Oh, oops.

You know when you mean well to do things? Perhaps seeing a great deal and jump on it to save a few extra bucks? Like say, a flight to Vegas that’s quite a ways out? You tell yourself, “Awesome! I know we are trying to save money, so I’m going to book MY flight for almost nothing using some Southwest points but I will get B’s later so I don’t have to spend extra right now!” 

And then you…forget to buy B’s flight altogether and don’t notice until you’re checking your itinerary for your flight that leaves in 12 days because you see only your name on it?

Yeah that was a fun tidbit to discover last night. D’oh!

Lesson learned, both flights now booked. Instead of leaving at 6:25am, we depart at 10am. At least we’ll get to sleep in a little more?

Also today; realized I messed up a handful of appointments next week. Started to get panicked. Just got everything worked out. 

It’s okay. It almost always works out. 

Sigh. I have to laugh at myself or I would probably go mad. 

=)

Janu-weary and my travel bucket list! 

January. Everyone is in that post-holiday haze. It’s cold and we are expecting snow tonight into tomorrow. I’m tired. 

I couldn’t sleep last night which really isn’t unusual for me. I am up until at least 1:30 or 2 every single night but every 8-12 weeks I enter a completely restless state where I will not be able to fall asleep no matter what I try. I was still awake when B’s alarm clock for work was going off at 4:15 this morning. I can stay asleep just fine but getting there is a whole different story. Yawn.

Long, sleepless story short…it gave me a lot of time to plan out and think about the stuff we have coming up and get even more excited for it. I spent a long time thinking of all of things we and I have seen and done and wanted to post about a couple of them today.

In 2 weeks we will be in Nevada and Arizona and it can’t come sooner! I’m not letting the next week and a half get me down. It’s busy but I have tunnel vision. The Grand Canyon. I cannot wait to take in the magic that everyone says it holds. It is something that has been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. Here is my “off the top of my head” version, as I have the full list penned somewhere (of course):

* = see below for photo!

– See the Grand Canyon (So. Soon.)

– Visit Alaska and whale watch 

– See the Northern Lights (check!)*

– Swim with sharks (kinda check…I puked the whole time…) *

– Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (check…three times and counting!) *

– Mount Rushmore (check!)*

– Drink a pint (or many, rather!)  in a pub in London 

– Visit Yosemite (doing in May!)

– See Crater Lake (doing in May also!)

– Visit the Stanley Hotel in Colorado 

– Visit Grand Teton National Park

– Visit Montana

– Visit Maine

Here’s some pics of the ones I’ve checked off my ever growing list:

We saw the Aurora Borealis in Northern  Michigan (Sturgeon Bay/Cross Village) in September of 2014. Our entire stay in Michigan was incredible, but I will always remember this day! The whole week the water was choppy, it was windy, chilly and cloudy. But on this day the water was smooth as glass, the wind was non-existent and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. B woke me up around 12:30am and said I had to come outside, he had to show me something. We watched the pale green lights dance above the lake for a good hour and a half. I cried. It was amazing. We didn’t have the right equipment to photograph it so there are no actual pictures, but that day we spent on the water kayaking because it was so smooth – so this will always be my photo/symbol of that incredible memory! 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Look, I am not really a fan of Florida. B LOVES Florida.  Growing up, we drove to Florida nearly every summer. I am very grateful my parents could afford to take us kids on vacation, and I will always cherish the memories. But Florida…it’s too hot, it’s flat, I am not really a sun/sand/beach person, and after you’ve been to Destin and PCB 15 times it gets old. Orlando is my Florida exception. (Also the Everglades!) Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom are awesome! We will actually be going back to Orlando in July for a family trip and my birthday!

The first time I went to the WWoHP was in September of 2010. I went with my mom, dad and middle sister. When I first walked into the park, I paused, took a very deep breath, looked around in awe and I cried. Like, legitimately wept. Goosebumps and all. It was so overwhelming! I have always been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. I read the books as they came out and they are a huge part of my life. When my dad offered to take me and my sister we were so ecstatic! The second time B and I went together for our honeymoon. The third time we got to see the brand new Diagon Alley section! That was in February 2016, which brings me to this next picture:

As you know from above, February of 2016 B and I planned an impromptu trip to Florida. Mainly to go to Universal Studios in Orlando and we booked a day trip in Jupiter to free dive with sharks. I won’t get into all the gory details but let’s just say I woke up in severe pain the first night there, had to visit an emergency dental clinic and was hopped up on antibiotics and hydrocodone the rest of the trip. M’s brother and sister in law lived in Miami at the time, and she just so happened to be visiting them while on a work trip while we were in Florida – so we all arranged to meet up for a day, shark dive together and get some food after. I was feeling great. The pain and swelling had gone down immensely and as we were about a mile and a half into the boat ride when I started feeling queasy. Uh oh. Definitely got super sea sick. I never even made it into the water, nor did I want to. M, her brother and B had a great time though, and they even took an awesome selfie, unknowingly catching me in the background chumming the sharks. I laughed so hard I cried for hours when I saw this photo. CLASSIC.

I visited South Dakota in February of 2007 with an old friend! We met and hung out with people from our WoW guild. The trip was excellent and memorable. Besides the 15 hour car ride back home. With food poisoning. Coming out of both ends. In a blizzard. We got into an accident and had to take a Greyhound bus home. I cried. Maybe I should quit traveling in February!!! 

I love having photos of those experiences, no matter how silly the story behind them! If you didn’t notice, I cry a lot. Laugh cry, sad cry, happy cry. I can’t wait to cry more and add to the stories and collection of photos. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Nothing is perfect, we just gotta own it and make it ours. 

I hope everyone is thus far having a great new year. Besides being super sleepy, mine’s been pretty alright. =)

If you haven’t yet, check out my article on MyTrendingStories.com! 

J

Let’s do this!

Soooo I was totally not doing the resolutions thing this year. My reason why is because every year that I make one/some, I never follow through. So instead I am going to outwardly state a few things I know that I can commit to, and a couple things I struggle with and really need to develop new habits with. Here is what I want to do to continue bettering myself this year! 

1) Take more photos. Of things. Of places. Of people. With family. Anything!

2) Travel as much as I can.

3) Write twice as much. Publish more articles.

4) Be more responsible financially. No seriously. I don’t *need* anything I buy…I just want it. 😩 

5) Eat cleaner foods and drink way more water.

6) Spend at least one day a week tech free (minus music access!) so that I can keep up on things I need to get done at home. Laundry, cleaning, organizing.

7) Downsize material things. Clothes, shoes, books, stuff. I will be donating and clearing out a LOT of things over the next few months and can’t wait to reap the benefits of living slightly minimally. I am definitely a “stuff” person. (A sentimental stuff person, not like a hoarder.)

What goals have you set for 2017? I hope they come easy and we can all achieve them! 

J

The countdown begins!

So close to my favorite holiday, New Years Eve! A time for starting new. When winter is in full swing. When you get to dress up to the nines, go out dancing and kiss your love at midnight with some champagne in hand. Or sit on the couch and eat pizza and fall asleep at 11pm. Whichever is more up your alley. =)

The last couple weeks since I have checked in have been filled to the brim with holiday parties, holiday work schedules, an endlessly messy house, lots of family, re-subscribing to my guilty winter pleasure; World of Warcraft (I’ve been playing off and on for almost ELEVEN years. I love it!) and this past week I’ve so far enjoyed 7 out of 9 whole days off. Doing NOTHING. It has been so great. Tomorrow we have a wedding to go to so that will be a fun and different New Years experience! 

Ah, Christmas! Did everyone have a good one? Ours was pleasant. We didn’t need or ask for much. We got a LOT of stuff we needed for Hank. Camp kitchen stuff; ladles and spatulas, a cast iron skillet, electric burners, a crockpot and a food dehydrator. 

We will hopefully be building our platform in a few weeks! A friend of ours graciously offered to help us. We are so lucky to have such great people around us at all times. I decided to order a small cabinet to install that isn’t custom to the vans measurements but it will go with our decor and have some storage and drawers.

Today I went on a morning hike with M and Hilde! It has been a beautiful day. It felt really good to get outside and stretch and get some fresh air. 

Enjoying the photo quality in my new iPhone 7 by the way!

So, something happened recently that I have kept to myself. I didn’t even tell B until yesterday when I finalized everything. A little under a week ago I was approached by an up and coming news source and blogger’s community website called MyTrendingStories. They asked me to be a contributing writer for their website, which I agreed to! I don’t know if I was just feeling bold or bored but I decided to go for it. Here is a link to my first article! It’s been really fun coming up with some fresh content. I’m looking forward to publishing more! 

I’m still not entirely sure how it works or what really the purpose of the website is. Is it going to help me? My blog? Not sure. I just really enjoy writing and any opportunity to do so I will try. Jumping in headfirst! Maybe it will bring good things, maybe it will bring nothing! Either way I’m very proud of my article, it came from the heart about a serious topic that greatly affects me. Anyone else have experience with MyTrendingStories? Let me know!

The beautiful sunset from this evening. 

Next weekend B, the dogs and I will be taking Hank out camping if it isn’t too cold!

I hope that wonderful things come in 2017. I know a lot of people that had an awful time this year. Besides the handful of tragedies in our friend circle, it really hasn’t been a bad year for us. But next year, tomorrow at midnight…this is gonna be one for the books. I can feel it!

Bring it!

J

Long time, no see!

I’ve been away for a hot minute, but I am not doing it on purpose by any means!

It’s been a busy holiday season for us, and I know for sure that goes for everyone else too. We are so close to our year of travel and experience. I have a lot of preparing to do still for some of the things we have planned. There’s money to be saved, bills to be paid and very exciting things to be booked after our main priorities are taken care of.

Stay tuned! This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me this week I hope. I’m off work until Monday and I may throw an old travel post in the mix. 

Happy holidays!

J

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