Tag Archives: Nomad

Beauty in the Ordinary

Nothing new that I’m known to get into my vehicle with a debit card, journal and camera, without a plan and go. I find the simplest and yet, at times the most extraordinary places and things. The following is just a collection without rhyme nor reason. Some were taken in Europe. Some have meaning, some don’t. But all have their own little spark of beauty. There is no special reason for this blog post. Just a random post. Random, like me.

All photos are original and taken by me. Some with an iphone, some with an older camera and some with my Canon. They are unedited and raw for the most part as I’m a work in progress. But then again, aren’t we all?

Doors. I’ve always been a little obsessed with doors.

Doors are openings, they are closings. They can welcome you, they can shut you out. They can can be a beacon of light, a place of safety, comfort and warmth, or they can be cold and foreboding with an invisible “Keep Out” sign. Every door has a story. Oh gosh, another idea for a collection of short stories……. The list is long and I would have to live two lifetimes, without a “real” job to get them all written.

Seems like everywhere I go, I am drawn toward doors. Each with its own personality and story. Some ornate and pristine, some are worn by time…..and years……and experience.

Inanimate but interesting objects are another obsession. Every since I started learning photography, things take on a new perspective. I don’t see things the same way anymore. I notice lighting, and where things are placed, shapes I never took notice of before. Every walk I take, every drive I take, I see things differently. Things have become much more interesting. And much more beautiful. Things I  never would have even stopped to look at before, take on a personality of their own these days.

Sometimes I wish these things could speak. I’m sure they would all have a story to tell. Sometimes I think if you are still enough…..quiet enough……you can feel the stories hidden within the simple things that are in front of you.

Nature has a beauty of it’s own. Mother Nature is truly remarkable. She’s beautiful. She’s powerful. But she is an amazing artist who paints amazing views with a stroke of who she is.

So I guess this blog wasn’t about anything huge to learn, no big opinions or fancy artistic prose. Just a collection of random thoughts coupled with random photos. Call it a ‘brain vacay’. We all need one once in awhile. And next time you venture out? Find the beauty in everything……and everyone you see.

Because it’s there.

Until next time……. be kind…….always.

Polley93

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Five Years of Travel

Greetings! And welcome to my newly revamped little corner of the world. This is a place I share my adventures, my stories, my photography, my books in progress, (I really am writing books…..) and whatever else crosses my path on this wonderful journey we call life. I admit, I haven’t been the most reliable blogger, but it took me a few months to settle some of my life down before I could get on with this new phase. I have spent several weeks organizing my Lightroom library, trying my best to forge a friendship with my MacBook, trying to figure out where the heck I’ve been, and relocating yet again (am in Northern Arizona until end of November right before I leave for Italy but thats a whole other blog post…..)  For those of you who are new, welcome! And for you faithful who have patiently waited for me to rev it up again….welcome back.

I plan on posting a new blog every Wednesday morning, about 9am MST. I have a lengthy list of subjects as I have learned (and continue to learn and save those little pearls!) about how to travel far and cheap, (did you know you can fly from Denver to Paris one way for less than $200?) minimalist packing and how it works well, many many destinations, my year journey to plan and prepare to go abroad for three months next year (yes, on my own. Yes, backpack only….. yes I’m planning on writing a book while I’m gone as well so stay tuned) So? Please add your name to my email list for reminders on new posts, leave a comment with suggestions or your thoughts on any given subject, I’m sure this will be entertaining, and hopefully educational on some level.

I absolutely love to travel, anywhere and at anytime. It is my true passion. There is nothing I love more than going someplace new. I keep it simple, pack light, and bring a journal and a camera. I have many adventures to share and even more in the planning phase. Alas, that gainful employment is necessary, but it also affords me to take off (after much  sacrificing, saving, cutting back, and throwing odd dollars and change in a jar). I started basically traveling for a living with my profession, that being a Family Nurse Practitioner. I work in Family Practice which is very demanding, and I prefer to go to places where I can treat the poor and homeless. It has sent me to some very interesting places. About five years ago I started working this way, and about four years ago I started truly downsizing. At this point, my belongings are in a storage unit, I gave up my rented home, and gave away my car. I basically live out of a little more than a suitcase, hence; my blog name.

I love planes, trains, long car trips being the driver, walking,  buses, trams and trolleys. I have had major trips abroad, I have taken day trips in my car, and everything  in between. I was reminded recently, (when I was whining about wanting to get up and go again) that I am a very well traveled person. Am I really? I started a list, started gathering photos off of Lightroom (thousands and thousands) and realized that during the past five years of traveling with my vocation, mini side trips, well planned tours, sporadic long weekends, and not needing much of an excuse to take off and go……the list of places is long. Surprisingly long. So as I sit here writing about it today and having a VERY difficult time picking out photos, I feel completely thankful. I also feel extremely excited, as the feet are getting restless again……

So this is what this week’s blog is about. Five years of travel. There are individual blogs planned for the major destinations (San Francisco, U.S. East Coast, Budapest, Prague, London, the South, and a blog post dedicated to the different doors of the world that I seem to be obsessed with plus more I’m sure) Keep in mind, I work full time, sometimes VERY full time, but I have truly mastered the art of capitalizing on cheap flights, holiday days off of work, creative planning, minimal packing, and just not making excuses and just GOING. So get a tasty cold beverage, find a comfy place to sit, and get a taste of the past five years. It has been quite the journey! (and if I can do it, being a single mom, working very full time, living on a very tight budget……then I truly believe that anyone can…..you just have to WANT to!)

So strap yourselves in, and here’s a thumbnail of some of the adventures I’ve had over the past five years. Some planned. Some not. Had to save for some, and others just filled up the car, made a sandwich, grabbed my camera and went.

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, CALIFORNIA

I have gotten to drive the Pacific Coast Highway three times…..This is definitely a “have to” for anyone and everyone. It’s endless, gorgeously breathtaking, and a peaceful way to spend a few days. There is no wrong place to stop. It’s all fascinating.

SCOTLAND

I experienced Scotland with my mum, including pubs, kilts, William Wallace, Celebration of the Haggis (delish!) and spending the afternoon at a Scottish Sheep Farm.

WINE COUNTRY, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Wine Country in Northern Cali….what can you say? It’s everything that you’ve heard. Miles of winding roads and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

WALES

Experienced a taste of Wales, and this is one quirky place! The language, the street signs are an adventure in itself. This is one country I would love to thoroughly explore. Put it on the list!

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

I had a four day weekend and a total of $500 to spend. Total. (Airfare, Accomodation, food and extras) and went to Victoria, British Columbia. Rode in a little puddle jumper airplane, walked for miles, ate great food, and took too many photos to count. Fascinating place. Highly recommend. Thanks to a $188 flight, AirBnB, and Groupon, the total weekend cost me $496 total. Gotta love minimalist traveling!

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NAT’L PARKS

Had the opportunity to visit Sequoia National Park twice. The giant Sequoia trees are literally majestic, extreme, and fascinating. I got to go there once with my son which made it really awesome. I drove straight through the park and experienced life above the clouds at Kings Canyon National Park.

MULTNOMAH FALLS, OREGON

I got to drive up to Portland and see Multnomah Falls. This place is pure magic and you feel the strength and incredible beauty of Mother Nature as you stand in front of this magnificent sight.

NORTHERN CALI

I spent the longest time I’ve ever spent at one assignment in Ukiah, California, a total of 16 months which translates into 500 consecutive nights in a hotel room. It was worth it as I experienced coastal sights that took your breath away, lighthouses, and towns that I fell in love with including Ft Bragg and Glass Beach and Mendocino.

SAN FRANCISCO 

I was an hour and a half from San Francisco so I got to go there a couple of times. Fresh sourdough bread, the Golden Gate Bridge and trolley cars.

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UNITED KINGDOM

London with my mum along with Chester, York, Stratford Upon Avon, Windsor (where both Her Majesty the Queen and the leader of Ireland were at the time, so there were flags everywhere) and Bath. And I got to see my beloved Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.

IPSWICH, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

Mum and I got to go back to our hometown of Ipswich, England.

MENDOCINO, CALI

Mendocino deserves another mention. Northern Cali.

CAPITOLA AND THE DEPOT INN

My favorite Bed and Breakfast: Depot Hill and Capitola

RANDOM FINDS

Random drives to find some “pretty”.

YELLOWSTONE NAT’L PARK

Drove through Yellowstone National Park on the way to work assignment in NewTown, North Dakota.

EAST COAST

Experienced the East Coast when I was on assignment in Middletown, CT.

ZION UTAH

Zion in Utah

MONTERREY CALIFORNIA 

Monterrey California was very cool. Eating seafood out of paper as you walked. Everything was pretty. And when I saw the interesting mileage sign? This is the day I decided I should experience Dubrovnik, Croatia. Which I added to my three month Euro trip next year.

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

I needed to go someplace and I needed someplace that 1) required a passport and 2) was as cheap as possible. So I headed off to Hungary! My sister decided to come with which was an extra and unexpected blessing! Will have its very own blog post as just far too much happened!!

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 

2nd leg of that impromptu sister trip was Prague, Czech Republic. We both decided we could live here. Again, a specific blog about this fascinating place! Can’t wait to go back!

CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH 

The South, Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah and yes, I broke my arm…..

There were definitely more side trips, but I’m sure you get the picture. I have traveled far and wide with what I had at the time and the list turned out to be surprisingly long. Very humbling.

This was kind of like a list. There will be more specific posts coming I promise, at least 12 are in the works as I type this.
I have pretty extreme plans coming up for the next 12 months. I plan on working hard, saving all I can and making all of this happen. So please stay tuned. I will be posting one time per month about my year plan to travel Europe next year for three months with a backpack. A lot goes into doing something like this at my age, so I am starting now. I also have a trip planned in December and another in April. I realized I can’t wait anymore. Time isn’t waiting for me.

So my time is now.

Thank you so much for spending your moments with me! Please leave a comment so I can know you stopped by.

Until next week……..as always…….be kind.

Cheers,

Polley93

Top 12 Solo Travel Tips

Greetings and welcome to my little nook of random. For those of you returning, welcome back! And for those of you visiting for the first time, welcome! Make sure you subscribe so you can follow along on this journey! All photographs on my blog have been taken by me in various places.

My blog usually consists of Travel, Photography, Minimalism, and the occasional post about writing a book. For today, I am going to spend some time answering the number one question I get faced with: “How can you travel so much solo?”

The short answer is, if I didn’t travel solo, I probably wouldn’t travel at all. With my crazy nomadic work life, and my desire to go to places I’ve never been, it suits me fine just to get up and go and go by myself. I have learned much along the way, and far too much to completely share it all in one simple blog post, so I will make a dent in it and cover the top 12 tips for solo travel.

A sidenote. This post will be specifically about long haul flights to destinations far that you probably need a passport for. It is a myth that you have to be loaded to go on trips to faraway lands. My recent Budapest/Prague trip was a total of $1450 (airfare, accommodation, daily breakfast, and four side trips or excursions). My entire month excursion to Thailand next May is under $1800 and that includes a week add-on down south on the islands. You can get a one way flight from San Francisco or Denver to Paris, France of $259…..and no, that is not a typo. You don’t have to be rich. You have to be driven, creative and patient. I can dedicate an entire post or two on travel hacks and cheap travel sometime later if the interest is there. Let me know.

Here we go……..

1. RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO

Get yourself a travel book. There are plenty out there that are good and cover just about everything you need. Moon. Lonely Planet. Fodor’s. If you are on Facebook there are travel groups that have been amazing! Have learned a ton about travel this way! Groups such as Solo Women Travelers. Solo Travel Society. Nomad Women 40’s and up. Solo Female Traveler Network. To name a few. For me? The best teacher is someone who has already done what I would like to do. So that’s YouTube. Every place, food, experience, is all on YouTube someplace.

2. PREPARE FOR LONG HAUL FLIGHT

The flights are no joke and preparation makes it much easier. (again, this deserves a post of its own but for today, will hit the highlights) One must have a neck pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs. A killer playlist and ear buds. Something to read. A one liter water bottle. Mints, toothbrush, Melatonin, and Advil. You get where I’m going. A flight 8 hours or longer is considered long haul and you are literally going to be sitting in a small seat. My flying time to Europe this past Oct was a little over 13 hours. The trip to Thailand is over 20. So comfort is key. Prepare!!!

3. TRAVEL LIGHT

Less is more when traveling and honestly? You don’t need as much as you think. Downsize everything you can. I went to Vancouver/Victoria BC and went with a backpack only (Osprey 40L). It worked just fine. Carry on only is a recommendation. Makes your trip simpler and you spend so much less time on unnecessary tasks and more for the reason you went to begin with. Take necessities only. Trust me on this one.

4. BE FAMILIAR WITH CURRENCY

Get familiar with exchange rates. The currency. How much each bill translates into your currency. Avoid scammers (YouTube again is a great place to learn about this), using a card is safe as you don’t need to carry around a lot of cash, but cash is necessary so learn how much it translates into.

5. ARRIVE EARLY

If at all possible, arrange a flight or flights that arrive during the morning or afternoon. This is such a nice way to start your adventure. There isn’t a sense of urgency. You have the time to take your time. You will be tired and a little off-balance after long flights and time changes, besides, being a traveler at an airport is pretty obvious so daylight hours helps with safety issues.

6. PHOTOGRAPHS AND JOURNAL

Always carry a little notebook around with you. It’s amazing what you can pick up, what you want to jot down so you can remember. Food suggestions, shoppes you’d like to return to, people you meet, things you see. True, we have smart phones now, but I prefer good ole paper and pen.

7. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CITY

Get a map, or download google maps before you go to your phone so you can use offline, Get the layout of the city. Find a free walking tour (these are in every major city in Europe, usually free and tip only fees, very helpful and awesome to get to know the city by. local!) Find a hop on hop off bus and ride it for a couple of circuits. Saves you time in the long run and you can find things you want to return to.

8. USE CITY TRANSIT

City buses. Trains. Trams. Trolleys. Subways. Try them all. City transport is usually organized and cheap! Avoid taxi’s. Just avoid them.

 

9. FIND A BENCH AND PEOPLE WATCH

10. TALK TO THE LOCALS

11. TRY NEW THINGS

New Foods!

Try something for the first time!

Spending a day on a working sheep farm in Scotland. (no sheep was harmed, even though that is a humongous knife)

Eating fresh produce as you walk down the street in Chinatown.

Ride on a water plane……..

Walk amongst the giants and drive through clouds!

12. LEAVE THE FEAR AND HESITATION AT HOME

Get out there and find your adventure! For all of these of mine, I look back and wonder how. The list is long. London and all throughout England. Scotland. Wales. Victoria. Across the US a half a dozen times. Budapest. Prague. I guess I just did it. Figured it out. And went alone. The solace of being with your own self is very mysterious. You find things you never thought you’d find, meet people you never thought you’d meet, see things you never thought you ‘d see, and yet you have. You gain a new confidence within yourself and an amazing sense of accomplishment when you come home. You find and meet people who remain in touch and your friends. And your world view grows and grows. And why? Well……easy. You just decide.

So decide. And go. And if you are one of those like me, who have, then please either share your blog site, or your experiences with me! I thank you in advance.

Lots more to come in the coming weeks and months. Travel hacks and budget travel. My journey towards Minimalism. Blog on Budapest and another on Prague. There are destinations in the US I have never posted about. The list is endless.

For now? I thank you for the moments you spent here with me. You are very appreciated. Please leave a comment, suggestion, experience, share with me your favorite trip or destination, or perhaps a destination you would love to go to someday. My bucket list is very long, and in 2018 I plan to make it shorter.

Until next time……..be kind…….always.

Polley93

aka Tink

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

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

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

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

What Is “Home”?

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Webster defines ” home” as:

1)The  house in which a person or family lives.

2)The place where something is usually or naturally found.

3) Place of origin.

“Home” has become very different for me. I really don’t have an official place where me or my family lives, we are naturally found literally all over the place, and my place of origin isn’t even this country.  So, as with any new location, when you are “the new girl” the very first question you are asked is “where are you from” or “where is your home”. I have come to realize, that for me there is no easy answer. In fact, there is no answer at all.

I have been in this new temporary location of New Town, North Dakota for a little over a week, and will be here roughly until mid December. I’m treating patients on an Indian Reservation in a new clinic with four physicians and one other NP.  The town is small, although oil was just struck here so it’s a bit of a boom town. (There will be a post dedicated to just this place soon, I have some catching up to do with assignments and places).

So how DO I answer that simple but very complex question? To some people, home is that main dwelling that has a mortgage, that you’ ve owned for years with a flower garden and an address you can count on.  Some live in one house but think of their home as another dwelling in another place, usually where you grew up. Home has different connotations for different people.

For me, I have come to realize that through the choices I have made and for all practical purposes I am basically professionally homeless. My belongings are safely stored and my address is a PO box with forwarded mail. I own what I can pack in a car and I’m not even sure where the next location will be. I have learned that things, however much coveted and enjoyed, are temporary, but the people in your life trump them all.

So where is my home?

For me? Home is a person (or people), and not a place.

No matter where (or whom) you consider “home” it should be your safe place. Your castle. The place you look forward to going to after a work shift. The place you can kick your shoes off and watch a football game. Sleep with both eyes closed. And feel happy, at peace, but most of all thankful that you’re there.

So my home is in Ipswich Suffolk England. It’s in South Pasadena, Ca. Portland, Oregon and Flagstaff, Az. It’s in Tucson and Phoenix and London. And soon to be another in Columbus Ohio. I may not have an actual dwelling I can always go to, but I am blessed beyond belief to have the people in my life that I can call home. For I have many. They are all different, but they are all home.

And for the next 12 weeks, my home is in New Town, North Dakota. An extremely different land that I am just now getting to know. Stay tuned.

So wherever it is that you call home, take care of it, appreciate it, and make it your own. And just like Dorothy said…..”there’s no place like home”……

 

Until next time,

Be kind, Be thankful, and be true to who you are.

Cheers,

Polley93