Goodbye, 2016!

In the last few weeks I keep hearing variations of “2016 has been the worst year ever” or “Oh my god, I can’t wait for this year to be over.”

I know Donald Trump was elected president and Prince died, but seriously? 2016 may have been my best year yet!

It was a year full of growth, full of love, full of boosting confidence and taking leaps and as the year comes to a close, my heart is very, very full.

The year opened with me working at Guaranteed Rate mortgage and Topher working for Denver’s biggest theatre company in their scene shop building sets. We were happy enough, but restless.

One night in January, we went out for late night happy hour and cooked up a crazy scheme. We were going to quit our jobs in June, not renew the lease on our apartment, put our stuff in storage and go live in our car in Canada for awhile.

We spent the spring in a state of excitement and anticipation. We worked hard, we saved money. We started #kenziehikes2016 on Instagram and took Kenzie hiking every weekend.

Me and Kenzie at St. Mary’s Glacier

Gianna and I drove up to Aspen to see our favorite band, 21 Pilots, perform at the X-Games and I trial ran sleeping in the car.

My dad and I spent January and February training for a charity ski race called the Jane-a-thon. In March, we skiied 16 mogul runs in 5 hours. It was the most physically intense thing I’ve ever done and it was really rewarding! I had my best ski season EVER!

The view from Tucker Mountain at Copper

We flew to New Orleans with my dad and Sally on St. Patrick’s Day to belatedly celebrate my 21st birthday. It was a really cool trip.

New Orleans

We packed a full summer worth of hikes, bonfires, Yoga on the Rocks and concerts into the month of June and then took off with a fully loaded Subaru on July 1st for our summer adventure.

Me and Markie at Yoga on the Rocks

We went through Wyoming, hitting Grand Tetons and Yellowstone and then spent a week in Montana. Experiencing Glacier National Park was one of my favorite memories of the trip. The drive up Going to the Sun road was incredible.

Beautiful Glacier National Park

The radiator in our car was malfunctioning and the car kept overheating, so we stopped in the tiny town of Kalispell, Montana and Topher replaced the radiator in an O’Reilly parking lot with a $10 socket set. He’s my hero.

After we patched up the car, we headed North to Canada. The plan was to go to Banff and Jasper National parks, but shortly after we crossed the border we realized our only credit cards without a foreign transaction fee were not accepted anywhere in Canada and camping on public lands is not allowed up there as freely as it is in the US. Overwhelmed and with no place to sleep and no money besides the $100 in Canadian cash we had brought, we got some Tim Horton’s donuts and poutine from A&W and changed course.

Kenzie dog enjoying our road trip

We crossed back into the US and decided to head West. We spent a week traipsing through Northern Washington and spent a day in Seattle. We visited Topher’s grandpa in the North Western-most corner of the country, Sequim, WA and celebrated my 22nd birthday by canoeing in Olympic National Park and taking a ferry to Victoria, B.C. There we spent the day wandering the city and inadvertently smuggled Cuban cigars back to the States.

Canoeing in Olympic

We spent a beautiful few days driving down the coast. Kenzie had a blast playing on the beach and we re-visited tiny beach towns from long-ago childhood vacations. We watched the sunset with our car parked on the beach in Ocean City, which was incredibly cool!

Topher and Kenzie on Cannon Beach

We headed inland and got to see all my grandparents in Eugene, OR and then spent a few days with my Mom outside of Bend.

Camping outside of Bend, we climbed down under Tumalo Falls. That was an epic experience, standing under a waterfall!

We headed south into California and the August heat became oppressive. The car was still overheating and we were all hot and homesick. In Redding, CA when the temperature hit 101, we decided to hightail it home. In one stint, a crazy 24 hour drive straight through, we made it back to Denver. Seeing the sunset over Mt. Shasta, the stars over the Nevada desert and the sunrise over Salt Lake City was pretty great.

We spent just about six weeks on the road and didn’t pay for a single campsite. We camped in National Forests and other than one night in a Fred Meyer parking lot in Astoria, OR, we had pretty great experiences.

Quitting my job was scary. Not having an apartment to come back to was scary. Finding places to sleep every night was scary. But it was all something I desperately wanted to do and it was incredible. My confidence grew. My belief in myself, my capabilities. My bond with my little family grew. It was the most incredible experience I will never forget.

It taught me to just do it. You’re so much more capable than you think you are. If you want it, go for it. The universe has a way of working everything out and if you commit 100%, even if your intentions fail, the journey will be so worth it.

We came home and stayed with my dad and Sally for a few weeks before moving into a new place. We love it! It’s in the Tech Center and at least thirty years newer than our place in Golden was.

Topher’s dream was to design and build sets for stage theatre. He found his way into the job at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and was doing what he had always dreamed of. The pay was not great. The work was hard on his body and he realized that there was not a future in that industry for him.

He’s tried going to college several times since graduating from high school with no luck. Failed classes, withdrawn classes. We had come to the realization that maybe school just wasn’t his thing.

This fall, he made the decision to go back to school for Civil Engineering. He enrolled in Metro State and took out student loans. He finished the semester with straight A’s. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

I know I’ve grown and matured this year and I see that he has as well. We’ve grown and matured as a couple and seeing how far we’ve come makes me incredibly proud. We celebrated our 5th anniversary this past month and every day I wake up more in love with him. I know we’re in it for the long haul.

5 Years!

In September my mom came out to visit. We had a wonderful trip exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, poking around Denver and just being together. This was the third time I’ve seen her this year and it was the third drama free trip. Being on rocky ground since I was a pre-teen, this was a huge milestone for me; my relationship with her growing and strengthening.

In September I also started working for Sally’s company, McGhee Productivity Solutions, as a Digital Marketing Coordinator. I work from home and am learning and growing so much in the role. I really love it!

Topher and I’s relationship with Sally has also grown a ton this year. She’s become one of my best friends. Deepening friendships with so many people this year has been so fulfilling. Friends who live on different coasts, mothers, friends here in the area. It makes my heart happy.

This fall was a beautiful one. We had a vampire Halloween party and took a spontaneous trip to Aspen to spend the night in our car again and wake up among the changing leaves. We saw our favorite artist, Watsky, in concert on election night and had an all girls Thanksgiving while my Dad was busy launching a satellite.

Halloween Vamps
Sunrise at the most gorgeous camping spot in Aspen

This month has been a whirlwind and as we draw to a close I desperately want to throw on the brakes and savor this beautiful year. I’m not ready for it to be over.

A new year is not a new season in life though, unless you want it to be. I’m not ready for this season to end, and so I hope the happiness, the love, the adventure continue into the new year.

For those of you who haven’t experienced this past year like I have, I hope 2017 is the start of a fresh season for you. Look past who’s being inaugurated as president and the ever-present pain and despair in the world and look into your heart for the things that can exist no matter what; love, joy, companionship, peace, forgiveness, determination, hope. Be bigger than outside forces in 2017 and let your inner-light create the year you want 2017 to be.

Love always,



Oh Christmas Tree

(This post delayed by flooded apartments and lack of remembering to take a pictute of out decorated tree)

The Christmas tree is probably the most iconic holiday symbol for me. It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until the tree is up and covered in twinkly lights, my favorite ornaments from over the years tucked away in the branches.
For as long as I can remember, my family has gotten a forest service permit and gone and cut our own tree. It’s a wonderful tradition and I have fond memories of tail-gating with our uncle and cousins, dragging massive 18-ft trees up ravines (the best trees always grow in the bottom of ravines, according to my dad) and coming home frozen, to decorate it.

For all of you fake-tree and Christmas tree lot people, Colorado trees are a little bit different. Topher sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly, refers to them as Charlie Brown trees. They’re not the big beautiful West Coast firs you can buy in parking lots and they’re not perfectly symmetrical like their fake wanna-be counterparts, but I think that’s what makes them beautiful none-the-less.

I’ve carried on my family’s tree cutting tradition with Topher and Kenzie the past few years and while its not always the magical, rainbow and butterflies outing I remember it to have been, it feels really good to tramp around the forest, pick out the least Charlie Brown of all the trees, cut it down, strap it to the roof and pray it doesn’t come flying off on the highway.

This year we got our permit from the Pike Ranger District in Fairplay and drove half an hour back towards Denver to get to Lost Creek Road where we cut. The area actually doesn’t have that many trees, its a little prairie-ish in parts (much like beautiful South Park it butts onto) and we drove around for three hours, hiking around looking for the best tree.

Wild trees are imperfect. There’s always bald patches, or the trunk has grown a little wonky. The tree will be completely two-dimensional, lacking branches on the back side or it will be covered in moss.

We finally settled on a “better than anything we’ve seen so far” tree and drug it home.

And that’s where the magic happens.

Because when you get it in your 3×5 spot you had picked out for it, suddenly its the grandest of all the trees and its mighty branches are fighting the wall for space to unfurl and knocking appliances over.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree. How lovely are your branches.

Share in the magic and cut your own tree this year. It’s $10 of fun you really shouldn’t miss out on!

Hunting for Authentic Experiences

Several weeks ago, one of my favorite Instagrammers, Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard), wrote, “It’s only recently that I realized that one authentic experience during a trip is better than 50 tourist stops.”

This has probably been nagging at the back of my mind for several weeks, because I can definitely fall in to this trap. This spring, we went to New Orleans and ended up walking something crazy like 37 miles over the course of the long weekend, mostly at my behest. I tend to feel that if I am not doing, doing, doing I am not truly experiencing. This feeling is magnified like crazy when I’m in a new place. In NOLA, I wanted to have a truly authentic, meaningful experience and so I tried to cram as much into those few short days as possible. The results were hurried and stressful and although I got some great pictures, many of the tourist experiences I was hoping would feel truly meaningful, fell flat. My favorite experience of the whole trip was our first night when we had nothing planned and ended up experiencing a “true” New Orleans night on the town.

I’m not trying to say that tourist “traps” can’t be real or authentic and create amazing memories. On our trip this summer we ended up in a lot of really touristy places. Walking through Geyser Basin in Yellowstone and taking the ferry to Victoria, BC were some of my most cherished experiences of the trip and they were arguably some of the most touristy. However, when you walk into a trip with a list of items to check off, or you Google “Best Things to do in XXX” and try to accomplish them all in a short period of time, the chances of you truly feeling rewarded are not high.

As I mentioned, our road trip this summer was full of touristy places. Some were amazing, others were not. Sometimes tourist traps can really resonate. I think the key is to allow the space for things that work and to admit when things aren’t working and move on. I’m a planner and it can be really hard to get out of the mindset that every little moment needs to be planned. This summer was so good for me because 99% of our time was unplanned. I hadn’t spent hours pouring over Google for the best places to visit or planned our route based on tourist attractions. The most memorable moments of the trip were truly spontaneous and organic. Hammocking next to a river in the middle of Wyoming. Laying on a blanket under the stars in Oregon. Swimming in a mountain lake in Montana. Driving through the last light of the Eastern Washington countryside on a spur of the moment side trip.

And the worst moments? The moments when I most felt like I wanted to go home, the moments where I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting the most out of our crazy adventure? It was when I tried to over plan. It was when I Googled “Best Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula” and we ended up climbing a 13% grade with a million other people. It was when I planned a solid day around hanging out at a lake I’d seen pictures of on Instagram and it turned out to be a crowded, buggy swamp. It was when we started stopping places just to collect postcards rather than because we really wanted to.

That’s not to say that some of my high quality planning didn’t pan out. Taking the ferry to Victoria was magical. Seeing Glacier National Park was a highlight of the trip. We found the most amazing campsite by Googling “Best waterfall hikes near Bend”. I think the moral of what I’m trying to say here is what Burkard wrote. A truly authentic experience is worth so much more than checking off items on a list. Are those truly authentic experiences sometimes items off a list? Absolutely. One of my favorite memories ever is of the hanging bridges in Costa Rica which were absolutely a tourist destination and I’m sure my parents had planned based on some in-depth Googling. Is it wrong to plan those things? No. Not at all. But its also important not to plan every second and to let those authentic experiences happen. Because sometimes, you’re going to fly into New Orleans on St. Patrick’s Day and the torrential downpour is going to stop and there’s going to be a parade like nothing you’ve ever seen. Sometimes, you’re going to be waiting for your ferry in Victoria and have two hours to kill and walk a million miles to the neatest part of the city you never would have stumbled upon otherwise. Coming home from a trip with a camera roll full of pictures of the same iconic places that everybody who has ever been to there possess’ means far less than a truly wonderful memory. Does that mean a truly wonderful memory can’t include walking a hundred miles (are you noticing a theme here?) to the Golden Gate Bridge for some crazy great pictures? Not at all.

Make sure you’re present in the moment. Close Snapchat. Put down your camera for a minute. Take a deep breath and decide if what you’re doing in that moment is truly something you want to be doing. And if it is? Then enjoy the moment however you choose. If its not? Go find something that truly sparks your heart. Because that’s what travel is all about.

Creating Memories or Taking Selfies?

Is snapping a selfie the same as making a memory? Is our instant gratification culture is confusing the two?

With Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook documenting our every step, it can be really hard not to want to have “experiences” that make people scrolling through their news feeds jealous. I can’t tell you the number of hikes I’ve been on lately where teenagers show up with a hammock, stage three or four iPhone pictures and then pack up and leave. Last year I witnessed a couple get out of their car, take two steps down a trail, take a selfie, discuss the caption, and then get in their car and drive away. I think we can all agree there’s no way these people are actually making memories. But it can be so hard not to fall into the trap! Sometimes I’ll have an idea in mind for the best Instagram post. Topher makes fun of me all the time for taking pictures just for “the ‘gram”. Am I guilty of that? Absolutely. We can be having a piss-poor time, the weather can be crappy, we can be hot and hungry and tired and not enjoying ourselves in the slightest, but I stop the car, snap a picture and then doctor it up and make this fake memory for the sole purpose of likes online.

Especially when you’re a photographer, an artist, its a thin line. Sometimes, I want to shoot something because its beautiful, its inspiring. Sometimes I just want to shoot something because I want the photo for social media. Sometimes I set the shot up, take a million different angles, and try really hard. Other times, I snap one photo, just cropping out the hoards of other people doing the same thing, check to make sure its clear and am on my way. Because it looks good on everyone else’s feed. Because I have a witty caption in mind. Because I’ve been dreaming of the shot and I don’t want to admit its not the experience I’d hoped.

An Instagrammer I really admire, @minayounglee suggested truly experiencing a location, with no cameras, cellphones, etc, for 30 minutes before the first snap is ever taken. That way, you have time to really have an experience. To get a feel for the spot and find the perfect shot before you start blindly shooting and ruining a moment with your social aspirations. Its a humbling idea. Could I really sit still for thirty minutes without taking a picture?

The answer is yes. Absolutely. This summer I was gone for a month and a half in some of the most beautiful spots in the country and I only have 400 pictures to prove it. Do I wish I had taken photos some of the places we stopped? Absolutely. Do I regret not taking enough pictures? Honestly, no. The experiences are so much more valuable than a million photos of something I only saw through a lens. I am no Nat Geo photographer, and lucky for me, they have captured most of the world for me already (way better than I ever could hope to!) When time permits, I pull out my camera and try to create art. When it doesn’t, I’m learning to try to create an experience instead. I’m still guilty of pulling out my camera or my phone and taking several generic photos, but I also try to really be present in the moment. I want to be “Instafamous.” I think everyone does! But I also want a mind rich with memories and experiences. So, its a delicate balance. If you’re trying to create art, go for it. If you’re going for an experience, stop with the selfies. You don’t need to prove you were there, if you yourself are not going to remember it because your back was turned to it for a Snapchat.

Free Camping: Getting the Most Out of National Forests

We spent the summer traveling across the US in our Subaru and didn’t pay to camp once. Read on to find out how!

34 days on the road, 7500 miles, 9 states, 2 countries, $0 spent on lodging.

This summer my boyfriend, shepherd (duck) mix and I packed what we could into our Subaru Outback and the rest into a storage unit and took off on a month long road trip. We had limited funds and of course unforseen circumstances arose (like needing a new radiator in Kalispell, Montana) but we managed to stay in budget and have money leftover when we got home by not spending a dime on a place to rest our heads.

We spent a few nights with family members in Washington and Oregon and slept in a Fred Meyer parking lot one night in Astoria, but other than that, we tent and car camped our way across the Western US.

It can be daunting to not know where you’re going to sleep at night. Even in Colorado, where camping trips are usually planned several weeks in advance and locations are known, it can be hard to find a place where you don’t have to pay to pitch your tent. I’m writing this article to share my experience and tips on how to camp in any state for free!

First off, stop Googling “free places to camp near xxx”. If you find any real information, everybody and their brother who was planning on camping in the area has already found it and you will be lucky to find a spot. Grab yourself a physical map of the area and pick a National Forest with a road running through it. As long as there aren’t “no camping” signs or posted regulations, YOU CAN CAMP ANYWHERE in a National Forest*. We had terrible luck with Google Maps showing proper forest boundaries on our trips, so we stuck to physical maps showing boundaries. Once we saw where a national forest began and what the boundaries looked like, we would load the area on Google Maps while we still had cell service. We’d use Maps to look for Forest Service roads (usually indicated by NF, FS or other logical letters before a number) and head for those. Loading satellite images of the area can be helpful to try to decipher what might be flat or have a nice clearing, but if you’re on the road with iffy service, just alot yourself plenty of time before dark to find a place and head towards a Forest Service road.

As a rule of thumb, we never start looking for a camping spot unless we’ve seen a forest service sign or a “welcome to the national forest” type sign. Once we’re sure we’re in the clear, we start exploring the national forest roads. Generally, try to aim away from any private land as distinguishing what’s public and what’s private can be tricky. Take every dubious looking dirt spur road. They often end in the best campsites. Seeing fire rings is an indication that a site is good and that you are indeed where you think you are.

If you don’t have ample time to explore the area, make sure you have a plan B. We tried to set the tent up most nights because there was more space to sleep, but there were oftentimes where we couldn’t find a flat enough place to pitch camp, or there wasn’t much but a small pull out on the side of the road. If you can sleep in your car, you have more options. There were plenty of times we set up the table and chairs and made dinner on the side of a little used dirt road and then slept in the car. In both Montana and Washington, we saw tire tracks off the side of a frequently used paved state highway (in national forest!) and camped with just a bit of forest separating us from the road. It might not always be glamorous, but if you have room in your car, you can sleep pretty much anywhere once you know what you’re looking for. That being said, we were able to pitch our tent more than half of the places we went. There are amazing free campsites all over, you just need patience to find them!

A few dispersed camping etiquette tips…
•If you don’t know the area well, look up fire bans before you go. Don’t have a fire if there’s even a chance of a fire ban, make sure you have a quick way to put it out and burn local wood to avoid spreading  pests! As a rule of thumb, we never had a fire if there wasn’t an existing fire ring.
•If you’re camping near water, do your bussiness and despose of your waste water away from the water source. I believe there’s a 25ft rule, but use common sense.
•Bury your #2 deep and throw toilet paper away in your own trash bag. Feces and used toilet paper attracts bugs and ruins nice campsites.
•Pack it out! This should be a no-brainer, but we encountered horrible amounts of litter on our trip. Bring your own trash bags and throw away EVERYTHING. Don’t burn it unless its paper and it won’t leave a trace and don’t throw your trash around. No one is cleaning up after you.
•Be bear and animal aware. Put anything that smells in your car. Food, trash and dishes attract unwanted visitors.
•Be smart about the roads you’re driving. Some of those dirt spurs? They turn into rock crawler roads with no places to turn around. I’m lucky my boyfriend’s the world’s best backwards driver or I’d still be stuck in a forest on the Olympic Penninsula. If you don’t have 4WD, AWD or high ground clearance, be aware and stay on the main roads. If a road looks sketchy, get out and walk it first. If you don’t have cell signal, finding a tow is gonna be a problem!

Sure, its easier to pay the $10-$20 campgrounds want, but what are you getting for that? A pit toilet and a flimsy picnic table? Frequently we would find a nice campsite half a mile from a campground and be able to use their dumpsters and toilets without paying for the priveledge of setting our tent up there. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you can find designated dispersed camping sites that have tables, fire rings and pit toilets and are free of charge and first come first serve. Follow these GPS coordinates for approximate location of one between Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in Wyoming: 44.108489,-110.668543 and these : 41.861242,-122.772761
for a state highway in NorCal that has a bunch (but this highway IS miserable. )

Its amazing what you can find when you take the time to look. We found great camping just outside Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and Rainier all for free. We even found camping along the Oregon Coast which was a crazy find on a summer Saturday night.

Good luck, and happy travels!

*This means national forest. Not national rec area, not national wildlife refuge, not national park. NATIONAL FOREST ONLY.

Free camping with amenities in Wyoming

Two Humans, A Dog and a Subaru Living in Wanderlust

Hello Again, I just couldn’t stay away!

Life is back in full swing after our trip. I found a new job, Topher is halfway through his first semester back at college, Kenzie is back to lounging her days away in her many beds and the Subaru is happily parked, glad we’re not putting 5,000 miles a month on it anymore.

I learned so many things this summer, but the biggest lesson would have to be that adventure is not just some big, life changing trip. Adventure is how you choose to live. I struggled those first few weeks being back. I felt aimless. Looking for a job felt meaningless. [How do you do what you want to do with your life when what you want to do is wander the world?] My days spent home alone while Topher was at school were filled with longing. We’d already tried packing our bags and driving into the sunset; that wasn’t the solution. Or was it?

Two Fridays ago, we woke up feeling aimless and threw our sleeping bags and a box of Pop Tarts in the car and drove to Aspen. We slept in the Subaru up a crazy 4 wheel drive road in frigid temperatures and ate said Pop Tarts for dinner. And breakfast. And maybe lunch the next day, but don’t tell my mom. But the point is, we had this epic adventure. We woke up to the most amazing view, drove through some of the prettiest country and satisfied our wanderlust. For a few days at least. Instead of planning for another huge adventure that might not happen until Topher graduates college, I switched my focus to looking forward to the next adventure. This summer made us brave. We can sleep in the Subaru like pros. We’re good at finding places to park. We can wake up at 10 on a Saturday and go tackle a 7 mile hike. Sometimes our adventures are as little as trying a new coffee shop. Sometimes they’re as big as taking off on a Friday night, no plans in mind. I guess it took our wild and crazy adventure this summer to prove to me that we didn’t need to be doing anything differently. We’re living that life of adventure I’ve always dreamed of and I don’t think I’d realized it until we came home.

Am I still living for the weekends? Admittedly yes, I am. My “Every Day is an Adventure” coffee mug hasn’t quite convinced me grocery shopping is an adventure yet, but I’m now working virtually and following my creative passions so I’m working on it!

Long story short, I decided this would be the perfect platform to relaunch my blogging efforts. I feel like I have a lot to share, that we as a little family have a lot to share for people like us.  I hope Topher will help me out on here, no promises, but we will be sharing recaps of our adventures, tips of ‘living the adventure lifestyle’, trail reviews, random musings, etc, etc, etc. I know a lot of you are signed up to follow us from our trip and please feel free to unfollow if you’re not interested in this re-brand, but I hope you’ll follow along with us!





The End.

We have now been back in Denver for one week. This is my third attempt at writing this final post, I’m not quite sure why the words won’t come. Maybe its because I don’t want it to be over. Maybe its because once its over it means reality is setting in again. Maybe its because there aren’t words to express the experiences Topher, Kenzie and I had.

Our trip came to a close much as it started; an energy drink filled all nighter. We had two more weeks before it was time to move into our new place, but none of us wanted to string the trip out just for the sake of taking up time. We were tired and dirty and a little homesick. We found ourselves in northern California where it was hot day and night and decided last Wednesday at 4pm that it was time to go back to Denver. Stat.

We took turns driving through the night and pulled into Denver at 2 last Thursday…22 hours straight! It was a crazy, magical last push of our journey. We watched the sun set over Eastern California, gazed at the stars over the Nevada desert and watched the sunrise over the mountains in Salt Lake.

As I let the reality of being back soak in, I’m remembering pieces of our adventure and it feels like a lifetime ago. We saw so many amazing things and places, had so many experiences. We were really and truly spontaneous. 90% of the time we had no idea where we were going to sleep, what adventures the next day would hold, if the car was going to overheat, where our next shower would be. When we started out, we were headed to Canada. Though I’m a little dissapointed that particular adventure didn’t work out, we changed directions spontaneously and had an amazing trip. We explored the streets of Seattle, canoed on the Olympic penninsula, watched the sunset parked on the beach, stood under a waterfall, rode a ferry, saw wild horses, ate blackberries from our campsite and saw every small town in Montana and Washington. We saw bison and mountain goats, golden eagles and osprey. We got to be in the company of family and revisist places from our childhoods. We saw geysers and lava rock, snow capped peaks and temperate rainforests. We wore down jackets in frigid campsites and swam in mountain lakes. We watched sunsets and sunrises. This trip made me realize what I’m capable of, what we’re capable of together. It made me realize that adventure is continuing on even when the plans fall through. It made me love Denver even more. It made me want to travel even more. It made me realize how far we can get when we put our minds to it. It made me never want to eat hummus again. It made me realize how much I love the guy I get to spend the rest of my life with and our sweet dog. It made me love life just a little more.

I’m struggling being back. Its nice to sleep in a bed and shower regularly and wear clean clothes, but I miss getting up every morning and having to boil water for coffee. Having to pitch camp every night. Having a new adventure to look forward to every day and a new view to wake up to every morning. I miss listening to Watsky on repeat and staring at the views out the car window. I don’t really want to job hunt or move into a new place. But everything’s an adventure, right? Or at least, we return to reality, so we can continue to plan new adventures.

Thanks for following along and for your supportive words along the way.

Much love,