Do unto others….

karmaI had an epiphany this morning!  No doubt, it was already rumbling around in my head, but today, I was finally able to verbalize it.  It happened when my husband thanked me for taking care of him.  Can I tell you, that is one of my favorite things in the world to do.

Rich had surgery earlier this week to repair an umbilical hernia, the hernia wasn’t new, it’s been hanging around for years, but he finally decided it was time to repair it.  That had a lot to do with the amount of weight he has lost in the last year, the hernia no longer had the padding around it and was becoming uncomfortable.  This surgery is done all over the country on a daily basis, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that I am a world class worrier.  While this surgery was minor by most standards, it was huge to me.  This man is my world.

Now I don’t mean that in the sense that I don’t have an identity without him, it’s just that we have intertwined our lives so completely that without him and our offroad career, I have no home, no job, no family (no offense to my kids), no friends.  I know I can make more, but this is the lifestyle we have chosen together and I love that.  Several times this year, we have talked about retiring, it always comes back to….but, I love our family!

So back to my epiphany, when you are young and in a relationship, oftentimes you are keeping score, who does what for whom.  If I do the dishes, he should do the laundry, if I put the kids to bed, he should do …, there is always a score.  What a mistake that is!

As Rich thanked me this morning, I realized that I get as much pleasure out of taking care of him as he does.  I look for ways to do things for him, which focuses me on looking for ways to do things for others too.  This is the take away, if you are working for others, you don’t have time or energy to be jealous or disappointed when someone doesn’t do something for you.  How much more positive is life like this!

Living a Life of One’s Own

outloud quoteWelcome, if you are new here…let me introduce myself.

Each day I meet new people, I travel to new places, I live my life out loud. It’s an interesting way to exist. No “home” to speak of, just 280 rambling square feet. No “community” to live in, just random people sharing their lives with us. No “job” to report to, just providing events to those who share our passions. We (my husband and I) are not the norm, we’ve broken free of the script written by our parents and peers to live the life that we imagined.

Now what we do isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I don’t sit on a beach with my laptop staring at the ocean all day, although I wouldn’t mind that some days. I don’t get five-star service with staff around the clock, can’t even imagine what that would be like. I don’t live a life of luxury, nor do I want to. What I do have is freedom. Freedom to choose where I am going to be, the schedule I’m going to be on and the people I’m going to be with. I have the freedom to say no, to reach out when I choose, to hermit when it’s necessary. My life is my own.

I think that’s what each of us strive for, to live the life that we create, to own it, everyday. My life is filled with happy people, with adventurers, with difference makers. With artists and craftsman, with dreamers and doers. Will you find me on Wall Street? No. Will you find me on Main Street? Sometimes. Will you find me online? Definitely. Will you find me at events where people are living their passions. Absolutely!

I blog to reach others, to share my beliefs in the world and the positivity that we witness. We are the fortunate ones, I’d love for you to join me in my adventures and views on the world. Sometimes we are “arting”, sometimes, we are “adulting”, but every day we are living. That to me, is the greatest freedom available.

How do measure a Year in the Life?

How precious to you is one second?  We waste them all the time, we stare in to space, we stare at our phones, how much more could we do if we recognized the importance of a single second in our life.  What would we do with it, it doesn’t seem like much?  I challenge you to film one second of your day, then film another second tomorrow.  And the next day.  Now put them together.  That second suddenly seems longer, more fulfilling, more, just more.

Now look at the morning you just completed, how many seconds did you waste.  Time is the great equalizer, we all have the same amount every day.  Use if for good, use it to be, use it to see the world around you, if only for one second.

Check out this TED talk from Cesar Kuriyama, the man behind the app, One Second Everyday.

I am not a visual person, I rarely watch videos, my movie education is severely lacking, I am a written word person, a tactile person, I want to hold a book, touch a quilt, learn through my eyes, but not with recorded information, so this is really a big deal for me.  I don’t garner information with video. I need text.

I know so many others who love video, SnapChat and YouTube are where they spend all their time. Still others in my life are audiophiles, you know the ones, always with an earbud in, music is their life.  I’m branching out, I’m trying this video thing, I’m capturing one second of each day.

Here’s some practical information for you, One Second Everyday is a free app.  It uses your phone’s camera to record.  Once you have recorded, it allows you to auto-trim the recording to one second.  You can also set up separate timelines within the app, so if you have more than one second you want to record, you can do that, separate your life into chunks.

I thought hard about what my life looks like consistently and what I want to be able to remember about it.  The most consistent thing about my life is that I am outdoors daily, so that is my main timeline.  I expect a quick video of outdoors daily will help to remind me of where I’ve been. I also set one up for our racing/rockcrawling, for family and for fun.  This will help me to capture quick moments to remember.

How do you measure a Year in a Life?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

What will you capture in your year?

Read more: RENT – Seasons Of Love Lyrics | MetroLyrics

North Atlantic Seaboard

flower pot rockRich was able to check a few more states off his “visited” list during these last ten days.  We travelled to Boston for Independence Day, a beautiful long weekend to enjoy.  We ate well, we visited National Parks, we walked miles.  Then we rented a car and got out of Dodge.

We headed north out of Boston to Salem, not to learn about witches, but to explore the Maritime history there.  From there, we stayed on the coastline through New Hampshire and in to Maine.  The food got better and better the farther we went.  Every stop, Rich grabbed his phone and posted a great review on TripAdvisor.  It seemed each location was trying to out do the next in the flavors. (Did you know you can get a lobster roll at McDonald’s?)

We had an awesome night at Glen Cove Motel between Rockport and Camden, Maine.  The food was incredible, the views were spectacular, everything about it was idyllic.  It was hard to leave in the morning, but Acadia National Park was on the agenda.

I’m a huge fan of National Parks, this one left me feeling a little blah.  I’m not sure what it was, but probably the sheer number of people that were visiting on a Tuesday.  I was sorely disappointed.  The rocky shores were gorgeous, even the fog was cool – literally and figuratively.  I’m glad we went, but I feel sorry for the people on the east coast who have only this one nature preserve to go to.  In the west, we have so many spaces, I guess I took them for granted.

Next up was New Brunswick, Canada.  We drove the Fundy Road along the coast and were treated to some beautiful scenery, we stopped and saw the Flower Pot rocks, the reversing rapids, anything along the way, we saw.  Our favorite stop was An Octopus Garden Café in Alma, New Brunswick.  We had stopped in to the hotel restaurant earlier in the morning, and thank goodness they were busy.  I looked at the menu and was so disappointed at the standard fare being offered, we waited for a bit and when no one stepped up to take care of us, I suggested we go find something else.  We were kind when we left and just let them know we were looking for more exotic food, they seemed to understand.

So we drove down the road two blocks (any more than that and we would have been out of town.) As we read the menu, I opted for breakfast food, but noticed the lunch special was a lobster roll.  Technically, we were way too early for lunch, but when Rich ordered it, they smiled and said sure thing.  Rich checked us in on Facebook, and the owner came out of the kitchen to say hello.  Joel was awesome, he took an interest in what we were doing and made sure our meals were perfect.  We visited for quite a long time about his business, it was great to see the passion he had for what he was doing.  I love that.  So lobster roll consumed, we headed to Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia is the most eastern province that is still attached by land, everything else requires water travel to get to.  It means New Scotland and the communities reflect that in the northern states.  So much to do, so much ground to cover.  I can’t wait to share it all with you.

I got the Shot!

sailboatsPhotography is a great hobby of so many people, it’s also an awesome profession.  Personally, I am a picture taker, not a photographer.  I take lots of pictures, but years ago, I gave up carrying a real camera in favor of my cell phone.  I love my Nikon, but let’s face it, all I did was point and shoot anyway. That’s what a picture taker does.

A photographer knows something about the camera and how it will react.  Now, I’ve taken classes in photography.  I have studied composition, F stops, aperture.  I still know nothing about them.  And please don’t get me started with how little I know about Lightroom and Photoshop…at this stage of the game, I can open the programs, but that’s about it.

When I frame a picture, it’s generally to cut something out of the background, not because the composition fits any rules.  I too often, center my subjects, then I hear a little voice that reminds me not to, so I shift ever so slightly.  I know that my photo should be blocked in thirds, but for the life of me, I don’t know why.

In my profession, I meet a lot of photographers, real people with real cameras and the knowledge to use them.  Many have studied photography professionally, some just loved it enough to get good at it.  I am proud of all of them and respect their work.  I see awesome shots every day.  Some of them highly process them, others turn them loose untouched.  All of them have a big investment in their equipment, but most importantly in their time.  There was a meme going around not long ago about paying photographers in “exposure” instead of in cash.  Let me tell you, everyone I know already has exposure, if not, I’m going to give it to them, and you can’t eat with exposure.  Do yourself a favor, if someone takes a photo you love, pay them for it.  Most are super reasonable, they just want you to acknowledge the effort that went in to the shot.

So back to picture taking…I love taking pictures, but I recognized a long time ago that owning a Nikon didn’t make me a photographer.  I’m going to continue snapping photos, I’m going to continue to shoot in to the sun, I’m going to continue to make bad choices.  But every once in a while, I’m going to get the shot, like this one, one that I didn’t set up, didn’t even know I’d gotten until later.  Keep clicking my friends.

Trippin’ the Americas

Travel has always been a priority with me, fortunately I found someone who shares, not only my love of travel, but my travel style.  You see, we like to absorb a culture, not just pick up on what is being offered to us commercially.  We stroll the streets and neighborhoods, we seek out local flavor, we want to live in the green spaces.  Concrete is not our friend, and doing what everyone else is doing?  That is so not us.  We sometimes call it speed touring, we cover a lot of miles when we travel, in our quest to see it all, sometimes you have to keep moving.

quotescover-JPG-14Because we are observers of life, we pick up on things that most don’t.  We eavesdrop on conversations, not deliberately, but just to know where people’s heads are.  As we walked the streets of Boston last week, it would have been so much fun to have a tape recorder just to catch the snippets.  Things overheard included these types of words:

“So exactly where does the Underground Railroad come out?” heard outside the African American Meeting House.

“No, I have my phone off, that way when I turn it on and see some text messages, I can feel good about myself.  If it’s on all day and no one texts me, that will make me feel bad, so I only turn it on when I choose to.”  Heard on a walking path in a National Park.

People amaze me some days, some in their stupidity – yes, I said it; others in their lack of interest in what is around them.  Most in their self absorbance.  I’m not perfect by any means, if you ever hear my husband say with a sweet lilt, “I looove you,” and he’s laughing, it’s because I have let my inner blonde show again.  It happens often, my brain just doesn’t absorb a pattern around me, I am always lost, I read signs the way I want to read them, not necessarily how they are written. These kinds of things happen a lot.

But, I digress, my point is that travel is important.  Get off the beaten path, look at the neighborhoods, look at the lives being lived.  Talk to people, ask them why, show an interest.  Our favorite parts are when we get to hear someone’s story.  When I started writing in 2011, it was because we were travelling full time, that was the start of our real story.  That was when I realized we could share with others some of the cool things that we see.  My blog was Trippin’ the Americas, it is still active, and going to be more so.  We still see some amazing things, we still eat at some amazing places and take some great photos.  I will be featuring places to eat and things to see, roads to travel.  My goal is posting twice a week there and twice a week here, but I could use your help getting my readership up.  Stop over and see what we see, it will be undergoing a facelift soon, but the posts are still good and easy to find.

Boston Pops

flagWhere better to enjoy Independence Day than in the city where the birth of our country began?  Boston is beautiful, it is also small.  I’ve visited lots of cities and most are overwhelming in their size.  Not so Boston.  The little thumb of land is walkable, ask me how I know?  We have covered all the ground from the Inner Harbor to the Charles River and most points in between.  Yes, there are other districts we haven’t been in, we didn’t make it to Brookline (home to our 35th President); we didn’t make it Fenway Park either, being Giants fans, it just wasn’t necessary.  We did, however, make it to Cambridge and Charlestown, as well as all of the North End, Beacon Hill, the West End and the Esplanade.  It was awesome.

The subway system is great, easy to travel, clean, timely, and will take you anywhere. Two tips for you, Inbound means in towards City Center, Outbound takes you to the edges – this will save you a few trips up and down stairs.  Second tip, if you are going to be there for more than two days, buy the weekly pass.  For $19, you can travel on anything the MBTA offers, including the water shuttle from Charleston to the Long Wharf.

The fireworks were spectacular, and I’ve had a lot of experience with fireworks.  We chose to watch from the Cambridge side of the Charles River.  The Boston Pops performed under the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, but because that area is so condensed, they pipe the music across the river for all to hear.  We enjoyed the concert surrounded by 500,000 of our closest friends, and then enjoyed the rest of the show.  The pride in America is Boston Strong, so worth being there.

I Need a Hero!

IMG_20150702_145139780_HDRDefinition of a hero?  Someone who does what needs done at a time when it needs done.  Take Paul Revere as an example.  Take Paul Revere as an example, he was a silversmith as a young man, just trying to get ahead in life, like so many others, but when the call came to do something heroic, Paul delivered.  Today his name lives on in history, as a hero of the American Revolution. (This was just one, of the many conversations we had today.)

History is everywhere in Boston.  At the Charlestown Shipyard you can meet a dozen crew members of the US Constitution and hear their stories of why they went to sea.  You can visit the buildings that once employed over 50,000 people to support the war effort during WWII.  You can walk the battlegrounds of Breed’s Hill where the monument to the Bunker Hill Battle exists today.  TombstonesIMG_20150702_174332768 of those who were born in the 16th century are still in existence at Cobb’s Hill cemetery, and running through the streets of Boston is the brick path to shed light on its’ history: The Freedom Trail.

Just two and a half miles long, the Freedom Trail takes you to all the major points of interest to share the history of this city founded in 1630, and while the history is cool, I found something I enjoyed much more in the city by the bay: The People.

We talked to dozens of different people today, from the bus driver taking his lunch break who directed us to the subway to the locals carrying their Mike’s Pastry box with reverence to the cannoli’s inside.  The lady and her daughter walking dogs on the square had to stop to talk to us when the French Bulldog pup they were walking decided I was his new best friend, he kept coming over and leaning on my leg and backpack.  The Irish girl at Hennessey’s that seated IMG_20150702_160902818_HDRus for our shared lobster dinner had a delightful accent. The fireman at Hook and Ladder #50 who stood on the sidewalk and talked to anyone walking by.  The receptionist in the salon who answered my question with enthusiasm when I asked for a coffee shop and sent me down the street to Zume’s.  They were just a few that made a great first impression for this wonderful city.

The last time I was in Boston was for a day on the famous road trip of 2007; we parked at Boston Commons and walked the Freedom Trail, only to be returning when the skies opened up.  I have never been so wet in all my life, Haley and I ended up changing clothes in the parking garage before we even got back in the car.  This time there is more time and a different view on the adventure, no need to fit it all in a single day, we can enjoy all that is available.  Thank you, Boston, for the hospitality!

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Vagabond63:

We took a little side trip over to Big Bend National Park over Memorial Day, enjoyed the hiking and the exploring available. If you stop in at the State Park, be sure you have plenty of time. The host at the museum doesn’t appear to get many visitors, he held Rich captive for hours telling him stories while I explored the exhibits.

Originally posted on Trippin' the Americas:

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A few days off in South Texas with a good running Jeep presents an opportunity not many take.  Perhaps because it is too far off the beaten path, Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the nation.  We are big fans of National Parks, so we made the trip on a rare week off.

Our first stop was our campground, nestled in the valley between Terlingua and Presidio is Lajitas, a wide spot in the road that has been built in to a destination resort.  There is a large RV park with a pool and clubhouse, a hotel, restaurant, shops, golf and horse riding.  They also had an awesome general store with anything you could imagine, including fresh coffee and cheese.  The campground hosts ended up being friends of friends from Montana, I love the small world we live in.

After settling in at…

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Stardate 1 – a return to cyberspace

life is a storyIt’s weird that I’ve been missing from my own blog.  But for those of you still reading, thanks for not pointing that out.  The year has been an odd one for us.  Busy, but not satisfying in the way it has been before.  That has kept me from writing.  I have always wanted to be a positive voice, but that got hard over the last few months, so rather than weigh anyone down, I got quiet.  It’s time to break the silence and get out in front of the world again.

So let’s begin.  I love my life, I love the people in my life.  They are kind, thoughtful and appreciative of our life’s work.  Or at least my perception is they are, and that’s all that matters.  I have some incredible friends, folks who go out of their way for me and my husband.  We have people who tell us they love us, and we aren’t even related!  Truly, I love my life…I just have to stay out of my own way to appreciate it.

Today is a good day to begin to talk about what is going on in our world.  Lots of new and exciting ideas that we are hoping to expand on, the more we do, the more we impact the lives of others.

Our biggest impact comes with our day job, or I guess it could be a day/night job, well, maybe more like 24/7/365.  There isn’t a minute that we aren’t working on our motorsports events.  We are event promoters, every weekend we are somewhere in the country putting on a 4×4 event (well, maybe every weekend is an exaggeration, but it feels like it).  The people we impact most are the competitors, our goal is to provide them with an event to attend where they can stretch their capabilities and grow with their teams and competitors.  There is not a decision made that their needs aren’t the primary consideration.  Of course there are other people we have to keep happy too, but they take second fiddle to the competitors.

Next on our list of things that make an impact is our health.  We made a conscious decision to get healthy last November, and it has been amazing the number of people paying attention.  My husband is a big man, at one time a few years ago over 400 pounds.  Last fall he was tired of feeling poorly, so we changed our diet.  We didn’t go on a diet, we just changed what we eat, no portion control, just good food.  After all, it starts with food.  That’s the name of the book we read and decided to follow.  No plans, no supplements, no artificial foods to eat, just real food.  Today, I am happy to report, I have lost 27 pounds to Rich’s 85.  Both of us feel good, which is what is most important.  We have found though, that since we live our lives out loud, people pay attention.  They notice, they listen when we say we’ve changed our eating habits and look at the impact!  That is exciting for us.

In January, I attended a program called “Move People to Action”, it was a game changer for me.  A way for me to see how we could make an impact on the world.  Since then, I have been refining my message and figuring out how to share it with the world.  We are going to start today and continue daily on one or another social media platform.  My goal is publishing, and I will be doing that in several forms.  On my blog here I will talk about our life in general and how we view it, on my blog “Trippin’ the Americas” we will focus on the full time travel that we do, there will be a Kindle released book shortly – two are in production today, one on Main Street businesses, and one on Living Life Unscripted.  In addition, we are working on a winter expedition, you can find that on Facebook called Exploration Unknown.  We will also continue to promote the #livewithit campaign regarding helmets and harnesses  in offroad recreation.  I know there is more, and I will take time to share it all with you over the coming months.  Thanks for still being there, just knowing makes the rest much easier.