Lighthouses, The Human Need for Hope and John Mayer

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending some of your moments here with me as my brain goes rambling down the road to unknown destinations. I sit here in the hotel room I have lived in since New Year’s and John Mayer is on shuffle. It brought me back to still yet another “must get out of room” moment, and I took off in the car for the coast with my friend John playing in the car. He is truly one of the best artists to have blaring loudly in the car as you drive to absolutely nowhere. So I thought I would share that day with those of you who chose to stop by for a visit.

Grabbed my camera, made a sandwich, packed some grapes and stopped for a coffee and started driving west. The coastline is only about 50 miles or less from me but the road to get there is…….interesting. Pretty? Yes, but interesting

Drove down the PCH toward Mendocino and took a random right turn. Lo and behold there was a sign….

LIGHTHOUSE ———— THIS WAY —————->>>>>>>>>>

The day was INCREDIBLY windy and got worse when I got out of the car. But pulled my hoodie over my head and started walking. And walking. And walking some more.

Now, I’m not  a small person I’m 5’10” and I had some difficulty standing upright. The wind was brutal, strong To take photos I had to literally back up against something to be able to be somewhat still. The wind was cold, and cut through my Shawshank Redemption sweatshirt that I purposely leave in the trunk of the car for things and times like these. I questioned the logic of this, and should I actually do this on some windy narrow dirt path that I wasn’t even sure would lead to anything? But?

LIGHTHOUSE —————– THIS WAY ——————>>>>>>>>>> so onward I went.

Amazing the simple things that can be so beautiful if you just slow down Take that breath And notice. The fast paced and technology overload is lying to us that life is all scheduled, hectic, stressful and cluttered. The gale forced winds that were cutting through my clothes reminded me exactly of this. A sense of urgency.

Not so. Stop. Slow down. Tuck your phone in a drawer. Notice.

I kept braving the elements, head down and focusing on each step and then I looked up and saw her. My lighthouse.

I think many of us love lighthouses. They are mysterious, majestic, different, and all offer the same human element that we all crave.

Hope.

A beacon in the night. A light in the dark. A warm place to rest your soul. A strong stance, weathering the test of time, of storm, of weather, of tide. It symbolizes the endurance of the human spirit. To stand strong. To face the challenge. To realize the sun will peek her head through those storm clouds. That this storm won’t last forever, but you can do it. Yes you can You can weather the storm. We all can.

Yes lighthouses They say all those things to me. I suppose that’s why I continually find them. And continually seek them out no matter what coastline I happen to be on.

Yes, the storms come. And? They will keep coming. The waters will get choppy. The winds will try to knock you down. You will get tired. You will question whether you can get through or not. You will look around and see nothing but crashing waves.

But hold on. Baby step your way through. Borrow my life mantra of “just keep doing the next right thing”, and the waves will lessen. The storm will calm. The clouds will part.

And you will find your lighthouse.

IMG_8827As always, I truly thank you for stopping here at my rambling thoughts and random photography hideaway. The moments you spend here are appreciated, as they can never be replaced. Thank you for spending them here with me.

Until next time………Be kind………..Always.

Polley93

Traveling Solo, Adventures and The Land of the Giant Trees

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending your moments with me.

Adventure. What is it? In my world, it can be anything you want it to be. I love to travel. I also need to work. So my life has become somewhat of a balancing act. Over the past few years I have learned that Adventure can be anywhere, doing anything, meeting anyone, and for me? It has been solo. Nothing I love more than just taking off to some new place with a camera and capturing its flavor, its personality, and its people.

Some people tend to think an adventure is a well thought out, planned, financed trip of some kind. Vacation time, hundreds or thousands of dollars and packing a week ahead. For me? Adventure could mean a five dollar bill and an hour. I have day trips. These are basically getting in the car, taking roads, traveling for four hours, and having GPS guide me home. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. A weekend trip is 200 miles or less. An overnight someplace. A three-day weekend means I can go as far as 500 miles. Two nights stay. These are solo and I bring my own food.

I have been asked more times than I would care to admit, the same questions. How can you travel alone? Why do you like to do such random things? And, how can you  afford this? Well, I will try to answer those.

How can I travel alone? Well, if I didn’t travel alone for the most part, I wouldn’t travel at all! I have been single for a very long time and have learned that being solo is no excuse for not getting out there and finding what this world has to offer. I look at it as a benefit. No compromising on the where to go, what to do, and cost. If the trip is successful or a dismal failure, it is all up to me. I keep safety factors in mind, and thus far, I have done well.

Why do I like to do such random things? Oh heavens!! Two words for you….WHY NOT? Life has no road map, and therefore, I tend to not have one either on my travels. I have met the most fascinating people, have seen the most amazing things, and have learned life lessons not from a book. I highly suggest (if you have any) getting over your fears, inhibitions, and just GO. You will be so glad you did. Get out of the proverbial box!!

How can I afford to do this? How can I afford NOT to do this? Most of my trips are extremely cheap. It’s a tank of gas, sandwiches and food I bring, and my cameras. If I have to stay overnight for a weekend, I use my infamous hotels.com and find someplace very reasonable. Every tenth night is free. I pay myself a weekly allowance out of the money I work damn hard to make, but I usually don’t spend too much, so when it adds up? I go. My international trips take a little more planning, but I go on those too (next one is October of this year…..passport stamps…..yay!!)

I was fortunate enough to have a three-day weekend, and since I am working in Northern California, I want to experience as much as I can while I’m out here. I decided to go to Sequoia National Park, about 400 miles away. The trip there was very bizarre. Getting through Oakland was no fun. It was flat and nothing forest-like. I was about 100 miles away and was seriously wondering if I was going the right way! How can giant trees be growing around where it was so FLAT?

But? I found Three Rivers, and I was there. I was committed to driving to the park and catching a glimpse of these huge trees before I settled in for the night, so off I went. The park was ten minutes from my motel, and THE TREES were about an hour up the mountain. Oh my…..how glad I was that I went!

Never had I seen things so ginormous. I mean the pictures surely do not do these magnificent statements of nature justice. The forest was silent. Misty. Serene. It was very emotional. All the stress, the traffic, the patients, the drama, the cell phones and computers and demands were? Gone. Just gone. There was this overwhelming nothingness. Just nothing. Just pure air, occasional chirp of a bird. The random quiet “shush” of a breeze, and these towering, magnificent, amazing creatures of nature.

I ventured back to my motel, settled in and slept like a baby. I got up early and had a plan to just be gone. All day. To find what I could find. And to drive to the end of the road. I was amazed at the sprinkle of color I found along the way.

I knew from what I read about these huge trees that the largest tree in the WORLD was right here in this park. It isn’t the tallest, nor is it the widest, but it has the larges MASS of any tree in the world. His name is “General Sherman” and I began my quest to find him. It took quite a hike, and at 7000 feet no less, but I did. He was so big I just stood there for a good long time just staring.

General Sherman is over 2000 years old. TWO THOUSAND YEARS. I wish I could hear his stories…….

After you get through Sequoia, which is a LONG LONG WAY, you enter into another National Park, Kings Canyon. I literally drove through clouds at 5mph, on hairpin turns that were literally 180 degrees, up the mountain range and down the other side. It was literally breathtaking and no way any photo captures its majesty.

The rushing water of King’s River, the huge mountain peaks, the sheer mighty proud stance of the granite and shale mountain sheers. It was just almost too much. I would stop at a turnout to get a photo or get a better view, and if there was anyone there, or someone who would stop, we would all be doing the same thing. Just standing there, looking, still and silent. It was surreal.

I drove to the end of the road. Literally. It was called “end of the road”, I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture!

I turned back around and just enjoyed the drive. And spent my time going slowly through the land of these beautiful giants.

If you have never been, this is definitely bucket-list worthy. I kid you not. Life changing. Makes you really understand just how small we are. Very, very small. I’m so thankful we had presidents in the past who realized we needed to preserve our wonderful lands and make them National Parks. They are pristine, spotless, peaceful, untouched, raw and real. This is a must see.

As always, I appreciate your time. I may repeat myself but I truly believe that time is our most precious life gift. You can’t replace it, buy more of it, or barter for an extension. Once you spend your moments, they are gone. So spend your moments wisely, and on those who matter. And for now? I thank you for spending your moments with me.

Feel free to leave a question, comment, criticism or like.

Until next time………be kind………always,

Polley93

Wknd in Mendocino

Greetings!

A wonderful thing happened the week of both mine and my sister’s birthdays. She flew out here to Northern Cali from Phoenix for a three day weekend. I decided to take her to the coast, a welcome different view from the desert. After an evening dinner at a nearby restaurant, drinking “grouchy old men” drinks (not kidding and they were awesome), we got some sleep and headed out the next morning. A couple hour drive through the twisty, turny, hairpin turn mountain road……and we reached the big water.

First stop, my beloved Glass Beach. I love this place for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the surf. It curls, its a beautiful color and it is simply pure peace.

We headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway to the quaint little coastal town of Mendocino. It is small and quirky, right on the water with lots to do and awesome streets to venture down. But first? Our hotel.

I found it on my BFF hotels.com and had a credit so I got a night at this place for a song. So thankful it only  cost a total of $22……the gardens were absolutely gorgeous, but the room itself was somewhat of a cross between the Eagles rendition of “Hotel California” and a room straight out of “The Shining”…..I kid you not. It was a one time experience for sure! Creepy. It was supposed to have a dining room, a lounge and bar, and a spa. The only thing we got was a 15% discount coupon for breakfast that was about five miles away. No dining. No bar. No spa. All we could do was laugh. A lot. I kept thinking I was gonna see a set of twins down the long hallway, and yes…..I must admit…..I whispered “all work and no play makes jack a very full boy all work and no play makes jack a very dull boy……..etc” yeah….that happened.

Flowers! Flowers! Everywhere! It was such a great environment for writing. Fresh. Full of color. Everything blooming. Combined with a cool ocean breeze.

The coastline is very difficult to describe, and quite honestly? Pictures simply do not do it justice. The environment, the ocean breeze, the salt in the air, the smell of things blooming, the sound of the surf. It almost puts your whole soul into somewhat of a trance. One must experience this at least once in a lifetime!

We took long strolls down little dirt paths along unfenced cliffs. We found a water cave that was really cool, and very beautiful. I actually caught the water spray and colors coming out with the wave!

We took a different path and found an endless journey of lillies. They were nowhere else, just in this one area, but they went on as far as the eye could see.

The Town of Mendocino is very quaint. The architecture of the buildings was truly unique. Every road lead to another surprise. Markets, restaurants, mom and pop kind of shops, luxury shops, sprinkled with artists and their easels and friendly people literally from all over the world. Lots of accents around.

Another scene, another flower lines alley, another garden, another peek at the coastline, every time a corner was turned.

It was a weekend VERY well spent.

Although the area is beautiful, the food was great, the hikes were therapeutic, and the big water was her usual amazing self, the best part of the weekend was my sister. To reconnect, to share the time, to laugh uncontrollably, to talk and cry, to share and support, and to reconfirm what is truly most important in this life is the memory I will tuck away and keep forever from this weekend. Truly special.

As always, thank you for spending your moments with me here on my simple blog. I am working on a potential plan for an extreme trip in October which I am truly excited about. For now I will keep quiet until things are sealed and cemented.

Until then, I will live in my hotel room, with my few things, and find my adventures in this magical land of northern California for a few more months. I have a list of areas here that I will explore and post about. So stay tuned! Remember, everything can be an adventure if you choose to make it so!

Until next time……be kind……always.

Polley93

Touring UK With the Gnome – Pt 1

Greetings! And welcome to my “life in a suitcase”

I have been having serious internet problems out here in the middle of nowhere, usually I can’t get onto this site due to security issues, so I have just been working on drafts and keep trying. Lo and Behold! Today! On my Birthday! I can get through!

In April 2014, I took my little British Gnome (aka, my mum) to the UK after she had told me “Cathy, for all the times I have been back home, I have never seen my country”. Heartbreaking. I had planned on and had almost paid off my infamous “Walk Across UK” adventure, but I cancelled it and started on another plan. I found a tour, booked it, and the plan was set. I honestly thought I would be on a cranky old bus with cranky old people and would just suck it up and like it for the sake of my mother. But oh my……..how wrong I was!! It truly was a trip of a lifetime. And I have to break this blog into two parts there was so damn much going on!!

First stop was Ipswich, in Suffolk, our home and where I basically grew up. No rhyme or reason to the pics…..just a fun and quirky time of coastlines, trains, castles, ad of course, sailing barges……etc

 

Next stop was London. Where we would find our tour group, see the bus, get ready to take a huge trek through England, Scotland and Wales……London is one of my most favorite places. The history, the architecture, the people……and of course…..castles and King Henry VIII things in general………

Quirky London is my favorite. Locks of Love, Graveyards, tributes to my heroine, Lady Diana……and of course….the PETER PAN STATUE!!!!

Windsor is a beautiful place. The castle is magnificent, the streets are a plesure to walk, the people are friendly. During our visit, the Queen of England was there meeting with the Leader of Ireland, which is the reason for the streets being lined with both of the countries flags…..pretty cool that they were both inside of that very castle we were standing outside of!

Bath, England is extraordinary. Street performers every corner. Churches that were simply amazing to stand in front of their grand structure. Pubs, canals, and boats.

Chester, England turned out to be one of my favorite stops. The buildings and black and white went on for days! The food! The walking and finding all of these quirky and amazing buildings, peoples, street performers, etc. One place I will most definitely revisit.

Stratford Upon Avon, an authors heaven. Beatrix Potter and Shakespeare. Amazing. Simple amazing.  A hot cup of tea and a pastry – frequently if youre the gnome!!

A few more days in London, and are there ever enough! We walked literally for  miles and miles. If you have never been to London, I highly recommend that you make it a point of going. With the exchange rate the lowest it has EVER been, it is a great time to plan your trip there. The history alone is worth the trip across the pond!

Our quirky wonderful time! Just a collage of quirkiness as we continually find one adventure after another!!

Of course, this was just the England part. We did tour both Scotland and Wales as well. And that will be in an upcoming post.

I certainly apologize for the delay, but living in a hotel definitely has its challenges. Be on the lookout for ‘PART TWO”  of this amazing adventure, that I got to take with my mother. I mean……who gets to do that???

Thank you for stopping by and sharing our quirky yet amazing adventure. Please leave a comment to let me know you were here.

And as always………..be kind,

Polley93

A Full Tank and 12 Hours Later

Greetings! Welcome to a new week and  a new blog post. Last week I asked for suggestions as I have a lengthy list of prospective subjects, places, etc that I plan to post about, and from the responses I received, the winning subject was to write about the place where I currently am. So? Here goes.

As you probably know, and if you do not, I am a Family Nurse Practitioner, and I travel with a company who finds me locations to work. These are usually outpatient clinics, and usually in random areas, some of them way in the middle of nowhere some are in the city. This one that I currently am, is a little bit of both. The town is called Ukiah, it is in northern California, 100 miles north of San Francisco on highway 101. I was hired to work in a clinic serving nine Indian Tribes. The clinic itself is, in a word, awesome. The people I work with are positive and fun, welcoming, skilled, and make a work day fly by. The care given here is complete and thorough. Yes, I am very thankful. I will be here for six months, at least until late June. Afterward is yet to be determined, and that is just how I like it. It forces me to be in the mindset of “this is temporary, so make every day count.”

This area surely gets its fair share of rain in the winter season, and after two weeks of non-stop, Saturday came, and oh my GOODNESS….there was the sun. I packed my camera and lenses, a blanket, a sweatshirt, a lunch, and got in the car. I sat in the drivers seat, cued up one of my infamous “Road Trip Playlists”, as usual, no map and no compass. I went north the last time I had a free weekend day, and so this time? I headed south on the 101.

I passed through some small towns, the one that i recall was called “Hopland”, I am sorry now I didn’t stop as it looked very quaint with old buildings, and quite small and full of personality. I am told that it is a concentrated area of wine vineyards there, which definitely makes it on a “must return” list. I passed through Santa Rosa and headed right……yeah you got it……toward the big water.

Yes, I sat on the picnic table pictured above, with some food I brought with me and a cup of coffee I found at a roadside coffee hut on the way right north of a place called Bodega Bay. It was very cool, not cold, breezy and a sweatshirt was plenty. I did bring my journal, and spent at least an hour there in the quiet, writing. What I wouldn’t give to just be able to write! Ahhhh but oh that gainful employment thing!!

I had all day, so I was in no hurry. I had never driven this road before, every turn was new, every curve revealed a new scene.

I spent an hour watching a huge river empty out into the ocean. It was such a clash of nature. I looked left and saw hills, trees, and  river full of fish, with boats and fisherman collecting the catch of the day. I looked right and saw the endless Pacific Ocean. And you could actually see a line drawn clearly in the water. River on the left, Ocean on the right. It was something that made me just watch from my parked car on the side of the winding road when I pulled over to the side.

It really is amazing how fantastic some normal things can be, if you just take the time, pull over to the side of the road, breathe deep that fresh air you are surrounded by, and notice. Just notice. Life is such a hectic journey at times. Always a list of “to do’s”, always a response of “I’ve just been so busy’s”. But what I have learned, is that we all have the same 24 hours and everything is a choice. If you don’t stop and notice? Then you have simply chosen not to. I had a list as long as my arm to get completed that Saturday. And yet what did I do? Did my life fall apart? Did my I go into overdraft fees? Did I lose out on sleep or not get the laundry done or get fired or end world peace? Or…….did I just act on a spontaneous moment and have at least a dozen beautiful pictures in my mind forever, meet a few strangers that made me smile, got to decompress, let all the tightness and stress of the week go. Yes……choose “B”….

And then let’s talk about that coast line. Of course……I had to find a lighthouse.

There’s just something very cool about lighthouses. They are a beacon of hope in the night…..and have always spoken to me in a very strange way. Perhaps it was my years growing up on sailing barges with my Grandad in England……I have seen lighthouses all over the place, both coastlines and in Europe. And they always make me stop. Wonder, Imagine. I simply love them.

The Ocean will always be a miracle. There is just something almost magical about the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing upon the shore, and the smaller shoosh of the waves slipping back away to return to the big water. If you aren’t captivated by the shoreline and the ocean, no matter where in the world you may live, I would seriously wonder…..I think I could sit on a shoreline for hours and hours. And not do a thing. The sheer power of the water is enough to make me realize just how very small we are. It is when I am standing on a shoreline that all the “bigness” of all the BS going on in the world today, simply melts away into the big pile of nothing that it is. We are small. The Universe is big. Everything’s going to be ok. Truly.

And a few more……..

And a few more…….

So that was my Saturday. Started in Ukiah, drove south through Santa Rosa, over to Bodega Bay, and headed north clear up to Fort Bragg.  The first day of sunshine in two weeks. A huge catch up day planned with the infamous a million things to do and a list that would give anyone a migraine.  but instead? Took advantage of the sunshine. Spent 12 hours driving up roads I’ve never driven on. I spent a total of $12. Took 115 pictures, and kept 67 of them. The list all got done, the earth still rotated, the world still continued on. I’m a speck of sand on a huge ocean beach. Taking a day completely off, for no reason, with no plan, just didn’t change too much!

Except for me. My peace of mind. My energy level. My outlook. It was worth it.

Moments. We all have the same amount. Life will come and grab your moments. Steal them away in the night. Work will demand of you. Responsibilities will always be lurking. Debts will remain. Needs will always present. But by stopping. Noticing. Collecting moments for your self and tucking them away, although won’t make that work, those responsibilities, those debts disappear. No…..they will be waiting.

But? They really CAN wait

Thank you, as always, for spending some of your moments with me. We may not stand on the same piece of carpet, but nonetheless, I do appreciate your time. Feel free to share my blog, press “like” or leave a comment. Would love to hear from you.

Until next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

Random Sunday Thoughts

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending your moments with me. 

I’m sitting here, on a hotel bed, in the quiet, creating my weekly blog post from my phone. Yes, I live in hotels. Has its moments, benefits and drawbacks. One of them being internet hiccups that prevent me from accessing my blog, and computer photos. So? This blog, will be a typical rambling and scattered mess without my usual mass collection of latest photo shots. Hopefully next week will be better. One thing about me, is I always find a way. My path may not be a straight one, but I usually get there. 

I started a list, after going through my uploaded photography to Lightroom. To make a ballpark plan of upcoming blog posts. What subjects? Places? People? Things? After uploading, I caught a glimpse of the number of photos. 10K of them. Yes, that’s correct and no typo. Ten THOUSAND of them. Keep in mind, I delete and toss the ones I don’t like the same day I shoot, so these are all keepers. The places shot, and the things captured are pretty awesome! 

As I’ve mentioned, my long term plan is vague, I just know I have something stirring deep inside to do something different. I do love healthcare. (Healthcare in general. Not Healthcare in the US after the ACA)  I do love taking care of patients. And I do feel very humbled at the fact I have sought out the populations of the poor and homeless to be dedicated to. However, I feel a stirring. 

My passions? Are writing, photography, and travel. So, although not altogether sure, I know I’m headed in a direction to combine all those passions together and create an income through them. Call it a win/win. I’m working toward that end now. But? For now? I travel with my current career choice, a Family Nurse Practitioner, and go to wherever the need is. Live in hotels. Go on random adventures on my own. Hence……Life in a suitcase….. And for now it’s in Northern California. 

We all have dreams. Pictures of ourselves doing what truly makes us happy. My vision? Backpacking across Europe. Collecting passport stamps. Going wherever, whenever and for whatever. Peru. Prague. Africa. Canada. Budapest. India. Nepal. Writing about it. Photographing it. And creating a YouTube channel for single women that desire to do the same thing. Believe it or not, there are many of us. Why not? Do not have a clue how I’m going to pull this off. But? I can tell you something. 

I will. 

So….with that being said, here is a short list of places I’ve been, places I’ve photographed, and experiences I’ve had, that all deserve a blog post. Let me know what piques your interest and I will put it at the top of the list. 

The Beautiful Arizona Desert – Southern Arizona. You either love it, or hate it. I believe it’s beautiful. It’s always reminded me that any circumstance can be survived through. 

Crescent City California – (last town in California before the Oregon state line) Coastlines. Barking seals as my alarm clock. Being told by an Indian Chief to go sit on a rock. Many weekend road trips. 1400 mile commute to get there. 

New Town North Dakota – learned much about the pipeline. Survived -36 degrees. Rugged and beautiful open spaces. Driving home to Az in a blizzard being the only vehicle on the freeway and the highway patrol even refusing a rescue. 

Hartford Connecticut and East Coast – six of the most beautiful months. History. Many weekend trips. Parents visit for a week. Survived the worst winter in Connecticut history. 

London –been many times. Too many details to post here. King Henry VIII. Castles. Pageantry. History. Pubs. Double Decker’s. The Arts. Fish and Chips.  My most favorite city in the world. However, from travelers I have met along my journey, I have been told that after I experience Prague, this may drop to #2 spot? Whaaat? 

Northern Arizona – Sedona. Flagstaff. Grand Canyon. Oh yeah….. and working at a prison and surviving three riots being the only provider there. Yeah, that happened. 

Wales – Amazing. Must go back. 

Scotland – Again. Amazing. Kilts. Shearing sheep. Haggis. Edinburgh. Castles. William Wallace. History for days. 

United Kingdom – This will definitely take more than one post. The entire country. Bath. Chester. Stratford Upon Avon. Football. Culture. History. Architecture. 

Northern California – Where I am now. Wine country. Indian history. Coastline. An area yet to be fully explored. 

9 hr day trip yesterday. Found a lighthouse. The photos are breathtaking! Soon……

And that’s a short list. Drop me a vote on what you’d like first. Also, my random brain is sure to hop off on a few bunny trails. So expect posts on my inanimate object picture taking days (bridges, ocean waves, doors, lock and keys, trees etc)

Subjects? Traveling on a budget. Minimalist packing tips. How to keep your peace during these chaotic times. Don’t ask why, just ask yourself why not. Making a plan and sticking to it. Being true to yourself. Tiny Homes (yes, my future) 

I suppose after all of the above, at the end of the day……it’s this. And this I truly believe:

The only limits we have, are self imposed. 

I so appreciate you getting to this point in my blog! And again, thank you for spending your time with me. Moments are most precious, never to be returned. We all get the same 24 hours. Spend them wisely. 

Make sure to click “like”, leave a comment or suggestion, and leave your vote on the next blog subject!! 

Until next time……be kind…..always. 

Polley93 

A Hidden Gem

Greetings! And as always, thank you for sharing your moments here with me. As you know if you have read any of my posts, I can be a random person, always looking for something to learn, someone to meet, somewhere to go, a new adventure to experience. As I traveled from Tucson Arizona to Ukiah California, I took the Pacific Coast Highway and took five or six days to inch my way up and photograph the journey. (see catherinescottage.net – that was to be my last post on that blog site). When I planned the trip I tried to gauge miles and booked hotels on the way. The last night on that journey, I cashed in my hotels.com free night credit and decided to splurge on a nicer hotel than usual. I had no idea the town it was in, as honestly?  have never heard of it. But wowza! What a find!!

CAPITOLA, CALIFORNIA

Capitola is a dot on the map, right off of the 101 and just south of Santa Rosa. I didn’t choose this due to the location, I found the hotel and it happened to be there. I originally looked for a hotel that was quiet, unique, and pretty. I found a bed and breakfast that looked kind of like a Beauty and the Beast location, all fancy and fairy tale like. And it just happened to be in the quaintest little beach town. The town of “Capitola, California.

The board walks, the quaint little streets, the coastal strolls, the pubs and restaurants. This will definitely be on my places to return to. Lo and behold I found an English pub, ran by a couple of Brits that were almost as crazy as I am! They made me an original Steak and Kidney pie, treated me to a pint and I watched English footie for a couple of hours. Heaven.

And now for the hotel, which was more of a Bed and Breakfast. Twelve rooms total.

THE DEPOT INN

The front door was locked and it was opened by a young woman who was in a typical black and white European style skirt and blouse. She knew already who I was and showed me right in. She took a personal interest in everything I was there for. The entry room and parlor was very European. With special touches every where you looked.

She showed me every nook and cranny of the place, and handed me a big golden key. It really did feel like a fairy tale. My room was at the top of the stairs. “The Stratford upon Avon” suite.

The room was simply amazing. I mean….perfect. Down to the toiletries in the bathroom. A steam shower with rain spout. A fireplace. A window seat. It was just so pretty, made me feel like a princess. I went out to explore the town before the sun went down and to take some pictures, that’s when I found the English pub and hung out for a bit. Returned to the hotel with cordials and port waiting? Seriously? That was a first for me! Also local wines to choose from in fancy crystal wine glasses.

Let me tell you, it was one of the best night’s sleep I have ever had. With cracked windows, sea breezes and a fireplace throughout the night. The bed was one of those that gives you a big hug with covers just heavy enough to wrap you up and hold you comfortably. Didn’t even turn the tv on. It was just too perfect.

I was asked what time I would like breakfast and I said 8am since I needed to hit the road to get to my final destination. When I walked downstairs I was greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a chair pulled out and waiting for me.

The breakfast wasn’t anything I would have ever ordered. Eggs Benedict with hollandaise with avocados and some other stuff….I thought…..O. M. G. Runny eggs? avocados? But I promised myself I would not turn anything down,and this is the year for trying everything before I judge.

So I ate it.

And honestly? It was one of the best meals I have ever had. Lesson Learned.

I’m all about being financially wise and pinching pennies to get the most mileage out of every experience I can. But once in a while it is ok to step outside of reality and be in a scene from Beauty and the Beast…..if just for a night.

Well worth it. Depot Inn, in Capitola California. If you ever get a chance, treat yourself. It was totally worth it!

Sidenote: Each of us has a journey, a path. Most of our stories are not easy. The image we project is usually our best side, our happy place. But there is always some kind of a challenge, struggle, mountain to climb. Each of us is different. With that being said, don’t judge your fellow brother or sister you pass along your journey. You never know what the faces you pass are struggling with. Financial issues, family issues, homelessness, loneliness, mental illness…..whatever. As you know I carry my infamous ziploc baggies full of the hotel toiletries i save, a $5 bill, playing cards, chewing gum, a pair of socks, and whatever else I find, along with a handwritten note with a positive message of “hang in there”. I give them out to anyone I pass along my way holding up one of those infamous cardboard signs. I’m forever writing “love notes” in my random spare time, to anyone, or no one, and leave them everywhere. Airport bathrooms, grocery store shelves, park benches with a “To you. Yes You. If you are reading this, this is for you” on the front of a colorful envelope.

My point is this. I’m nobody special, and I do have my own struggles. But?  It’s what I can do. With what I have. Where I am. Kindness is contagious. Kindness is free. You may not ever know if you have truly made a difference. But I do know, that paths cross for a reason. And this Universe has a magical way of placing us where we are supposed to be and finding what we are supposed to find. A word of encouragement, an act of kindness, goes a long way. I know it does with me. It starts a magical effect and by being kind? It encourages another to be kind. So…..pay for the next person in line if you are able. Carry groceries. Open doors. Give up your seat on the train or subway. SMILE. This world needs more kindness. And that is not dependant upon zip code.

Until next time…..As always…….be kind,

Polley93

Random Exploring

Greetings! And welcome to still yet another one of Tink’s infamous “do-overs”. Being the occasional airhead I can be, I locked myself out of my main blog site, and after several attempts, emails, and a very near complete breakdown, I just threw in the towel. This? Will be my  main blog site from this point forward. It will receive an overhaul eventually. Check out the previous blog (catherinescottage.net) if you haven’t, but from this point on……COME HERE!!

Lifeinasuitcase.net

The past weekend was the first two days of sunshine since I’ve been here in the Ukiah, California area. I packed my cameras, journal, grabbed a scarf and my keys and started driving. I have learned that you don’t need much of a plan to find extraordinary things. I work much better without a map. Just go. GPS will always get me home. I knew the coast was 60 miles away. What I didn’t know……was it took two and a half hours to get there!

Drove through hairpin Forest roads, looked out over some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery. Not too sure where the ocean was….but surely I was headed in the right direction?

The Forest abruptly ended and all of a sudden I saw a “Welcome to Fort Bragg” sign. What a quaint and pretty town! Saw the “big water” and that’s how I spent the rest of my day. Found the infamous “Glass Beach” and spent hours just walking, climbing, and being in awe of what Mother Nature is capable of. This is a place that was used as a landfill…..literally a garbage dump some hundred years ago. Well…..Mother Nature said no way…..took all that garage…..took the glass….spent some time softening, smoothing out, and shining up the glass shards….and then gently laid them back upon her beach. Simply amazing.

Walked along a very long coastal walk, not sure how far I went, I just know that my legs were killing me!! Absolutely breathtaking views.

Made my way back to my infamous hotel room, that I will call home for the next six months. Got up the next morning, and decided I wanted to see some Redwoods. The main super huge Redwoods is about a four hour drive from here, and considering it took me almost three to drive 60 miles (no straight roads from here I’m afraid) I found something a little closer. Not the super huge Redwoods, but an amazing hike nonetheless.

There is so much beauty around us, no matter our zip code. I have had comments such as “oh how I wish I could do what you do”. Well? You can. All this cost me was time, and a tank of gas. I brought my own sandwich. Creating your own adventures is just that. Creating your own adventures. There is an adventure in absolutely anything, anywhere and any time if you choose to look at it that way. No sense in sitting around for a weekend if there is something to discover right down the very road from where you are. We only go around once…..make it count.

As always, thank you for spending your time here with me. Time is valuable, as once it is spent, it is gone. So, thank you for investing a few moments of your day with me.

If you liked what you read, or looked at, (all photos are mine, unedited and raw) please leave a comment, or a like, or follow this blog via email. I have a super long list of places I will explore, some need a passport stamp, some just need a sandwich and a tank of gas. As in my world? It’s ALL an adventure.

As always…….be kind. Until next time…..

Polley93

Around The Next Corner – 1939 Miles

When my recruiter asked me “Hey Cathy, how’d you like to go to North Dakota?” Several things flashed through my mind. First? Not too sure even where North Dakota is. Second? I’m in Arizona, isn’t it uber cold there? And third one of my favorite quotes, “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere”, After I was assured I could drive there and not fly, I agreed. Took about a minute, so no, didn’t really think it through. But I had just agreed to work in North Dakota for the  next three months, and I was gonna drive there. My recruiter arranged for me to have a new Mustang to drive (never had I done that), I mapped out a route, booked places to stay, bought snacks and drinks, packed one suitcase and a carry on plus a back pack. Made sure I had my camera and left Tucson Arizona for destinations waaaaaay north.

I25 miles later I stopped in Phoenix to have lunch with my daughter, drove another 125 miles or so and had dinner with my son. Grabbed some sleep at a motel and woke up the next morning ready to go. I had never in my life driven north of Flagstaff so it was all going to new to me. Every time I changed directions

Utah Idaho 2014 004

or would go around a curve I would see something spectacular like this above. For me? This is inspiring. I thought if I was going to drive a couple hours north of Mexico clear up to a couple hours shy of the Canadian border, I was gonna grab it for all it was worth.

I had always heard so much about Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, so I didn’t go the usual (and shorter) Denver, Casper route, I headed up to those places and so glad I did! To say it was breathtaking would not do it justice.

Utah Idaho 2014 007Utah Idaho 2014 100Utah Idaho 2014 032I spent an entire day there just driving without a true direction. It was peaceful, majestic, mysterious and overwhelming to look at.

As I headed north through Salt Lake City and onward, I became keenly aware of these wide open spaces we have in this great land. Untouched earth with the natural beauty of all of my surroundings was definitely awe inspiring. I kept going north and next big adventure was Yellowstone. I was truly not prepared for all the things I saw there. This is one place that should be on EVERYONE’S bucket list!

Yellowstone 2014 114Yellowstone 2014 118 Yellowstone 2014 105 Yellowstone 2014 072 Yellowstone 2014 087 Yellowstone 2014 058 Yellowstone 2014 035 Yellowstone 2014 055 Yellowstone 2014 005I wasnt’ quite prepared for the snow, but I had made a pact with myself that I would not let a little weather stop me so onward!! To try to describe this is literally impossible. I found myself getting out of the car often with a camera and a pencil and small journal I always carry with me. So many thoughts you tend to be able to be aware of when you are away from the hustle bustle of everything and can just calm and quiet your soul. Inspiration for writing something new is overwhelming.

I continued on through Billings, Montana and had to drink in that wonderful state. So much wide open land!  I eventually made it to my little biddy town in North Dakota where I will be working for the next three months. (post on that will follow soon). I have begin to venture out and see what is around this state and to be honest? I totally misjudged it. It is beautiful and it has renewed my respect for the American Farmer of which there are many here.

The point of this post is simple.

If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere. And? You simply do not know what is around the next corner. So experience it! Quit making excuses!

1939 miles later I arrived. I traded in the Mustang for a 4WD so I can drive home in December. And I’m excited as I will take a different route to get there.

Healthcare is different on an Indian Reservation (yep, another post!) I have a few “rants” that will be in upcoming posts as well, plus another amazing road trip that I must share!

Winter is Coming. Be prepared for some humor from this Arizona girl that was raised in UK. I have never done a winter like these people describe……stay tuned.

You never know what’s around the next corner.

Until next time, Be kind……all the time.

Cheers,

Polley93

Barges, Books & Pivotal Moments

For every one of us there are those “pivotal moments”. The moments that perhaps are unexpected that can literally change your life. The moment may be good, such as falling in love, the birth of a child, surviving a storm or something like that. Or? The moment may start out being catastrophic, such as an unexpected death. The pivotal moment for me, was the latter.

For people who write, you can usually trace your path back and discover what your pivotal moment was. The event that happened that you decided you “just had to write about”. Whether it was directly after the event or not, this was the catalyst to propel you toward that great endeavor of writing. Writing a book. My pivotal moment was all about my Grandad. It is the reason for my passion for writing, it is the reason I have been “Polley93” for years, and it’s the event that would change my life.

image

I grew up in England, as my father was Military and my mum is a Brit. I had the luxury of having a sort of “bipolar” heritage but for the most part the first part of my life was in England, in a town called Ipswich. I remember fondly many things and the house pictured above was indeed one of them. 23 Halifax Rd, the home of my Nanna and beloved Grandad. I spent the majority of my childhood here as I recall, or perhaps this is where my memories lie, I’m not sure.  I won’t go into too much detail here or this blog post would go on for days. Without a doubt however, some of my fondest memories were of my Grandad and traveling on the majestic barges that he made his living on and had done for his entire life. The barge trade went on in our family line for generations. I didn’t realize it when it was happening, but those times would help create the person I am today.

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The barges were majestic vessels as you can see. Grandad would sail up and down the River Orwell, the River Thames over to Felixstowe and Harwich and London. Memories flood my mind when I think of it. Being held captive on the North Sea due to storms, (Yes I thought I would die), believing I traveled with pirates, sitting at the head of the ship for hours waving to all the sheep farmers out with their herds. As  child I had no idea that these images would be the subject matter of a literary effort.

And then. The moment. That pivotal moment that changed your life. A simple phone call and two words from my mothers shaking voice.

“Grandad drowned”.

The world stop spinning for me that day. We were in London the next day. I learned many things and can honestly say that this changed my life. I learned that we don’t always have tomorrow and started living that way. In the moment. I started writing, because my Grandad always told me that a story deserved to be told. I decided I would write his story and have researched, interviewed and photographed ever since slowly saving up what I would need to do his story justice. I have learned far more than I had expected to, and this legacy of my family goes back for generations.

It was February 19, 1993 when the phone call came.

His name was William Polley.

Hence; Polley93

So? It is time to really begin to write this book. I have plans to go home to England next year for 2-3 months to do that very thing. I know every time I go there that writing about this is easy and flows very well. But coming back here to write it is a struggle. Go figure. So I have started planning now and will be there late next summer or early fall.

My point here is this; pivotal moments. We all have one. The moments that cause us to stop and reroute our direction. They are stories worth telling and do not have an expiration date.

Until next time……..be kind, no matter what.

Cheers,

Polley93

Decided to give up my home and travel to unknown destinations providing healthcare to the underserved. Also an Indie Author and Amateur Photographer. Take my hand and travel along with me, let's learn from each other and somehow make this world a little better. All photographs on this website are my own. Sincerely, Cathy aka Polley93

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