How to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

A step-by-step guide to avoid cabin fever

If you’re a wanderluster at heart like me, you start getting cabin fever within two weeks of getting home from your last trip.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be a permanent adventurer, your heart will never be truly satisfied with the ho-hum of every day life. I can’t take off and travel whenever I get a wild hair and although we do a good job of planning day trips and road trips, sometimes I need a closer-to-home solution.

I give you; how to be a tourist in your hometown, a step-by-step guide to fighting cabin fever.

Step 1: Find adventure buddies. Like your family. They may not be up for driving all night to Moab, but they will certainly be up for a two hour adventure across town.

Step 2: Calendar it so nobody has any excuses. Text your dad the day before because he never accepts calendar appointments.

Step 3: Choose a part of your city or town that you’re not familiar with and do some research (if you live in a small town, find another nearby town)

Step 4: Pick a food venue and an activity that will simultaneously satisfy your wild sister and not send your parents rolling their eyes (your parents are probably up for being more adventurous than you think; mine were surprisingly up for black light yoga and wandering alleys to look at graffiti)

Make sure you pick a really good restaurant or coffee shop so that if your activity totally flops, at least the food will be good.

Step 6: Dress up, take lots of pictures. Let your fiance insult you for being the cause of gentrification when you insult alley stank.

Step 7: Leave as soon as everybody feels over-enlightened and starts to get grumpy. The great thing about stay-cations is that you can go back to your own house and avoid drama that always comes with being too close to your relations for too long!

My current favorite place to be a tourist in Denver is the River North District, aka, RiNO. Last year’s Colorado Crush festival released tons of street artists on the former warehouse district to turn every wall and alley into a masterpiece. Check out RiNO Yoga Social for the coolest black light yoga and Stowaway Coffee and Kitchen for breakfast/brunch that will make you go all heart-eyes emoji.

Questival by Cotopaxi

You may have seen my blog post from last weekend about the Questival we were participating in hosted by Cotopaxi. Now that I’ve sort of caught up on sleep, I wanted to share our experience with you and encourage you to sign up for a future Questival in a town near you!

Cotopaxi is a really amazing outdoor brand that I actually discovered on Instagram. They have a really cool philosophy, make unique and functional outdoor products and are very engaged with their customers. I am a total convert!

They host adventure weekends all over the country that are part scavenger hunt, part adventure race and 100% crazy fun. Last weekend, Topher, his sister, her boyfriend, Kenzie dog and I participated in Denver’s Questival.

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The Curse of Being a Millennial

Insights from DesertX on why Millennials need to break their stereotypes (expect millennial pink, that one can stay!)

I love being a millennial.

Ask anybody and they’ll roll their eyes and agree.

#vanlife?

Millenial Pink?

Hipster coffee shops?

Twenty somethings making a living BLOGGING AND POSTING PICTURES ON SOCIAL MEDIA!?

When the whole millennial term really started popping up a few years ago, I finally found a stereotype of people I can identify with and, it feels pretty cool.

Like any young generation, millennials are re-defining the world. Our generation is eating healthier and consuming less and traveling more. We’re informed, we’re passionate and I really, truly believe that we have a shot at changing the world.

But, to every coin there are two sides.

Stereotypes don’t pop up from unicorn emojis and kombucha startups.

Continue reading “The Curse of Being a Millennial”

Get Out and Experience Life.

There’s something almost counter intuitive about it, but I think that the best chance we have of preserving the beautiful, natural places on our planet is to get people out to truly experience them; to really care about them.

In this age of extreme connectivity, we’re exposed to some of the most amazing places on Earth from the comfort of our beds. We can open Instagram waiting for food at a restaurant, on a conference call, in the drive-thru at Starbucks, anywhere and immediately get a glimpse of the wilds of this world.

When we’re faced with the stark beauty of the Arctic or the remote beaches and rain forests of Asia, its easy to fall in love in a passive way. Nobody wants to see the ice caps melt, nobody wants to see forests bulldozed to grow crops or build homes for our exploding population. Its easy to pretend we care.

Its a passive care, though. Its like seeing a shooting on the news. Its horrifying. Its sad. We feel sympathy, but do we really care? Does it really, deeply affect us? What about when that shooting happens at your neighborhood theater, or in your kids’ school? Suddenly it becomes very, very real. Suddenly you really, really care. Because you’re truly experiencing it.

Continue reading “Get Out and Experience Life.”

I’m Afraid Too.

Would you rather die having not lived at all, or take a risk and live life to the fullest?

I don’t think I’m a brave person.

I’m anxious, I over-analyze and spontaneity is usually reserved for late night Waffle House runs.

I constantly kick myself for living life in fear.

My boyfriend and I were recently talking about how we feel were not “that outdoorsy” or “that adventurous” compared to some of the crazies we see on Instagram. But when I really started to think about it, we are pretty outdoorsy and adventurous compared to a lot of people. I’m shocked when I run into somebody who’s lived in Colorado for a couple years and has never made it up to the mountains. I can’t believe it when someone says they’ve never camped or been to the top of a 14er or snowshoed or skiied.

But then, I have to back myself up.

Fear is nothing to be ashamed of.

Continue reading “I’m Afraid Too.”

Take the Road Less Traveled 

Why road tripping is the best way to see the world.

When I turned 16 and go my first car, my life changed.

That maybe-blue-maybe-purple ’98 Jeep Cherokee with the killer sound system was freedom.

I was an angsty teen in the throws of my parents divorcing and having a car meant freedoms I had never experienced before; like going to parties, dating and doing extracurricular activities that sometimes required staying out until one in the morning.

But more than the normal teenage freedoms wheels provided, that Jeep meant total freedom. I was perfectly aware that I could get anywhere I wanted to on two different continents in that leaky chariot. Within months of getting my license, I was driving all over Colorado and southern Wyoming. It was less than a year later that I took my first real road trip and drove from Denver to LA.  I’ve been hooked on road tripping ever since.

Since the day I got my license, I’ve never felt trapped. I’m always the one to offer to drive because I love the feeling of knowing that I can go anywhere at the drop of a hat. Home, the grocery store, Peru. It’s all accessible.

I’m always surprised at how many people think that travel is unattainable. If you have a car, you can get to some pretty amazing places. Between my boyfriend and myself, we’ve had five cars in varying stages of age, mileage and crappiness that have carried us on some of our favorite adventures.

Last summer, our epic 7,500 mile road trip was done in a ’98 Subaru Outback with over 100,000 miles on it and we were patching it up the entire way.

There’s no excuse not to go when you have a car.* Pack a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jelly, Google Map some WalMarts or National Forests along your route and go have an adventure.

ProTip: Invest the $7 a month your insurance wants to add roadside assistance to your policy. That’s less than two trips to Starbucks and it will save your ass if you get stranded and will give you the peace of mind to enjoy yourself.

I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten to fly a lot in my life and see some pretty incredible places, but honestly? Some of my favorite memories have been made on windy back roads, the destination reached my own hand with the help of a Redbull or two.

So, what are you waiting for? There’s some pretty incredible places within a totally doable driving distance. Here are some suggestions from Denver:

  • Moab – less than 6 hours
  • Las Vegas – a long, but doable, day
  • Grand Canyon – if you leave during a summer sunrise, you can make it there in time for sunset
  • Yellowstone/Grand Tetons – ~6hrs

*Unless you have a car like my ’91 Cherokee that lacked power steering, power brakes, interior lights, heat, took a quart of oil a day, had an alarm that went off every time you opened the door and a shot suspension. That’s probably a valid excuse.

Road trips are Kenzie dog’s favorite.
Take the road less traveled.

Travel Diary – Moab, Utah

The best places to hike, camp and drink coffee in Moab, Utah. Fisher Towers, Dead Horse State Park and camping on HWY 128.

One of my very favorite things to do is to throw some camp gear in the car, take off after work and drive through the dark to find what we hope is an epic campsite, stumble around with headlights and then wake up the next morning to discover where we ended up.

This past week, our destination was just outside Moab, up Utah State Highway 128. We rolled into a campsite at 2AM, the sucking blackness hiding any hint of a landmark, and awoke the next morning to this view:

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Waking up at first light and making coffee on the camp stove while Topher sleeps is another one of my favorite activities. I love the smell of hot coffee and damp grass, watching the sun touch our little corner of the universe, feeling the warmth of the coffee seep through the tin mug into my numb hands and the steam warm my cold nose.

This trip to Moab was focused on hiking. On Thursday we explored Dead Horse State Park and hiked the East Rim Trail, from the visitor’s center to Dead Horse Point. Its an easy 3 mile round trip hike with stunning views the entire way. After thinking it looked familiar, and texting my dad a picture, I realized that I’d rafted that section of river and hiked up the mesa at the point when I was 15, long before the Instagramification of the scenic spot. Yes, I am a hipster.

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On Friday, we got up early and did my favorite hike to date. Fisher Towers feels like stepping onto another planet. The trail immediately takes you down into a canyon and keeps climbing in and out of various canyons, along ledges, on top of cliffs, all while being shadowed by the most amazing red rocks spires. At just over 5 miles round trip, the hike was definitely strenuous with all the elevation loss and gain, but well worth it. There are many epic views along the way and the scenery is incredible. There’s a point where you have to descend an approximately 10 ft metal ladder into a canyon, which was definitely a feat with the dog. It took both of us balancing precariously and a stranger pushing her over the ledge to get her across.

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Kenzie and I enjoying the views

 

This is a trail that I would definitely not attempt in the heat of the day or at all in the summer months. With no shade or running water, once you’re out of the spires’ shadows, you’re pretty much being cooked. Bring more water than you think you could possibly drink, sunscreen and a hat. If there’s even a chance of rain, don’t attempt. Much of the trail winds in and out of canyons that are prime territory for flash flooding.

While we’re not normally “campground people,” we did choose to stay in one of the BLM campgrounds along HWY 128 because we knew we’d be coming in late and didn’t want to have to search for primitive camping. At $15 a night, these plentiful campgrounds are a great option. Note that they were completely full by a Friday night in March, so finding a spot on weekends may not be possible.

While we spent most of our time hiking and reading in camp, we did stop at Moab Coffee Roasters on our way to Dead Horse State Park and were pleasantly surprised by their coffee being roasted in paint buckets in the side of a Life is Good store. Give them a try if you’re in town and in need of a cup of coffee.

I love the stark beauty of the desert. Beaches and rain forests and bustling cities are beautiful, but sometimes all that amazing-ness coming at me is overwhelming. I love the simple colors, the harsh landscape, the marvel of a teeny tiny flower blossoming under a rock or nothing but red rock and scrub brush as far as the eye can see. Somehow, that simple beauty is more beautiful to me than the busiest landscape.

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I love Utah, I love Moab and I love the desert. Go visit for yourself.

Stay tuned for why you should go take a road trip there 🙂

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