Value Your Own Opinion

Maybe you don’t remember the moment you first opened your Facebook account, your first tweet, or pic on Instagram. But I bet you remember the first negative comment you received on something you TRULY loved that you were sharing. A moment,  piece of magic in your life that you thought “hey, this is worthy of sharing my soul with the World” and then someone says something, and that beautiful minute you were proud of gets buried in self- doubt.   WHY do we do this to ourselves?

When I first started this idea, I had grander plans than I have shared. I was going to share it this way, and that way, and I was going to put it out with every means possible and through any source possible.  And as things started to grow, I felt the enjoyment of what I was about to do starting to shrink. No longer was I excited about having the adventure, I was too stressed about sharing it.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t help myself but share… but here’s why. For me, I see a beautiful Mountain, and I think to myself “Oh my God, this moment, this place, I must show someone else so they too can come here and see it and feel how I feel.”  No longer do I want to, nor need to, feel that I need the Like, Hit, Thumbs Up, etc.. to appreciate how “I” feel in that moment. I want to share because I enjoy it, because it is fun, because it will inspire adventure and kindness in someone else. And if it doesn’t, move on to the next one.

Too many times I put out something of myself through writing or pictures, and by the way, that is what we ALL do, and I obsess on the comments. Why? I loved the pic I took, I want to KEEP loving the pic I took, and it seems that we let others decide for us what we will find worthy IN OUR OWN LIVES. How insane is that?  I am guilty of reading comments on articles BEFORE I even read the article, and I always ask myself “Why am I doing this?” I was interested in the what and why of the story, but I jumped to that section without even thinking about it.  I have got to rewire my brain, read the story, and then move on.

I leave a month from today- holy crap. And I. Am. Excited!!!!  Of course I will share on FB, YouTube, Instagram, and here of course.  But I decided months ago that my sharing would be more of a virtual journal for myself. So one day when I am old and grey (God willing) and I am unable to do these things anymore, I can look back on all of my pictures, videos, and smile about the holy hell of an adventure that I had the guts to take myself.  I won’t care then about the comments, I won’t care about the haters who are clearly jealous, and I certainly am not going to regret a second of any footage taken.  THIS is why we should be recording ourselves and lives, THIS.  To see that we took chances, and we laughed in the face of fear.  To watch ourselves make the impossible, possible, and to enjoy every laugh line, wrinkle, and grey hair. To enjoy our youth today, to enjoy our age today, our kids, our families. How many times do we all look back and long for “those days?” Guess what? YOU ARE IN THEM NOW!!!  Of course we are getting through hard times now, of course the last year sucked. But I guarantee that through all the hardships and loss, that the sun does rise again. 

So I am making this vow to all of you now that I promise to value my own opinion on my amazing adventure. If I don’t share something “on time” (my standards of it) then oh well.  I didn’t answer a bunch of emails? I will get to them AFTER my experiences. In this World of “Stop everything to answer that text, email, etc..” I think we have forgotten that we don’t HAVE too. Now, I do because I don’t want to come off rude, but there is time you can put between them for your sake and self-preservation.  I will remind myself every day of this journey of how immensely blessed, lucky and fortunate I am to be ABLE to do this.  I will enjoy for those who I have lost and cannot be there, and I will enjoy for those who cannot do something like this at all.

One month countdown has begun….

Under 5 Week Countdown….

I don’t know about you, but when I plan a trip I have all these little things I have to get done for it and here at home before I leave.  Everything from buying bear spray (which I never knew was a thing until now) to my own porta john… needless to say, my deliveries have been comical to say the least.   Did you ever order so much that you can’t remember WHAT you ordered and then it’s like Christmas morning every time the Amazon truck dops off? LOL So I thought I would share with you where I am at… 33 days out.

For a year of traveling, there is quite a bit involved. I have so many people I want to visit, meet up with, and so on, so it’s been a bit challenging trying to get everyone on the same page with that.  Not difficult, but think about your year starting June 1st and who you could all visit across the great Nation and then schedule ALL of them.  I have to say, I am getting quite good at it, but still challenging to find the right spots to meet up so they coincide with my travel interests as well.  No, I don’t have to schedule everyone right now, but yes, I have people scheduled out 6-9 months even because I just want the seed planted that I will be in their neck of the woods, and I would LOVE to come and see them! So even if I am just a place holder in their head right now, I will take it.  SOOOOO excited to love on all my friends!!

Reservations have been going well, it is trying to connect the dots that is a little trickier. Some spots were sold out, so I would have to accomodate to the next town or city, which adds more to driving time and less from touring time.  I have booked some amazing places to stay that I CANNOT WAIT to show yall!

So far I have also booked camping in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and more National Parks to come.  Craig says my car will be filled with more camping equipment than actually anything else…. maybe. BUT my Dad taught me to BE PREPARED!!!! (Bonus points if you sang that in your head like Scar from the “Lion King”).  Bought a brand new, pop-up tent that I took for a spin in the yard to make sure I could put it up and take down on my own.  As much as I love something “brand new” when I first use it, this isn’t the time.  Nothing would be more upsetting than to be out in the Wilderness and realize that the tent had a defect or I couldn’t figure it out, and now I am sleeping in my car (which I am ALSO prepared for in case of bears).   Yeah most of what I have bought is for camping, but I figure that if I like it that I will do more and now I have everything for the next time.  And if I hate it, I will give it to Craig or the girls and they can have a go at it.  I got these cute little bonfire cannisters for when I just want to roast a marshmallow and I don’t want to make a huge fire, a mess kit, collapsible bowl for washing my dishes, my porta potty, camping chair, and some more odds and ends. I’m stoked!

Everything else is falling into place, reserving tickets for events and attractions. Today the Glacier National Park reservations open, so that’s on the roster for today, which many of the Parks are doing. I got my NP Annual Pass in the mail, woot! So slowly but surely, I’m making small steps towards the bigger picture.  I even started to pack my “cubes” in my office for my car so that I know what is what.  I use the ones from IKEA and one is for camping, one is for blog stuff, one is for car maintenance and safety, and so on. I can get about 5 in my trunk with room to spare for tent, bucket, chair, etc… Then I have the entire back seat for more stuff, and the front for my cooler and driving stuff. I don’t like to add to much to the front seat because people will be joining me all over the place and I want the space to be able to toss stuff in back and let them ride with me and not look like a hoarders car.

To me being organized for a huge adventure like this is key to not losing my mind. If I can find things easily at the many stops I will be taking, it is less stressful and continues my mindset that I am able to accomplish what I set out for.  If my car is messy and disorganized, I have high anxiety and wind up saying “Screw it, I can’t find it” and then find what I wanted AFTER the adventure and it’s now useless or pointless.  Like last time, my car slowly started to empty out with stuff being used or given away, so it’s a win, win.  I think I’m ready, well I am getting ready, not there yet, but with the week I have had, I am trying to stay busy.  So there you go. Thanks to EVERYONE for their great tips, information, and so on that you comment or send me.  It’s pretty cool to hear someone say something about a State and know that I could try to see it, so keep them coming. Have a great day!

The Old Town Trolley Tours in St. Augustine, FL, 2021

During the weekend of April 24-25th, 2021, Craig and I headed to St. Augustine for a relaxing weekend of good eats, fun shopping, and just something different. Besides Disney, this area makes our top 5 sites to see in Florida. There is so much to see and do, and there just isn’t a bad place to eat. If you love the quaint feel of walking down a street lined with buildings, no cars, and just that sense of relaxation as you peruse the windows of every store, this is the place for you. Well, at least St. George Street is.  Because there is SO MUCH to see and do, you need at least 2-3 days to see it all. Or repeated visits, like we do.  On this visit, we went to the Visitors Center to ask about any tours. When we have been to a lot of it already, it’s fun to shake it up and do something different. Also, side note, the PARKING GARAGE at the Visitors Center is a GREAT way to park for the day! It is right by everything except the Lighthouse and the outer lines of St. Augustine. It’s $15 to park there for the day, but they will charge you again for the same day if you to need to come back so just know that. If you are looking for FREE Parking, there is at the Castillo and the Old Jail.

Once you leave the garage, the Visitors Center is right there and is great pit stop as well as a tourists dream to see what there is all to experience. So here is where we started on this trip, and signed up with the “Old Town Trolley Tours” which has MANY packages. The packages include many of the tourist hot spots, which they roll into one ticket price which includes the trolley transportation the entire day and then the second day is also free.  They pick up and drop off all over town, so you can get off and on as you please, wearing their sticker so they know who has paid for the trolley. We chose the $71 package which included Ripley’s Before it or Not Museum along with the Old Jail, General Store, and History Museum. We figured we wanted the Trolley Tour and we were going to check out Ripley’s, so we might as well get the package. Now, they sell you a $5 Guidebook because it gives you more detailed info about your tour. BUT I have to say, the free coupon guide and the small guide map, is PLENTY enough unless you need to details. Yes, I bought it for this post. LOL Oh and side note, most of us don’t save the guide maps past the day we use them. If you want them for a reference, or even for that day, take a pic of them with your phone so you have a copy.

So we headed out across the street, Ripley’s is literally right there, so you don’t have to wait for the Trolley on this one- just walk out and take a left.  Then once you leave, there is a stop right there to pick up the Trolley. Ride the entire tour, takes about 90 minutes, and has 22 stops.

22 Stops:

1a. The Old Jail (FREE PARKING LOT for everything on #1)

1b. The Oldest Store Museum Experience

1c. History Museum

1d. Gator Bob’s Gift Shop and Penny Arcade

2. Visitor Information Center

2a. Project Swing

2b. Spanish Trail Marker

3. Potter’s Wax Museum

3a. Tolomato Cemetery

3b. Old Drugstore

3c. The Presidio

4. City Gate

4a. Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

4b. St. George Pedestrian Mall

4c. Huguenot Cemetery

5. Colonial Quarter

5a. Pirate and Treasure Museum

5b. Cuna Street

6. Matanzas Bayfront

6a. Charlotte Street

7. Hypolita Street

7a. St. Photios Shrine

7b. Pena-Peck House

7c. Grace United Methodist Church

7d. Ancient City Baptist Church

7e. Spanish Street

8. Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

8a. Hotel Ponce De Leon

8b. Markland

9. Villa Zoradya

10. Lightner Museum

10a. Casa Monica

10b. Lincolnville

10c. Dr. Hayling’s Dentist Office

10d. Cora Tyson’s House

10e. Yallaha Plantation

11. St. Augustine Distillery

11a. Solla Carcaba  Cigar Factory

12. San Sebastien Winery

13. Whetstone Chocolate Factory

13a. Art Galleries

14. Cathedral Basilica

14a. Plaza De La Constitucion

14b. Government House

14c. South St. George Street

14d. Trinity Episcopal Church

15. Aviles Street

15b. Historical Society

15c. Ximenez-Fatio House

15d. Spanish Military Hospital

16. Oldest House

16a. St. Francis Barracks

16b. National Cemetery

16c. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

16d. Bridge of Lions

16e. Treasury Street

17. Castillo De San Marcos

17a. Fort Mose

17b. Fort Matanzas

18. Ripley’s Believe it or Not

18a. Warden Castle

19. Welcome Center

19a. Uptown San Marco

19b. Abbott Tract Historic District

20. Mission Nombre De Dios

20a. The Great Cross

20b. Father Lopez Statue

20c. The Shrine To Our Lady of La Leche

21. Old Senator

21a. Magnolia Avenue

21b. Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

22. Fountain of Youth

Now, this trip, we were just interested in the tour itself, not the stops, so we rode a long time…. Took a toll on our butts and backs after a while.  What I enjoyed about the ride is that the guide was very informative and was easy to understand. What I didn’t like about it was that they repeated certain areas over and over again, and yes, on the same tour. We didn’t get back off and on, so it was a bit annoying to see the same area AGAIN when we had JUST driven past it 5 minutes ago. Maybe that’s how they have to drive it. Keep in mind MANY of these stops are separate admissions, some are just to walk around and check out, and some like the Distillery and Winery give a free pour and tour. Plus you also get a coupon book for even more savings!

I think if you just want to park for the day, which is smart because parking around all of the sites listed above just doesn’t exist or is incredibly limited, then park in the garage and do this trolley. ESPECIALLY if you want to drink at the Distillery, around town, etc. – safer and probably a lot more fun. Driving on these smaller streets isn’t smart either- it’s like squeezing down the corridors of New Orleans- it’s just anxiety inducing and there are WAY to many people to maneuver around.  I definitely think it’s worth the money, and you get the second day free, so if you are there for the weekend, it’s perfect! I hope this helps and have a great day!

 P.S. Like the Disney Parking Trams… always exit RIGHT!

The Paranormal Investigation at the Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida

Why do some like the dark corners, and still love the feel of the light? I ask myself this all the time when ghost hunting, and it’s all because I saw my Grandma the night she passed away. You don’t have to believe me, heck, it’s not your story to tell. But it was a connection I had made that made me question the after-life. So when I can, I try to sign up for Ghost Tours around the Country, hearing a mystery history adds a bit of charge to the tale. Craig signed us both up for the “Old Jail” at St. Augustine in Florida…and I was all in!

If you haven’t been to St. Augustine, it should be at the top of your Florida Favorites list! Located a little over an hour from the Orlando area, is the oldest city in America.  From National Monuments to Haunted Lighthouses…this city has it all.  No, you aren’t going to find thumping night clubs and wild dance floors, but you will find a pub every 10 feet on St. George Street, along with incredible dining and deserts.  I have been fortunate to take part in the Ghost Tour at the Oldest School House in the city, so I was pretty pumped to try another one at a different location.

Researching which Ghost Tour is for you is KEY in having a good time.  There are two VERY different experiences to be had when participating in one. Either you just want a history tour with some spiritual spookiness thrown in, sometimes LIVE actors to set the scene, with usually a ride on a trolley, bus, or a walk through with a guide.  Entertaining, light, and fun.  The other experience is a Paranormal investigation. They take you through a series of tools that they provide, or they let you use and bring your own in, tell you some of the history of the area, and then let you into said place and you grab your tool of choice and you are an official Ghost Hunter!

Our tour was the 8:30 p.m. slot, booked about a month ahead of time. This place is VERY popular, so make sure you book at least a month out.  They have you come about 15 mins early, restrooms available right before you head in, and then we met “Shelby” who was out Guide for the evening.  She was fun, hilarious, and a great storyteller.  Nobody wants to take a ghost tour with a guide who doesn’t believe or isn’t into it, and her and the other one “Bill” CLEARLY love what they do and were incredibly kind and helpful.

After the explanation of the tools, and being told there is a “crawler” entity that has been seen, I was a bit hesitant on this one.  I don’t mess with the demonic stuff, talking to spirits seems interesting, but I don’t need any kind of attachment or something following me home.  Yes, there is a fine line, but there is still a line.  Craig grabbed a K2 Meter and I used a ghost box, and we had 30 minutes only to roam the jail, anywhere we wanted to go.

This place is already incredibly creepy during the day, they have mannequins in the cells in “General Pop” so add the dark, they can scare you when you are clearing a corner.  The Sheriff would have a bedroom here, with an office downstairs.  The room next to his was for his children- what a way to grow up right?  The PARTY OF 10, which is allowed by Covid right now, would be hard to escape to get the “quiet” moments to be able to talk. Half our group wanted to investigate, and the other half were there to party and be loud.  I asked the spirits continually “Doesn’t all that noise bother you?” LOL I did not get a response. BUT… I DID get one in his bedroom. I thought it was a woman’s bedroom, didn’t feel like a mens at all, and asked if anyone wanted to say hello. I got a VERY clear sentence, sounding like an older English woman “Who are you?”  After I changed my pants (jk) I said my name and I talk to them like I would talk to you.

Once I would find quiet spots in Maximum Security, the Women’s part of the jail, and the Watch Tower, they seemed  a bit more chattier.  It was a half hour of trying to record on my phone, hold the ghost box, asking questions, and maneuvering the people who obviously were trying to do the same. 

It was a cool experience, we had the freedom to do it how we pleased, but we wish they had asked the “party crowd” to leave.  If you aren’t really into it, then leave, but don’t ruin it for those who are really interested. After they left, the half of us chatted with Shelby for another 20 minutes about our favorite ghost experiences, other tours we had taken, and so on. She was chocked full of information, so if you can, try to get her for your tour. Below is a great pic of an orb I caught.

Now, was it worth the money? It was $27 each, one of the cheaper ones I have done. Now, you only get 30 minutes to investigate, so that’s about right for what you are paying for. I have been on $50 ones, and higher, so this is a nice one to do with a small group with a small price tag. The Old Schoolhouse was another great ghost tour, but it was over an hour long to investigate.  They have trolley ghost tours which will take you around to the sites, and also there is a ghost tour available at the Lighthouse.  I had thought about the Lighthouse but I thought it would be disorientating to try to investigate on a tiny, spiraling stair case, in the dark, and not worry about the heights of it all. Maybe someday.  I highly encourage you to try one of them out, and make sure too research IF they take you INTO one of the scary sites, or you are just going to be “driving by it.”  Enjoy!!

A Tribute to a Dear Friend

Back in 2009 when I started the blog, I didn’t expect much. I thought I would write a bit, maybe meet some new people, and find a resource or two in helping with the biggest move I had ever done.  Now being 2021, I look back at that almost 12 years later, and I am blessed to have so many of the “OG” friends that I made that first year still in my life today.  And one of the first friends I made was Eric Golden, who had found the blog and we just started up a friendship on Facebook on April 6th, 2010, as these things tend to happen. Wow, just hit me it’s been 11 years.

December 5th, 2011… Eric and family come on their magical vacation. They invite me to hang out with them at Animal Kingdom, and how special, we meet for the first time on Walt Disney’s Birthday! (My Dad’s as well!) We had such a great time. The boys were so little then, and number three wasn’t even in the picture yet! We did the Character Breakfast at Tusker House, and I just remember them doing a parade around the Restaurant and watching him and the family laughing and having so much fun with it.

Disney World announces that they are going to do the FIRST EVER 24 hour Magic Kingdom day, on leap day, February 29th, 2012, from start to stop, you could spend 24 hours inside the Park …. basically a gauntlet had been thrown for us “Seasoned Disney” folks, and of course, I rose to the task! Eric reaches out to me and says “Hey, I am coming for it, I’ll be on my own, do you want to hang out at it?” To which I replied, “Heck yeah” because I was going it solo that 24 too.  We met up at a WDW Radio event, he met my family, for the first time, who came in for a bit to say hi and spend time, and then they left and it was the Midnight to 6 or 7 a.m. that we goofed around and just enjoyed the magic. We were both so exhausted by the time we walked out.

Fast forward, 2017 I decide on my first road trip, birthed out of going to see my family in Wisconsin, and driving up from Florida. He invites me to come over to D.C. and stay at his home, which at first I am nervous about because it was my first time on the road by myself, but secondly, I hadn’t stayed with other families before and I was just hesitant.  Of course, in Eric and Dannelle fashion, they made me feel welcome, and we would go and visit the Bull Run area before he would take me to my first ever D.C. visit.

We parked at his Mom’s home, and she took us to the nearest Metro Station. It was so nice to meet his Mom, and even his sister that evening when they picked us up again.  I rode the Metro for the first time, Eric explaining to me what looked like a Nasa Station of buttons and whistles to choose which ticket and line to ride. And I will never forget us coming out of the tunnel and into D.C. and him watching me freak out at everything I had always seen on tv or in textbooks come to life before my very eyes. We walked from the Navy Memorial to Lincoln and back, our feet we were sure would never be the same. We got back to the Golden household and Dannelle had made us this incredible soup, and he laid down on one couch, me on the other, and we ate the soup with bowls on our chest, barely being able to move.  We laughed so hard at how ridiculous we looked, but it’s a memory we brought up every time after that we were together.

He loved Orange Bird, a Disney Character many don’t know exists, and I did as well. So I brought him one on my second trip to see them in 2018, where we walked D.C. again, this time parking at Arlington and walking to the Capitol, then catching luck with a tour bus driver that he happened to know he took us back to our parking lot.  Our feet thanked him kindly.  That same trip, Eric knows I am a huge scary movie fan, so he took me to the Exorcist stairs in Georgetown where they filmed a scene of the priest falling (pushed?) down this huge flight of stairs.  We reenacted this scene, a long with Orange Bird in it, and we had a blast….laughing the whole time at how ridiculous we looked.  For dinner we hit “Broiler Pizza” which was his FAVORITE pizza place, so he had to share with me. We just sat and ate, laughed, and reminisced about our day. And of course, another Orange Bird pic! (We had made it a game to take his pic all over D.C. and then I continued that my entire 2 months on the road in 2018).

The last time I would see Eric, was back in late November of 2020, the family came to Disney World, which I am so thankful for those memories now…for myself and his family.  We played at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, hitting up the familiar rides and some new ones.  I made sure we had lunch at Cosmic Rays, a favorite of his, and we sat front and center to listen to Sonny Eclipse. He was in Disney heaven! I had been in Rays the day I was informed he was intibated, and it wasn’t happy anymore…. I just started at that table where we were all just laughing and having a good time and trying to wrap my head around how this was happening.  I just sat, cried, prayed, and hoped for the best. Every day, hoping that he would come back from this, and I would be chatting with him again about his next Disney trip and our plans we had made on this road trip coming up.

It would be 2 weeks ago today that I was walking out of Disney Studios, and I had just started to get back into the routines again after my Step-Dad’s heart attack.  Driving out to Texas and back, I was consumed with my own life and problems, and I am sure some will think that is selfish, but I don’t know why since it was my family emergency and it took all my brain power to deal with the crisis at the time.  As life goes, people come in and out all the time. People get busy, life changes every day, so I stopped taking personal people not returning phone calls, emails, and just chalked it up to something is also going on with them- we will connect when the timing is there. And with the lovely algorithms of Social Media, sometimes I don’t see everyone’s updates, statuses, etc. My inner circle, and outer, usually knows to contact me directly if something is urgent, and not to rely on me seeing it on my timeline.

I had a decent day, happy to get to the car and start the journey home when I started getting text messages from Eric.  He explained he had been in the ICU since 3.28 and that’s why he had been so quiet and that he was thinking of me during MY dark storm with Bob. He said he needed to talk to me, so he called and I asked him how he was, what could I do, how his wife and kids were doing, and that I was so sorry he was going through this and dealing with so much pain.  I had shared before on FB that we shared a laugh when I told him that the family was getting vaccinated, and he said “Why is your family evacuating?”  Yeah, the phone connection wasn’t the best, and after I repeated what I said, we both were laughing because he said “Why would your family need to evacuate?” But I was hearing “vaccinate” and you can assume my confusion since he was in there for Covid. He had just gotten off a CPAP machine, and said he was feeling a little better and that he just wanted to reach out while he could.  What hurts the most is that a nurse came in and he had to go abruptly, so I just remember saying “Im praying for you Eric, get better soon, let’s talk again when you can.” And he said goodbye and I went on with my day, lifting up in prayer. Less than 24 hours later they intibated him.  Eric was to be vaxxed 2 days after he went into the ICU.

For the last two weeks, I have checked that man’s FB page morning, noon, and night. Any update, any hope that was interlaced I was holding onto.  I couldn’t imagine what his wife was going through, his kids, his outer family and friends….and I held onto the light he would be ok.

Fast forward to yesterday, Craig and I had taken a weekend away to enjoy St. Augustine and then Space Coast, having fun hanging out and playing with my GoPro.   I kept checking Eric’s page, over and over again. No news was good news right?  And then it was the end of the day, and I had pulled my phone out to take a pic of a shirt that I liked the saying on, and a dear friend sent her condolences about Eric to me. And I just stopped. Everything stopped. I turned to look for Craig who was buying shirts for our girls, and I just walked up to him and said “Eric died.” We just stood in this NASA gift shop silent, the irony finding out here since Eric first took me to see the Shuttle at the Air and Space Smithsonian near his home.  You all know that moment….the silence of stopping.  There is a million sounds, but all you can hear is your heart beat growing louder, the tears swelling up, the mood shifting in your brain and almost the feeling of getting sick.  We bought our stuff, left, and drove home. Not enough tears in the World.

This isn’t a “pity me” post or a “sympathy” it is simply a life account of how I met this beautiful man and how our story began and ended. It’s still not real, and I am still trying to wrap my head around this, wide awake at 3 a.m. with it all screaming at me in my head. I can still see him and I laughing about the 3 our long Gettysburg CD tour we took with the whole family in the van and how is youngest just kept singing over and over again “Remember Me” from Disney’s “Coco” movie.  Incredibly fitting song now. And as Illuminations would say it “We go on”… a World without that loveable and silly guy, but a legend he leaves of love, compassion, kindness, and friendship.  He was like a brother to me, and I will always be grateful for the role he played in my life, and I sincerely hope I played a good one in his.  Please keep his wife and three boys in your thoughts and prayers, I cannot imagine the pain they are dealing with and they can use as much as you can send their way.

Until we meet again Eric…. May you be drumming with the angels, hugging on Jesus, and I just imagine you trying to find Walt so you can talk his ear off about everything you loved about Disney.  Goodnight my sweet friend.

How the Planning is Going- 4.15.2021

At the beginning of this year, I had decided to hang a large map of the U.S. in my office so that I could stare at it every day, reminding me of what was to come.  So that even just by glancing at it, I could make mental notes here and there of what needs to get done.  I joined several Facebook travel groups in hopes to make new friends, but more importantly, to also hear about others travel experiences.  I have screen shot so many things I want to see, that I have to take just a day to go through each one and write them down in my travel notebook.  I don’t mind keeping notes on my laptop, but there’s just something about pen and paper that makes me feel more in control. 

I have begun to buy tickets to events, and THAT is exciting to me! I have been waiting to see how everything was going to play out, and would I even be ABLE to travel because of the state of things, but it looks like I will be able too with a mask on for now. I thought planning this for the summer of 2021 was pushing it out far enough, but as we all know, it just keeps cycling right now, so I am going ahead with extreme caution.  Like last summer, I will follow the protocol I gave myself of always washing hands and sanitizing after touching everything and anything outside my space. Masking up, keeping safe distance, I hope I will be ok. ALSO getting vaccinated tomorrow, VERY happy about that!

So what am I buying tickets too? Well, I have some really odd, amazing, and fun likes in, and of, life!  I bought tickets to a Puppet Museum to see the largest display of Sesame Street items, and then booked a Paranormal tour at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky.   I am going to go and check out the life-size “Noah’s Ark” also, and probably hit up the Kentucky Derby area too.  I LOVE me some nature so any State and National Parks I have time for, I will try and see. This summer, a heads up, SEVERAL National Parks are asking you RESERVE your day for when you are coming to see them. Also, you will need your National Parks pass AND they are charging at some an additional fee to come into the Parks.  Yes, you read that right.  I assume they are watching their numbers, but it is a pain to try and pinpoint when I will be EXACTLY where and not a “go with the flow” on this one.  Basically I will have to reserve a couple days at each to give myself a small window in case of delays. Because I am staying in Yellowstone I assume I don’t need a reservation, but I am still researching this.

By the way, this is basically what I have been doing every day…research.  It’s not only about one city, it’s many. And it’s not just the city then, it’s where to stay. Is it safe, is there food close by, gas, etc… Then how far are the places I want to see from the hotel, are the roads easy to drive or is it all mountains? Things like this I really try to prep for because the “SURPRISE” sometimes isn’t so sweet.  I mean there isn’t much I can do once going “up”, just keep my foot on the pedal and pray! I do A LOT f singing when I am nervous while driving, helps calm me down and get the anxiety out.

Last but not least, I booked my weekend for the opening of the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico!!!  I rewired some of my plans to make it fit, having to double back a bit on what I was going to be doing, but this has ALWAYS been on my bucket list. So I found a hotel a couple miles from the Festival, and booked the entire weekend in case one day has bad weather.  I am going to try for the VIP tickets when they come out because you can go to a private patio and watch them with food and drinks. Sounds like a fun way to meet people and enjoy the view, so hopefully I will be able to snag one!

I am trying to stay focused, but life has a way of sneaking up on us as we plan something else.  Bob is COMING HOME today and so I am SO happy for my Mom who is relieved and just SOUNDS so much better. They hope to head back to Green Bay in the next coming weeks, and I will be up there in June to see them again. And with life it’s one big rollercoaster ride, and as I got news Bob is out of the woods, I still have a dear friend deep in them.  So I am praying and thinking about Eric all week, and so touched that he called me on Monday to connect on what was happening with him. In fact we did have a laugh, I told him that I was having the whole family vaccinated this Friday, and he said “Why, why would you do that?” I said, “So we don’t get it.” And he started to laugh and said “Oh, wait, I thought you said you and the family were being EVACUATED” and we both laughed.  Small things, big moments. I pray he’s ok, they intubated him less than 24 hours after that call… and now we wait. Please keep him and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

So that’s been my week thus far, I keep moving forward, keep stepping out of that comfort zone, and keep hoping that life gets back to a normal we can all agree on, soon.

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

SOOOOOO excited to share this FINALLY!! After months of creating, planning, prepping, and trying to schedule out the best time to drop this, today just feels like a good day to do it.  So, why not? I have been encouraged to make my own merch for years now and I just didn’t “take” to it because I guess I didn’t think anyone be interested. BUT then ideas started to come, and I thought, let’s start with pins and see how they go.  I have a LIMITED amount to kick this off, and will order more if people love them. God, I hope you at least LIKE them LOL. 

I have designed FOUR acrylic pins, along with my Design Team, and came up with the first four that truly represent my brand, my mission, and just me.   Pin cards included and designed to fit the pin- I may love them even more!!

For those who have been with me since 2009, the original logo designed by my oldest daughter, Kyra, is the luggage pin.

Second pin is the current logo, the white baseball cap that I will be wearing most of next year, and have been wearing this past year.

Third pin is a nod to my 80s, and Gen X roots, THE MIXED TAPE!!!  It says “Road Trip Playlist” on it with my logo VERY small on it as well.  The pin card for this makes me soooo happy!!

Fourth, and final pin, goes a long with my mission…. Spreading Kindness. I will be selling this batch and then ordering a bunch more for the road. These are GREAT for spreading the word, and of course, KINDNESS! Because good golly, this World needs more!!! 

Pins cost just $5 each and $5 to ship. If you buy more than one, I will combine shipping. DOMESTIC ONLY please. ZELLE only unless you contact me for a different payment option. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com with your order, LIMITED TIME AND AMOUNT, so let me know ASAP! PLEASE Do not pay until I confirm your order. I hope you love them as much as I have enjoyed creating them!

Hitting Life’s Reset Button

I think it was a Staple’s commercial where there was a big, red button you could press to reset something, and I always thought “Wow, how handy that would be.” How many times we all find ourselves going down one path, nothing seemingly wrong, and then BAM, you are turned, twisted, and left on something you don’t even recognize. That’s how I equate the last several weeks of my life, and it’s taking me a bit to travel back to my original road. Patience, not my strong point, hope it’s yours.

I am coming to the 7 week countdown soon here and I am SOOOOOO not prepared yet.  If anything of my impromptu trip to Texas taught me is that I have so much to get ready for and so much that I cannot possibly plan, but just let happen.  A quick update on Bob- he is doing well and he going into a Rehab center for a short period of time to just help move recovery a long a bit quicker.  Mom is well and enjoying the space and quiet between me leaving and him coming home- it will be a lot for her to deal with so I told her to rest up and to enjoy the peace for a little while before the harder stuff comes down the pipeline. They will have a nurse come by the home as well, if needed, and I made sure to set them up with as much as possible before I left.  We all watch our parents get older, as we get older ourselves, and it’s an interesting chapter to say the least. It’s hard, it’s just hard. Let’s hold onto them as long as we can.

So after two days of driving there, and two days of driving back, I did come across some firsts. I now know that I CAN conquer bridges from a traveler’s nightmare….I 10 has TWO GIGANTIC bridges that when you come around a corner and see them, you have no choice but to go up.  I literally prayed and sang all the way up one, trying to distract my brain from the “flight or fight” method because this sucker was STEEP!  You know the kind that you are almost positive that you are never going to stop going up, and that you wonder what fresh hell is waiting there once you get to the top?  OH and then one had traffic so thick that we all were braking on the way up- nothing like feeling like I could fall backwards at ANY point.  Yes, I will be avoiding these on my road trip, thanks waiter, check please!

I got to visit my first “Buccees” which is a gas station on crack of any of you wondering. It’s like if Target and Wawa had a baby, and then Kwik Trip, 7/11 and so on came to party as well, making this giant Beaver baby that is Buccees. To tell you how large this place was, my gas pump was #222. Seriously. They have them lining one whole side of the building, in layers!!  So the one in TX was smaller I guess, and it was manageable. I went in, checked it out, grabbed a chicken sandwich and a soda, and headed out. The one on the Alabama, FL Panhandle State line was something out of nightmares.  It was ike a Black Friday sale met the busiest Disney day you can think of- I didn’t know if I could or should enjoy looking around with so many people shoved into one building.  Half with masks, half without (even though CLEARLY marked that you must wear one inside).  Grabbed a sandwich, a drink, some hot sauce for Kyra, and bolted.  Not today Satan, not today.

If anything, it was a good dry run on driving long periods of time again. Honestly, this is what I will be trying to avoid on the trip. I want to only drive a couple hours in between destinations so that I may enjoy the excitement of that day and not get bogged down with all the driving.  It’s odd how driving makes us so tired when we are literally just sitting with our foot on the gas, but I guess the inactivity is what does it.  Day two this time I wound up driving for 15 hours due to Easter weekend traffic being horrific on the way into Florida on 75. Pretty sure I was delirious by the time I walked into the house- but oh so grateful to make it home safe and be with my family for Easter.

In an odd way, these reset moments help me process and cooperate with life’s messes a bit better each and every time they come along. It’s in the learning of how to cope with my emotions, how to spring into action when someone needs me, and more importantly, sidelining my life for a small sliver of time so that my heart and head are available to help someone else.  It brought me much joy to hug my Mom, be there for her before and after, but more importantly, to SHOW her “You matter, I am here. You are not alone.”  May we ALL have persons who will drop everything and show up for us, and may we all be that to someone in our lives.  You may never know the impact your life may have on someone, but let’s try to make it a positive one. Perfection? Heck no. Kindness, compassion, empathy, being present? Hell yes. So as I hit the reset button, again, I wish you all a go on yours, may it be a fruitful and positive one!

I Booked Yellowstone!!!

In between taking care of things here, I have tried to work on my trip as much as I can.  I have found that I get this second wind lately and I just run with it, booking right and left.  So yesterday I was doing my research on Yellowstone and wanted to see what I could find for August and maybe find something open.  All the hotels in the area are fully booked, so next was staying either inside the Park and camp or outside the Park and camp at like a KOA Campground. 

I found a site that I could book for 4 straight nights in the Mammoth area, so I am super excited that I got that end because it is where I intended on coming back through after Idaho and the Ghost Towns of Montana.  Not knowing ANYTHING about Yellowstone, I just winged it on what campsite looked best and found a nice one that looks onto one of the Mountain sides.  I had to book on the National Parks website, another first for me, by making an account and then paying for the site IN FULL online.  They do list what the site has, what the amenities are there, etc.. so it was pretty easy to use except modifying the dates.  I screwed up the month, so I had to remove the wrong reservation and replace it with the correct dates which then gave me different site choices.  Doing this for the first time is incredibly scary because I don’t know the Park at all.  I just knew this was the Wyoming end I wanted to come in on, and I figured that I could enjoy 4 days in this area, and then maybe find a site at the bottom for a day or two there. 

I highly recommend joining camp groups and National Park groups/pages for insider information, as I am learning a lot.  I plan on tenting it, but honestly I will probably sleep in my car during the night, and during the day take a nap in my tent and relax there after hiking and such.  I have watched every episode of “Survivor” and owned my own Campground, you’d think I would be more prepared for this. BUT its been over 20 years since I had my Campground, and have camped little since then. SO this will be a learning experience. I am getting a tent that is the EASIEST to put up and take down.  I don’t want to get frustrated with that and ruin the entire experience.  I will also keep food ONLY in my car, not in my tent, as this is bear country and while I would like not be “Datelined,” I would also not like to be mauled by a bear. 

Just need to figure out the campfire situation and how to bathe.  No showers there, just flushable toilets, which is still better than the pit toilets. As a kid I used to have nightmares of what spiders were going to crawl up in there while I was on them….or falling down the toilet into the yuck. I know, give me a break, I was a kid. LOL  I am a bit concerned about that 3 a.m., middle of the night pit stop I may need….hmm. 

I am SUPER excited to be able to explore a National Park in this capacity and detail this time around, and not just a drive through. I don’t mind driving them, but hopefully I will be able to do a hike or two. SAFELY. Yes, need bear spray, human spray, spray spray. I have a list going that I will get before I hit the road in June, and then pick up groceries and bottled water in Idaho before heading in.  I am only there 4 nights, so hopefully I see as much as I can, but short enough that if I am miserable and not feeling it, I won’t have to endure it too long. LOL  

It was only $25 a day to camp inside the Park, and I did have to pay it in full.  They don’t have many campgrounds open this year, so I just went with the one that was open.  I figure I will bring everything in I need, drive the loops to see “Old Faithful” and other sites on my end. Then maybe book another site on the opposite end I will be heading out on, or just see things as I head out of there.  They were filling up incredibly fast, I had no idea the cutthroat world of camping and how people sit and wait for people’s campsites before they even left.  I guess I will see firsthand how this will all work. OH you also get a discount if you have a National Parks pass, I didn’t plan on buying mine until my first Park, so I wasn’t able to benefit this time around.

I am nervous and excited, and I think it will be a true test of my patience and learning to be with myself without many distractions. I CANNOT WAIT to show y’all how I do and how I am doing- pending ANY cell phone reception. My campground says they have it, so I am hoping I have it for when I chill at night and I can check in with people. Other than that, I plan on a campfire and then movie time with a DVD on my laptop- charging in my car during the day.

If you have any suggestions, please comment on FB, on the blog, or PM me. I would love to know your tips and experiences in Yellowstone and what trails I should take, what places to check out, and what you dealt with.  Thank you for any and all help! 

Why Fear and Uncertainty Cannot Win

As I sit here this week in the great State of Texas, I have had a lot of time to think. And boy, can I over think. In between hospital runs, taking care of Mom, trying to stay healthy myself, I do find my mind wandering to my next chapters in life and I get so incredibly scared. I turn on the news, which I can only handle in small doses anymore, and I get mad and frustrated. I am sure I am not the only one, and I find myself second guessing my road trip and what lies ahead for me BECAUSE of that fear. What if something happens? Am I prepared to handle all of this? Am I allowed to move forward past this?

Right now, I don’t know what will happen past Monday, and I hope and pray for the best.  So my brain then goes to “What can I do now while I wait?”  I cleaned up Mom’s place, put things away outside, done pretty much what I can physically here, and so then I try to focus on my life and the adventure that is ahead.  And yes, then I feel bad. How can I plan for something fun for myself when my Mom and Bob are going through this? I know I have done everything I can, and I know my life has to keep moving forward, but it’s almost like this permission you have to give yourself to let go and move on. There is guilt in life’s pleasures when those around you are suffering, so do you suffer as well to envelop that empathy or do you celebrate that this chapter of darkness is not yours yet. You’d want someone to help you and support you through the hard times, but not to stop their life at the same time. It’s a really weird line to walk, a balancing act we find ourselves in when we least expect it. I lean into what I know is right and feels right, and then hope I GOT it right and that I DID it right.

I know Covid is out there, and I have been blessed thus far to have not gotten it. I can’t get the shot until I get home to Florida (so far), which I am happy to say my age group is up, so I hope to at least get that checked off upon returning home. But it worries me with it out there, on top of the mass shootings lately, I get this tinge in my tummy that what if I am putting myself somewhere that that could happen. But then reality wakes me up and says “It’s not changing any time soon, none of it. You have to go and keep living your life, fear cannot win.”  I hate that voice, I wish she would just go get a drink and leave me alone to my overthinking sometimes. LOL I do what I can to stay safe in any circumstance, and again, hope I did enough. It is so random and you hope it will never be you next, or someone you love, but we all know that it could be, and that fear just sits under the skin. I guess anything could happen to me on the road, it could happen to me today, I just hope and pray every day that today isn’t the day. I think we all do.

I am still planning, still going, pending what happens here next.  I have a couple of plans in place to help Mom and then it will be up to her and Bob what they do next. My routine is so messed up that I didn’t even realize how much I loved it until I didn’t have it anymore.  I am giving my all to this, but still trying to hold onto the parts of me that were excited to go on my big adventure in the first place.  I am basically planned through Montana at this point, with the reality and expectation that many plans will be made on the road. It is too much to book a year’s worth of hotel stays, and honestly, it’s more fun to do it in small bites. Hopefully once this chapter is done I can concentrate on the next.

Mom got her second dose yesterday for the vaccine, so I am happy she is now fully vaccinated. I have been masking up around everyone here as I am probably the lone duck standing.  But hey, it’s fun to feel so young here. LOL Once this is over, I will definitely share my experience of living in a Senior Community, it’s interesting! So I am off to take her to the Hospital again, I hope everyone has a good day and still hoping that surgery happens Monday.

Pharr, Pharr, Away

Hello from this windy Thursday in the deep heart of Texas. I have been here 4 days now and it’s been a long week of waiting, praying, hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst. Nobody wants to talk about it, but Mom and I both know to be ready for anything. So far he is still scheduled for surgery tomorrow, Friday the 26th, so we hope and we wait some more.

I am not going to lie, I am exhausted. I am doing everything in my power for my Mom and Bob, but we all know there is only so much I can do. Still cleaning, driving her anywhere she needs to be, helping her remember things to pack every day, preparing food and so on.  We have their place here to “summer ize” before they head back to Wisconsin, so there’s a lot to do for that.  Temps can be in the 100s here over the summer so they have to do a laundry list of things to prevent the heat and bugs from getting to things while they are gone. With Bob being in recovery mode, he will be unable to drive back to WI, and certainly not be able to wrap things up here. So Mom and I will hopefully find the strength and knowledge to get it all done. 

Time frames are up in the air, it all depends on tomorrow. I am willing to stay as long as possible, and one scenario is having his son drive Bob and his car home to WI with Mom or I drive Mom up in mine, just for space wise. Then I will either fly back to Orlando and leave my car there and fly back and start the road trip there OR I will be driving all the way back to Florida and then resuming life from there as planned. Decisions….hate them.  Emily’s birthday is in May, and I’d rather not miss it as it is a big one, but I also know I am needed here as long as possible. I did bring as much I could for the road trip in case I would be starting from here, always trying to think ahead, but I didn’t pack very well and a lot I forgot at home. Craig has offered to ship anything I need, so that option is always open.

Trying to keep busy, writing, and planning but my heart’s just not in it right now.  My mom has this old bike that she wants to paint yellow and I thought about making it for her and adding flowers and then putting it in front to surprise her…but the problem with that is that they seem determined to leave for rehab possibly in WI rather than here, so I don’t want to add to more “stuff” to pack, put away, if they are planning on heading out soon.  I wanted to get fresh flowers for Bob for the hospital and here at the house as a “get better” feel- but he’s allergic.  I seem to keep going down these paths of wanting to do something but the end result keeps being a “wait and see”- so I am.

Yeah, this isn’t a post about a cool ghost tour or the Grand Canyon, wish it was, but just simply an update of life right now. I am not looking for pity or judgement, just good vibes and prayers for Bob’s surgery tomorrow and peace for my Mom’s heart and head. It will be a long one tomorrow, strength in whatever form is much appreciated. Sending much love to y’all from Pharr, Texas- have a good day.

The Power of Family

I have learned that blogs are a sort of journal, a diary of sorts that we feel comfortable sharing with others. Maybe it’s the day to day life, maybe it’s a vacation we have taken or a hobby we have perfected. For me, I feel it is my own, little outreach program, where I can share my life in small doses with larger doses of magic and adventure.  But sometimes, real life, and I mean the stuff that we never really want to talk about, sneaks in.  Who would want to share the dark corners? What does that benefit to anyone?  Well, it’s cathartic for the writer and usually relatable to the reader. That is the hope.

My step-dad had a heart attack last week and has been in the hospital ever since.  Scheduled twice now for a triple bypass surgery, he has been waitlisted due to his tests.  So Mom and Bob have been sitting in a hospital for a week tomorrow, and I had been on standby to help.  Nothing is worse than waiting to see what someone needs and not being able to be with them, I can’t even begin to imagine the hell people have been living through with their loved ones in the hospitals suffering and/or dying- Covid or otherwise. 

Once Mom said come, I left.  I can’t be with her in the Hospital due to Covid rules, but at least she can. I reminded her that a year ago they would have never let her be with him, so that’s a good thing at least.  I am here to drive her, food shop, make sure SHE is taken care of and mentally ok to handle all of this.  I had that scary realization that I am at that “stage” in life where parents start to get sick, and the latter. We all know it’s coming, but who is ever actually ready for this??!? Good gravy, I certainly am not. I would like to stay in that hazy thinking that my parents will be around forever.

The drive took 2 days, 19 hours, and one really interesting stay in Baton Rouge, LA.  I had stayed right after Spring Break, and every Fast Food place was depleted pretty bad, and the hotel I stayed at had a full house so there was a lot of “miscommunication” on what room was clean and which wasn’t.  Again, this was such a rushed trip that I just booked something quickly so I didn’t have to do it on the road, but yeah, it wasn’t the best stay. Live and learn.

Grateful I am here safe and sound, tornadoes ripped through Austin the same day I was traveling in Texas. Mom lives really close to the border to Mexico, so I am pretty much as bottom as I can get in the U.S. right now. So happy to see her, so glad to be here to lift her through the anxiety and tears, and just at peace that she now has someone to help her get through this. 

Bob is doing ok, they have him walking around, trying to get him to eat more. But they are frustrated as the surgery has been moved twice now, so the anxiety of waiting around for this BIG thing to happen has him and Mom very stressed.  She is only allowed to come in and out once, so while she sits with him at the Hospital, I am cleaning up her home, washing dishes, and eventually packing them up to head back home to Wisconsin once he is able too.  I don’t know how long I will be here….Mom asked how long I could stay and I said as long as she needs me.  These are the real moments, the ones where you can help the most.  I am just very happy and relieved that I could be here at all.

So there’s the update. Many have messaged me (thank you) and I just thought a quick message here would let everyone know what’s going on. So please pray for him on Thursday that everything is ok and he then starts his road to recovery.  Thanks for the love, support, and good wishes….they help, they are appreciated, and they matter.

ANNOUNCEMENT!!! More than a Trip, More like a Mission

When I came up with this idea of traveling all 50 States, I knew I wanted it to be bigger than myself. Honestly part of my problem in life is that I have a hard time being selfish, that isn’t a pat on the back, it’s just who I am.  I am always looking to better someone else’s life, to make someone else feel good, because honestly in return I feel amazing for touching someone else’s life. Money is great, being known is great, but there is no rush better than helping someone in need or brightening their day.

So with GREAT excitement, I am announcing my purpose and mission today. I call it the “SPREAD KINDNESS” Tour, and I hope to be performing random, and not so random, acts of kindness across the U.S.A.  I don’t have HUGE resources like a lot of these bigger brands and YouTubers, but I have the heart and I have the personality, so hopefully I can make do on those and make someone out there smile on a bad day.  My hope is that people will want to donate to the cause and help me with acts of kindness- any and all suggestions I invite.

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Along with that, I will be raising money for “FEEDING AMERICA.”  I thought about asking people to donate a penny per mile driven from start to finish (48 States).  I will be setting up a link that goes directly to them, that way I don’t have to touch any of it and people know their money went. Why “FEEDING AMERICA?”  Glad you asked!  I volunteered there when I lived back in WI for a spell 4 years ago. I fell in love with the place and their mission, so much that they created a job for me and asked me to work for them full-time. I was ELATED!!!  Helping out others AND getting paid for it, dream come true.  Unfortunately, I would only be working for them for a couple of months before I had a medical issue that knocked me off my feet, putting me in the hospital several times.  I had to give them the opportunity to find someone else, which they did, because I just didn’t feel right holding them up due to something out of my control. So I gave up the dream job, but someone else was blessed with it instead. The organization does AMAZING things to feed the Country, and with us trying to come out of a recession and those needing food now more than ever, I thought this was the perfect place for donations.

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Many will wonder, why can’t you just adventure, why does their have to be something more behind it? Well, the simple answer is that I live to serve. I enjoy it, I need it, and I WANT to leave a legacy of doing some good on this planet.  We each have an opportunity EVERY DAY to bless someone with our time, our love, our help, and our kindness.  Small acts to big, it all adds up. Hasn’t it ever happened to you where you are having THE worst day and some stranger smiles, or says hello, or you get something fun in the mail completely unexpected? Someone pays you a compliment, a phone call checking up on you, or someone just simply making time for you in a busy day?  Such small moments turned into HUGE blessings.  The domino effect than happens and one by one, you start to help someone else, than they do and so on.  Imagine the domino effect I could have across the Nation, I just need to start the first one.

So I am excited, nay, ELATED, to finally announce this because it is something that I have been working on for months!!!! I hope you are too, as I need EACH of you to help me make this happen.  Please consider donating to the acts of kindness through Zelle at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com and making a one time donation or pledging a penny per mile traveled and donating at the end.  More announcements coming on fun stuff for the “Spread Kindness Tour” and I cannot WAIT to share it soon. Have a GREAT day!!!

Thank you for the support!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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What Makes us Want to Travel?

My gosh, do I LOVE a good plan. The idea as it starts to simmer in my brain, the action taken as things come together, the product of what comes of all of it. To me it’s like that first bite of a REALLY good steak, or that rush when the wine finally hits your system.  I get EXCITED and that adreline is truly like a drug.  I was thinking of recent what makes me want to travel so much, why I don’t like staying in one place for very long.  Join me on this deep dive of travel thought.

Maybe it starts as kids? My Mom and Dad took Ryan and I to Niagara Falls, Canada, up and down the Midwest, and eventually our first trip to Disney World.  I would sit in the back seat of our station wagon, or “grocery getter” and I would write down every city we drove through.  Foreshadowing much?  My Dad would ask what I was doing, and I would say “I want to remember all the Cities” and even though we were just passing by, I still wanted to write them down.  Those notes are still in my memory box today. THAT Amy had no idea what she was in for.

Fast forward to getting married and having kids, I have always encouraged my family to seek adventure. If we didn’t have a lot of money, I would scour the coupon sections, the newspaper on Sundays, and eventually the Internet, looking for deals like Groupon to do with the fam.  There was and always IS something to do, I just feel people get lazy on WANTING to do the research.  Whereas our parents hopped in their car and came upon something, which you still can, this World is so big and so full now, that much to be enjoyed requires full attention and reservation.  For a Disney trip, we would plan and countdown for a year if not more.  Yes, children and marriage were the center more than travel at the time, but we still found a way to show our kids a slice of the American dream.

And now today. My kids are grown and finding their paths in life, Craig and I are close, but the road calls to me more than anything.  I wish I understood it. I see so many others who are complacent in living these cozy filled home lives, and I wonder why I don’t want the same. But we all know, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and should be avoided at all costs.  I know, I am lucky and blessed to do this, but it is scary at the same time. I leave the comforts of the same bed, same home, same everything for the unexpected adventure that comes with unexpected bravery.  I am not getting any younger, WHAT am I waiting for?  Well, these HUGE journeys take time and money, and I am stacking both as much as I can for what lies ahead.  A side note, thank you to those who have supported this crazy idea, it means A LOT to me! 

So what makes us travel? Well, for me, I just want to see and do as much as I can while I am on this spinning blue marble. I want to meet as many people as I can, help as many people as I can, share love and joy with as many as I can.  I want to leave a legacy of a life well lived and something my children see as a challenge to rise too.  To LIVE adventure, not just choose it. To BE what life presents you, instead of just floating in it. There is so much out there to see, to experience, to taste, to live. And what people don’t realize is that traveling isn’t just about getting in your car or a plane. It’s about leaving the day to day behind and finding something deeper in your soul that’s waiting to be woken. It’s about seeing different perspectives, different cultures, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual you come in contact with.  Yes, for most it’s a week off work, but what can and WILL change you, if you LET it, is letting the travel make home in your soul so that you carry it with you to the next.  To work our lives away, and I know it’s how we put food on the table, isn’t something that should define our adult existence. Yes, it takes a huge chunk, but I bet you haven’t ever wondered about that extra hour you should have worked compared to that extra hour you spent laughing with someone over dinner, or that extra hour your family decided to stay somewhere longer. Honestly, I think everyone needs a good vacation after the year of Hell we have all had. Or a stiff drink and an order of Chinese food…whatever fits your fancy.

Travel, for me, is freedom. What is travel to you?

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Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Disney Lots for Sale and Leftover Items- PRICES REDUCED!

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Large 34 Lot of Vinylmations…. $40 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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SOLD

DONALD ANNUAL PASSHOLDER MAGNET- $10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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I have three of these, BRAND NEW! $5 each plus $5 shipping/handling. DONALD ANNUAL PASSHOLDER MAGNET- $10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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SOLD

MICKEY FLOWER AND GARDEN ANNUAL PASSHOLDER MAGNET- $10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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SOLD

Over 60 Pin Lot! $40 plus $10 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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SOLD

FIGMENT ANNUAL PASSHOLDER MAGNET- $10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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14 Disney Pin Lot…..$45 for all plus $7 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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SOLD

MICKEY ANNUAL PASSHOLDER MAGNET- $10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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The Original Figment POP Funko…no box…just his cute, adorable self! $10 plus $7 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

Dumbo Popcorn Bucket

Dumbo Popcorn Bucket…. $30 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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BRAND NEW Disney Wedding Dress…. Size: Large… $85 plus $20 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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XL BRAND NEW Food and Wine Sweatshirt….$40 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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Orange Bird Sipper….$15 plus $10 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts Ornament from Disney World….$15 plus $8 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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Duffy Christmas Bear…..$10 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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D23 Exclusive Horizons Patch….$10 plus $5 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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Captain EO Creature….$15 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

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Mickey Birthday Sipper…..$15 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

Sven Sipper

Sven Sipper….$15 plus $15 shipping/handling. Domestic only. Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com. ZELLE payments ONLY to relocatedtourist@yahoo.com unless otherwise discussed.

Email me at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com if you are interested, thanks for stopping by!

Camping Frustrations

I liked to be prepared…. having a plan B or more makes me feel secure. This camping possibility in the West right now is stressing me out.  For a one person, car or tent, it seems like it SHOULD be something as simple as book a piece of concrete slab for the evening or week and let me be, right?  Well, I had no idea what the cutthroat life of a full time camper actually was until I dug into my research this week…I wasn’t prepared.

Now, having OWNED my own Campground with my family growing up, I know how things work. People love a certain site or cabin, book it a year in advance, and so on. We would be fully booked on the big holiday weeks, but for the most part, we always had room for someone who didn’t need hook-ups. Now I am camping in my car, and probably a tent because I don’t know how my back would handle sleeping like that in my back seat every night, and yet I am having THE hardest time trying to book a spot.

My theory? This summer people are more than covid fatigued and want to get the heck out of Dodge. The staycation is over, and they need to get out on the open road, so like I have said before, I see this summer BOOMING in the Tourism sector.  Maybe just within States, but once borders open, it will be massive.

I just had no idea that the entire booking empire of the National Parks and Campgrounds were so sought after and so hard to find. I read camping forums I could find, the information on the National Park websites, yet there is still no one out there that really HELPS you determine what kind of site would be suitable for you.  If you have ANY suggestions for me on how I can find sites easier, please let me know. Yes, there are apps out there, but when you don’t know the areas being suggested, it makes it that much harder.  Of course research must be done on my part, but there is SO MUCH out there that I just get frustrated and stop cold.

Maybe I will just book a hotel or sleep in my car anyways. Any help would be great! I am trying to find something in Yosemite in August. Even if I can just get a couple of nights so I can see a bunch of stuff and then head out. Thanks for any help!

Planning South Dakota

As you all know, it is by far one thing to HAVE an idea, and a whole other ball game to IMPLEMENT it. I can have them all the live, long day, but man oh man does it get hard to actually get it done. What I mean is that planning is fun, it is, but the “where to stay” part has me stressed out a bit.  I knew the West would be a challenge because I don’t know many people out there, but I also knew that the wide open spaces means fewer hotels and availability on camping.  Some book a year in advance for that spot in Yellowstone or Yosemite. I just want to be able to experience them, even if I can’t stay there.  So with a bit of panic in my step, I started hunkering down on where I would be sleeping in each State so that I didn’t wind up without a place to stay.  (Although I will be prepared to sleep in my car should the occasion arise).

The first month of my trip is the familiar- GA, TN, KY, IL, WI, and MN.  These are the ones that I have traveled through many a year to get to and from Disney when I lived in WI along with ones where family lives (WI and MN).  They aren’t easy in any way, and I actually will be doing all brand new stuff in each, BUT, they are familiar and I am staying with family and  friends so it makes it easier in that way. So the first real “ON MY OWN” State will be South Dakota.

Now, I was here in 2018 to see the Badlands as I passed through with Craig. It was one of THE coolest Parks I had ever seen, although Glacier is still my favorite.  I was so bummed I didn’t get to see Mount Rushmore along with many other places, so the first task is always finding a home base for the week.  That in itself takes some research…do I hotel in one place for the week or bounce around as I tour the State?  The issue with that is availability during the summer months.  And with this being the summer HOPEFULLY post Covid, I believe it will be the busiest summer for travel on record. Keep that in mind if you are making plans as well.

So I decided on Rapid City, South Dakota as my home base.  It’s close enough to Keystone, which is Mount Rushmore, and 44 minutes away from Deadwood. Yes, DEADWOOD!! There is a creepy, haunted hotel there I would like to take the ghost tour of, including the fun of the whole town.  I am also an hour or two from the Badlands, so I can check that out again as well.  I am thrilled to have found a hotel for the week so that I can just enjoy myself and not worry about moving around every night.  Obviously, I am not sharing where I am staying, but AFTER the trip I will post my spots for those interested in staying in these areas. 

They have lots of ticketed things to do, including a train ride in Deadwood, and I would LOVE to do that. BUT I am waiting to make sure attractions WILL be open, and not get blindsided with another shut down or wave.  I think everyone is being cautious with plans at this point, but hopefully I can book tours and such by May.

Have you been to South Dakota? What should I see that I haven’t mentioned? I invite all tips and tricks as I have only been there once and would love the details on the stuff I am just not seeing online or have simply missed.  Also their state motto is “Under God, the people rule.”  Being a Believer, NOT an Evangelical, I LOVE this statement. It has a bit of moxie in it, with a side of Country pride. It makes me think they are a God fearing State, and it will be interesting to see if that motto is “felt” in that State.

The State Slogan is: “Great Faces. Great Places” LOVE IT!!  Writing a blog is like writing a book report every day, if you are that on top of it, and so is the research and information. I feel like I am back in grade school again, learning the capitals and the state birds (Pierre and Chinese-ring necked pheasant). Listen, now you know, and knowing is half the battle!  If I have to learn, y’all are going to learn with me. So there ya go, fill me in, tell me what you did or are going to do in South Dakota. See you on the road!

The Host with the Most

I have FINALLY gotten my butt in gear, and booking has begun!  So many of you have offered your home, and I cannot WAIT to see you, tour with you, and get to know you better.  On a live stream this morning, I was chatting with a friend and she mentioned she had a cat and was I allergic.  I thought “Hey, that’s a good post” to put out so people know what to expect hosting me in their homes. I see this a time saver, and if you’d like to host me in your home on this trek, please email or message me, and we will talk!

  1. I don’t have ANY allergies.
  2. I have a cat and dogs, and usually am pet dehaired.  I know how to act with and around them, so no worries. The only thing I ask is that they don’t roam around me while I sleep…I don’t want to accidentally hurt the monster under the bed.
  3. I don’t bring any pets.
  4. I bring my own air mattress and such.
  5. If you would like to tour with me, or like to show me your city, Im all for it! I will have ideas with me as well, so I am usually up for anything. Except HEIGHTS.
  6. I DON’T DO HEIGHTS.
  7. I am up for adventurous eating except spicy foods- they don’t seem to like me and the worst thing to me is getting sick while on the road.
  8. I do have a car, obviously, so a safe place to park her would be great.
  9. I LOVE when my hosts offer to drive me around because I obviously don’t know your area. I am fully ready to help with gas costs, so please let me know.
  10. If you are unable to hang out with me but able to allow me a bed/space at your home, I am happy with that as well. I am not there to interrupt life, just a safe place to put my head at the end of the day.
  11. Anything else you can think of, let me know, and like I said, email or message me if you would like to hang out or host.

I hope this helps everyone interested in hosting me, THANK YOU to those who are already, I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

Planning Georgia

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So before the Sale happened and my February disappeared into thin air, I had a schedule.  One thing they will suggest to a blogger, is to have a set amount of things you’d like to write about, then when, and so on. It keeps the writers block from becoming a writer’s month long wall, and I have to say that it works, WHEN I stay on schedule.  But than the sale, life, throw in some 3 am thoughts in a post, and well, I haven’t been back to that list in quite some time…UNTIL TODAY!! Because I will be visiting all 50 States, I thought it best to write about each one in what their motto is, what I “think” it is, and what I hope to do there. This engages you to come along with me on a journey when I talk about YOURS so that you can give me hints, tips, and if I am right on or dead wrong! So let’s do it in the order I am driving… and for those wondering, I count Florida later.

Georgia is my official FIRST State of this epic journey and I am SO excited because there is so much to see there!  So let’s talk their motto first- Wisdom, justice, and moderation.  Ok, so my thought process immediatedly jumps to the “moderation.”  Possibly they drink a lot? They drank a lot when they decided on this? Someone couldn’t keep their hands off the chocolate? WAS their chocolate yet? Moderation clearly could be anything, but I like the simplicity of this motto.  I have read them ALL and I have to say, this is one of the saner ones. I love wisdom, all about the learning, and justice…well, you hope people get it, but we all know better. It’s also the Peach State….and I don’t remember ever having a peach in GA…did I Christa? LOL

I have been to Georgia many times before for several reasons, one being it is unavoidable driving from Wisconsin to Florida over the last 20 years, so there’s that. Two, it’s Walking Dead territory, so the “Dead Head” that I am, I had to see Senoia aka Woodbury and the rest.  If you haven’t been, it’s a MUST! I am blessed beyond words to have a dear friend, Christine, in Savannah who I have toured with and a dear friend, Christa, in the Newnan area who tours with me there, each on the other side of the State.  Not to mention Martha I got to have lunch with, it’s just a beautiful area that I love to visit.

On this episode, Christa and I will be headed to Atlanta for a couple of days to check out everything we can get our hands on!  I have only ever driven through, and because she lives nearby and knows it VERY well, it makes me feel confident and safe. There’s a Puppetry exhibit, a Civil Rights Museum, and then all of the film and tv locations I can get my hands on!  This is MARVEL territory, and after “Endgame” and now “WandaVision” I am hoping to find some of the places they were filmed.  Of course with Covid and openings being what they are, I will see what’s possible and keep my expectations low. LOL  I’m in GA for only 3 nights so it will be a quick visit before I come back through again next year (yes on the same trip). 

On the way back through in February, I’ll be visiting Savannah again, so hopefully will be able to hang out with Christine again.  We had so much fun last time, it was my first ever ghost tour with her!  I was IN LOVE with that area, the architecture alone I could NOT get enough of! I am sure that Christine was sick of me saying “OMG look at that one!” LOL

So what else should I try to see in Georgia? My hope from these posts is for someone to tell or show me the hidden gems that I may not find in a book or online.  I am all about pulling my car over and taking a small walk to see something, but hikes I will leave to my visits to the National Parks. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, see you on the road!!

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? WANT TO SUPPORT A DREAM, A GOAL, A GAL WITH A HEART FOR ADVENTURE? THEN ZELLE ME AT RELOCATEDTOURIST@YAHOO.COM – EVERY BIT HELPS FOR EVERY BIT OF MY DREAM! THANK YOU!!

Where I Am At

You have this genius, perfect idea in your head of how things are going to go and all the energy you are going to have with it.  I mean, why wouldn’t I? I am only in my young 40s, healthy, so of course I should have the stamina to figure out 800 items in a garage sale, right? LOL Plus I have that whole “48 State Trip” thing happening in less than 3 months time now, AND trying to get my Disney magic in before I don’t have it for a while.  You smell something? Yes, that is my brain frying.

So I spent February, which flew past me like crazy, selling all my beloved treasures for something better.  I knew this going in, and I have done pretty well with the emotional side of things. It has taught me a great lesson in “detachment” and how I need to stop attaching myself to things that honestly don’t matter at the end of the day.  I loved them, now someone else can- the beauty of recycling instead of consuming more. Easy to say, harder to do, but rewarding in the end.

As each box heads out to my car and to the Post Office, I feel a bit lighter.  Once that last one is gone, I may cry for the sheer fact that this portion is OVER.  I am keeping up what’s left for sale over the next couple of months, or when it sells, in case anyone wants anything- every penny counts and I will take it for my adventure. Once May comes I will see what is left and go from there on what I want to do, probably sell in “lots” so that all is well and done before I hit the road.

I’m just excited to hit the Parks again without worrying about this anymore, all I have done is pack and process for 2 straight days…my poor back makes me feel like I am 90 already.  I HAVE to get in planning mode for my big adventure or I will go into way to cold and that terrifies me because I am a planner and I need to know what is coming next. So hopefully with a couple of runs and a trip to MK this week I can shake off this part and start getting in that head space. 

Thanks to everyone who purchased and participated in this crazy month. I am SO thankful to everyone who was kind, consistent, and PATIENT with me. I am one person, I am NOT perfect, but I have done my best and that’s all I can do.  I will tell you that I sold a good portion of my stuff, and I hope some more trickles out over the next couple of months. So please go take a look and let me know.

Moving forward, I have a lot to announce once this is all done this week, so stay tuned!!

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Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Mid-Life Crisis or Mid-Life Celebration?

“Something has changed within me…something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules in someone else’s game.” ~Wicked Broadway Show

As many of you know, life gives us transformations we didn’t see coming, nor ask for. Whether it be a shift in jobs, a move across the Country, a diagnosis we never thought we would hear, or a pandemic we never thought we would live through. Every experience, big or small, seems to either chip away at what we THOUGHT our lives would be, or adds something in some weird twist of fate. 

So, I decided to take this mid-life whatever as a challenge and mission, rather than a crisis.  I am blessed my girls are grown, and as they find their feet to life, I am free to find mine. You never stop being a Mom, but you do know the day when they are ok without you, and frankly, you are ok without them.  For such a long time, I let life define me as a Mom and Wife, and although they are very important and blessed roles, they are not the ONLY roles that I get to be. That’s where life sometimes gets it wrong, that somehow you are put in this certain box and then you are expected to stay there.  Yeah, I don’t think so, not this woman anyways. Sometimes you just know that God has bigger plans for you than you could have ever dreamed.  I get to go find that Amy of 19 that I haven’t seen in a while,  and see what she’s up too (even if her reflection has changed a bit).

Not only with this HUGE Road Trip coming up this summer, but I decided to change A LOT in my life to shed off as much of myself so I could to hit that restart button fresh!  As you see, I am selling everything that I have collected over the last 10 years so that I have nothing to worry about leaving behind, packing, or just plain care about.  It has brought me joy when I needed it, but I’m finding life is sweeter without it. My closet has shrunk drastically, and I shop completely different now. The only things I am buying now are for the trip, and it’s been exciting because I know I will use them.

I have been running again a lot more, working on toning up and losing weight again. I didn’t want to hit the road again feeling like a lumpy marshmallow, and it’s easy to turn into one or remain one when driving so much and eating at so many new places. I have a strict morning routine now with protein shakes that I am IN LOVE WITH and a personal handheld blender that is my favorite thing I got for Christmas so far!  I have noticed that keeping my body healthy and on track, makes EVERYTHING else in my life run that much smoother. Trust me, it works!

What I have discovered is that we are all like Disney World in what Walt hoped for it…that the place would get more beautiful as it grew and changed.  I think we need to switch our view on growing older as not a bad thing, but just another chapter of growth and beauty.  I want to try new things, meet more people, add something to my life that is bursting with purpose and challenge.  I want to learn a new language, travel the globe, find my faith in the smallest to largest corners of the planet…and yes, I will do it older.  Life doesn’t wait for us, TODAY is the day you live. Yes, plan, but every day is truly that gift you wake up to and it is WHAT you do in your day to day that starts to define you and what you’re building too. 

I just decided one day that I was done doing things a certain way, and I cannot tell you the power that came from that decision. Sell, Run, Write, Plan, Disney and Repeat.  So I encourage all of my “Mid-Lifers” out there to seek out that fresh energy, find a new passion, discover your purpose, and then put your mind where your heart is. Join me as I do just that….it’s going to be a wild ride!

The Relocated Tourist

Thank you for your support!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

100 Days Today!!!

I have exactly 100 days today to get everything done before I hit the road…..eeesh.  I feel like I am doing everything I can, every day I can, and still there is always something left to do when I crawl into bed. 

So the sale is going well, albeit the glitch of PayPal being a crime boss, I hope and pray that I will get my stippen of givings that I have worked my tail off for, some time before August. It seems just incredibly sad these days that we trust in these large companies to do the “right thing” (whatever that it is in Corporate speak anymore) yet they use us, abuse us, and kick us to the curb. I didn’t even get change thrown at me like in the movies.  So, we shall see what happens. For now I am using “Zelle” and I actually love it much more.  It is instant, it records it, and it’s just safer. Now, I have used it all of a day, but so far, so good. Please keep buying, you are HELPING me support my dream and you have NO IDEA how badly I need this right now.  It’s just very, very important to me and my well- being, and for them to take it like that, it’s just cruel.  So THANK YOU to those who have had patience with me, who understood this wasn’t my fault, and who have NEVER left my side.  You are my heroes after that day of stress.

I have a shelf in my room that I have deemed my “travel shelf.”  The items that I have been purchasing over the last two months for my trip, the fun stuff, the books, the stickers, the night time glasses, and headache relief tools.  I bought an air mattress for my back seat that I have to test out this week- I will do a blog post on it so you can all see if this was a great buy or a great bust!

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There is so much I need to write about BEFORE I leave, then so much I can’t WAIT to write about once I hit the road.  I honestly can’t wait to be done with the Sale so I can firm up my budget, and creatively now that I am missing a chunk of it, and still get online what I was HOPING to show yall next month. Delays will sadly happen now due to the budget, but I will figure a way to get my ideas out before I head out.

Mom is in TX right now, so I have been checking on her every day, praying for all those dealing with the unsavory weather hitting them.  I grew up with those temps, but those who haven’t, and weren’t ready for it or their State wasn’t, it’s really terrifying.  I can’t even imagine what those are going through, so I do think my problems are really nothing compared to theirs.  It’s been a coping mechanism of mine forever- I may be dealing with something hurtful to me, but someone, somewhere, is hurting way worse and it helps shift my attention, efforts, and empathy to someone else who needs it more. Stay humble and you stay grounded.

So I move forward. This whole “money” thing reminds me of something that actually happened to my Mom.  She and her friends were having a garage sale and a young man walked up and began talking to her. She said they were having a lovely conversation, and then he just smiled, grabbed their cash box, and ran.  My mom and her friends were devastated…so they prayed in the driveway(after calling the Police) and asked God to either bring the money back or that the man use it if he needed it that badly.  In a crazy twist of fate, the Cops found him, and they were returned every single dollar back.  I don’t know what happened of the man, just that he returned the money to the Police for my Mom.  I guess what I’m saying is that I have faith I will be ok, and praying that PayPal gives me my money back.  And if not? I can only hope in some karmic way it’s used for something good.

I plan on, I write on, and just keep staying positive-  because I am just too darn lazy to stay angry. Let the countdown begin!

WE ALL NEED A TRIP!!!! HELP ME, HELP YOU!!! The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by Exclusive Travel Partners.…booking through me supports my mission and I appreciate that VERY much. Click the link and thank you!

 

 

Car Camping….is it for Me?

As big a dreamer as I am, I am also pretty grounded to the Earth. I realize the cost of hoteling it night after night would wreak havoc on my bottom line, so I started thinking about camping during the warmer months.  My make and year of my car aren’t necessary to the story, but let’s just say I don’t have an SUV or Motorhome. So I have to get creative and decide on tent camping, or camping in my car. Here is what I have found!

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So some of you may know, as I have referenced it before, that my family owned a Camping Resort up North in Wisconsin. My Dad taught me how to make fire, fish, and survival skills to the best of his knowledge.  I am not a pro, but I feel I would be able to camp without hesitation due to being around it and watching it for many years. BUT putting up a tent on my own vs with someone else to help is a whole, other story.  I am capable, yes, but I am talking a pop tent where I just unfold it and VOILA – tent! The stakes, the tarps, all of the extras that go with it sounds like a lot of work. On top of the air mattress I will need in the tent so I don’t wake up with a sore back, and then there is the wildlife that may stop by for a party or three that I have NOT invited them too.

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Ok with all that in mind, it led me down the rabbit hole of car camping. Basically a pretty way of saying “living out of your car.”  Now, I don’t have a trunk like most that folds down like a van or SUV would- providing slumber stretched out.  BUT I found on Wayfair an air mattress that is built for your back seat! Now, I am going to wind up sleeping in the fetal position, BUT, I will be OFF the ground, and in a safe vehicle that LOCKS at night with an alarm- which honestly would make me feel much safer.  I can still bring a camping chair, make a fire, and chill outside my car until bed- just without the stress of the whole “get the tent up” part.  Now I have to fill the air mattress every time I want to use it, OR, I will over it up in the back seat so it is not obvious.  Then add privacy screens for the windows, and a really, REALLY good sleeping bag for cold temps overnight, and I should be good to go!

So what are your thoughts? Have you car camped on your own or with your family? I don’t know if I would do it with someone else, there just isn’t enough room, but I can see doing it as one.  It’s not the ONLY way I will stay overnight, but it’s a nice “in between” idea for hotels and staying with friends and family.  People say I should get a dog for the trip- great idea but I have enough to take care of with me, myself, and I. The three of us are MORE than enough to look after. Post your thoughts in the comments along with any tips you may have for me to make it easier. Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for your support!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by Exclusive Travel Partners.…booking through me supports my mission and I appreciate that VERY much. Click the link and thank you!

ExclusiveTravelPartners

My Route and Schedule for my 48 State Trip

I have my route officially down now and have dates in place. I wanted to share this with y’all for those who are interested in hosting me in these States, or for getting together. Now, they are vague for a reason. One, my safety. Those who need to know, will know. Details will be shared via private message for hosts, meet-ups, and so on.  Two, this is my basic plan. Things change, so it will ebb and flow as time charges on.  Third, I know it looks like a lot, because IT IS LOL. BUT I have learned too just go with it and enjoy the ride and time I have been gifted to me. 

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Happy Valentines Day?

As a kid, my thoughts on this day were rather a skewed. I truly thought naked babies were flying around the Earth, plunging arrows into the unexpected, minding their own business. I mean, if they want to keep sticking this “cupid” onto cards and signs, what are kids supposed to think? Of course then it turned into this weird popularity game they groom you for in grade school.  You find a box of Rainbow Brite valentines, sign them all, and then everyone in the class gets one….because that’s fair.  Yet somehow I felt like I never got as many as someone next to me, instead of happy for what I DID get instead. Never mind how Katie got a sucker attached to hers, and I got a rock. LOL J/K

Move on to High School…and some genius Key Club or the latter decide “Let’s raise money by making people feel less than themselves.”  Yeah, it’s true, you know who I am talking too. I don’t know if you had it at your school, but the ever famous “Send a Carnation” to a friend or loved one in school.  As a gesture of kindness, I applaud this effort. But as High Schoolers who were immature brats, this turned into a “You aren’t cool enough” if you didn’t get one.  The pressure I felt to send to ALL of my friends every year, the hope that SOMEONE would remember me….such. a waste. of. time.  First off, if you DID get flowers, everyone with time on their hands needed to know WHO sent them to you.  And you didn’t mind saying who, especially if it was a guy. But then I would see dear people in the halls who looked so forlorn and depressed and I just wanted to give my flowers away.  The feeling that someone remembered me wasn’t worth the feeling of seeing someone else upset. My empathy cup has always been probably to full for my own good, but hey, I was born like this.

Then after school you are an adult, married with kids and NOW the pressure is to remember everyone in your family circle. For YEARS I sent my parents valentines or a small gift, then made or did something for both of my daughters, and then try to think of something creative for my husband.  I felt I would give beyond my means and my capabilities sometimes to make everyone else around me happy, and yet almost every year I felt empty at the end of the day. My expectations of what others would do for me was never what it was, usually next to nothing. (Yeah, I know, that’s on me) Flowers were always nice, or a special dinner, but over the years I have learned that THIS DAY I feel less loved than any other. A holiday born to make us all feel less adequate if love isn’t available that day, and from someone you are romantically connected with.

Then God Bless Amy Poehler and her crew at “Parks and Rec” who came up with “Happy Galentines Day” which is celebrated Feb. 13th.  To honor all women, to love on all women, but to enjoy that day of celebration of EACH OTHER and not having that “special someone” in your life because believe it or not… that special someone is YOU! Such a greeting card statement, you are sooooo welcome.

So Happy Valentines Day for just the day of LOVE. Love your spouse, your partner, your parents, your kids, your pet, your favorite movie with your favorite ice cream today……love everything about yourself today and those in your life.  REINVENT these types of holidays and it completely changes how you see them from year to year. I LOVE you, I will ALWAYS love you, and that smile looks FABULOUS on you today!

Finding the Time to Do it All

Since I have made the decision to hit the road for a year, my life has turned a bit topsy turvy you could say….I am trying to get so much done within these next four months that I find it hard to “come down” from the high of being busy with purpose. A great feeling, but I equate it too that rush you get when you get off a rollercoaster, or maybe while on it, that adrenaline coursing through your veins, and then eventually it dissipates while you ride the Carousel next.  Mine hasn’t dipped in 5 weeks…

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Every day I wake up and check on sales, make sure everything is marked, people have been contacted, and so on.  I know 25 or more items a day is a lot to throw at people, but had I done all of them in a single day or even week would have left many of you overwhelmed and that’s no good to me either.  This pace has been a good one to keep up with, and I am so thankful for everyone’s patience on this.  I have been asked several times if I am sad giving away my things….no, no I’m not.  For this next leg of my journey, the less I have on me, the better, so to me this is the biggest step to take to shed myself of these material possessions so I can open my space up to other things. Not saying it’s right or wrong for those who want to collect or enjoy, but for me, during this stage of life, less is best.

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Then there is Disney and trying to get into the Parks as much as a I can before I head out.  The problem is that Covid is still an issue and I take it very seriously, and I still have to be very aware of HIGH crowd weeks like this one.  I feel safe at Disney, but more people just provide more of a probability, so I weight the pros and cons each time I go in. I feel good contributing to those who work there to help them keep their jobs and the economy going, but I also obviously don’t want to catch anything or bring it home to the family. A very fine line I try to walk with this.

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Once all of the stuff is shipped and gone, I feel then I can really start to dig into the grit of what I want to do and where I am going.  I have my route, albeit it a tentative one, but you have to start somewhere. I am beginning to accept that this may take longer than a year, and that would be fine with me.  My kids are grown and working on their individual lives and Craig is doing his thing, so it’s nice to have the freedom to figure it all out.  I had my girls young, so this feels like my time to have those adventures I didn’t get to have in my 20’s. They say you either do it then, or later in your 50s, thankfully I have landed in my 40s to do them.  That’s the thing too, I want to be YOUNG enough to do these wild adventures before everything on my body goes to hell and I missed the opportunity.

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So with that said, I have been using every minute of my day on the sale or planning my trip. I have a list going of things I need to buy before I leave, get comfortable with a GoPro once I get one, and just check off the many items I have to do before I close that car door. There is so much more going on behind the scenes that I don’t share because it’s personal, but know that I am trying to keep my head above water and DO SOMETHING with this life that God gave me.  I see EVERY DAY as a gift and I know that’s cliché, but my God, knowing so many who have passed from Covid, and other ailments, has definitely opened my eyes to seeing the most of every moment and day.

There is no time for stuff, there is no time for negativity, and there is definitely no time to waste. Only time for love, for peace, and for KINDNESS…and a little bit of planning. I’ll get there.

Thank you for your kindness and support!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Plan it or Wing it?

I am pretty sure I walked out of the womb planning my life…no joke.  I have always needed a plan A, B, and then for good measure, plan C, just in case. Maybe it was the circumstances that surrounded my childhood, or my marriage, that have made me want insurance upon assurance that at least SOMETHING I wanted and planned for my life, went the way I wanted.  So presenting this humungous task of an adventure that I have chosen of my own vilitia, I am left every day with wanting to plan every minute, every second, and some days I throw my handsup in the air and just shout expletives until I feel better.

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Oh, let me tell you, it is one thing to think big thoughts and have big dreams, and then a whole other thing to put then your foot to pavement. To put it in action after your big words, you find yourself held accountable to it, although I kind of like that because it PUSHES me to do it better and to do it more. Weird right? If we are not to care what others think, then why should accountability matter when it comes to our dreams?  It is MY dream, not someone else’s, so why should I care if they think I followed through or not? BECAUSE EXAMPLE MATTERS.  I would like to think that when I am about to do something and announce it to the World, or my corner of it, that I am inspiring someone to do the same. I aspire to inspire, and that it something we ALL should want in our lives. 

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So I sit here with filled notebooks, lots of research materials, and usually a headache because the “where” on starting the planning is usually the toughest. As of right now, I have 48 States to plan out, the last two being some time next year towards the end. OH and a note to those who have sent me things to see and do – A HUGE THANK YOU!!!! That’s EXACTLY what I am looking for!!! I want to hear from the locals because you know all the fun stuff that they sometimes don’t show in the brochures or online.  I have saved EVERY LAST WORD you have sent me, and like a student cramming for an exam, I have been trying to spend Saturdays in some Café or Panera with my laptop, phone, and notebooks, planning, writing, and taking notes for my mission.

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Now, the “whatever” voice in my head, and she can be a pill sometimes and VERY loud, says “ F IT” just go with the flow. HAH, says my common sense voice, because usually the planner in me wins. Now, that’s not to say I won’t come across an experience on my travels and avoid it because it’s not on my “Danny Tanner Schedule”- (if you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry, we can’t be friends LOL) it just means I’d like to know my steps before I walk out every morning.

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And yet the unexpected is my favorite part of any journey….the “I didn’t see that coming.”  Like showing up to the “Field of Dreams” and a ghost player from the movie was there, or finding out that I could go and sit on “Plum Creek” in MN where Laura Ingalls Wilder played and lived. I would head to one thing planned, like Walt’s home in Marceline, MO and on the way come across Mark Twain’s home, where he wrote “Tom Sawyer” and met his childhood sweetheart, Becky.  Did you know that Twain and Walt Disney lived 30 miles apart? Albeit different eras. On top of that, Molly Brown from “Titanic” also had a home in Twain’s city. Crazy right?

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So what would you do? Do you plan every detail or do you just pack up your car or luggage and just go? And let’s be serious, with the times we live in now and still dealing with a Pandemic, and I’m sure still be dealing with it at some level by the time I leave, I have to know what’s open and what’s not.  So many rest stops last summer were closed, and you don’t know how defeating that is when your bladder is at max capacity. I will probably plan a lot, but I hope to find my inner hippie and just “go with it” and let the wind take me where it may. Let’s find out, shall we?

The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by Exclusive Travel Partners.…booking through me supports my mission and I appreciate that VERY much. Click the link and thank you!

ExclusiveTravelPartners

 

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Thank you for your kindness!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Should I Camp, Hotel, AirBnb, Sleep on the Side of the Road?

Honestly the route was the toughest step to get done, but by far the second is how to sleep, stay, and be comfortable at night. We all have our routines, and I am just like everybody else that way.  So walk through my thought process with me, albeit a scary one, and let me know your thoughts on this.

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I know I am a solo traveler, and GASP, a woman, but I know how to handle myself. That being said, I don’t know how many times I still get the “YOU’RE TRAVELING ALONE??? BY YOURSELF?”  Yes, that’s what solo means. Lol I know dangers lurk around every corner, but I also know self defense and I try to always be aware of my surroundings. Also if you constantly live in fear for what COULD go wrong you will always miss out on what could go RIGHT. ALL THAT TO BE SAID….I have NEVER done an Air BnB before and would LOVE some insight on them and if they are SAFE.  It sounds like an awesome time to stay with strangers who could be potentially new friends, or they murder me in my sleep, so there’s that.

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Camping- so my family owned a Camping Resort while I grew up, yes, bet some of you didn’t know that! So I know how to fish, camp, start a fire, etc… even go frogging and cook up frog legs – DO NOT TELL KERMIT- HE WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO ME AGAIN!   I feel like I know how to take care of myself camping, but it is A LOT of work, and how fun would it be alone? Would other campers invite me over for a sit and chat? Would I want to? Is it safe? Will bears eat me in the middle of the night? So many questions….

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Hotels are the easiest and the most expensive. Even if I spend $50 a night, that’s adding up REAL fast! I don’t mind Super 8’s and Red Roof Inns on the road because it’s usually just for the sleep and that’s it, but some of them don’t clean as well as they should and with Covid still being around I’m sure when I hit the road, it makes me nervous. Last summer I stayed at several and wiped down everything I touched when staying at ANY hotel.  It’s the risk I take I guess.

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I have several homes lined up and people to stay with, so that will help to get some love/friendship on the road. I need it for my soul…I can only be alone so long before I crave human interaction… won’t apologize for it, just who I am, can’t do anything about it. So for those of you who have offered, I will se you, and I APPRECIATE the help.  It means you like me, you believe in me, and that will NEVER go unnoticed!!

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Let me know what YOU would do, where you would stay, etc… I am driving my car, not flying. No, I can’t afford an RV and no I don’t have a van to sleep in.  Just answering the questions I KNOW people will ask LOL  Yes, this is my adventure and I AM ready for it, just trying to find the most economical way of enjoying it with me, myself, and I….. HAH, see, I’m not alone, I have two others with me!! Yep, I’m going crazy…join the ride.

Thank you for supporting my dreams!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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