The Land of Oz…part one

We’ve been in Australia for the better part of three weeks, it’s time to start sharing our trip with you, now that we are out of the hinterlands…here’s a representation of the trip in photos and a few things I loved, and a few things that, maybe, I didn’t love 🙂
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Loved: Good coffee can be found everywhere
Not So Loved:  Aussies have no concept of Large

Loved: There are bakeries with fresh baked delicious cakes
Not So Loved: There are bakeries with fresh baked delicious cakes

Loved: The birds are exotic and noisy and have a ton of personality
Not So Loved: The birds are pests, you have to watch your stuff all the time

Loved: 4×4’s are natural here
Not So Loved:  Everyone calls them utes

Loved:  Streaky bacon
Not So Loved: Everything pork related is called bacon, it should be called ham

Loved:  The National Parks
Not So Loved: There are so many bugs in nature

Stay tuned…this is just a teaser post


It’s a Monday…

Rampage 2015

Days of the week are a mystery to me.  Our lives don’t revolve around a standard work week, so when people complain about Mondays, I’m usually like “whoohoo, it’s a travel day today!”

When folks say “TGIF”, I’m like “WHOOHOO, it’s almost Race Day!”  I love race days!

Today is bittersweet, it’s a Monday, the last Monday before the last race of the year. This time of year, my mind is always ramped up with “Now, What?”  It’s not that we don’t have plans for the next few months, but this always feels like the end.  And I hate endings.

The race season has been accomplished, busy, challenging, dreamlike, exhausting, finished, genius, honest, inspired, joblike, kinetic, loved, magical, natural, obsessive, passionate, quiet, rewarding, successful, treasured, unique, victorious, winsome, yet, oh so zectacular!  (I ran out of ideas for letters 🙂 I am a huge fan of our racers, rockcrawlers, marketing partners, spectators and staff.  Without each and everyone of you, our lives would be less fullfulling.  Thank you for all you do for us, for supporting our dreams.

Rich has a new pitch when someone asks him what he does, he says he provides an adrenalin filled event for competitors in rock sports that want to have fun and enjoy their lives.  What do you think?  Is that an accurate description?  I know it’s only Monday, but I’m already looking forward to Thank God It’s Friday…race day cometh!

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!