll add a new one to it also). Buckle up as we road trip through 6 of the best parts of southern New Mexico.

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YeeHaw, Howdy, & Y'all: A Ramble Through Texas

Texas, you win! Nowhere else beats springtime like YOU. I'll admit that spring is my least favorite season (I know, I can picture you dropping your jaw to the floor in dismay). It's just that...the wind. The gloom. The cold breezes. The mud. I don't love those things. Anyone feel me out there?! I'm a fair weather kind of girl, what can I say? I was surprised however to have met the lovely springtime state of Texas. Here, we welcomed the change with warm and sometimes hot days, especially after escaping the breezy and below-freezing nights that were still lingering in New Mexico. Plus, after coming off our time in Big Bend National Park (where we spent a lot of time half naked), we were eager to continue exploring this delightful state. Unfortunately it's so huge that I feel like we barely scratched the surface.

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Big Bend Nat'l Park: Birthdays, Canyons, & River Crossings To A Foreign Land

I'll be honest with you. Big Bend National Park in Texas was never on our radar. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even recall that it was a national park or know what the place had to offer in terms of things to do for families. It feels crazy saying that now after having been there and loving the diverse experiences this park allowed us to discover. Perhaps we never went because of its remote location, or maybe because it was a lesser known national park. All I know is I have a long-lost hometown friend to thank for urging us to go (you know who you are, girl!). We are so glad you shared your stories, photos, and tips with us because Big Bend has so much to offer people of all ages. Hopefully this post will give you a little glimpse into the fun things to do in this huge national park. Here, we'll explore a free natural hot springs on the US/Mexico border, walk across the Rio for an epic day in Mexico, and take in the wonders of the Santa Elena Canyon. Also, the boys turn FOUR!

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A Photo Journey Through White Sands Nat'l Monument

We were standing atop the crest of a giant mound of sand and for as far as my eyes would reach were white, wavy rolling hills sprawled out in front of us. With a view as magnificent as this, I fantasized that we had accomplished something grand. It gave me the sense of domination. My hair whipping in the wind, my ankles tickled by the granules that were blowing across them, and us perfectly placed in the middle of it all with 360 degree views of amazing! No trails to hike, nothing to see or do, no hidden attractions. Just here to witness the sand, and only the sand. We were beyond thrilled to finally be experiencing the glory of White Sands National Monument!

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We Hit Paz

The deeper south we drove on the Baja Peninsula, the more impressed we became with the beaches, people, and well, I'll be a little nerdy here, the memories and bonds that were forming. Yes, sometimes we felt we needed to be on our toes (even here, perhaps),but it's clear we have fallen cautiously in love with Baja. There is a little bit of mystery to Baja, some dirt and grime, and maybe a tiny bit of hesitation in some situations. Combine that though with the stunning landscapes, friends we're traveling with and meeting, and the incredible experiences we've had and you've got one of our favorite parts of our year "hitting pause". So join us as 'we hit Paz' (Chip's proud contribution to this blog post!) and drive further south where we discover stunning streches of beach, snorkel alongside the largest "fish" on the planet, and stumble upon new friends who help us discover the volunteer project we've been searching for all year!

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Baja Camping Heaven: Orange Groves, Turquoise Bays, & "Pueblos MÁgicos"

We welcome you back to our best of the best in Baja! This is hands down my favorite section of the peninsula and you'll see why in a moment. To lure you in further highlights included freshly squeezed orange juice at our fingertips, a crescent-shaped bay where we slept (and played) at the ocean's edge, Mexican towns that left us begging to come back, and the most divine and flavorful fish tacos - oh heck, I'll just sum it up by saying the most divine and flavorful Mexican food we've ever consumed. Period. If your mouth isn't watering yet, I'll bet money it will be at some point during this post.

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Our Unforgettable Day With Baja's Gray Whales

Many memorable experiences have happened because of this year-long trip. I often wonder if it weren’t for this "pause" that we're on, would we have even seen or experienced this much in our entire lifetime? There are definitely times that have reinforced the precise reasons for why we are taking this year together as a family. One moment that stands out is our remarkable boat trip through Ojo De Liebre, a lagoon that embraces thousands of gray whales each winter. I've reserved this post for them. This was undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime, holy-crap-did-that-just-happen moment. Without further ado, here is our up close and personal day with the gray whales in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur!

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Baja California, Mexico: Our Entrance into the Baja Peninsula

"Have you ever been? Have you seen the recent news? Read the latest travel warnings? You’re bringing the boys? Be careful. I used to go to Baja back when it was safe, but now, I’ll never go again." These are just a few things people were saying to us before we left for Baja, Mexico. As I'm sure you can imagine, we were not totally psyched given all the "glowing" reviews. In fact, we were so nervous we almost threw our plans to visit out the window. Ultimately, we made the decision to go and are so thankful we didn't cave in to the fear.

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Reflection: Final Days In Hawaii

Two months in Hawaii served as a delightful respite from "Spudlife." Here, we were able to have a bit of a routine which we will admit to craving after 5 1/2 months on the road. Some habits and routines were welcomed back in our life, while others were a reminder (and at times a struggle) of the white noise we did not want to re-introduce back into our life. Those are the type of distractions we've worked so hard to let go of during this journey. Looking back though, we found ourselves contentedly entertained much of the days at the beach, exploring the island in a variety of ways often with visitors by our sides. This was the perfect place to chase warm weather and among all the places we've been, could be a contender with Oregon and Island Lake, Canada for "favorite spot." When the feeling of sorrow rushes over me when we're about to leave a place as special as this, Chip reminds me it's best to move on wanting more. I suppose I can agree with that.

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7 Honolulu Highlights for Families

It's official. Honolulu has stolen our hearts. All four of them. The whole island of Oahu, really. But there is just something special about this city. The energy of the people, the crescent shaped beach lined with elegant older hotels, the hustle and bustle of a city with the laid-back lifestyle of a beach destination, the most delicious tasting food, the numerous activities in water and out, and last but not least the inviting and mesmerizing turquoise ocean. Then there's Diamond Head, a prominant dormant volcano standing proud (and remarkable) over her city. Close your eyes, reach for that invisible mai tai, and envision yourself on the beach. Queue the Hawaiian music...now. 

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A Christmas Eve Workout (I Mean, Gift!)

I had been dying to take the family on a kayak ride since before our plane even landed on Oahu. One of my favorite memories when we'd come to Hawaii would be our kayak day in Kailua. So naturally I had visions in my head of being able to provide that same memory for the boys (I know, they're only three but...). Finally though, on that 24th day of December we accomplished that memorable kayak ride together.

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Aloha

I warned you that it wouldn't be long before we were throwing surf, sun, and sea stoke your way. I tried to hold off for as long as possible but with snow in the forecast (on the mainland, of course), now seems like an appropriate time. So turn your space heater on high, throw on that tank top that's been collecting dust since August, and envision yourself seated at the base of a palm tree with a coconut drink in your right hand and some sunscreen in your left.

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