Love Letters Straight to Your Heart

Every great love story has to stem from heartache somewhere, so you’ll forgive me if I give you a little back story. A hundred years ago when I was first married (not really a hundred, but you know what I mean) , my then husband and I lived in Tuscaloosa. He was in Grad school and working part time at a bike/outdoor shop. He loved to camp, and at that point I did not (irony), and one day he bought me a rain jacket. An Extra Large rain jacket. That’s how he saw me, and that lead to a host of body image issues that still haven’t completely gone away, and I HATED that jacket. It was huge and hot and didn’t do a good job of keeping me dry.

We’ve been divorced now way longer than we were ever married. And I still had that rain jacket. Up until about 2 weeks ago. 2 weeks ago I found myself falling in love again. With life. With nature. With travel. With camping. With MYSELF. That’s right. This love story is about me finding myself. Seeing myself as I really am. And loving myself. I am not Extra Large. I am not too dumb to understand what you do for work. And I am strong and smart enough to buy a camper, fix things that go wrong, and camp all up and down the East Coast of the good old USA ALL BY MYSELF!!!

So do you know what I did when I hit Maine? When I wanted to go hiking and it was rainy and cold? I marched my butt to the LL Bean Outlet store and bought myself my own rain jacket. In a Petite Small. Because that’s what I am. Not an XL. And I was so happy with my jacket, with myself, and with my life right then, I took this picture to show everyone. I did it all myself.

This travel journey was supposed to end this week, and I am working my way back home to take on another great birthday adventure. (International!!!) But I’m not done traveling yet. I have more I want to see. More I want to fall in love with. And more getting to know myself to do. So, stay tuned. More adventures are coming. I hope you love it as much as I do.

#alovestory #loveyourself #selfcare #travel #adventure #wanderlust #hippiegirl #rvlife #camping #llbean #threedogsandablog #makingmemoriesallovertheworld

Many the Miles

I have had some crazy experiences the past few days. Maybe not crazy, but way out of the realm for me. ( Let’s be honest, this whole adventure is out of the realm for me. But that’s the old me.) Just say that the past few days have been some of my first real “oh so this is what cross country travel is like” days. Let’s talk about New York….

Have you ever driven through New York? How crazy is it? Now imagine doing that towing a camper. A camper you’ve only been towing a couple of months and are still new to. My new friend I made while I was in Maryland told me I absolutely did not want to drive through New York during the day with a camper, and that I needed to go through there around midnight. Me. Doing anything at midnight besides sleeping. Let that simmer.

But I thought about it and realized they were right, so I broke down camp in Maryland Sunday night at 9:00 and hit the road. ( Have I mentioned I don’t see that great at night?) It wasn’t terrible, but then I hit the New Jersey turnpike and started to stress. So dark. So many huge 18 wheelers. Flying. Because they do this all the time. And it started to rain just a little bit. I slowed down. Then I hit New York.

Y’all NY is crazy. You have lanes running beside lanes. If you’re in a car you go to the left. A trailer or truck, to the right. Well, what if you’re a car towing a trailer? I need you to tell me. Because I just don’t know. I slowed down more. It started raining harder. Then, the George Washington bridge. I hate a bridge.

Well, this one has 2 levels. Trucks up top, cars on the lower level. Again, which one am I? Somebody tell me. But somehow I ended up on the lower level. And it was even raining inside there. I didn’t even dare look at either side of me. I was just holding on, tears rolling down my face, trying not to throw up. At this point I was driving 40 MPH and I will never, ever yell at anyone for driving too slow on curves and stuff again. I get it sister. You do what you need to do.

Then I made it to my exit from the bridge and it was a tiny curvy lane that didn’t look like a Volkswagen would fit through it and I thought really? This is what we’re doing now? Ok. Why not. But I made it through, and made it out of the city and started to try to find a rest area to pull over and sleep for a few hours. It was 2:00 AM at this point and I was hurting. But guess what. There’s no rest areas…anywhere. (No street lights either but we won’t talk about that.)

So I found myself in Connecticut. And GPS has me going down this highway where vehicles over 8ft tall are prohibited because of short bridges. Just try and stop me because at this point I DON’T CARE. I need sleep and I have no idea how to get anywhere. And it’s still pitch dark. Finally I found an exit for Stanford. And it said there were hotels. I was about to just go pay for one for the night when I found a WalMart. The best friend of RV travelers. So I pulled in that parking lot at 3:00AM, tried to convince the pups that it was ok to go potty here, and then tried to sleep.

I woke up at 7:30 AM, and walked over to WalMart. When I walked in and saw they had a Dunkin Donuts inside, I nearly dropped to my knees and kissed the floor. Fortified with coffee, I decided I was going to drive the rest of the way to Maine that day. I only had 450 miles left to go, and I was ready to hit my destination. And I did it. And it is so spectacular it took my breath away. This time I cried happy tears. And I got here in time to see the sunset from the steps of my camper.

There’s too many sunsets I haven’t seen. You can’t waste the day wishing it’d slow down. ~ Sara Bareilles “Many the Miles”.

#travel #mainewelcomehome #adventure #wanderlust #hippiegirl #rvtravels #threedogsandablog #manythemiles #makingmemoriesallovertheworld #dinkindonuts #notwithoutcoffee #walmart

Magic and Greyhounds

Magical days. The kind of days you have when you let go of preconceptions of how the day should go, and open your arms and your heart to what is given to you in its place.

I have developed a passion for stand up paddle board (SUP) and did it every day when I was in the Keys. But the last couple of weeks, as I’ve worked my way up the East Coast, the weather hasn’t cooperated and it’s affected my mood. Yesterday, my first full day in Maryland it was supposed to be partly sunny and 78. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it. I was going to SUP. I got my board out, inflated it and put it in the water. But 78 and sunny in Maryland is different than in Florida and the wind was insane. I couldn’t make any headway. So I glumly got out of the water and put my board away. A friend suggested I might need to find a new hobby for this weather and I snapped back maybe I should just go back south.

Instead I looked on TripAdvisor (bless this app) for things to do near me. I already had places planned I wanted to visit over the next 2 days, so I wanted something different. It recommended Main Street Berlin, the town where I’m staying. A cute historical street full of shopping and restaurants. It wasn’t exactly how I thought I’d spend my day but I said screw it, I’ll go.

Magic. Pure, unadulterated magic. First of all, there’s free parking. I’ve been spending time in cities where I pay a minimum of $20 just to park so I can walk around and spend more money. FREE!!! Then I stumbled in a store called Yuppy Puppy. I couldn’t help it when I saw an outline on their glass front door with a special place for nose prints. I roamed around the shop and spent a few minutes talking with the lady who works there about my travels and where I’m headed next. When I came out and turned left…..nirvana….the next shop was The Greyhound-an Indie Bookstore. I walked in and it was like walking in to the library of someone’s home, with chairs and art and books and 2 lovely ladies working. I usually am not much of a talker but the owner, Susan Wimbrow, immediately started talking to me about books, and the book she had written (which I bought, along with 4 others) and she just drew me in. She offered me a glass of wine and the 3 of us ended up sitting and sharing stories and even a few tears, for about the next half hour. They recommended a place for me to eat lunch, and Susan hugged me when I left.

My next stop was Blacksmith Bar & Restaurant, which had the best burger I have eaten in a while. They specialize in local, farm to table, and the recommendation was perfect. From there I thought I was done and would just head back to camp, but I found a place called Sisters, and walked in thinking it was just a little gift shop, but it turned out to be a wine shop with a little seating area at the back and I spent another hour chatting with more locals. (I can just feel my friends shock as they read this because they know I don’t really talk to anyone.) One lady told me about some live music that will be happening at a little place right down the street from camp, and I’ll probably check it out tonight.

All of this magic just because “the day didn’t work out like I thought it should”. Be open. Be friendly. Step out of your comfort zone. “Every adventure is worthwhile.” ~ Amelia Earhart

#mainstreetberlin #thegreyhound #blacksmithberlin #sisters #travel #adventure #wanderlust #hippiegirl #sup #makingmemoriesallovertheworld #berlinmaryland #mayallyourpainsbechampagne